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Bath is one of the tourist magnets of Britain, and rightfully so. It is less crowded than London, and its attractions are concentrated in an area easily walked in a day of sightseeing. Bus transportation in the city is good. Leave your car in one of the perimeter car parks and use the inexpensive "Park and Ride" buses.

Tourist Attractions

Assembly Rooms Bennett Street
Beloved of Georgette Heyer's Regency romance novels. Built by John Wood in 1771, the elegant rooms now house the thoroughly enjoyable Museum of Costume, which traces the history of fashion through wonderful period displays and over 1000 accessories and jewelry from Tudor times to the present.

Pump Room Stall Street
Overlooks the Roman baths. Drink hot spa water (if you can stomach the rather foul-tasting mixture), or take tea to the accompaniment of a string trio.

Bath Abbey
A church built by a dream. In this case the dreamer was Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Secretary to Henry VII. It seems the good bishop had a dream of angels climbing a ladder, and a voice said to him, "Let a King restore the church". Accordingly, he had the Norman abbey church pulled down and in 1499 work began on a new cathedral. The chancel and side aisles had been vaulted by the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the tower crossing was completed under Elizabeth, but the nave was not finished until Victorian times. The resulting fan vaulting creates a superb rhythmic unity.

Roman Baths Museum Stall Street
The great Roman baths here were used from about 80-400AD, but they gradually fell into disuse, and were covered up by subsequent building on this site. Then in 1775 the baths and temple complex were discovered by accident, and they have been restored to their former glory. This is without a doubt the best Roman site in England, and well worth seeing. A museum houses finds from the excavations, including a giant stone Medusa's head, and a wonderful bronze head of Minerva.

Bath Postal Museum 8 Broad Street
Traces the history of postal service, including a recreation of a 19th century post office. The building dates back to the 16th century, and was once the main Bath post office.

Victoria Art Gallery Pultenay Bridge
The city art gallery, housing over 600 oil paintings and 5000 watercolours, prints, and drawings. There are collections of glass, watches, and porcelain. A special exhibition gallery houses touring exhibitions and a smaller gallery displays works by local artists. The art is very attractively displayed, and a joy to view.

Georgian Garden The Circus
The Georgian Garden is a small, elegant recreation of a 1770s townhouse garden. Excavations showed the original layout of the garden, which has been faithfully followed, and it has been planted with species known to have been popular at that period. Free Admission.

Bath Boating Station Forester Road
An actual Victorian boating station, not a replica. The museum has a collection of traditional wooden skiffs. You can hire canoes or a punt. Don't worry if you haven't punted before, they'll teach you how.

Holborn Museum and Crafts Study Centre Great Pultenay Street
The 18th century historic house just off the east end of Pultenay Bridge hosts a wonderful collection of silver, porcelain, bronzes, miniatures, glass, furniture, and Old Master paintings. There are several Gainsborough originals, and a varied program of modern art and crafts. Holborn is sadly neglected by most visitors to Bath - don't be one of them. It is a thoroughly enjoyable museum and deserves wider recognition.

No. 1 Royal Crescent
Part of John Wood's masterwork, the Royal Crescent, this 18th century townhouse is now a World Heritage Building. It has been restored to what it might have looked like at the time of its opening. You'll be surprised by how small the quarters look for high society living.

Sally Lunn's Museum 4 North Parade Passage
The oldest house in Bath. Delve into the basement to see remains of Roman, Saxon, and Medieval building. It was in this house in 1680 that Sally Lunn invented the bun that still bears her name. The upstairs is a tea room and restaurant serving ... Sally Lunn buns (what else?) among other period dishes.

Bath Tourist Information Centre

Abbey Chambers, Abbey Church Yard, Bath, BA1 1LY. Tel: 01225 477101

Destination guides by kind permission of Britain Express

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