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Bath is a particularly beautiful city which stands on the River Avon among the hills on the western fringe of the Cotswolds. The city is compact and together with its striking architecture, including the Roman baths and sweeping Georgian terraces, combine to produce one of the most elegant cities in Europe.
In the early eighteenth century, under the direction of the socialite, Beau Nash, Bath became Englands premier spa town, where the rich and celebrated members of fashionable society gathered to take the waters and enjoy the towns theatres and concert rooms. But fashions are fickle and eventually other resorts such as Brighton with it's Pavilion became popular, and Baths fortunes declined for a time. (Top of page)
The Roman Baths
The origin of the healing baths from which the city is named, is the hot mineral spring that tumbles from a reservoir at 117deg. F. The legend of the healing powers of the water, stretch back over 2000 years to the healing of prince Bladud a leper.
The Romans who invaded Britain in AD43 were quick to exploit the spring and with their engineering skills developed a city on the site named Aquae Sulis, this included a Temple and health hydro incorporating bathing pools, saunas, Turkish baths, exercise rooms and plunge pools. The development of the complex was an ongoing process stretching over four centuries.
When the Romans left Britain in AD 410, the natives lacked the skill to maintain the Baths. and it rapidly returned to marshland, to be rediscovered in the 1860s by the Victorians who excavated the site and added many of their own embellishments. (Top of page)
The Royal Crescent
Number 1 was the first house to be built in the crescent and was given to the Bath Preservation Trust in 1968 and has since been lavishly and accurately restored to the style enjoyed by its former illustrious residents, who included the Duke of York in 1796.
It is now open as a Museum depicting a grand town-house of the late 18th century with authentic furniture paintings and carpets. (Top of page)
Bradford on Avon
Bradford on Avon is a picturesque little Saxon Town in the Western corner of Wiltshire only 8 miles from bath on the A363 road.
For a small town it has many places of interest including the Saxon Church of St. Lawrence which dates from about AD700 (though only discovered in 1871), the ancient Barton Packhorse Bridge alongside the impressive Tithe Barn, which is built of stone and is 168 feet long, with a stone roof weighing 100 tons and was built in 1341.
The former cloth mills and the old weavers cottages together with riverside walks all add to the atmosphere. The Kennet and Avon Canal Wharf and Lock is worth a visit and I recommend the towns information centre where the staff are very friendly and helpful. (Top of page)