Bath Places to See

Bath Places to See

Bath Places to See

The Bath Experience is an audio-visual show which takes you through the whole history of Bath over the past two thousand years; showing daily at the Theatre Royal.

Abbey Church Yard, on a kind of piazza, Prior Birde's chantry with delicate stone carvings. The Guildhall is a perfect example of neo-classical architecture with the great Banqueting Hall with the Whitefriars chandeliers and portraits. The Grand Pump Rooms. The recent excavations have added a great deal to the attraction of the Pump Room and Roman Baths; stone and steaming water, the pool, parts of the temple are now revealed, as are many of the tokens and talismen thrown into the waters. The baths are quite remarkable and must be the finest traces of Roman occupation you will see in Britain. Take coffee and Bath buns in the restaurant in an atmosphere created by the music of the trio, the Corinthian columns, Georgian furniture and the portrait presence of Beau Nash. The Tompion clock mentioned in The Pickwick Papers was given by the famous English clockmaker Thomas Tompion in 1709 together with a sundial to keep check upon the accuracy of the clock.

Ralph Allen's town house is around the back of York Street. He built Sham Castle, nothing more than a folly, to make his view more attractive. To Old Lilliput Alley, and the oldest house in Bath, Sally Lunn's. The Assembly Rooms restored by Oliver Messel also house the Museum of Costume. A collection begun by the historian Doris Langley Moore, but added to over the past twenty years, makes it one of the most valuable and comprehensive collections to be found anywhere. Late sixteenth century right up to modern fashion from Dior, St Laurent and back to the doublets and hose of Shakespearean England. There is an extension of this museum - The Costume and Fashion Research Centre - at The Circus which has a library and study section for the use of students and the public, with reference books, fashion plates and photographs. Both open all year, check times.

The beauty of Bath lies mainly in its buildings and bridges, its river and parks. Pulteney Bridge, over the river, is the work of Robert Adam; there are the colonnades of Bath Street, the Old Royal Bath; the Parades; The Circus with Tuscan, Ionic and Corinthian tiers, and of course the Royal Crescent. Bath Carriage Museum, Circus Mews, Open All Year, used to be a coach house, now houses forty carriages of different kinds and times. No 1 Royal Crescent, a chance to see what a Georgian house was really like to live in. John Wood, the younger, built it and the Bath Preservation Trust restored it. Open March to October.

Camden Works Museum of Bath at work, Julian Road, Open All Year. A unique and authentic reconstruction of the work and machinery of a Victorian engineer, tells the story of Bath stone. Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Open All Year, home of the city's art collection. Herschel House, New King Street, home of William Herschel, the musician and astronomer, open all year, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Bath Postal Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Open All Year, probably the best postal museum there is. Royal Photographic Society, The Octagon, Milsom Street, Open All Year, one of the most famous buildings in Bath with a collection starting with the earliest photographs and equipment which took them. Holburne of Menstrie Museum, Great Pulteney Street, famed for its works by Guardi, Gainsborough and Stubbs as well as the work of twentieth-century craftsmen-artists. Closed December and January, sometimes February, best to check. The American Museum in Britain, Claverton Manor is just outside the city. There are eighteen rooms, completely furnished with American furniture and fittings. Open afternoons, March to October. Winston Churchill is said to have made his first political speech at Claverton Manor. The Manor was designed by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, the architect, who added that Gothic touch to Windsor Castle. The museum has an Indian tepee, Shakers Room, Conestoga Wagon, Wild West, quilts, textiles and Mount Vernon Garden. Americans can nostalgically taste their own American, genuine gingerbread in Conkey's Tavern. It gets very crowded at the height of the season so get there early.

Of the parks the best are Royal Victoria Park, fifty acres of one of the finest collections of trees in the country, with a perfect view of Royal Crescent. The Botanical Gardens contain over five thousand different varieties of plants from all over the world, and Henrietta Park, just off Great Pulteney Street, a little park with a scented garden and Braille information laid out for the blind in the King George V Memorial Gardens.


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