The final stop on our sixteen day Trafalgar Tour around Britain and Ireland was Bath in Somerset. There are hot springs in Bath that bring steaming hot water, laden with minerals, to the surface. The Romans built their baths here, presumably to benefit from the healing powers of the water, and also a temple. Long after the Romans had left Britain, a medieval abbey was built alongside the site of the baths. During the 1700s, the Georgian era, Bath became a popular spa town, once again drawing people to the healing powers of the hot springs. During this time, much of the city’s Georgian architecture was erected, giving the city a very distinctive appearance. For all of the buildings were constructed of Bath stone, a honey-coloured sandstone that can be easily shaped into building blocks. The Georgian architecture of the city has been a key factor in Bath gaining UNESCO World Heritage status.
Though we were unable to visit the Circus, as tour buses can no longer go there, we were able to stop at the Royal Crescent, a row of thirty terraced houses with uniform facades laid out in the shape of a crescent moon. The Royal Crescent was designed by John Wood the Younger. Marg was delighted to be in Jane Austen territory, as the author once lived in Bath and set two of her books, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, here. Marg remembers seeing the Royal Crescent used as a setting for one scene in a film adaptation of Persuasion.
Our visit to the Roman baths was cut short by the presence of a group of school kids who were poorly supervised. Their noise and random movement around the exhibits in the Visitors’ Centre made it impossible to stop and enjoy the displays, so we moved past them and left without having a good look at the information panels and the artefacts on show. I’m pleased to say that when I took kids on excursions, they were always courteous and respectful of the public, so I was really disappointed in these ill-mannered kids today. Nevertheless, we managed to get ahead of the school group and were able to have a good look at the pool. The water is a murky green, due to the minerals it contains, and is not suitable for drinking.
Marg and I found a good place to sit and have lunch before heading back to our bus, passing a student-led climate change protest on the way and stopping for ice creams. At the bus pick-up point, we farewelled John and Nora, who were leaving the tour to spend time with their son, who currently lives and works here in England. We boarded the bus and set off on our final journey as a group, heading to London.