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Published October 12th 2017
London Road, but all about Bath
Bath is a leafy and gentle city, but one street screams URBAN, and that is London Road. Adjacent to the equally characterful Walcot Street, London Road forms one of the city's major arterial roads, and feeds directly in to the City Centre. As such, it is often overlooked by visitors as little more than a means to access the tourist hot spots of the city. This would be a major mistake, however, as this area offers everything from bespoke antique stores to an institution that would make Mary Poppins proud.
This article focuses on the city-side of London Road, which in its entirety stretches for well over a mile. As both pedestrian and driver, I am drawn to the artistic and cultural aspects of this special street. There are numerous antiques and art shops, which beckon you with unusual window displays.
London Road also offers a wonderful insight in to the history and heritage of Bath. The city centre is an ever-changing hotbed of innovation, but there are businesses her that have existed since the Nineteenth Century and before. Of particular note are the headquarters of the internationally-renowned 'Norland Nannies' organisation, and an extremely impressive funeral directors, in situ since 1848.
As a Bath resident, my favourite aspect of this area is its gritty, time-worn feel. Unlike the scrubbed and polished city proper, London Road offers a glimpse in to the sooty and industry-fuelled Bath of Victorian times. Branch away from the main street and you can find evidence of merchants and warehouse properties, now swiftly becoming derelict. There is also ample evidence of long departed businesses still marked by their painted signs.
As one of the major routes in to the city from the A46 and M4 motorways, this is a wonderfully refreshing pitstop before exploring the main city. A walk straight ahead will also bring you to Walcot Street, with Waitrose's 4 hour carpark; an ideal place to stow the car before striking out into town. Don't miss it.