Bath Journals

Boys in Bath

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A July 2005 trip to Bath by barbara

Jane Austen Centre Photo, Bath, England More Photos
Quote: For 3 days, we explored beautiful Bath, England, in the company of our 11-year-old son and his best friend.

Marriott Bristol Royal Hotel

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Hotel

Quote:
While Bristol is 20 minutes from Bath when there's no traffic—an hour or more during rush hour—we used the Marriott Bristol Royal as a base while in the UK. College Green is right by Bristol University in the center of the city, and on nice days, a myriad of students were seen lounging in the grass here or kicking about a football. I couldn't help but look at the strange mix of kids...a few in blazers and ties who must have attended nearby private schools like Bristol Grammar close to some boys with mohawks playing guitars. An imposing statue of Queen Victoria is directly in front of the hotel, so it's easy to spot the entrance. To one side you'll also see beautiful Bristol Cathedral....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 24, 2006

Marriott Bristol Royal Hotel
College Green Bristol
Bristol, England
+44 (117) 925 5100

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel

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Hotel

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
The Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel provides luxury accommodations for anyone visiting the gorgeous city of Bath. I had the good fortune of spending a Saturday night here in January 2008. The Building's History: The original, Greek Revival house with seven acres of gardens was built in 1835. It would later become everything from a home to a wealthy man-of-the-cloth who helped restore Bath Abbey, to a boys' school, to housing for nurses, to a set of requisitioned offices used by the Admiralty during WWII! It was first a luxury hotel in 1912. (An exiled emperor from Ethiopia was a guest!) However, it was only recently acquired and restored by Macdonald Hotels. In fact, HRH, th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 30, 2008

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel
Sydney Road
Bath, England BA2 6JF
+44 (844) 879 9106

ASK Italian

Restaurant | "Ask"

ASK Italian Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
We went to Ask for lunch on a recommendation of a friend who lives in the area and has children. It's a nice Italian joint with a bit of atmosphere, but they weren't uptight about family dining. We were given a table in a brightly lit dining room and had our orders quickly taken. I had a wonderful pasta dish with a glass of wine, while the boys were thrilled with their pizzas. (While meant to feed just one, younger kids with smaller appetites could certainly split a pizza and leave happy.).

Later we learned that Ask is a chain restaurant, but we enjoyed our meal anyway.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2005

ASK Italian
Broad Street
Bath, England BA1 5LJ
+44 1225 789997

Rajpoot Tandoori

Restaurant | "Rajpoot"

Quote:
While Great Britain isn't always acclaimed for its British cuisine, England is known for having wonderful Indian restaurants. Bath is no exception. In business since 1980, the Rajpoot is a fine dining experience that promises to please. While I would advise reservations later in the evening, we walked over the Pulteney Bridge and found the restaurant shortly after it opened at 6pm. A gentleman in a red jacket and turban opened the door. Going down, down, down narrow stairs, we left the cold night air behind us, and descended into another world. We were quickly seated in a waiting area by the bar where we were served drinks on gold tables. When our regular table was ready, we were es...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 15, 2006

Rajpoot Tandoori
4 Argyle Street
Bath, England BA2 4BA
+44 1225 466833

Same-Same But Different

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Restaurant

Quote:
I have a friend who lived in Bath for a summer. She loved this cafe. It's chic and casual. So after a visit to the nearby Jane Austen center, we walked up towards the Circus and found the side street that offered to lead to some of the same for lunch... but something different. While the restaurant was full of people, we were able to find a table with a cushioned bench seat by the window. Though I liked the black tables and the paint splashed art on the bright red walls that made me think of Jackson Pollard, a family with children wouldn't be uncomfortable here. Spanish tapas are a specialty on the menu, but I opted for something vegetarian: a vegetables and feta sandwich full of avocado t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2007

Same-Same But Different
7A Princes Buildings
Bath, England

Sally Lunn's Tea Rooms

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Restaurant | "Sally Lunn's House"

