12 Must See Places for Lovers of Classic British Literature

The world-wide cultural impact of British writers is undeniable, from the literature curricula in schools and universities, to Hollywood films and international stage adaptations. The beloved minds behind our favorite stories remain immortalized in our societies and lucky for us, many of their original inspirations stand preserved (or reconstructed) as attractions and commemorative sites all over England. From Tolkien’s two towers, the Bronte’s moors, and Christie’s crime-filled Riviera, visitors can discover the landscapes and buildings that spurred some of the most acclaimed literature the world has ever known. Here are the top 12 English cities, towns and villages worth visiting to experience the lives and inspirations of your favorite British authors.

12. Canterbury, Kent

Located about 100 km south-east of London, the city of Canterbury is a must see for fans of Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens. It is here that you will find the famed Canterbury Cathedral, containing the shrine of St. Thomas Becket, the final destination of the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The official “The Canterbury Tales” attraction is also a mandatory experience, offering visitors a chance to dress up in medieval garb (for kids only, sorry parents!) and join Chaucer and his characters on an interactive tour of 14th Century England. Canterbury also offers a number of sites associated with Dickens’ David Copperfield, since much of the novel is set in the city. It is speculated that Dr. Strong’s Academy is based on King’s School (denied by Dickens), Mr. Wickfield’s home on the House of Agnes, and the market frequented by David and his aunt on Buttermarket.

Photo by: Robert Cutts via Flickr
Photo by: Robert Cutts via Flickr

11. Broadstairs, Kent

For more concrete Dickens’ sights, head 30 km east of Canterbury to the quintessential English town of Broadstairs and check out Dickens House Museum, located in the cottage that inspired Betsey’s home in David Copperfield. As an added bonus, if you happen to be travelling in the 3rd week of June, you’ll get to experience seven days of Dickens-related events at Broadstairs’ annual Charles Dickens Festival. Another worthwhile stop on route back to London is Restoration House in Rochester, the inspiration for Satis House in Great Expectations, as well as Gad’s Hill Place, the Dickens family home from 1857-1870.

CBCK / Shutterstock.com
CBCK / Shutterstock.com

10. Nuneaton, Warwickshire

Much of this town near Birmingham is dedicated to their famous “daughter” George Eliot, who was born in a house on the Arbury Estate as Mary Ann Evans. You can visit her birthplace, known as South Farm (official guided tours only) and then head to nearby Griff House, the Evans family home for 21 years (now a hotel and restaurant). It is said that Dorlcote Mill in The Mill on the Floss was inspired by this house, and Eliot’s favourite retreat, the attic, is very similar to the one described by Maggie in the novel. Also to be seen in the area are Chilvers Coton Church, the location of Eliot’s baptism, the Evans’ family grave, and Arbury Hall, the inspiration for Cheverel Manor in Scenes of a Clerical Life. A walk through the town center reveals a statue, obelisk and garden in the author’s honor, and the nearby Nuneaton Library holds one of the most extensive collections of Eliot works in the UK.

Photo by: kevin roe via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: kevin roe via Wikimedia Commons

9. The Lake District, Cumbria

The Lake District is a National Park in northwestern England that is popular in itself as a family getaway destination. However, among literature lovers, it is also famous as the place where Wordsworth first saw his “host of golden daffodils”, the inspiration behind his most famous poetic work. Visitors can explore the historic Rydal House, the Wordsworth family home from 1813-1850, which now displays portraits, personal items and first edition poems. The estate also boasts exceptional grounds (Wordsworth was quite the gardener) with the gardens remaining largely as he designed them. This district is also home to Beatrix Potter’s 17th Century farmhouse, Hill Top, which she bought after the success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The house is now maintained by the National Trust and gives visitors a unique perspective into the world that produced some of the most beloved children’s classics.

Rydal House, England

8. Dorchester, Dorset

In the heart of Thomas Hardy’s England, the villages and landscapes of Dorset provide the setting and inspiration for the author’s most acclaimed works. Visitors can explore Hardy’s Cottage, the cob and thatch cottage just outside of Dorchester where the author was born and completed some of his earlier work, as well as take a walking tour of the surrounding landscape, taking in the atmosphere that inspired the 19th Century writer. In Dorchester itself, you will find Max Gate, designed by Hardy in 1885, and where he wrote Tess of the dUrbervilles and Jude the Obscure. Max Gate remained his home until his death in 1928, at which time his heart was interred in his first wife’s grave (St. Michael’s Church, Stinsford) and his ashes in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Thomas Hardy Cottage, England

7. Chawton, Hampshire

Aside from a few years in Bath, this area of southern England is where Jane Austen spent the majority of her life. Take a stroll through the Jane Austen House Museum, the building in which she spent the last eight years of her life, completing older works including Emma and Persuasion and revising earlier drafts such as Pride and Prejudice. The house now showcases various family memorabilia and portraits, as well as original manuscripts and first editions of her work. Also worth visiting nearby are the Winchester Cathedral, where Jane is buried, the village of Steventon where she was born and drafted Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, Ashe House where she attended dances at the Lefroy’s, and The Wheatsheaf on the Old London Road (now a restaurant), the old coaching inn where she went to send and receive letters.

Jane Austen, England

6. Bath, Somerset

Another significant Austen destination, Bath provides remarkable insight into the two Austen novels set here—Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The city, which has long been known as a spa destination, and in Austen’s time, a hub of fashionable society, is now also home to The Jane Austen Centre, an exhibition of how the time spent living here (1801-1806) influenced the author’s writing. If possible, time your arrival in the city in mid-September and take part in the annual Jane Austen Festival—10 days of costumed events, walking tours and themed talks and performances, as well as various organised out-of-city excursions. The city also offers a heap of non-literary history to explore, as well as spectacular restaurants and shopping.

Bath, England

5. Haworth, Yorkshire

This small village on the moors of West Yorkshire, England (known alternatively as “Bronte Country”) is the premier destination for fans of the Bronte sisters. Journey 350 km north of London and discover Haworth Parsonage, the family home from 1820 until their deaths, and the place where the sisters wrote their most notable works, including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Visitors should also take the five km stroll to see Top Withens, an abandoned farm partially in ruins that is said to be the inspiration of the farmhouse in Wuthering Heights. Driving options are available but the footpath also brings you past Bronte Waterfall, a popular walking destination of the Bronte family. If time permits, drive the approximate 10 km to Wycoller, and check out the ruins of Wycoller Hall, said to be the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre.

Haworth, England

4. Birmingham, West Midlands

For Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans, Birmingham is the place to visit to explore Tolkien history and the inspiration behind many of his settings and characters. The family moved to the village of Sarehole in 1896, and Tolkien and his brother frequently played at Sarehole Mill where their days were spent being chased by the miller’s son, whom as a result, they nicknamed “the white ogre”. Visitors can now see the Mill Museum, which Tolkien has confirmed as the inspiration for Ted Sandyman’s Mill in Hobbiton, take a walk in nearby Country Shire Park and grab some food at The Hungry Hobbit. Also near the mill is Moseley Bog, another frequent play place of the Tolkien brothers, and eventual inspiration for the “Old Forest”. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, rising above the area are two towers, Perrot’s Folly and Edgbason Waterworks Tower, which are said to have been recreated by Tolkien’s imagination as the two towers of Gondor. For added fun, time your visit for early May and experience Middle-Earth Weekend, the annual festival in honor of the author and his childhood haunts.

Photo by: Floris Looijesteijn via Flickr
Photo by: Floris Looijesteijn via Flickr

3. Torquay, Devon

The English Riviera is home to the Queen of Crime, Dame Agatha Christie, who is one of the most successful and widely published novelists of all time. Born in the seaside city of Torquay in 1890, the area now boasts an astounding number of Christie sites. Of particular interest to visitors is the seafront walk known as “The Agatha Christie Mile”, which starts at the Grand Hotel, the location of Agatha’s honeymoon on Christmas Eve 1914  and ends at the Imperial Hotel, the site of many social functions attended by Christie, as well as the setting for the final scenes of Sleeping Murder. Sights along the mile include the Torquay Railway Station, Princess Pier, the commemorative Agatha Christie Bust, Beacon Cove bathing area and the Torquay Museum, home to the Agatha Christie Gallery. Also in the area is Kents Cavern, on which Christie based Hemsley Cavern in The Man in the Brown Suit and Churchston Station and Elberry Cove, both featured as themselves in The ABC Murders.

Barry Singleton / Shutterstock.com
Barry Singleton / Shutterstock.com

2. Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Located 160 km north-west of London, the place that produced the bard himself is understandably not lacking in Shakespeare sights. It seems everywhere you look in this town, you see something of cultural or historical significance to the poet and playwright. While visitors can be kept occupied for days on end, there are a few sights that can’t be missed, starting with Shakespeare’s birthplace. The Tudor-style cottage has been restored as an exhibition of his life, showcasing the furnishings of his time. Next up is the romantic locale of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Shakespeare’s wife) located just over a kilometer outside of town. It is also a Tudor-style farmhouse and still contains furniture and memorabilia that belonged to the family. The final must see is the Church of the Holy Trinity, both the place of Shakespeare’s baptism and burial. The coolest thing to see here, is the inscription on the writer’s tomb, rumored to have been written by his own hand: “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones”.

Anne Hathaway Cottage, England

1. City of London

This city undeniably holds that largest selection of literary sights in the UK, all cluttered into one, convenient location. To list all of them would be impossible, since nearly all of the previously mentioned writers either lived in or visited London at one point or another. Most interesting sights include the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, which holds the remains and memorials of a vast number of literary figures including Chaucer and Dickens; the bankside Globe Theatre, which offers unique performances of Shakespeare’s works; and, the very many extravagant haunts of Irish-born Oscar Wilde, including Kettner’s Champagne Bar, the Savoy Grill, the Royal Arcade and the Cadogan Hotel, which still retains the Oscar Wilde Suite 118, the site of the writer’s 1895 arrest.

IR Stone / Shutterstock.com
IR Stone / Shutterstock.com

10 Gorgeous Pools You Won’t Believe Are Public

Lose the notion that public pools are just a concrete chlorine-filled square in the ground or a hot and humid indoor pool and let yourself imagine swimming underneath a beautiful arched glass ceiling, or soaking in geothermal waters with healing properties. Although there are some stunningly beautiful pools that are for hotel or resort guests only, there also happens to be incredibly gorgeous public pools, all over the world. From Hungary to Texas to Iceland, here are 10 gorgeous pools you won’t believe are open to the public.

10. Bondi Icebergs Club -Bondi, Australia

The famous Bondi Baths have been a landmark of Bondi Beach for over 100 years and are widely known for being absolutely breathtaking. The Olympic sized swimming pool was actually built into the rocks and is naturally filled with saltwater that rolls in on the ocean tide. Be warned however though that because of the concrete nature of the pool, the water is actually slightly colder than the ocean. Most visitors like to visit in the summertime when the water temperature reaches the high 70’s. Overlooking the Tasman Sea while doing laps in this pool is something everyone should experience once in a lifetime. You may even find yourself swimming next to a couple fish or picking up seashells from the bottom. There is even a smaller kid’s pool located right beside the main pool for the wee ones to have a dip.

PomInOz / Shutterstock.com
PomInOz / Shutterstock.com

9. Krapfenwaldbad Pools -Vienna, Austria

The neighborhood of Krapfenwaldlbad is one of the loveliest in all of Vienna and just happens to be the home of the beautiful park that features some of the finest swimming pools. There are a total of four heated pools and the main one is perched on a hill overlooking the city. It looks more like an infinity pool that is surrounded by Vienna’s skyline and that is exactly why this pool makes the list. Amenities are in abundance here and include a restaurant with a bar, table tennis, soccer, beach volleyball and a children’s playground. While the pool itself may not be the best looking on this list, the views over the city and vineyards while being surrounded by beautiful people that make it gorgeous.

