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As ‘The Original Wellbeing Destination’ Bath has been a destination for fun, relaxation and pleasure since 46AD! The City of Bath was made a World Heritage site in 1987 and is best known for its Roman Built baths, from which it received its name, Aquae Sulis.
Bath is one of my favourite places to visit outside of London, it is a brilliant place to spend the day in or stay for a few days. It makes a great springboard to the many other exciting parts of the South West of England. You can get from London, Paddington by train in 90 minutes for as little as £25.00. After spending a few days there it’s easy to head south into Devon and Cornwall, west to Wales or north to Manchester and Liverpool.
The largest city in the county of Somerset, Bath has a population of about 90,000, including two universities, which add to the city’s special energy and sense of fun! Baths compact streets and bustling centre overflow with restaurants and cafes for refreshment and makes it a perfect place to wander around its many museums, galleries and sites of interest. It really is the place to eat, drink and be merry!
You don’t have to wait until the summer to visit, there are festivals in the city throughout the year so it’s always a good idea to check what special events are planned when you visit.
Constructed almost entirely of local, biscuit-coloured sandstone (referred to as Bath Stone or Cotswold Stone) and nestled between rolling hills, Bath has been brilliantly described as ‘a drop of honey in a sea of green.’ It lies at the centre of The Cotswolds, which consists of five counties boasting some of the most beautiful countryside and quintessentially English villages the UK can offer. The word ‘Cotswold’ means ‘sheep enclosed in rolling hillsides’ a reference to the area’s high dependency since the Medieval period on the woollen trade and farming in general since before the Romans arrived. It even has its own breed of sheep – the Cotswold Lion!
There is an excellent choice of independent shops around the city. Bath Aqua Glass (bathaquaglass.com) is one of my favourites. It produces its own blue tinged glass, creating bespoke items of glassware, jewellery and stained glass. I’ve bought several pieces in the past, it’s perfect for those tricky to buy for gifts. You can watch the crafts people in action as they demonstrate their amazing skills or even book a practical glassblowing experience!
Independent Spirit of Bath (shop.independentspiritofbath.co.uk) sells an amazing range of artisan gin, single malt whiskies and some of the best UK and world craft beers. I highly recommend the local Mead or ‘honey wine’. Given as a gift since the 1300s to newly married couples who would celebrate their nuptials during the first month of marriage with a nip of the wine each evening to get to know each other a little better….it’s where the term ‘Honeymoon’ comes from, making it an ideal wedding or anniversary gift, just remember to buy yourself a bottle too!
The Georgian architecture gives the city a very distinctive feel and you really do feel as if you have stepped into a Jane Austin novel! Several free tours, sponsored by the local council start from outside the Baths and bring the literary legacy of the city alive – Charles Dickens wrote some of The Pickwick Papers in Bath and Mary Shelley completed her gothic novel, Frankenstein, there. Buildings where these authors stayed are just a few minutes from the Baths as is the welcoming Jane Austin Centre which chronicles the life of the fascinating writer, surely the inventor of ‘Girl Power’! They also boast a wonderful TeaRoom which recently achieved a Tea Guild ‘Award of Excellence’ so you know you’re in for a great cuppa, the Brits favourite brew!
Examples of Palladian architecture are seen all over the city, this style became very popular in London, one example of this style is the facade of Buckingham Palace. The Classical references of symmetry with columns, pillars, pilasters and cornices are just a few architectural features you will become very familiar with in Bath but most striking are the large number of windows the design allows. London visitors would jealously comment the extra light Bath residents enjoyed. Three places that best show the splendour of Bath architecture are Queen Square, The Circus and The Royal Crescent itself. They are all within 15-20 minutes walk and well worth exploring.
The Architects John Wood the Elder and his son (also called John Wood!) were responsible for the architecture of all three.
Queen Square is the first of the three elements that make up the sequence of some of Baths most amazing architecture. Each of the four sides contains several apartments and were designed to represent a palace with wings and a forecourt when viewed from any side. An Obelisk dedicated to Fredrick, Prince of Wales is worth taking a look at in the centre of the garden.
