When visiting London, you’ll probably want to
escape the big city vibe at least once, so check out destinations for a day trip into the countryside. One of the most
delightful places to visit is beautiful, historic Bath
, just a two-hour drive
from the city.
|Site of the Roman baths|
Bath is a popular tourist spot and can be crowded, but it’s still
more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of London. You can take a train, bus,
or book a tour to this city named for the ancient Roman baths
built over its supposedly healing
mineral springs. Today there is a square with a fine museum surrounding the
ancient underground bathing site.
There you can see displays, Roman artifacts,
and excavated foundations of the mouth of the health-giving spring. Today you can bathe in the modern Thermae Bath, the only natural hot springs in Britain that you can bathe in. A good view
from the inside, if you don't care to participate in a steaming bath, can be enjoyed over coffee and sweets at the Pump House
|Inside Bath Abbey|
Eventually the wool industry helped Bath to grow and prosper
even more. During this time, about 500 years ago, the town built its grand
abbey, the last great medieval church built in England. A visit to the ornate
with beautiful fan-shaped vaulted ceiling and elaborate stained glass
windows at both east and west ends is a must.
Bath’s popularity diminished by the middle of the
1600s—until King James II’s wife, Queen Mary, went there to bathe in hopes of
getting pregnant. Since she gave birth 10 months later, there was renewed interest in Bath’s
healing properties, and a resort was built.
Our visit happened following a cruise that ended in London. We hired a driver to meet us at the port as we disembarked from the ship and spent the day touring a different part of England. The rural scenery was stunning--gently rolling hills with farms and pasture
land made the drive especially pleasant.
Free town walks are offered in Bath every day, led by volunteers who
enjoy describing highlights of the city’s honey-colored Georgian heritage. Highlights are the
Circus (like a coliseum) and the Royal Crescent
building where the wealthy
lived in 18th
century Bath. Today anyone can live in this huge crescent-shaped
complex that is an excellent representative of medieval architecture.
|Park in Bath|
We decided on a self-guided walk about in Bath, so we could cover
not only the square but go a few streets over to the Putteney Bridge at River Avon and take a walk through the pretty park.
|Bridge on the River Avon|
After window shopping a bit, I bought a
beautiful glass pendant (glass shops and artisans are abundant in Bath). Before leaving we tucked into a candy shop to purchase
some of the city’s renowned chocolate. As we drove out of the city we stopped for a late lunch
just outside Bath at a family restaurant and pub where we enjoyed delicious plates
of traditional (and superbly fresh) fish and chips and some local ale.
|Agriculture is prominent in rural areas.|
didn’t indulge in “baths” we did enjoy our visit to a place drenched in history
and elegant architecture. Our drive continued through the pastoral Cotswolds
region before returning to our hotel and a next-day flight to Switzerland.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier