People have been visiting Bath for over two thousand years for its hot springs. Roman Bath, known as Aquae Sulis, thrived with people coming from across the Roman Empire to take the waters and worship at the Temple of Sulis Minerva.
After the departure of the Romans, Bath declined in importance, although it was probably still a market for the local area. It became a fortified Burgh under the Saxons and may even have had a mint. Edgar was crowned King in Bath Abbey in 973AD.
In the Middle Ages, a few people still continued to visit to bathe in the hot springs, hoping it would cure them of their ailments. The main wealth came from the manufacture of cloth, but trade declined in the C16th and C17th.
The economy received a boost in the early 17th century when Anne of Denmark, wife of James I, came hoping to be cured of dropsy. From 1661, the town began to bottle and sell its spring water.
Later, Queen Anne discovered the healing properties of the waters and made several visits between 1688-1703. Britain’s aristocracy quickly followed suit, drinking the waters in the Pump Room, built above the site of the Roman Baths.
Bath rapidly became the ‘premier resort of frivolity and fashion’ with pump house, assembly rooms, bath houses and gardens. As Bath’s wealth grew, so did the magnificence of its buildings, with the Royal Crescent and the Circus.
Although the Roman Baths are now just a tourist attraction, it is still possible to enjoy the hot springs in the modern version, Thermae Bath Spa.
Bath is known known for its Georgian architecture. It is now a world heritage site for its Roman remains and bath house as well as its Georgian architecture and town planning.
Traffic is kept out of the city centre and there are many narrow streets to explore and get lost in. You can still imaging Beau Brummell and Jane Austin heroines wandering them. It is always busy with tourists and there are many street buskers playing for the entertainment of visitors.
Apart from the abbey, little remains of pre - Georgian Bath. Sally Lunn’s on North Parade Passage is one of the oldest houses in Bath, having been built around 1483.
In the cellars is the old kitchen believed to be the bakery of Solange Luyon, the young Huguenot baker, who created the first Bath bun. The building is now a tea room and also sells the buns.
Pulteney Bridge is on everyone's tick list and is an iconic image of Bath with the river and weir. The wealthy Pulteney family paid distinguished architect Robert Adam to build a bridge across the River Avon in 1769. Its three arches are modelled on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. The estimated cost was £1000, an excessive sum but ended up costing ten times as much.
It is unusual as it has building housing shops on both sides of the bridge. Walking across it, it just feels like an 'ordinary' road and you are not aware of the river below.