If you're planning a visit to the wonderful World Heritage City of Bath you're main problem will not be so much finding a place to stay but making a choice from the excellent range of accommodation Bath provides its visitors with. Here you'll find luxury hotels, small friendly B&Bs and Guest Houses and wonderful self catering accommodation ranging from character cottages and period georgian houses to luxury apartments. Around the City of Bath there are also plenty of caravan holiday parks with static and touring facilities and camping sites.
Majestic Bath Abbey, at the heart of the city, is the obvious focus for visitors. Constructed over the site of a Saxon monastery where the first King of England, Edgar, was crowned in 973, the present Abbey has been revitalised by sensitive cleaning. The vibrancy of the colours rediscovered within the spectacular fan-vaulting is breathtaking. In the Abbey Heritage Vaults the story of 1600 years of Christianity will help you discover the ecclesiastical history of Bath.
Between Abbey Churchyard and Stall Street lie the amazing complex of Roman Baths, built around the natural hot springs. The water is likely to have fallen as rain about 10,000 years ago. Today the King's Spring still produces over 250,000 gallons of water per day at a constant temperature of 46 C and can be tasted in the Pump Room. Bath's stylish modern spa complex gives you the chance nowadays to take the waters. The oldest house in Bath, dating back to 1482, is the home of the famous Sally Lunn bun. With a recipe handed down through generations and still baked on the premises, you can discover the taste for yourself in this charming Refreshment House and Museum. No 1, Royal Crescent has been authentically restored by the Bath Preservation Trust and furnished to appear as it might have done when it was designed by John Wood as an 18th-century townhouse.
Bath can justifiably boast that its parks and gardens are among the finest in Britain. Brimful of colour, Bath's floral displays have repeatedly won first place in the Britain in Bloom competition. Seek out the Victorian oasis of peace that is Henrietta Park, with its pergola, fishpond and fragrant flower garden. Take a stroll through the Grade II listed Sydney Gardens, with its Chinese-style bridges over the Kennet and Avon canal, and admire a replica of the Roman temple of Minerva. Overlooking the weir on the river Avon, you can relax in a deckchair or enjoy a band concert in Bath's most centrally situated park, Parade Gardens. On the opposite side of the river, just down from the steps at Pulteney Bridge, is the Beazer Maze; a favourite for young children.
Make time to enjoy Bath's largest gardens, the royal Victoria Park, which was registered in 1992 by English Heritage as a Park of Special Historic Interest.
Whatever your taste Bath can provide for it in abundance. As you sit enjoying your cappuccino, your Bath Bun, pint of Somerset Cider or Bath Ale, you can savour modern Bath's truly cosmopolitan ambience. Bath's restaurateurs, café owners and publicans offer a magnificent choice of eateries to satisfy the global palate. Restaurants, formal and informal, are acclaimed by food critics the world over, who gather to join in a gastronomic celebration each year in July at the world-renowned Bath International Taste Extravaganza, BITE, as well as the Beer Festival in October.
Bath's reputation for fine shopping was established in Georgian times and remains true to this day. The city has a wide selection and variety of shops, over half are independent and specialist businesses ready to offer you a truly unique shopping experience with a choice of unusual and exciting goods.
Die-hard shopoholics will head straight for Milsom Street, Union Street, Stall Street and Southgate, where you will find all the major high street stores, or for something different try New Bond Street, Green Street, Upper Borough Walls, Northgate Street, Union Passage or Quiet Street.
There has been a market at the Guildhall in the High Street since 1284 and it remains popular for fresh flowers, local cheeses, ironmongery, silver and leatherwear, though it no longer offers wild boar!
In the passages and courtyards of Abbey Green and York Street, you will find a selection of original gifts and goods, ranging from lace and lacquer to Paddington Bear. Linking Milsom Street with Broad Street is Shire's Yard, providing a sunny courtyard to enjoy a fresh roast coffee and a pastry or two . The Podium has an excellent supermarket and a range of specialist shops on the ground floor, while the first floor is dedicated to restaurants and cafes. Close to the Theatre Royal is 'Seven Dials' offering a further range of quality shops. Walcot Street and Broad Street are great places to find unusual fashion items, local crafts and curios. Visit the original Walcot Reclamation with its vast array of doors, panelling, garden ornaments and architectural fittings.
Pulteney Bridge, designed by Robert Adam, straddles the River and is one of only two in the world with shops incorporated in the bridge structure. It leads to a further selection of shops and restaurants on Argyll Street. If you want to venture outside the city the market towns of Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Keynsham have their own traditional range of shops and provide a genuinely personal 'service with a smile'.
A day at the races or boating on the lake? A lazy afternoon spent watching first-class cricket? A chance to see some of Britain's top rugby players in action? A sporting fanatic, active or spectator, there's something for you in Bath. Visiting golfers are also well catered for in Bath with courses at Entry Hill and Royal Victoria Park and many others further afield.
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