The city of Bath was founded by Romans 2000 years ago and revived in the Georgian period. It is one of England’s most known historic spots and tourist attractions with plenty to see. Georgian architecture and It is most famous for its historic Roman bathes, with the newly built state-of-art spa, make it a true wonder.
The city offers plenty for adults and children alike to create an unforgettable holiday. Climb 600 steps of the Bath Abbey tower to be amused by its clock’s face close up or wonder at its bells, taste inimitable buns at Sally Lunn’s bakery dated back to 1500’s, take a selfie in a Georgian costume at the Fashion Museum or get astonished at the grandness of the Assembly Rooms – you will certainly not be bored. The only thing you’ll our guests usually regret is that they did not stay longer.
Bath is also a treasure trove of the natural beauty. As you are approaching by train or by car, the landscape gradually changes from the flat plains to curvy hills. Thanks to its location on the edge of the heart of Bath, the Grosvenor Apartments offer a chance to get up close and personal with the natural reserves while being minutes away from the city buzz.
Off the beaten track
We are happy to share with you a few uncommon routes to explore the best of Bath, unknown to the tourists.
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Bath from the bird’s view: Kenneth & Avon Canal, Sydney Gardens and the Bathwick Hill (with a possibility to continue on the Bath Skyline Walk)
Kenneth & Avon Canal, the most-loved 87-mile-long waterway linking London with the Bristol Channel, is just 5 minutes’ walk from our self-catering apartments. It used to be a vital transport artery, responsible for delivery of the commodities and goods to the Bath residents, until Brunel’s tunnel opened the way for the Great Western trains.
Nowadays, the canal is favoured by walkers, cyclists and runners. Boating and canoeing is equally popular on this picturesque route.
From the apartment, take right on London road and first right again on Grosvenor Bridge road. Kensington Meadows, a natural reserve with an array of birds and animals, will be to your right. Crossing the river Avon, continue under the railway bridge and up the stairs, you will reach the Kenneth & Avon Canal. The path along the canal is well-maintained and clean, it does not require any special footwear. In spring, the path is crowned with the blooming trees and rich with blackberries and apples in the late summer.
Walk left (East), wondering at a variety of boats topped with sculptures, flower pots, bicycles and Buddha heads, and admiring the emerald hills of Bathampton on the opposite side, with the scattered white spots of sheep and thoughtful cows. In about 20 minutes you will find a charming ‘George Inn’ gastropub to your left, the locals’ favourite pub with a menu of traditional British dishes and a family-friendly vibe. Turn left onto Mill Ln leaving the St Nicholas church to your right, and another locals’ favourite, The Bathampton Mill offers Mediterranean cuisine blended with a British menu in a countryside setting on the river with a log fire.
If you chose to walk in the West direction, watch for the beautiful bridges and sleepy charming houses reflecting in the water on your way. In about 7-10 minutes you’ll pass by the entrance to the Sydney Gardens, the only remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in the country. It is the location of the Holbourne Museum with a Victorian collection of ornate silver and Old Masters in a lovely Georgian building. The towpath will eventually bring you to the city centre; to follow our suggested route, turn left onto the Bathwick Hill street after you pass Bath Narrowboats the boats depot, and the path brings you up to street level (you will see a Tesco Express on your right). Look at the lovely Georgian mansions left and right as you walk up Bathwick Hill, each worth a million pounds or more. Turn right after the Cleveland Walk bus stop and enter the gate. Hold your breath at the sight of the hills, rooftops, church spires and towers stretching around you as far as the eye can see. If the weather permits, have a picnic on the soft grass enjoying the skyline. A six miles long Bath Skyline Walk starts right here: walk up the hill and follow the wooden arrows pointing you in the right direction. Otherwise, just walk down the hill into town, enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
Useful links (click to open):
Larkhall and above:
On the other side of London road, there’s a trendy urban Larkhall village well worth a visit for a taste of the local life. You will find there cute local shops: a butcher, an ironmonger, a baker and a green grocer, as well as a cosy café, a deli and a pub. There is even a small theatre if you fancy art not too far from home! Larkhall has a buzzing spirit and the beautiful views – from many parts of Larkhall you can see up to Solsbury Hill – the Iron Age hill fort made famous by Peter Gabriel. Freshly prepare delicacies from Ma Cuisine, a French food take away, are finger-licking good, and a Deli, a Thai and an Indian restaurants nearby just add to the variety.
Tea, coffee & snack: Cloud Nine, 1 Upper Lambridge St, Bath BA1 6RY
Lunch: The Beaufort, 1 London Rd, Beaufort, Bath BA1 6QB
The best of Georgian:
Circus, the Assembly Rooms, Fashion Museum, Royal Crescent, the house where Jane Austin used to live, Marlborough Buildings & Victoria Park
Bath is a crown of Georgian architecture, each of the buildings being a sparkling gem. To accommodate the affluent Londoners spending their summer season in the city, in the 18th century Bath was witnessing rapid development of beautiful townhouses. The Circus and the Royal Crescent are, perhaps, the most famous architectural ensembles of that period. Built from the local limestone on the Northern slopes of Bath, overlooking the green valley with the river, the buildings in the Circus area are remarkable examples of the Georgian style.
A walk from the Grosvenor Place to the Circus takes about 10-15 minutes. As you leave the house, turn left on London road and walk about half a mile. Note the elevated sidewalk on the Northern side of London road, built intentionally for the horse carriage passengers to alight comfortably. Turn right onto Guinea Lane after you’ve passed the Curfew pub and hold your breath as it’s a very steep hill. To the left, you will leave below the Paragon, another crescent of the townhouses owned predominantly by the local craftsmen in the 19th century. When you reach the top of Guinea lane, turn left on Landsdown road and then first right. An elegant round Circus with the mighty tree in the middle will open in front of you, stunning in its magnificence.
A graceful yellow-coloured building on your left, a few hundred yards before the Circus, is the Assembly Rooms. John Nash, a director of the 18th century Bath high life, created a mandatory daily routine for the society and made the Assembly Rooms a major part of it. After drinking water at the Pump Room and soaking in the hot springs, nobility gathered in the Assembly Rooms to dance and get entertained. Looking at the massive chandeliers in the Assembly Rooms shining halls, it is easy to imagine rustle of the crinolines, gossips traveling in the crowd, cheerful music trills and shuffling of feet on the floor.
Nowadays, the Assembly Rooms host concerts, graduation and wedding ceremonies and exhibitions. It is also the location of the Fashion Museum (where you can try on a real 19th century dress!) and a lovely café.
Brocks street on the other side of the Circus leads to the Royal Crescent. The No1 Royal Crescent museum offers a chance to visit a real 18th century townhouse with everything left as it used to be 200 years ago. Thanks to the generosity of a local resident who bought and restored the townhouse to its original look, the visitors can see how the domestic life was organised in the Georgian times. Walk through the amazingly preserved premises – from the basement where the servants cooked the meals, stored groceries and made washing up to the lady’s and gentleman’s bedrooms on the upper floors, and see the real artefacts of that epoch. The luscious lawn in front of the Royal Crescent perfectly lends itself for a picnic. Shop at the nearby Waitrose or visit a few nearby places to eat.
Tea, coffee & snack: Bea’s Tea Room, located in an authentic Bath building that has survived the WWII, this cosy spot offers one of the best carrot cakes in town. It also has curious memorabilia of the old times that you encounter walking down its narrow staircase to the banquet room or to visit the ladies.
Lunch: Marlborough Tavern (book well in advance) One of the most recommended gastropubs in Bath with haute cuisine on offer, as well as fish and chips.