There is archaeological evidence of human activity in Bath as far back as 8,000 years BC. The place had an air of mystery around it, with steam emerging from a green, hot, lush swampy area. A famous legendary story about the city of Bath is that Prince Bladud, father of King Lear, had contracted leprosy and was cured after bathing in the hot muddy waters. In gratitude, Bladud founded the City of Bath around the springs in 863BC.
With its quaint high street, cobbled lanes, velvety gardens, niche boutiques and Roman honey-coloured buildings feasting your eyes in every corner, the beauty of Bath has to be seen to be believed. With a very distinct air to it, Bath is very different from other English cities. A great walking city, it is a slice of Rome in England. A perfect destination if you want to welcome the New Year in style and with difference.
A UNESCO world heritage site, Bath was named as "Aquae Sulis" by the Romans in AD 4 when Rome colonised Britain. In AD 70, the Romans built a reservoir around the hot springs before building a sophisticated series of baths and a temple dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva. As a religious shrine and bathing complex, Aquae Sulis attracted visitors from across Britain and Europe, making Bath a popular destination.
The Roman Bath is known for four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum. It was completed in the 4th century and housed five healing hot baths, swimming pools and cold rooms, sweat rooms heated by an ingenious early plumbing system, and the Great Bath at the centre. For a long time it was considered pious, thanks to the surrounding statues of Gods floating eerily in the clouds of steam. Even now, this place is considered a remarkable example of engineering as well as Roman art and architecture.
The buildings above street level date from the 19th century and are made in the Georgian style. The lush-green Prior Park Landscape Garden across the Roman Bath is a great picnic spot where you can get lost with anyone or yourself. This intimate 18th century landscape garden gives you sweeping views of the city. It was built by entrepreneur Ralph Allen with advice from poet Alexander Pope and Lancelot Brown; it is also very close to the famous Palladian Bridge, one of four in the world. A stream tinkling with clear, cold blue water breaks the harmony of the green landscape.
From here you can clearly see the Bath Abbey, an Anglican parish church founded in the 7th century. A fine example of perpendicular Gothic architecture, the Abbey is characterised by sculptures of angels climbing to heaven, a peal, or ring, of ten bells (bells hung in a circle for change ringing), 52 windows and a large stained glass window.