CAN I WEAR MY SPEEDOS?

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - ASK THE TOUR GUIDE - CE­LESTE MITCHELL

You feel as though you are part of a Jane Austen novel and that English so­ci­ety of the 18th cen­tury and its so­cial life is bustling all around you,” says Stephanie Glass. Work­ing as a travel di­rec­tor for Trafal­gar for five years, Stephanie says she loves in­tro­duc­ing peo­ple to the ar­chi­tec­ture of Bath dur­ing her guided hol­i­days in the UK.

‘“Wow, it’s ab­so­lutely stun­ning!’ is the most com­mon thing I hear when show­cas­ing Bath to guests,” she says.

TAKE TO THE WA­TERS

“Where is the bath?” is one of the most com­monly asked ques­tions, be­lieve it or not. Of course Bath gets its name from the hot spring wa­ters that were utilised by the Celts and then the Ro­mans for pub­lic bathing. Any visit to Bath would not be com­plete with­out a visit to the Ro­man Baths.

It is a won­der­fully vis­ceral ex­pe­ri­ence vis­it­ing the baths – you walk along the worn stone sides of the Great Bath feel­ing the warmth and tak­ing in the smell of the sul­phurous vapours while see­ing the lay­ers of his­tory. You can also “take the wa­ters of Bath” by tast­ing some of the safe drink­able spa water at the end of your visit.

WHAT CAN I WEAR IN THE SPA?

Al­though the Ro­man Baths make for a great visit, un­for­tu­nately you can’t swim in this water, but you can do tai chi on the Ter­race Tues­day morn­ings. The nearby Ther­mae Bath Spa, opened in 2006, is now where you can en­joy the ther­mal wa­ters and spa treat­ments.

One of the most fre­quently asked ques­tions is, “can I wear my Speedos?”, and the an­swer, of course, is yes. We may be ex­it­ing from Europe but that will never stop the in­va­sion of Euro­peans wear­ing Speedos at the spa here!

AR­CHI­TEC­TURE MUST-SEES

The Ge­or­gian ar­range­ment of uni­form lime­stone cres­cents, squares, The Cir­cus and ter­races – that help make this whole city a UNESCO World Her­itage Site – leave you feel­ing like you have stepped back in time.

Not to be missed are the Royal Cres­cent, The Cir­cus (a his­toric street of large town­houses) , the Assem­bly Room and the Pul­teney Bridge over the River Avon.

PACK YOUR SNEAK­ERS

Bath is a walker’s par­adise. You can walk al­most any­where as the city cen­tre isn’t too big and many of the streets and squares have buskers per­form­ing, adding to the charm of the city.

The most pop­u­lar walk to over­look the city, with beau­ti­ful views and vis­tas, is known as the Bath Sky­line Walk. The 9.6km walk takes in an Iron Age fort, an­cient wood­lands and mead­ows and its guid­ance map is the most down­loaded map on the English Na­tional Trust web­site.

DON’T LEAVE WITH­OUT EAT­ING THIS

There are a few lo­cal spe­cial­ties to try while you’re in Bath. A Sally Lunn bun is a del­i­cate but rich, gen­er­ous brioche-style bun with a golden top and it mea­sures nearly 15cm in di­am­e­ter – per­fect for hav­ing with a bowl of soup.

The Bath bun is smaller and sweeter, with a lump of sugar baked into the bot­tom, crushed sugar sprin­kled over the top and of­ten cur­rants and raisins mixed through it.

It was in­vented by the 18th-cen­tury physi­cian, Dr Wil­liam Oliver, who treated pa­tients tak­ing the wa­ters at the Ro­man Baths. This bun re­sulted in ex­pand­ing waist­lines and was soon to be re­placed by the plainer, less fat­ten­ing savoury bis­cuit known as the Bath Oliver Bis­cuit.

Both can be sam­pled at The Bath Bun on Abbey Green.

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