Bath, named 'Aquae Sulis' by the Romans, is the most celebrated of English spa towns. The Roman Baths and Pump Room were discovered in 1879. The main pool is below modern street level and open to the sky. The remains are remarkably complete. The Baths and Pump Room are built around a natural hot spring which rises to 46°C and provides 250,000 gallons of water each day. Close by, visitors can now bathe in the thermal waters which the Romans enjoyed over 2,000 years ago.
In the 18th century, Bath became a resort for fashionable society, who came to 'take the waters'. They were presided over by Beau Nash.
In 1801, the father of Jane Austen, the novelist, retired here and the family lived in Bath until his death in 1805, at 27 Green Park. Jane's novels, 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Persuasion', are set in Bath. Many of the streets and buildings brought alive in the novels, are still here for the visitor to enjoy.
Bath's character is unchanged. It is a planned town of Georgian terraces, crescents and squares, built in the warm Bath stone, in harmony with its setting in the valley of the River Avon.
Pulteney Bridge, built between 1769 and 1774, which incorporates fascinating shops in the structure, is named after its patron, William Pulteney, but was designed by Robert Adams.
The Circus, built by John Wood the Younger, over a period of fifteen years commencing in 1754, is a circle of houses divided into three sections. From each of the three intersecting streets, an enclosed facade is seen, giving the impression of a complete circle. Thomas Gainsborough, lived at number 17 The Circus, between 1765 and 1774 and painted some of his most famous portraits here.
Royal Crescent is another outstanding example of formal Georgian architecture. It comprises an open terrace of thirty houses in a semi-ellipse at the top of a lawn which slopes down to Royal Victoria Park. The gardens and trees set off the formality of Georgian architecture.
Sally Lunn's house, the oldest in Bath, dating from 1482, still serves the famous Bath Bun in the restaurant. The original kitchen, dating back 300 years, is preserved as a living museum.