Bath was incredible. The town is filled with Georgian architecture, and it is all made out of the same beautiful yellow/gold stone so the whole town sort of glows, and right in the center is a spectacular abbey towering over everything. We really loved the architecture.
This isn’t even the Abbey, this is the church whose spire we can see from our bedroom window, we walked by it on our way to the town center.
We wandered out early the next morning, but not that early, and found that most places weren’t open yet! I was dreaming of lovely pastries, but we were lucky to find a place open for breakfast, where I got to try my first English Breakfast. Not sure it was my thing. Beans for breakfast? But the rest was fine.
We started out the first morning by taking the free volunteer-run tour from the abbey courtyard. He walked us all over town, telling us stories about how the Romans settled the town and built their baths, and how it’s been a vacation destination for the well-to-do for centuries.
We walked out to the Crescent and to the Circus, and got a nice overview of where everything was, so we could go back and explore on our own.
This bridge has shops on it, and they intended to build shops further down the road, but construction was halted for a few (or fifty) years because of some pesky uprising in the colonies that caused investors to go spend their money elsewhere…
The tour took us through a big park along a path that went behind the Crescent, where we spotted this cool little stage, and the guide told us some memorable stories about how Georgians handled their sewage, and then the wonders of modernizing with the Victorian ‘hanging toilets’ which were basically outhouses mounted on the exterior wall. Lets just say, I’m sure their gardens grew well.
We went back and explored the Abbey after the tour, and ran into Becky and Jeff, who we knew would be in town, but it was still weird to just run into them! We arranged to meet for a nice dinner later, as it was their last day in town. (and we completely forgot to take a picture of us all together! Social Media Fail!)
Dave was still trying to get our phones working, by getting AT&T to give us the unlock code so we could use the UK Simm card, but they had no pity for us being stuck without phone service on our vacation. So we had to just take advantage of wi-fi whenever we found it. It made navigating a lot trickier. Luckily I had offline maps on my phone, so we wouldn’t get lost, but we couldn’t look up restaurants, or call Uber, or anything like that.
View out the front of our place.
View out the back – so pretty!
The next day (maybe) we had a fancy breakfast on the main drag at a hotel. I was getting the hang of drinking tea, and Dave was getting the hang of not asking for milk, because it confused them to have an adult drinking milk. Off to see the Roman Baths.
There was the above ground portion, which was not Roman age, but below there were actual Roman ruins, and quite a bit of museum underneath to wander through and see more actual Roman ruins. It was a lot to take in. Amazing to think of people building that stuff and walking around on it 2000 years ago.
We had a busy day of walking around looking at stuff, went and toured the Museum at Crescent #1, very cool, I’m just going to link it so you can check it out. We then had a nice lunch at an Italian place in a little back alley, and enjoyed the views on what turned out to be a surprisingly nice day for October.
There were a lot of buskers around.
We finished the evening off by catching a cab to the Rondo Theater north of town, and the cabbie chatted our ears off about the history of Bath, clearly he was very proud of his town. The theater was in a part of town that had more of a village atmosphere. We had dinner at a pub there, and then wandered around and looked at the neighborhood until it was showtime. Then we saw a very funny two person show about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. I was worried it wouldn’t make sense to us, but it was hilarious! So that was a great first experience for seeing some theater that was equivalent to our theater at home. We successfully caught a public bus back into town and it dropped us off just down the block from our place. Perfect.
The next morning we grabbed some pastries and hot cocoa and sat in the abbey courtyard and watched the pavement zamboni cleaning up for the day ahead. We had to check out of our place, so we were pretty tired and had our duffle bags, so we decided to get on the hop-on bus and just ride around until it was time to get off. That way we got a nice tour around town without exhausting ourselves any further. We grabbed a bit of lunch at a place next to the bus station and enjoyed some last minute people-watching, and then found our way onto the train for the short hop to Stratford on Avon.
Farewell Bath! Rick Steves was absolutely right about making Bath our first stop. It was the perfect speed to relax, get over jet lag, and start learning how to use the money and get around. There was so much interesting architecture and history to take in. We really enjoyed our visit, I hope we can visit again someday!
The whole trip: