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Thousands of years ago the Romans came to Britain and built forts, garrison towns, Hadrian’s Wall and a spa city called Bath. Established in 43 AD and later becoming a getaway of choice for the more upper class Victorian citizens, Bath is of course famous for the ancient Roman Baths of the city and became a World Heritage Site in 1987.
A cultural city, Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 and set Northanger Abbey and Persuasion here. Bath’s architecture has been the background for lots of different films and TV shows, including the 2004 film of Thackeray's Vanity Fair and The Duchess.
Over four million people visit Bath each year, making it a hotspot for tourism in the South West. A visit here wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the famous Roman Baths in Stall Street. Fuelled by Britain’s only hot springs, they pump out over a million litres of hot water each day to the large open air baths, all set around Roman, Medieval and Georgian architecture. Meet Roman costumed characters here every day and hear the stories of those who lived and worked in the baths 2,000 years ago.
A few minutes’ walk away is Bath Abbey, the last Gothic church in England, built in 1499 on the ruins of a Norman cathedral. Walk up to the Abbey tower for a great view of the city’s Georgian architecture and neo-classical buildings.
Museum fans won’t be disappointed with what Bath has to offer. Visit the Bath at Work Museum, showcasing two thousand years of Bath's working heritage, the Fashion Museum or Sally Lunn’s Museum (of ‘Sally Lunn’s Bun’ fame).
You can also check out the popular No.1 Royal Crescent, a restored Georgian townhouse and the Holburne Museum of Arts with works by Turner and Thomas Gainsborough. Don’t miss the world famous Museum of Costume with its collections of contemporary and historical dress, the Hershel Museum of Astronomy, the Museum of East Asian Art and for literature fans the Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street. Phew!
If you want some fresh air try Royal Victoria Park, it has a golf course, tennis courts, skateboard ramp, children’s play area and open air concerts in the summer. There’s also Alexandra Park on a hill overlooking the city, Parade Gardens in front of the Abbey and along the riverfront, and Sydney Gardens.
For a city of its size, Bath has plenty of places to stay – over three hundred at last count. Before you head in, go see a show at one of the city’s five theatres, all of which showcase internationally acclaimed tours and performances.