The Circus is a ring of houses just a short walk away which has three entrances, each showing a classical facade. Its dimensions are based on the nearby monument of Stonehenge as the architect believed Bath was a centre of Druid activity. Take a moment or two to look at some of the 525 triglyphs (symbols) which represent science and nature, serpents of myth and nautical imagery, etc adorning the frieze that runs all the way around the Circus. Nicholas Cage has a house on the Circus (I won’t tell which but you might notice the one door without a number that is his!)
The Royal Crescent is the creme de la creme of Bath’s architecture, with 30 terraced houses, all Grade I listed, it boasts 114 Ionic columns and was the very first crescent of terraced houses in England. The view from the top of the terrace is wonderful stretching over Victoria Park.
Once you have had a good look around The Royal Crescent and maybe grabbed a bite to eat on your way back into the centre of the city there are still loads of great places to explore.
The most obvious being The Roman Baths themselves – 1.3 million visitors a year can’t be wrong!
The Roman baths were built over the site of a Celt temple, known by the Romans as Aqua Sulis (Latin for Waters of Sulis). Bath quickly became a very important centre in their rule over the English (this was because of the importance of farming in the Cotswolds, remember the sheep – Cotswold Lions?!) The baths themselves are some of the best preserved in the world, containing the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House together with a museum of artefacts from the Roman City Aqua Sulis.
The baths are now enclosed in a 19th Century building and, sadly, it’s no longer possible to bathe in the waters due to health and safety regulations although the water is drinkable once treated with ultraviolet light to stop you suffering any tummy troubles! Many believe that ‘taking the waters’ is of great benefit to your health due to its special properties- it contains many vitamins and minerals, there is a Grand Pump Room where you can do this. Some people stay for a cup of tea in the tea room but personally I’d just pop in, walk to the back if the tea room and sample a glass or two of the special water from the free drinking fountain – there must be some truth in it’s mystical properties because I’ll be 259 in November!
Just next to the Baths themselves is my favourite place to visit, Bath Abbey. It is free to visit (although they do ask for a donation) and if you time it right you can have a guided visit of the tower. It is a beautiful building bursting with history and the wonderful volunteers are full of amazing stories and about the Abbey. A place of worship has been on the site from before the rule of Oliver Cromwell in 1066. After many rebuilds and restorations its present exterior is one of the largest Perpendicular Gothic design buildings in England with a similar architectural design to Westmister Abbey in London.
My favourite parts of the abbey date from the late 15th / 16th century when Bishop Oliver King visited, he describes that the monks there lacked discipline, were idle and “all too eager to succumb to the temptations of the flesh.” However he had a dream in which he “saw the Heavenly Host on high with angels ascending and descending by ladder” and commanded that a new building be constructed, from then on, much of the Abbey’s income was dedicated to creating a new cathedral. On either side of the Western front door is a Jacob’s Ladder to represent his dream, look out for the ‘Fallen Angel’ on either side. Above the door is a statue of Henry VII, father of notorious Henry VIII. The building is one of few religious buildings to survive Henry VIII’s quarrel with the Catholic church and development of the Church of England – I bet he saw his dad up there and decided that he better not touch the building!
Henry VII refused to allow Bishop Oliver King to have his own name or a statue added to the building for which he was very proud, however, look closely on each side of the North Door and you’ll see a strange carving of a mitre (a Bishop’s hat), above an Olive tree (Oliver), encircled by a crown (king) – a clever workaround by the sneaky Bishop who added his name in this way not once but twice!
These are just a few of the places I love in Bath – a place to eat, drink and be merry, and keep anyone entertained – I hope to see you there soon!
Other attractions in Bath that I will mention in a Blog of their own soon include – Pultney Bridge, Therme Bath Spa, Holburne Museum, the Fashion Museum, Sally Lunn’s Tea House, The Herschel Museum of Astronomy Theatre Royal, American Museum, Victoria Art Gallery Bath Postal Museum, Museum of Bath at Work, and No. 1 Royal Crescent.
