Ancient Roman spa, Aquae Sulis, came into its own during 18th century
Dropping into the Avon Valley, Bath unfolds like a Georgian movie set. Could that be a rustle of crinoline? Perhaps a lady hiking up her tresses to step daintily into a waiting horse-drawn carriage – off to another social gathering? Bath can play tricks with your mind.
Terraced houses, built of honey-coloured limestone, surround grassy squares and circles, neatly connected by broad treed avenues. Row upon row of chimney pots crowd roof ridges, each attached to a fireplace once attended by a bevy of scurrying maids. Apart from the River Avon which carves the city in half, nothing spoils the geometric pattern.
In 1987 the entire city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only Venice shares the same honour. The Romans came first in around AD 60. They built baths to capture the million litres of hot water that spout daily from the ground. Edgar was crowned King of the English at Bath Abbey nine hundred years later. For a while merchants grew rich from the cloth trade, harnessing the river’s power to drive their mills.