Bath: A city where the 18th & 21st centuries meet

Posted on: 02 June 2010 by Mark O'haire

From the ancient to the modern, visit Bath and see two sides to this beautiful city.

Bath Pulteney BridgeBath is the UK’s only entire city that is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its rich Roman and Georgian history and heritage conjure up images of Roman Baths, Jane Austen and 18th Century architecture. But behind its historic façade, is a lively 21st Century city just waiting to be explored.

From the ancient to the modern, visit Bath and see two sides to this beautiful city.

18th century charm to 21st century chic

One of the reasons Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is because of its incredible architecture, which arguably, makes it one of the country’s most beautiful cities. From the Royal Crescent and Circus to Pulteney Bridge, around 5,000 listed buildings can be found – all constructed in golden Bath stone.

When it comes to accommodation, visitors are spoilt for choice, with hotels like the Royal Crescent offering five star luxury set in the centre of the city’s architectural icon.And hiding behind historic Georgian townhouses a number of chic boutique hotels and guest houses can be found. The Queensberry Hotel is an independently run, boutique hotel with individually and stylishly designed rooms, offering the best of modern comfort. Just around the corner from Bath Abbey is The Halcyon, a new boutique hotel that opened earlier this year. The Halcyon offers a contemporary launch pad for exploring Bath with tip-top technology, luxury products, organic breakfasts and a cosy bed in an ideal city-centre location.

Traditional tea to tasty Thai

Bath is the home of two delicious buns – the Sally Lunn Bun and the Bath Bun – and is an ideal place to enjoy afternoon tea. At Sally Lunn’s Refreshment House, which is located in the oldest House in Bath, the Sally Lunn Bun is still made to the original, secret recipe and can be served with sweet or savoury accompaniments. Equally tasty is the Bath Bun which is available in the 18th Century Pump Room. Part of the Roman Baths complex, the Pump Room is open daily for lunch and afternoon tea and is the place where Bath’s spa water is drawn for drinking.

As well as its reputation for serving the quintessential British afternoon tea, Bath boasts a huge number of restaurants providing a choice of international cuisine. From Thai to Indian, Nepalese to Italian and Mediterranean to Moroccan – you’ll find just about everything in Bath. The city’s newest addition to the restaurant scene is Yo Sushi! which opened its doors last month. The cutting edge décor is perfect for YO! Sushi’s professionally trained sushi chefs who take centre stage to slice and dice everything in sight. Based on the concept of a ‘Kaiten’ sushi bar (conveyor belt), Yo Sushi! serves over 80 Japanese inspired items such as delicious soups, rice or noodle-based dishes, salads, tempura and hot classics like Chicken Katsu Curry, Salmon Teriyaki or Yakisoba noodles.

Roman rendezvous to romantic roof-top

The heart of the World Heritage Site can be found at the ancient Roman Baths which was once a magnificent temple and bathing complex. Extensive Roman remains can still be seen at the Roman Baths – one of the UK’s top attractions. The museum uses modern interpretation to tell the story of Roman life in Bath. Audioguides give a fascinating commentary and films and graphics, as well as real-life Roman characters really bring this amazing place to life.

Just a short walk away is Bath’s 21st Century answer to the Roman Baths: the Thermae Bath Spa. Recently voted as the best spa in the world, the Thermae Bath Spa blends historic spa buildings with contemporary design and uses the UK’s only natural thermal springs which the Romans and Celts once used thousands of years ago. The Spa features an impressive roof-top pool where bathers can relax and soak up wonderful views of Bath’s surrounding cityscape.

Georgian fashionistas to gorgeous boutiques

Bath has always been a fashionable place to shop and was popular in the 18th Century with the Georgians fashionistas who wanted to keep up with the latest styles. Bath has recently been undergoing a major shopping transformation. At the top end of the shopping area is Milsom Place which has been completely refurbished. Its modern design has transformed it into a chic shopping and dining area nestled between Broad Street and Milsom Street. At the other end of the city centre is SouthGate, a development with favourite high street stores such as New Look, All Saints and H&M. SouthGate has been opening in phases and the last phase is due to open this autumn featuring a 125,000 sq ft Debenhams.

For more information about the different faces of Bath visit the city’s official tourism website

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