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Bath Spa – An Overview (Thermae Bath Spa, Gainsborough Bath Spa, Mayor’s Walking Tour of Bath)

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Roman Spa in Bath

Roman Spa in Bath

 

Bath Spa is one of the top tourist destinations in the UK and also a UNESCO world heritage site – the highlights of Bath being the Thermae Bath Spa, Gainsborough Bath Spa and the Mayor’s Walking Tour of Bath.

A visit to Bath Spa can taken as part of a trip to one of England’s most beautiful and fascinating parts which includes Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral (one of the 4 copies of the Magna Carta is held here), Blenheim Palace and Oxford or as a destination in itself.

Most importantly, Bath Spa has good accessibility; it is about 2hrs by road or by train from London. It is about 12 miles from Bristol, the main city of West England.

This travel article provides an overview of the posts on Bath Spa and fills in some gaps that they have been  missed.

Google Earth Image map of southern England. The location of Bath Spa is marked with a red Arrow.

Google Earth Image map of southern England. The location of Bath Spa is marked with a red Arrow.

 

The Bath Spas – Thermae Bath Spa and The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Bath Spa is unique in the UK. It has the only geothermal springs with naturally heated mineral water. The healing properties of the water was first recognised by King Bladad in about 500BC . The Romans built a spa town in Bath which was occupied from 60ADD to about 400AD.

The original Roman pool with the naturally heated water has been refurbished and an 18th Century building complex built around it. It is appropriately called the Roman Baths.

There are 2 facilities are available for the public to experience this naturally heated mineral water  – Thermae Bath Spa and The Gainsborough Bath Spa.

 

The Open Air pool of the Thermae Bath Spa. Image taken from the Gainsborough Bath Spa.

The Open Air pool of the Thermae Bath Spa. Image taken from the Gainsborough Bath Spa.

 

An image of the main pool of the Gainsborough Bath Spa.

An image of the main pool of the Gainsborough Bath Spa.

 

Bath: A Georgian Grandeur

Bath Spa underwent huge surge of property development in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The site of the Roman Pool is enveloped with a complex of Buildings built in the Georgian Period (1714-1830).  An earlier post: Bath – A Georgian Grandeur describes these buildings including the Roman Baths as well as the remains of the Roman Spa.

There are costumed characters to take visitors back in time to the Roman period. We saw a lady in character describe the skin care used by the Romans as well as the lotions and potions used.

The Pump Room has a restaurant where it is one of the most elegant places to enjoy modern British Cuisine. Also there is a drinking fountain for you to sample the mineral water directly from the spring. The taste of the water is metallic. It is not the best for drinking but it might be more suitable for healing perhaps.

The buildings around the Roman pool. This is the entrance to the Pump Room

The buildings around the Roman pool. This is the entrance to the Pump Room

 

 

The entrance to the Roman Baths. The buildings are named – King’s and Queen’s Baths.

The entrance to the Roman Baths. The buildings are named – King’s and Queen’s Baths.

 

The Mayor’s Walking Tour of Bath

A practical way to see Bath Spa closely is to join the The Mayor’s Walking Tour of Bath.

This is a chance to see closely the buildings built of Bath Stone and the unique building layout that contribute to Bath becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Also an opportunity to listen to the stories behind it.

All the buildings in Bath Spa are built with Bath Stone, a locally quarried stone making the city giving the city a unique look. There has been a cleanup campaign and Bath Spa looks like a new city.

Some of the road layouts are of symbols like crescent (moon), circle (sun) and a key. (Royal Crescent, The Circus and Queen Square respectively). The facades of these buildings are a story in itself – the acorns, the symbols, the 3 types of columns.

They were the idea of John Wood (the Elder) and implemented by his son John Wood (the Younger).

Pulteney Bridge is unique as it is only one of 2 in the world. There are only 2 bridges which have shops on the structure.

Pulteney Bridge is unique as it is only one of 2 in the world. There are only 2 bridges which have shops on the structure.

 

The West Wall of Bath Abbey. The carvings in stone are all stories which are decoded by the Guides.