Photo by: Wien Info
Photo by: Wien Info

8. Venetian Pool -Coral Gables, Florida

What was once an old rock quarry has been transformed into a beautiful pool overflowing with waterfalls and caves. Located in Coral Gables, the Venetian Pool is fed by spring water from an underground aquifer. This historic pool has actually been around since 1921 and surrounded by palm trees and nothing else in sight; you will forget you are actually at a public pool and instead feel like you are on a tropical island. Roaring waterfalls, a sandy beach, nooks carved into the coral and fresh chemical free water are all found here. You will find lots of families enjoying these waters as there is a shallow kiddy area that is connected to the main pool by an island and stone bridge. Feel free to bring your own picnic in here and spend the day away from reality.

Venetian Pool, Coral Gables

7. Thermae Bath Spa -Bath, England

One of the city’s main attractions has always been its famous hot water springs, as they are the warmest geothermal springs found in the UK. For 28 years residents and visitors didn’t have access to these waters and finally in 2006 the Thermae Bath Spa re-opened. Part spa, part pool, this bath house is breathtakingly beautiful, combining both new and old architecture. The open-air rooftop pool shines a brilliant blue and gives visitors views of the historic city, both day and night. But inside it may be the Minerva pool that is even more gorgeous, and futuristic looking. Bright white columns stretch down deep into the pool creating flowing curves and unusual shapes. This pool also happens to feature a lazy river, massage jets and a whirlpool inside. It is not just about the gorgeous public pools here, the building itself is often enough to stop people in their tracks to take a second look.

Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com
Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com

6. Kastrup Sea Bath -Kastrup, Denmark

This award winning open-air pool is located just south of Copenhagen and is conceived to be a sculptural dynamic form that can be seen from the beach, air and sea. The circular structure is meant to provide swimmers with shelter from the winds and to provide washrooms and changing rooms. Reaching the sea bath is as easy as walking out on the long wooden pier which extends from the shore. Once reaching the sea bath, visitors will find a diving platform, springboard, and a variety of benches, plateaus and nooks. Give that the structure is over 100 meters away from the shore, the water is deep enough to try and dive as far down as you dare. When designers created this pool they made it accessible for anyone, creating ramps and other features that allow the less mobile population full access to it. Free to everyone, anytime, this is one amazing public pool.

Photo by: Visit Copenhagen
Photo by: Visit Copenhagen

5. Yrjonkatu Swimming Hall -Helsinki, Finland

It is the oldest public swimming hall in all of Finland and the architecture of the building is both historically and artistically noteworthy. On the main level you will find the impressive pool in the massive hallway with its tiled floors and arched columns. With high ceilings, balconies looking over the pool and looking more like an ancient bath; you will feel transported back in time. Men and women have different swim days here as most people choose to swim nude, and it was actually law until 2001 that no one could enter the pool with a swimsuit. The upstairs in this building has private cubicles with day beds, your choice of sauna and a place to get a drink and snack. Although built in the 1920’s, this pool remains impeccably clean and the perfect way to immerse yourself in the Finnish culture.

Photo by: Inside Out Helsinki
Photo by: Inside Out Helsinki

4. Badeschiff -Berlin, Germany

This floating swimming pool is actually located right in Berlin, in the East Harbour section of the River Spree. It was designed so that citizens could swim in a sanitary environment near the river as the Spree itself is too polluted for safe swimming. The pool shines a brilliant blue and was actually converted from the hull of a vessel. In the summertime the area is packed full of hammocks, sunbathers on the sand, visitors playing beach volleyball and a beach bar. During the winter this pool actually gets a roof and becomes an epic sauna experience. Two Finnish Saunas and a roofed pool attract all sorts of locals and visitors alike to visit here in the winter, mainly in the buff. Insider tip, visit at night when it is all lit up either during the summer or winter for a romantic escape from reality.