There are daily coach tours departing from London that also visit Stonehenge and other attractions in the South West and we operate daily small group tours departing from Bath and organise private guided sighseeing tours for families and small groups. We also offer transfer tours starting at London, Salisbury, Southampton and Bath.
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Stonehenge and Bath Guided Tours
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Visit Stonehenge with the local experts. Private tours from Salisbury, Bath and Southampton,
Stonehenge normally receives over one million visitors a year. During peak periods, there are over 10,000 visitors a day with queues stretching up to 100 meters from the ticket office to the car park. Due to current travel restrictions and very few overseas visitors, capacity has reduced to a fifth of what it is normally.
The English Heritage Stonehenge experience as an independent visitor:
I’m sure that if you’re planning a trip to Stonehenge you already have an idea of how special the monument is. Stonehenge is full of mystery; its construction and very existence are still open to interpretation even in our technologically advanced world. Stonehenge boasts an amazing and unique design. Many believe that the stones possess healing powers. All this is true and visiting Stonehenge is almost an ethereal experience, perhaps because of the mysteries surrounding it. I want you to get the most out of your…
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The 17th Century gentleman antiquarian, John Aubrey, is a fascinating, if elusive figure. Most famous for his proto-biography anthology, Brief Lives, in which he pithily captures in a few well-turned lines the key movers and shakers of his age, he is somewhat eclipsed by the greater lives he wrote about. Of Welsh descent (with family connections in Hereford and South Wales), Aubrey was born in Easton Piercy, Wiltshire 1626, and was to witness some of the most tumultuous events in English history.
Growing up within living memory of the rein of Elizabeth I, and amid the ruinous devastation caused by her murderous father, Henry VIII, Aubrey was the witness firsthand the chaos of the English Civil War, the execution of Charles I, the merry England of Charles II, the brief rein of James II, and the Glorious Revolution, which saw in William and Mary. Living through such turbulent times…
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Stonehenge: Did the stone circle originally stand in Wales? Find backs theory that monument was dismantled and dragged over 140 miles to Wiltshire.
One of Britain’s biggest and oldest stone circles has been found in Wales – and could be the original building blocks of Stonehenge.Stonehenge will be the focus of a new BBC documentary, airing for the first time on Friday (February 12th).
- They believe it was dismantled and rebuilt as the first stage of Stonehenge
- It has an identical diameter to the ditch surrounding Stonehenge, they found
- Waun Mawn is close to the quarries the Stonehenge bluestones were made from
Archaeologists have unearthed Britain’s third largest stone circle in Wales
Archaeologists uncovered the remains of the Waun Mawn site in Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Hills.
They believe the stones could have been dismantled and rebuilt 150 miles (240 km) away on Salisbury…
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This calendar features ten of the National Trust countryside sites including Avebury and Stonehenge – showing them off at their best throughout the year.
All these sites are open access and free to everyone to visit, so that you can experience nature, beauty and history whenever you wish.
You don’t have to be a member to spend time in these places, but if you do support the National Trust with your membership, then you are directly helping to look after them for everyone. Find out about membership here.
Why not have different view of a beautiful part of Wiltshire each month? The calendar can be downloaded below and further information can be found about these sites and how our team looks after them at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wiltshire-landscape
The online National Trust shop also has a wide range of calendars and gifts to choose from – find out more here
Wiltshire has been a special place for centuries. Today, it is the perfect place to find space and time. The Stonehenge Travel Company are considered the Wiltshire touring experts. Book a guided sightseeing tour of Wiltshire, including Stonehenge / Avebury Stone Circle and explore this wonderful county for yourself.
Residents and visitors to the Cathedral City of Salisbury can now download a new app to discover the stories behind the people and events that shaped the city’s history.
The free, easy to use location-aware app, called Salisbury Trails, guides people to Salisbury’s key landmarks, historic sites and cultural and arts venues. It will help people find the city sights close to them and discover the stories behind them, or people can follow a themed trail to explore the city’s rich heritage and uncover hidden histories. It includes historic photos, engravings and information from the archives of the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre that show how Salisbury has changed over time.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader of Wiltshire Council and Cabinet Member for Heritage, Arts and Tourism, said: “We are delighted to launch this new and exciting app that highlights the unique and wonderful sights of Salisbury. Recent events have combined to reduce visitors to the city centre and footfall for our local businesses. The walking trails and other features of the app are a great opportunity for more residents and visitors to safely explore the city and also take the opportunity to visit and enjoy our local shops, cafes and cultural venues, while respecting social distancing and the other current COVID-19 guidelines.
