The best way to see the beautiful city of Bath is to take a leisurely stroll round the streets and wander through layers of history from Romans to the Middle Ages and Bath Abbey then on to the 1700s when the great, the good and the not so good came to take the waters, gamble and net a wealthy spouse. Bath is full of stunning buildings in honey coloured stone and I will make sure you see the highlights along with out of the way spots. Oh! and fill you in on lots of historical gossip.
At your hotel
I will meet you in your hotel lobby or other accommodation to start out leisurely tour of Bath.
Bath was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and is quite unusual in that the award is for the entire city. Fortunately the main attractions are in a compact area of less than 2 miles to the North of the River Avon so we won't be walking too far. There is much to see here but we have plenty of time to go at a leisurely pace, stop for photos and refreshments and take in the beautiful city.
We are going to start in the Old Town so from your hotel we will make our way to the Abbey Quarter. I love this part of the city because here we have all the layers of Bath’s history and can explore Roman, Medieval, and Georgian times including a touch of Jane Austen & Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We will go into the Abbey to admire the fine Perpendicular Gothic architecture and catch up on bishops and bodies,
Bath is famous for its hot springs and since Roman times people have come to bathe in naturally hot water. Just as the romans did nearly 2,000 years ago, today people flock to Bath to take the waters and indulge in beauty treatments; so our next stop has to be Thermae Spa to see the modern-day spa and hear about the history of taking the waters; who came when and why and what torments people suffered in the hope of being cured.
Here we leave the Old Town and come into Saw Close which marks the beginning of the New Town, developed in the 1700s when Bath became the place to be.
The 1700s was all about hedonism, consumerism and seeing and being seen and Bath epitomized all this. As we stroll away from the spa area, we will be heading to what was called the New Town - the place for entertainment, searching out the latest fashions and simply making sure that you were noticed. We will pass the Theatre Royal which attracted all the top acts of the 1700s and today is still one of the best theatres outside of London's West End, then on to Queen Square where John Wood the 18th century architect began his development of the stunning Georgian City that people flock to see today.
From here we cut up through The Royal Victoria Park to the Crescent which is Bath’s most iconic monument – seen in all the Bath Guides and postcards. It was built for the big wigs and who they were and what they got up you can find out at this stop. There is also time for a refreshment stop, to stand on the Roman Foss Way, see the Old Curiosity Shop, some lovely Victorian Iron Work and my favourite hanging loo.
Our next stop will be the Circus my favourite place in Bath for its delicate decoration, balance and symmetry, no clowns or acrobats – Circus means place of exhibition. Here learn about John Wood’s fascination with classical architecture and ancient stone circles.
A short walk takes us to the Assembly Rooms. There were no private parties in the 1700s in Bath. Instead you came here to meet people at the ball, in the tea rooms, gambling or playing cards socially. If there are no events on in the rooms we can pop in to admire the exquisite decoration, chandeliers and portraits of those who spent their time her and learn more about how you spent you days and how fortunes were made and lost.
Leaving the Assembly Rooms we will walk down Milsom Street back towards the Old Town. Milsom Street was the fashionable Shopping area of the 1700s and today is still an area of Smart shops. At the end of Milsom Street is the Royal Mineral Water Hospital built mid 1700s as a charity for the poor who came to take the waters. The cure success rate was phenomenal over 90% and just what made ‘The Cure’ so effective you can find out here along with finding about talented doctors and talented quacks.
From here we will follow the line of the old city wall to Pulteney Bridge one of the few bridges in the world to still have shops on either side. We will go down to the River Avon to walk along the river Bank and get fine views of the Abbey and the surrounding hills.
This will take us onto Terrace Walk and back to the Centre by the Abbey passing Sally Lunns -famous for Sally Lunn buns said to be made to a secret recipe from the 1600s. Here I can either accompany you back to your hotel or leave you in the centre to enjoy more of Bath.
At your hotel / leave you in the centre to enjoy more of Bath
Donation to go into Bath Abbey
During the tour you may wish to visit the Museum at No 1 Royal Crescent entrance fees not included
As a professional guide I offer tours everyday of the week. Please see my calendar for my availability. If you need a guide in other areas I have not listed please do ask as I may be able to help.
This tour can be personalised to start and end at a place to suit you and a time to suit you.
This tour does not go into the Roman Baths this is because no external guides are allowed to guide in the Baths.
I do however strongly recommend that you book to go into the Baths as they are the best preserved Roman Baths I have ever seen. Bookings can be made on the official Roman Baths website. Although I am not allowed to officially guide in the Baths if you want me to accompany you please let me know and I will make sure we make time for this.