Photo by: H. Fuller via Flickr
Photo by: H. Fuller via Flickr

3. Barton Springs Pool -Austin, Texas

This public pool is absolutely humongous, sitting at over three acres in size. It also happens to be unique in that it is fed from underground springs, keeping an average temperature of 70 degrees all year round, perfect for those hot Texas days. This pool is open to the public six days a week and varies in price throughout the months, ranging from free to a mere three dollars. The depth of the pool ranges from 0-18 feet and is surrounded by an abundance of grassy areas. Diving boards, lifeguards, rock walls and the beauty of nature are all present here. Thought to be more of a swimming hole than a pool, Barton Springs has drawn visitors from all over the world. Perhaps it is the enormity of it that makes it so gorgeous, perhaps is the turquoise color of the water, or maybe it is the grace they have taken to ensure it fits right into the landscape. Whatever the reason is, make sure to put this on your list of public pools to swim in.

Photo by: City of Austin
Photo by: City of Austin

2. Gellert Baths -Budapest, Hungary

From the moment you enter into the bathhouse you are transported a hundred years back in time where art and architecture played such an important role in society. This gorgeous public bath house was built in the early 1900’s and has since undergone extensive renovations, making it even more beautiful than before, if that is even possible. Towering columns line both the pools, one an open air outdoor wave pool, the other an effervescent swimming pool. The indoor palace pool may just be slightly more gorgeous with its arched glass ceiling and two-story balconies. The painted windows, the architecture, the adorning fountains and the warm therapeutic waters make this a must stop on any trip to Budapest.

Botond Horvath / Shutterstock.com
Botond Horvath / Shutterstock.com

1. The Blue Lagoon -Reykjavik, Iceland

It is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland but that certainly doesn’t take away from its beauty. Not so much of a public swimming pool and more of an oasis of relaxation, this man made lagoon is stunningly beautiful. The waters are rich in minerals and stay at an average of 99-102 degrees all year round. The water color itself is enough to rave about; a brilliant blue accompanied by white steam that often blows off the extremely hot spots. An interesting fact about the water here is that it is actually white and it is in fact the sun that makes it look blue. These geothermal waters are thought to have healing powers and while you won’t find any diving boards or kids splashing around, you will find plenty of people rubbing their faces with mud and relaxing in the serene setting.

SurangaSL / Shutterstock.com
SurangaSL / Shutterstock.com

10 Things to See and Do in Bath, UK

Bath (aptly named after its Latin name Aquae Sulis, meaning ‘the waters of Sulis’) is a city in located in Somerset, England located 97 miles (156 km) west of London. With a population of almost 89,000 people, it became part of Avon in 1974. The city is well-known for its hot springs and became a spa around 60 AD when the Romans built the baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon. The city became a World Heritage Site in 1987. Though the baths themselves are a major attraction in the city, the theaters, museums, sports venues and cultural attractions have made it a popular tourist attraction with millions of visitors each year. The city features almost 300 different places to stay including hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites and has about 100 restaurants and about the same number of public houses and bars. The city caters to tourists, so it is a great place to experience while traveling abroad.

10. Bath Escape Room

The Bath Escape Room is for the adventurous type. In it you’ll find yourself looking for clues against the clock to reveal the combination of a lock that opens a chest that hides another clue that offers hints on how to read the next that leads to another mystery within another mystery and so on. The clues are in no particular order, so you also have to figure out how all the clues fit into your puzzle to help you escape. The adventure lasts about 60 minutes and requires all the people in the room to work together to solve the mystery.There is also an event called Detective Tours where you spend time traveling all over Bath looking for clues, tracing tracks and detecting crimes at the sites of famous landmarks. Each site is another puzzle to solve and you keep collecting all the clues until eventually you piece it all together to solve the crime. This game takes 2 – 3 hours to complete and offers you the chance to see all the sights while have a blast solving puzzles. What could be more fun than flexing your brain solving an imaginary crime while seeing the sights?

