On a cottage holiday, the city of Bath is well worth a visit. UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site Bath is one of Somerset’s most visited attractions with a wealth of things to see, do and experience, all amid the inspiring architecture of one of the very finest Georgian towns in the country, where there are in excess of a mind-blowing 5,000 listed buildings.
Walk the Royal Crescent, an elegant sweep of thirty Georgian houses which is one of the most enduring images of the town. Marvel at the grace and beauty of the eighteenth century Bath Circus and linger in the shops of lovely Pulteney Bridge, redolent of Florence and the Ponte Vecchio, or admire its graceful arches from the best vantage point in the nearby Parade Gardens. No visit to Bath would be complete without a trip to the Roman Baths, site of the only hot springs in the country. Walk the hot pavements in the footsteps of our ancestors and gain an understanding of the importance of the healing powers of the springs, or book in advance and enjoy a day of pampering and utter relaxation at the Thermae Bath Spa, with its indulgent treatments and fabulous open-air pool with stunning views over the Bath skyline. Stroll among the cloisters of fifteenth century Bath Abbey, or visit one of the town’s many museums. Nearest the Abbey is Sally Lunn’s, a living museum set in Bath’s oldest house and a great place to replenish energy for sightseeing with one of the famous sweet Sally Lunn buns. Experience the Regency elegance of the Jane Austen museum, or marvel at the vast collections of shoes, corsets and crinolines on display at the Fashion Museum. Have a go at blowing your own glass at the Bath Aqua Glass theatre, and watch master craftsmen at work hand staining and blowing individual pieces. Art lovers will appreciate the town’s two dedicated museums, Victoria Art Gallery and Holbourne Museum of Art.
Beyond Bath, there is much for the visitor to discover. Impossibly-named chocolate box villages and towns, such as Hinton Blewett and Chew Magna, reward the visitor with traditional shops and fine country pubs. The Chew Valley in the Mendip Hills is home to ancient stone circles and burial sites, such as the standing stones at Stanton Drew; good walking and the Chew Valley lake for fishing, bird-watching and way-marked rambles. In the direction of Bristol, the Avon Valley’s Wildlife and Adventure Park makes for an enjoyable family day out with children of all ages very well catered for. There are animal displays, ball pools, tractor rides, rope bridges, play areas, assault courses, riverside walks, a miniature railway and much more. There are covered and open-air picnic areas, as well as restaurant outlets. Railway enthusiasts will head for the Avon Valley Railway at Bitton, midway between Bath and Bristol, where steam train rides operate on a six-mile stretch of line and can be enjoyed in their own right or used as part of a journey to complete a day rambling or cycling in the Avon Valley.
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