St David’s Day and what Wales has done for the World
By Jack Stacey
1 March 2018
Dydd Gŵyl Dewis hapus pawb! And, a Happy St David’s Day to all of our non-Welsh speaking readers!Read more
Since Roman times the beautiful city of Bath in the English county of Somerset has been revered for the health-giving properties of its natural hot springs. As the fashion for holidaying in spa resorts reached its height during the Georgian era between 1714 and 1830, Bath holidays became popular with people at every level of society, and as a result the city's population grew from two thousand to thirty thousand within a century.
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Today, however, holidays to Bath offer visitors much more than the opportunity to relax and unwind in a spa. This popular UK short break destination is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts a magnificent architectural heritage, a wealth of cultural and recreational activities, many historic landmarks and an abundance of excellent and eclectic shops, bars and restaurants.
Set within the naturally scenic area of the River Avon valley and surrounded by hills, Bath holidays allow visitors both to journey through and admire the timeless beauty of an unspoilt British landscape and to discover the many attractions of one of England's most romantic and best-loved spa resorts.
Abandoned when the Romans departed England in the fifth century, the Roman Baths (Their Latin name is Aquae Sullis) enjoyed a renaissance in the eighteenth century as spa resorts once again found favour for the assumed healing properties of their waters. Now a museum, the Roman Baths displays perfectly-preserved Roman architecture and countless Roman artefacts uncovered in the course of excavating the site.
Ingrained in popular culture, Bath's Assembly Rooms were built after the city's 18th century renaissance, and were opened in 1771. Even at the time, they were described as "the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom" by contemporaries. Decorated throughout in a grand Georgian style, with many beautiful architectural flourishes, here the high society of the day would go dancing and play cards. The Assembly Rooms suffered damage due to bombing in the Second World War, but they have been lovingly restored and are once again a delight to wander around. Look out for many of the original chandeliers that still illuminate the charming rooms.
In a city filled with magnificent architecture, the Royal Crescent is perhaps the crowning glory. The famous semi-circular terrace was designed by John Wood the Younger, and was completed in 1775. Originally called The Crescent, it gained 'Royal' status when Prince Frederick, Duke of York took residence here from 1796. Even today the houses are still very sought-after, and many have been converted to satisfy demand. Perhaps visit Number 1, which has been restored to its fantastic 18th century appearance.
Designed as a meeting-place by the eminent local architect John Wood in the eighteenth century, this pretty square has an obelisk at its centre and is surrounded by houses of fine Georgian architecture.
The current Abbey of St Peter and St Paul dates back to 1611, although places of worship have been built upon this site since 757AD. The Abbey features exquisitely ornamented stonework and detailed vaulted ceilings, and an ascent of the bell-tower affords superb views of the city.