Lock and key

9. Roman Baths

The Roman Baths complex is a well-preserved public bathing site. Located below the current street level, there are four main features to the baths: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum; holding finds from Roman Bath. Above street level, the buildings date back to the 19th century. The baths are a major tourist attraction welcoming over a million visitors each year. In 2005, it was featured on the TV program Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the West Country.The baths offer more than just a natural hot bath to soak though. It’s a great place to take the entire family with its many programs and features. You will be greeted by costumed characters like a Roman soldier and armorer, or Flavia and Apulia – the Roman lady and slave girl or maybe some stone masons or other characters from ancient times. You can also attend a lecture on the Beau Street Hoard: Money bags from Roman Bath. It’s both educational and fun for everyone.

Roman Baths

8. Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey, commonly known as Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a former Benedictine monastery founded in the 7th century and is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country. The church seats 1,200 and is in the shape of a Christian cross. It is still an active place of worship with a congregation of hundreds and visitors in the thousands each year. It is used for religious services, secular civic ceremonies, concerts and lectures. It features a choir that performs in the abbey and elsewhere in the church and is home to a heritage museum in the vaults. The abbey has been noted for its fan vaulting and contains war memorials for the locals and monuments to several people of notoriety in the form of wall and floor plaques and commemorative stained glass. The church has two organs and a peal of ten bells and the front features sculpted angels climbing to heaven on two stone ladders. It is a beautiful building, and a wonderful place to attend a religious service if you please while traveling.

Bath Abbey

7. Bath Aqua Theatre of Glass

The Bath Aqua Theatre of Glass is a museum and arts center which showcases glassblowers’ skills and stained glass artists in demonstrations. There are also historic stained glass exhibits featured here that have appeared on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. In 2009, there was a stained glass window discovered deep in the vaults of Bath Abbey valued between £10,000 – 15,000.Glassblowing and stained glass artistry are ancient skills not easily mastered. You can watch as the masters add Copper Oxide to molten glass to create a magnificent aquamarine color. If you feel a little adventurous, you can even take a “Glassblowing Taster Course” which teaches you the basics of glassmaking and allows you to blow your own paperweight with the assistance of a professional glassblower. It’s a great hands-on experience and the great part is that you get to take home your own creation. Classes are a maximum of four, so be sure to make arrangements beforehand so you won’t be disappointed.

Glass blowing

6. Fashion Museum

The Fashion Museum in Bath, previously known as the Museum of Costume is housed in the Assembly Rooms. In 1963, the collection was started by Doris Langley Moore, who gave her collection to the city of Bath. It focused on fashionable dress for men, women and children from the late 16th century to present and has over 30,000 items in the collection. About 130,000 people visit the museum every year and consist of a mix of tourists, fashion specialists, students and locals.You can take a walk through the galleries to view the fashions on over 165 dressed figures, then dress up in some of the Victorian replica fashions to see how the fashions suit your tastes whether young or old. Take some photos of your fashionistas in front of a Victorian street backdrop for some great souvenirs. One of the amazing fashion features are the many intricately laced gloves from Shakespearean times. The workmanship will amaze. You can also learn about some of the names in fashion both past and present. It’s a great adventure for anyone with an interest in fashion and its evolution over the last few centuries.

Photo by: Fashion Museum Bath
Photo by: Fashion Museum Bath

5. Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal located in Bath is over 200 years old and features a seating capacity of 900. It is supplemented by two smaller and more recent studio theaters after the 2010 major refurbishment. The present main entrance to the Theatre Royal in Sawclose was built in 1720 and was the first home of Beau Nash. The theater itself was erected in 1805 replacing the Old Orchard Street Theatre which was also known as Theatre Royal.Legend has it that the theater is being haunted by The Grey Lady, an actress from some centuries ago. It is widely reported that she watched productions from the Grey Lady Box and leaves the distinct smell of Jasmine. Others have actually reported not only the aroma of Jasmine but have seen The Grey Lady herself in recent years. In 1997, the Ustinov Studio was built at the rear of the building and named after Peter Ustinov. In 2005, another theater – the egg theater was opened behind the Theatre Royal and was specifically geared toward children’s performances. This is a great way to experience some live theater either just with adults or include the kids in some of the fun.

