Bath England

Bath England is located in the beautiful Cotswolds in the southwestern part of the country, about a two-hour drive due west of London. The city is famous for the classic baths and thermal spas built when it was founded by the Romans in AD 43. The Bath UK thermal hot springs are the only ones that occur naturally in the United Kingdom. Here the Romans built the beautiful Temple of Sulis Minerva and an entire baths complex that have remained at the heart of the city ever since. These are the most important Roman ruins to be found north of the Alps on the European continent.

During the Middle Ages, Bath England became an important center for the wool industry, and its economic importance continued into the 17th and 18th centuries when it developed into an elegant classical Georgian city with some of the most beautiful Palladian architecture anywhere. It is this gracious and harmonious architectural ensemble that justifies the city's inclusion on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The most important Bath England landmarks and tourist attractions are its ancient Roman Baths, its wonderful Bath Abbey, and its "crescents." Long after the fall of the Roman Empire, the baths were rediscovered by Victorians who used them as fashionable spa retreats. Within the baths, you will see ancient Roman, medieval, and Georgian architecture. The Abbey is right next to the baths and is the last Gothic church built in England. It was begun in 1499 and is built on the ruins of a Norman church. There are eight crescents in the city. They are semi-elliptical crescents of Georgian townhouses that began life as elegant private homes. Many of them are still private residences, but a number of them have been converted into pubs, museums, galleries, bed and breakfast inns, and shops. The Royal Crescent is the oldest; it was designed by John Wood and completed in 1774. Other crescents also have wonderful views over the city. They include Camden Crescent (best views), Cavendish Crescent (smallest), Landsdown Crescent, and Widcombe Crescent.

In addition to these attractions, Bath UK also has several excellent museums, including the Jane Austen Centre (the celebrated author lived here during the early 19th century) and the Museum of Costume with its outstanding collection of historical and contemporary dress. There is the Holburne Museum, with its wonderful collection of porcelain and bronzes, the Museum of East Asian Art, and the Hershel Museum of Astronomy (where the planet of Uranus was discovered).

City tours here include historical walking tours through the city center and crawls through the city's many historic pubs. There are also ghost walks in ancient buildings reputed to be haunted. The city's Pulteney Bridge and Pulteney Wier were designed by Robert Adam and completed in 1773. The bridge is one of only a handful of bridges in the world with shops across its full span, much like the famous Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, and Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy.

Bath UK benefits from its location on the southern edge of the scenic countryside in the Cotswolds where some of England's most beautiful and pastoral landscapes are found. In addition to this lovely scenery, sights and attractions like Stonehenge are excellent day trips from the city, and if you are staying in London, tours to Bath and Stonehenge together are popular options. The closest major airport is at Bristol, located about fifteen miles to the west. There are flights into this airport from a number of cities in Europe including Amsterdam, Berlin, Edinburgh, Prague, Paris, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Barcelona, and Brussels. Do note that there are no flights from London. If you are flying into London, you will need to drive or take the train to Bath. There are a number of choices for Bath hotels, ranging from cheap hostels and backpacker lodging to good mid-range hotels and bed and breakfast inns. Perhaps the most prestigious hotel is the Royal Crescent, which occupies two of the townhouses in the Royal Crescent.

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