“The app also provides a digital space we can use in the future to encourage more use of other market towns and places of interest as we develop trails across the whole county.”
Currently the app has three themed trails:
· A Medieval Meanderings trail takes people on a walk through Salisbury’s medieval streets and into historic buildings.
· A trail that takes people through the trials and tribulations experienced by the city with Witchcraft, Riots and Treason.
· Inspired by Salisbury Civic Society’s book Salisbury in detail, the #LookUpSalisbury trail highlights some of the strange and fun features of the city’s historic buildings including a bear, a lion and the mythical symbol of Wessex – the Wyvern
New trails will be added over the coming months with opportunities for residents to contribute content and share their stories.
Salisbury has been a special place for centuries. Today, it is the perfect place to find space and time. The Stonehenge Travel Company are considered the Wiltshire touring experts. Book a guided sightseeing tour of Salisbury / Stonehenge and explore this wonderful county for yourself.
An amazing archaeological survey confirms West Woods as ‘the most likely source area for the sarsens at Stonehenge’, a connection long anticipated by 16th Century antiquaries and more recent megalithic investigators.
West Woods, a handsome sweep of beech woods sweeping off of the Marlborough Downs, were originally part of the Royal Hunting Forest of Savernake, until the bounds were altered in 1330. It is bisected by the mysterious Wansdyke earthwork – a ditch which runs to the edge of Bristol and was possibly a demarcation of the southern extremity of the Danelaw. This runs the length of the woods – half hidden beneath the stately canopy of beech trees like Kipling’s ‘Way Through the Woods’. On the southern edge, near Clatford Farm, there stands a long barrow. Bronze Age microliths have been found, and the woods have long been a source of charcoal. These days it is popular with…
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SALISBURY has been selected as one of 16 destinations to receive a boost to its tourism sector, through further funding and a fresh marketing campaign.
The city will be featuring in a new promotional initiative for England Originals, supported by additional Discover England funding.
Tourist information company VisitWiltshire helped to secure the funding, administered by VisitEngland’s £5million domestic marketing recovery campaign, and says it will be instrumental in delivering Salisbury-focussed marketing activity over the next six months
Tourism and hospitality businesses that will feature in the campaign include Salisbury Cathedral and attractions within the Close, Milford Hall Hotel, English Heritage and the Stonehenge Tour, Wiltshire Creative, Stonehenge Campsite, Allium Salisbury and The Red Lion Hotel.
VisitWiltshire will also be working with England Originals to develop new travel itineraries and tour programmes featuring Salisbury, to encourage young, international travellers to visit and explore the city.
Andrew Stokes, director at VisitEngland, said: “Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism right across the country and the industry needs all of us to make sure it gets back on its feet.
“This funding will encourage people to get out and discover the outstanding destinations and quality attractions on our doorstep and also keep England’s tourism products and experiences front-of-mind for future international travellers.
“Now in its fifth year the Discover England Fund is all about embedding these amazing tourism products and reaching new audiences to drive visitor growth and boost local economies.”
Fiona Errington, head of marketing at VisitWiltshire, said this was “great news” for Salisbury, adding: “This funding will support marketing activity that will help promote the city.
“Those who are interested in visiting the city can visit our website where we have listed tourism and hospitality businesses that have secured the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark, that helps people plan their trip and travel responsibly.”
WILTSHIRE has beaten Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, Isle of Wight and London in being named the ‘Best UK Destination’.
The annual Group Leisure and Travel (GLT) awards, now in its 24th year, took place online on Wednesday, giving a nod to Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Longleat during the ceremony as Wiltshire took the best destination title.
In the lead up to the event finalists in 20 categories were announced in the GLT magazine’s September edition, recognising the best providers, attractions and destinations as voted for by group travel organisers.