Photo by: Theatre Royal Bath
Photo by: Theatre Royal Bath

4. Royal Victoria Park

Opened in 1830 by 11 year old Princess Victoria, Royal Victoria Park was the first park to carry her name. There is an obelisk located in the park that is dedicated to her as well. The park is 57 acres (231,000 m²) and includes a skateboard ramp, tennis court, bowling alley, putting green, a 12 and 18 hole golf course, boating pond, children’s playground, 9-acre (36,000 m²) botanical garden and hosts many open-air concerts. The Botanical Gardens, formed in 1887 features one of the most beautiful collections of plants on limestone in the West Country. In the summer months, Victoria Park is the perfect atmosphere for a picnic either in front of the curving Royal Crescent or for a more intimate setting, you can wander further into the park and watch the hot air balloons set up before taking off to float over the city. The playground is a great, safe place for children to burn off some energy with the zip wire, pyramid climbing frame and other equipment. You can go with your sweetheart and/or your little ones over to the pond to feed the ducks and cool down in the heat.

1000 Words / Shutterstock.com
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

3. Jane Austen Centre

If you are a Jane Austen fan, this museum is the perfect place to view the story of her Bath experience and the effect that both visiting and living in the city had on her life and her writing. The Jane Austen Centre, located at 40 Gay Street in Bath, features a permanent exhibition originally created with guidance from members of the Jane Austen Society and other authorities on Jane Austen, Louise Ross and Maggie Lane.This is both an educational and exciting place to visit with the waxwork of Jane Austen, knowledgeable staff, film starring Adrian Lukis, costumes and more. Jane’s story from 1801 to 1806 is expressed in every exhibit in the collection demonstrating the effect of living in Bath on Jane personally, as well as on her writing. The museum has recently added a section where visitors have the opportunity to dress up using Regency dresses, coats, bonnets, top hats, shawls and other clothing and accessories appropriate for the times. It’s great fun for old and young alike and the photos would make a great souvenir of your visit.

Photo by: Jane Austen Centre
Photo by: Jane Austen Centre

2. Holburne Museum

Located in Sydney Pleasure Gardens in Bath, the Holburne Museum is the city’s first public art gallery. It is home to exhibits built around the collections of Sir William Holburne and feature artists such as Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs, Ramsay and Zoffany. The museum also offers many programs which include temporary exhibits, music performances, creative workshops, family events, talks and lectures. It also features a gift shop and cafe that opens into the gardens.Sir William Holburne’s collection was quite eclectic making this a very diverse and interesting collection. It includes Chinese armorial porcelain, silver, portraits, Italian maiolica and bronzes, portrait miniatures, books, furniture, Roman glass, coins, enamels, snuff boxes and many, many more. In 1882, a collection of over 4,000 items was bequeathed to the people of Bath and another 2,500 further objects have been acquired since that time. Be sure to check ahead before you go to the museum so you don’t miss out on one of the programs you may be interested in participating in since they are currently changing. For some culture and an interesting piece of Bath’s history, this museum is definitely worth a visit for all ages.

antb / Shutterstock.com
antb / Shutterstock.com

1. Thermae Bath Spa

You can’t in good conscience, visit Bath without checking out at least one of the spas located in the city. The Thermae Bath Spa is the only naturally hot mineral-rich spring waters in Britain. It is a combination of the historic natural spa as well as a contemporary building located in the city of Bath. The main building is enclosed in a glass envelope, contains two thermal baths, an open-air rooftop pool, a large steam room and 20 spa treatment rooms. There are a variety of spa package options available to suit your budget and/or your needs. They offer a combination of spa sessions, treatments and even a meal if it suits your fancy. Spa treatments consist of Watsu, Aromatherapy massage or Hot Stones therapy. You can get weekend packages specifically designed for one or two people. This is the perfect romantic and relaxing adult getaway. Whether you go with a loved one or just on your own, you can’t find a better way to unwind and loosen up all those tense muscles….great for the body and soul.

Photo by: Thermae Bath Spa
Photo by: Thermae Bath Spa