Quote:
Sally Lunn's House is over 300 years old. Near the Roman Baths, it's easy to find in one of the narrow passages that make up Bath. It's claim to fame is the Lunn Bunn that was first whipped up in the kitchen by a a lady named Sally who was originally from France. You can visit a tee-tiny museum that shows her kitchen on the basement floor of the house. (Good to amuse kids.) So is this restaurant worth visiting? Yes and no. I've eaten here twice, and I do think it's worth a visit. However, I would recommend it more for tea and a bun rather than a full meal. I had lunch here one day with my parents, and the place was absolutely mad with people crushing ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 18, 2007

Sally Lunn's Tea Rooms
4 North Parade Passage
Bath, England BA1 1NX
+44 1225 461634

Crown

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Restaurant | "The Crown "

Quote:
I first visited The Crown with my boss while driving home from London. He told me he had seen this pub evolve over the years from one of those darker places with only a few people lingering at the bar to the chic, renovated establishment that it is today. Over the course of the next year when I was stuck more than once eating a dismal dinner at an overpriced Services on the M4, I bemoaned the fact that I couldn't remember exactly where The Crown was located. I finally stopped moaning and found out. I revisited the place for lunch with a friend on our way to Bath, and the atmosphere was every bit as pleasant as I remembered.So where is The Crown? Exceptionally easy to get...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 9, 2007

Crown
Tolldown - Dyrham - Nr
Bath, England SN14 8HZ
+44 1225 891166

Jane Austen Centre

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Attraction | "The Jane Austen Center"

Jane Austen Centre Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
Shall I admit it? Jane Austen has never been one of my favorite writers. Perhaps I'm just not a romantic like this giant of literature certainly was throughout her life. However, I do have a degree in English, so I wasn't about to leave Bath without paying at least some sort of homage to one of the area's most famous former residents. As soon as it opened at 10am, I walked to the center and paid my admission. I was glad I did. First, you are invited upstairs to a small area decorated with Jane Austen movie posters and newspaper articles about the center where you wait for entrance to a small presentation room. Here, a live guide gives a quick introduction to Jane Austen, her work, and...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2005

Jane Austen Centre
40 Gay Street
Bath, England BA1 2NT
+44 1225 443000

Royal Victoria Park

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Attraction

Royal Victoria Park Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
When we first drove by the Royal Victoria Park, the two boys immediately noticed the skateboard ramps. Teenagers were out in the pale sunshine giving their mothers cause to worry. (Thank goodness for helmets and elbow pads!) Just as enticing to our kids, however, was a small rock wall, a giant rope climbing tower, slides, and a funky seesaw that went up and down and all around, like an amusement park ride. Let me tell you, it was glorious! 18th-century architecture, Roman baths, and famous writers be darned. This was the attraction the kids enjoyed the most in Bath. And this is where we spent a couple of our evenings. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 8, 2005

Royal Victoria Park
City Centre
Bath, England

Sights Of Bath

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Attraction | "Bath City Sightseeing Bus Tour"

Sights Of Bath Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
We were staying in an apartment near the Royal Crescent while we were in Bath, so a bus stopped almost right outside our door. (If you were on the field in front facing the Royal Crescent, the bus stops on the corner of the street you'll see to your right.) We simply hopped on and paid the driver for our tickets. These included a transfer to another bus that explored gardens outside the town center, as well as 15 stops in town where we could hop on or off at will. An extra bonus was that the tickets worked for 2 days. Tour aside, this was a great convenience when we didn't want to walk from one end of town to the other. So what was the ride like? Th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2005

Sights Of Bath
Abbey Chambers, Abbey Square
Bath, England

Lush Cosmetics

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Attraction | "Lush"

Quote:
Bath is known for good shopping. I can just imagine wearing a giant hoop skirt in the 18th century, strolling down the gorgeous main street with an umbrella covering my fair complexion and spending all afternoon looking for new hats in the shiny shop windows. After all, near the city's oldest, still-operating hospital, across the street from Starbucks(!), you'll see the crest of Queen Victoria topping a building to signify the exact place where she dropped some pounds into the purchase of a pin during her one and only visit to Bath. So you see? Shopping is a main Bath pastime. Fast forward to the 21st century and you'd see me during my visit in my jeans with two bo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 8, 2005

Lush Cosmetics
12 Union Street
Bath, England BA1 1RR
01225 428271

Royal Crescent Museum

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Attraction | "No. 1 Royal Crescent Museum"