The West Wall of Bath Abbey. The carvings in stone are all stories which are decoded by the Guides.

Bath Abbey is the centre of Bath. A church has been at this site since the 7th Century but the Abbey was rebuilt with the planning carried out by Bishop Oliver King.

What is really interesting are the stories on the wall that are carved in stone. Why the images were carved is also another story. At that time, not many people could read but they understood images and loved stories.

 

The author Jane Austen lived in Bath between 1801 to 1806. She had set 2 of her 6 published novels in Bath – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. There are many attractions linked to Jane Austen – a visitor Centre, tours and festivals

One of the most important things about this guided tour is that the guides are really passionate about their home city. I could feel it. It is not about leading a tour to earn money but it is about sharing their passion and love of their city.

The Mayor’s Walking tour are a really interesting and fascinating way to learn the stories of Bath. It is well worth trying it out when you are in the city of Bath. In fact, it is an essential for a visit to appreciate this unique English City.

 

Review of The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Post -A Spa Is Born At The Gainsborough describes the opening ceremony of the Gainsborough Bath Spa together with a review of the Hotel and the Spa.

I will add in some comments on the Restaurant and the Bar.

The Restaurant is “Johann Lafer at The Gainsborough”. Johann Lafer is a Michelin starred chef based in a castle near Stromberg, Germany. The castle has 2 restaurants – Bistrod’Or and Le Val d’Or.

The philosophy of the food is based on using fresh and locally sourced produce for innovative dishes. The menu of western haute cuisine have a hint of Asian flavour dishes have an eastern flavour contributed flavour contributed by Chef Wai Look Chow, the Malaysian chef in attendance.

 

The Restaurant at the Gainsborough Bath Spa. The Restaurant is divided by the Wine Wall with a “private” area behind it.

The Restaurant at the Gainsborough Bath Spa. The Restaurant is divided by the Wine Wall with a “private” area behind it.

We have had a number of meals there are I could safely say that, sooner and not later, the French Institution that rates Restaurants would be making a comment on this establishment in the Gainsborough Bath Spa.

Starter – Octopus Legs at the Restaurant in The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Starter – Octopus Legs at the Restaurant in The Gainsborough Bath Spa

 

Main Course – Duck Breast at the Restaurant in the Gainsborough Bath Spa

Main Course – Duck Breast at the Restaurant in the Gainsborough Bath Spa

 

I found the Bar as interesting well. Its speciality was to prepare bespoke cocktails for the guest. The bartender asks the guest to describe his requirement and makes the preparation according. Of course, the taste is to reflect the mood and the requirement. Joel St John prepared me the right cocktail specifically for me and my taste.

 

Joel St John preparing the bespoke cocktail in the bar of The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Joel St John preparing the bespoke cocktail in the bar of The Gainsborough Bath Spa

 

He got it right.

 

The bespoke cocktail prepared for me by Joel St John in the bar of The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The bespoke cocktail prepared for me by Joel St John in the bar of The Gainsborough Bath Spa

 

Feng shui

A short post of why some cities become “hot spots” and then fade away for almost two centuries. I am using the 20 year cycle for this one. There is a 180 year supercycle which has a longer term duration. Perhaps, England’s northern powerhouse is subject to this supercycle?

The travel article is a brief summary of the other related posts on Bath Spa

 

Bath Spas – Thermae Bath Spa and The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Bath – A Georgian Grandeur

A Spa Is Born At The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Feng Shui of Bath

Over The Moon At Gainsborough Restaurant

 

 

About Dr Michael Oon:

Michael was brought up in Singapore and came to the UK for schooling. He was a forensic scientist at the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (New Scotland Yard, London) for 20 years. He is now a consultant practicing traditional feng shui and works with property developers. He specialises in helping to sell property faster. He has travelled extensively around the world as part of his work and together with his wife Helen.

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2 Comments
  • Alexandra Paul | Sep 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    It is most beautiful and fascinating place to visit and that is considered to be one of the top tourist place in UK.

    • Michael Oon | Sep 3, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      I quite agree. We keep revisiting this beautiful city regularly at least once a year. Going to the thermal spa helps!

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