I have lived in Bath for a few years now and it really feels like home. When I lived in Bristol I swore I would never live in Bath as the people there were far too posh, but then I met Mark and realised how wrong I was (he gets fed up of me saying that). It is, however, a very beautiful city, set in a geological bowl surrounded by hills, and has a fascinating history. There are times when I have to pinch myself to believe I really live somewhere so lovely. Yesterday was forecast to be a cold, sunny day – my favourite type – so I grabbed my camera and headed out to top up my bank of Bath photos; some to be turned in to cards and calendars and some to inspire sewing projects.
Without further ado, come with me on a tour of my home town….
We live just under 2 miles from the centre of Bath and I planned to walk through Larkhall and up the very steep hill to Fairfield Park and on to Camden to capture the Circus and Royal Crescent in the early morning light, before the tourists have finished their full English breakfasts. However, when I stepped out of the house the pavements were thick with frost and being a bit of a wimp I quickly changed my route, deciding the canal path would be a better bet than a steep, slippery slope.
Down to the London Road, cross over and head for the river. Cross the bridge over the river Avon along with dog-walkers, cyclists and joggers:
Under the railway bridge:
Ice on the puddles and the banks wearing their frozen finery.
The sun was catching the houses in Camden as I walked along.
Up the slope to the Kennet and Avon canal. It is so much more peaceful walking in to the city centre beside the canal than along the main road.
Swans and ducks clustered around the canal boats, no doubt hoping for breakfast leftovers.
As you get closer to the city centre the number of bridges increases. I think they lend an elegance to the canal.
This is where I leave the canal and walk up the short flight of steps to Sidney Gardens. It is a lovely park and every time I walk there it strikes me how curious it is to be walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen who once walked there too. Of course there are layers of tarmac on the paths now, so no actual Georgian footsteps.
I can highly recommend the Holburne Museum – both the exhibitions and the cafe! Mark is not keen on the modern glass extension, but I like it. I like the way it still lets you see the old original walls and the way the glass reflects the trees in the park. The museum has adopted the slogan “where park meets art”, and that really is what it does.
The Holburne looks down Great Pultney Street – and then you really know you are in Bath.
I took detours where the light pulled me – the cricket ground and rugby ground never attracted me before!
Pultney Bridge is modeled (by Robert Adams) on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and the Ponte di Rialto in Venice, and there are tiny shops along the bridge; the light shines through the back windows.
Turning the corner – yes, I admit it, in the direction of my favourite fabric shop (Country Threads) – you can see the back of the bridge and the weir and the rolling hills in the distance.
Across the road is the elegant Empire Hotel.
You can see the abbey too.
I like the old fashioned park by the river, with its bandstand and bright stripey deckchairs. You have to pay to go in, but Bath residents can apply for a Discovery card that gets them in to lots of places free, including the park, and at discounted rates for many other places. Yesterday the sun was catching the lampposts and the slope down to the park quite perfectly.
Now Bath has many famous landmarks but tourists may not be aware of this one – Bog Island. It’s not much to look at, but every local knows Bog Island. “Where shall we meet? Bog Island?” Now you may think the name comes from its vicinity to the river and the soggy ground you get by a river, but no – it’s name comes from the public conveniences there; the bogs.
I love reflections and am surprised I don’t walk in to more things as I stare upwards so much – love it when you get an unexpected glimpse of something, like the reflection of the abbey in these windows.
From the courtyard by the abbey you get a glimpse in to the famous Roman Baths. I didn’t go inside this time, but they are worth seeing – just get there early or expect to queue.
I didn’t go inside the abbey this time either, but I did walk all the way around the outside.
I like the small shops in Bath more than the big chain stores, and you get to avoid the crowds if you keep to the smaller alleyways and corridors.
Of course all this walking demands a nice cup of tea and where could be better than the Pump Room – a pot of Darjeeling, company of a good friend and a string quartet playing.
More photos of the abbey – well you have to, don’t you?
This window display could have been made specially for me!
Of course, no tour of Bath could be complete without visiting the Circus and the Royal Crescent.
The Royal Circus:
Finally time to walk home. Julian Road.
On to Lansdown Hill.
Camden Crescent and the view over Bath.
And as I turn in to our road I am greeted not only by the first signs of blossom, but by our two cats who magically appeared from other people’s driveways and walked with me up the road to our house. The perfect day!