Royal Crescent Museum Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
The Royal Crescent was designed by John Wood the Younger to overlook the Bath countryside and embrace the natural beauty of the open landscape. It was the first "crescent" built in Great Britain, and the original project was a wonderful example of speculative real estate. Keep in mind that Bath was the place to visit if you were part of 18th-century society. These visitors needed a place to stay, and they were used to fine apartments. Well, John Wood was no fool. He saw a need, found investors, and became a land developer! Most of the apartments in the Royal Crescent today are still private residences, though they have been split into smaller units from the originals. (There is also a fi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 11, 2005

Royal Crescent Museum
1 Royal Crescent
Bath, England BA1 2LS
+44 1225 428126

The Roman Baths

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Attraction | "Roman Baths"

The Roman Baths Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
We entered the Roman Baths near beautiful Bath Abbey and were given black "tour wands" that we would use as our mechanical guides. We simply typed the number of an exhibit into the face of the wand, held the black headphone up to our ears, and then listened to a recording that would explain the significance of what we were seeing. I find these types of wands to be pretty effective in tourist sites like this one because you always have the option of listening to every word, pressing another button for more information--or not listening to every word and moving quickly by something you don't find especially interesting. This last option did not happen so often for me because I lov...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 15, 2005

The Roman Baths
Abbey Church Yard
Bath, England BA1 1LZ
+44 1225 477785

Wookey Hole

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Attraction | "Wookey Hole Caves"

Wookey Hole Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
Wookey Hole is a family attraction near Bath that calls out to young families. With underground caves full of stalactites, stalagmites, a legend of an old witch, and a small mirror maze, our son couldn't wait to visit. So, off we went.How much did this attraction cost? We had two boys with two adults, so we opted for the family ticket at 34 pounds. Otherwise, adults are almost 11 each plus each kid at right under nine. Was the attraction worth the money? Well, that's a really subjective question, but I do think this was a little pricey for what we got. The caves were cool... certainly pretty. But the cave tour is short and less informative than the self-guided, wa...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 10, 2007

Wookey Hole
From Bath A39 To Wells
Wells, England BA5 1BB
44 1749 672243

Wells Cathedral

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Attraction | "Wells Cathedral and the Bishop's Palace"

Wells Cathedral Photo, Wells, England
Quote:
The Bishop of Bath and Wells does not reside in Bath. Instead, he takes up his residence in the 13th century Bishop's Palace in the nearby city of Wells. Also located in Somerset, Wells is a compact and lovely town that offers a beautiful cathedral, a small museum with prehistoric objects taken from caves in the Mendip Hills, and the Bishop's Palace. After spending the morning exploring Wookey Hole just south of Bath with my son and one of his friends, it was logical to drive to Wells and see some of the things it had to offer. How was the Cathedral? Begun in the late 1100s, the cathedral has an absolutely beautiful west front that contains 300 medieval statues of kings, knights, an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2007

Wells Cathedral
Cathedral Green
Wells, Somerset BA5 2UE
+44 (1749) 674483

Prior Park Landscape Gardens (NT)

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Attraction

Quote:
I have been to Bath many times, yet I had never managed to make it to Prior Park. When a friend of mine who collects pictures of covered bridges was in England, however, I had to put this on our itinerary. I knew she'd like to see the beautiful Palladian Bridge, one of only four in the world. How do you get there?If we had used the red City Sight seeing Bus Tour, we could have taken the skyline bus straight to the park's entrance. Instead, we thought we'd walk. This isn't a problem if you're in good shape, but it is a steep climb. If you'd prefer, there is a regular city bus stop nearby, or a cab costs about 5 pounds from the bus station. Walking back down the hi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 18, 2007

Prior Park Landscape Gardens (NT)
Ralph Allen Drive
Bath, England BA2 5AH
+44 1225 833422

American Museum

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Attraction | "The American Museum in Britain"

Quote:
The American Museum was founded by a small partnership of gentlemen who had strong ties to both the United States and the United Kingdom. In the interest of strengthening what has sometimes been called "the special relationship" forged between the two countries in the 20th century, the museum offers a glimpse into how Americans have lived since the New World was discovered. Truthfully, I would not have visited this site if I was an American on holiday in England - If you're from the United States, you already know your country's story, and there are too many other things to see in Bath to take the time to visit here - but I am an American living in England. So I was curious a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2007

