I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son.
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Published July 21st 2017
Bath Abbey- a wholly positive place
Bath Abbey courtyard positively shines in the rain and makes Bath's largest building even more impressive than usual (and it is usually very impressive). Located just off Stall Street with its masses of shops, it is formed by the front of the Abbey itself, the walls of the Roman Bath Spa and a row of shops dating back to Georgian times. Facing the abbey itself is a covered colonnade which is perfect to shelter under, although being in the rain in the middle of the courtyard is lovely. The usually light honey-hued stone takes on a Gothic shade, and the flying buttresses of the building look marvellous.
The courtyard also draws in some of the city's most talented and unusual buskers and street performers, who vie for the attention of the crowds who come to visit the Spa and the Abbey. Expect to see talented choirs, daring circus performers and accomplished musicians. The Abbey also hosts weddings and public events on most weekends, such as the University graduations which took place today. The huge Abbey doors also mark the finish line to the Long Distance Cotswolds Way Walking path, and it is a very special site to see exhilarated walkers celebrating the end of their 200-mile trek.
The courtyard is one of the most well-loved landmarks for Bath residents and has been painted and drawn countless times. With the open space and impressive architecture, open air artists with their easels are a regular sight here. Eagle-eyed visitors may even spot Bath's beloved artist Peter Brown (aka Pete the Street), who captured the rainy beauty of the place brilliantly in one of his oil paintings, 'Pigeons in the Rain- Bath Abbey'.
Stunning canvas by Peter Brown, beloved Bath artist
I love gazing up at the Abbey itself, which has wonderful stone carvings of angels and saints, some of whom are busy climbing towards heaven. There are also a host of Medieval symbols and signs to spot, all displayed on the front of the Abbey or between the vaulting flying buttresses.
It is only when standing in the middle of the courtyard that you get a true feel of how impressive this part of Bath is. I enjoy turning around in quick circles, taking in everything from the bustling coffee shops to the stream of visitors going in and out of the Abbey itself. I hope that the image below gives a vague impression of the ambience, but there is no substitute for actually going there, especially when the place is blessed by cleansing rainfall.