Bath in England

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
Trip End May 18, 2013

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Monday, March 4, 2013

After leaving Plymouth we again hit the road with the destination of Bath firmly within our sights. This time, we decided to stay at a Best Western Hotel at Limpley Stoke – a small village about five miles out of Bath. This hotel was a lovely Georgian Manor, which had a 16th century Inn at the end of its driveway – the perfect place for dinner and a few ales! The hotel was also only a mile or so from the village of Freshford. On our first afternoon there we walked through paddocks, along the Avon River and the railway tracks into the village. We followed this with afternoon tea in front of the open fire at the hotel and dinner at the aforementioned Inn, where Steve ordered the biggest steak & beer pie we had ever seen.

The next day we ventured to Stonehenge which was about an hours drive away. This was one of the things which we decided we had to do on this trip and it was well worth it. We were also fortunate to go there on a clear, sunny English spring morning (dare we say it – it was almost warm!)  It is thought that Stonehenge is the ruins of a great ancient temple which dates from about 3000 to 1600 BC. The banks and ditches which surround it are older still and theories abound as to what it truly represented. It is a fascinating place which raises more questions than it answers. In fact, the audio guide (which we listened to as we walked around it) mentioned many theories and while it is aligned with the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset, its exact purpose remains a mystery.

After this, we continued our drive into the city of Bath.

Bath is a big city and the first thing you notice as you drive into it is its distinctive architecture, which consists of grand Georgian terraces. The entire place has been named a World Heritage Site. Hot springs bubble to the surface here and, in AD 44 the Romans established the town of Aquae Sulis there. They built baths and a temple to the goddess Sulis-Minerva. This complex of bathhouses is now, apparently, one of the best preserved Roman spas in the world.

In our opinion, Bath is not just about the Baths. It is beautifully placed on the River Avon, has a great shopping precinct, spacious botanical gardens and a lovely Abbey which was built between 1499 and 1616.

We loved this part of England and we loved the fact that we stayed out of town – another reason to advocate the use of a hire car for certain parts of our long trip.
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