American Museum
Claverton Manor
Bath, England BA2 7BD
+44 1225 460503

Steam - Museum of the Great Western Railway Photo, Swindon, England
Quote:
Swindon is a town in between Bath and London. You drive very close to it if you take the M4 Motorway traveling from either one of these great cities to the other. Swindon is not a place that I would say to visit for its own sake, but if you want an easy and wonderful attraction to break up the drive with kids -or you're a railway buff- I have the museum for you. Located within the same complex as Swindon's outlet mall -and with plenty of easy parking- you'll find the Steam - Museum of the Great Western Railway. Park in the NORTH parking lot. (With your museum ticket, parking will be free here.) Then follow the signs to the museum.So what wa...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 11, 2007

Steam - Museum of the Great Western Railway

Swindon, England SN2 2TA
+44 (1793) 466646

Dyrham Park (NT)

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Attraction | "Dyrham Park"

Dyrham Park (NT) Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
Dyrham Park is not a place that I would imagine a lot of tourists from countries outside the United Kingdom visit because it's a little bit off the beaten path from Bath. With that said, if you have a car, and an interest in architecture, interior design, or gardening, it's well worth a visit. What is Dyrham Park? Built for William Blathwayt, a Secretary of War for England in the 17th century, this is a Baroque country estate set on almost 300 acres of gorgeous parkland. When you visit the estate, you park (for free) up at the ticket office and then either make a 20-minute walk or a bus-ride down to the house itself. You'll notice the park is inhabited...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 8, 2007

Dyrham Park (NT)
Near Chippenham
Wiltshire, England SN14 8ER
+44 117 937 2501

Westonbirt (The National Arboretum)

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Attraction

The National Arboretum Photo, Gloucestershire, England
Quote:
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is located in the southern-most section of the Cotswolds, just north of Bath, just south of Tetbury. Instead of going towards Bath from Junction 18 off the M4, you would take the round-a-bout exit onto the A46 going towards Stroud. What is an arboretum anyway? Well, the beginning of the word gives you a clue. On Arbor Day in the United States, people plant trees. So an arboretum is a tree garden. A friend of mine heard this was a good place to visit in the autumn, so we planned a day to go "leaf peaking."What do you do at an arboretum? You walk and look at the trees, of course! If you're a photographe...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2007

Bath Aqua Glass

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Watching glassblowing"

Bath Aqua Glass Photo, Bath, England
Quote:
Bath Glass is well known in the West Country. Normally colored a pale aqua blue, it's handmade in Bath, and I have often stopped by the store near the Pultney Bridge to look at the jewelry. I finally decided to see exactly how this glass is made in January 2008. Where do you go? There are two glass shops in Bath where you can buy Bath glass. However, you need to go to the factory store on Walcot Street to see glass blowing demonstrated. This is about a ten minute stroll from Bath Abbey. What was the experience like? We took a seat in front of the ovens where the glass is heated. Before the demonstration started, a gentleman showed our small group wh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 30, 2008

Bath Aqua Glass
Old Orchard
Bath, England BA1 5BN
+44 1225 428146

Bizarre Bath - The Comedy Walk

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Bizarre Bath: The Comedy Walk"

Quote:
When I first had the two boys in Bath, we considered going on the Bizarre Bath Walking Tour, but we ran out of time. The next time I was in Bath as a tourist, I tried again, but dinner took too long for us to make it. Then I moved to the UK and another IgoUgo guide, Zabelle, was in England, so I thought I'd have an excuse to go and track down the tour again. Problem then was that she visited in the winter and the tour only operates from March to November. Well, this was turning into a quest! I mean, I love Bath. It's one of my all-time favourite cities, and this tour is lauded by all kinds of touristy-directing folk like Rick Steves, Frommers, and Lonely Planet. I wanted...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 17, 2008

Bizarre Bath - The Comedy Walk
The Huntsman Inn - North Parade Passage
Bath BA1 1EE
+44 1225 335124