Tourism company VisitWiltshire accepted the ‘Best UK Destination’ accolade on behalf of the county.
Florence Wallace, head of travel trade at VisitWiltshire, said: “We’re thrilled that Wiltshire was recognised at the GLT awards and would like to thank all the group organisers and tour operators who voted for our beautiful county as the Best UK Destination.
“In a particularly challenging year, this is a very welcome and we’re honoured to accept the award on behalf of all Wiltshire’s tourism and hospitality businesses.”
The online awards ceremony was presented by magician and TV presenter Ben Hanlin, who said: “We’ve had 116 finalists and 20 winners, congratulations to everyone. It was an absolute pleasure to host the awards and it’s great that the GLT team has been able to make it happen.”
Wiltshire has been a special place for centuries. Today, it is the perfect place to find space and time. The Stonehenge Travel Company are considered the Wiltshire touring experts. Book a guided sightseeing tour of Stonehenge and explore this wonderful county for yourself.
Full story: Salisbury Journal
£29 Stonehenge Tour. A new guided tour to help you discover our countries’ most prehistoric wonders…
Through these difficult times we have been given the chance to connect with our loved ones at home, and as the country slowly opens up again we have the chance to reconnect with it as well. The natural world has had a chance to recharge and now why not venture out and finally discover the beauty and intrigue of Wessex’ neolithic history and Stonehenge itself.
We are offering a 4 hour Stonehenge tour, an indepth and holistic experience at an unbeatable price. The best way to truly learn about the ancient wonder of Stonehenge and its surrounding area; touring and examining the beauty, history and mythic background with an expert local guide.
Some of our country’s most fascinating history lies at your doorstep.
Stonehenge, the UNESCO world heritage site, may be the country’s most famous landmark, its construction still baffling historians today and delighting any and all visitors. But we’ll take you beyond it , on a guided walking tour. First exploring and appreciating its ancient monoliths, before moving onward to the surrounding area which boasts burial mounds and primordial pathways cut into the chalke.
… Find out the details of this year’s amazing discovery at Durrington walls, of the ‘Vast neolithic circle of deep shafts’….
We’ll visit Durrington Walls, the ancient settlement that housed the builders of stonehenge and Woodhenge – Stonehenges’ equally mysterious and ancient cousin, a complicated network of wooden posts that has to be seen to be believed.
Returning to the comfort of our luxury minivans, you will also enjoy a stunning drive through the vistas of the Woodford Valley and stop at Old Sarum – an iron age fort whose history spans 5,000 years and involves Romans, Saxons and even Victorians, just ask your guide…
It has never been a better time to visit Stonehenge and its breathtaking landscape which literally bulges with history. Our luxury minivan tour can take groups of up to 8 passengers plus your driver / guide to a variety of beautiful and fascinating spots in the Wiltshire area.
Not just Stonehenge…
Our expert local expert guides create the premier tour experience. They will bring to life the histories and the myths that saturate every inch of Wessex’s verdant ground. Find out the full range of theories of how Stonehenge was constructed as well as the traditional myths which are thousands of years old and have been passed down generations…
…find out all the facts and fictions of this famous landscape, any and all questions are welcome.
Our guides are locals who proudly maintain up to date knowledge of all the areas’ archaeological and historical concerns, and have an especially good eye for a local pub. They transform the experience of visiting the area, unlocking its secrets and ensuring you maximise your enjoyment – making it an event to remember!
So hop aboard…
Each tour can be taken at the pace that suits you, don’t hesitate to give us a ring and find out how we can make the tour work for you!
We can’t wait to see you.
The 4 hour guided tour departs from Salisbury every day and is only £29 per person (cheaper than a taxi service). Our popular Stonehenge inner circle experience can also be arranged on request. Full day private guided tours for individuals, families and small groups can easily be arranged with departures from Salisbury, Bath, Southampton and even London.
WE’RE GOOD TO GO. APPROVED WILTSHIRE TOUR OPERATOR. WE TAKE EXTRA CARE SO YOU STAY SAFE! CLICK HERE
Email the Salisbury and Stonehenge experts today for a prompt reply.