Country Living (UK) - - Travel -

Built on seven hills, the re­splen­dent city of Bath in North Som­er­set has been a cen­tre for recre­ation for more than 2,000 years – be­com­ing famed for its honey-toned Ge­or­gian ar­chi­tec­ture and pic­turesque Re­gency-era streets. Home to one of the UK’S few nat­u­ral ther­mal springs, the area has been the stuff of le­gend since King Bladud al­legedly cured his lep­rosy by bathing in the warm mud some 3,000 years ago. But it was the Ro­mans who re­ally es­tab­lished the city – nam­ing it Aquae Sulis and cre­at­ing a grand com­plex so they could bathe in its balmy wa­ters. The baths have more or less re­mained at its heart, and to­day you can still im­merse your­self in th­ese relics of the Ro­man Em­pire. But there’s more to Bath than the Ro­mans: dur­ing Saxon rule, in a crown­ing cer­e­mony that shaped the one car­ried out to­day, Edgar – the first king to rule over a united Eng­land – was coro­neted in the city’s monastery. In the 18th cen­tury, Bath was the place to see and be seen af­ter Queen Anne vis­ited in the early 1700s, lead­ing to grand de­vel­op­ments such as Queen Square and Prior Park. The city was also home to Jane Austen for five years and fea­tured ex­ten­sively in Northanger Abbey and Per­sua­sion. So rich is its his­tory, the en­tire area has been des­ig­nated a UNESCO World Her­itage Site, the only one of its kind in the coun­try.

Visit: Bath is cul­tur­ally rich, but his­tory lovers will ap­pre­ci­ate Pul­teney Bridge, the land­scaped lawns of Prior Park and the Re­gency-era splen­dour of the Royal Cres­cent. To see it from a whole new per­spec­tive, don sen­si­ble shoes and set out on the Sky­line Walk – a 10km foot­path through hid­den val­leys and tran­quil wood­lands (vis­it­

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