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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in bath
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in bath, Bed and Breakfast!
Bath is an historic resort (spa) town and World Heritage Site in the English county of Somerset, situated 100 miles west of London and 15 miles (25 km) south-east of the nearest big city Bristol. A unique location, Bath is famous for its hot springs, Roman period baths, Medieval heritage and stately Georgian architecture. Set amongst the rolling Somerset countryside, Bath (population 90,000+) offers a diverse range of attractions for its millions of visitors each year: restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and nightclubs, along with interesting museums, and a wide range of guided tours.
Bath is the oldest of England?s principal tourist destinations and has been welcoming visitors for millennia. The three hot springs within the city were sacred to the Celtic goddess Sulis, whom the Romans later identified with the goddess Minerva. Bath first achieved its status as a sacred spa site with the growth of the Roman settlement Aquae Sulis around the thermal springs. The Roman period saw a vast complex of baths constructed - the remains of these were re-discovered in the 18th century and helped fuel Bath's modern revival as a luxury resort.
Bath was a prosperous city in the Medieval period, the site of an Abbey and Cathedral (under the Bishop of Bath and Wells). The Reformation under Henry VIII saw some uncertainty emerge in Bath's future, although the reign of Elizabeth I saw the first revival of the town as a spa resort. It was during the Georgian period, however, that Bath came once again into its own. Exceedingly fashionable, Bath was laid out in stately avenues, streets and crescents, encrusted with Neo-Classical public buildings.
Bristol International Airport (http://www.bristolairport.co.uk) is situated 20 miles from Bath and boasts scheduled flights from major European cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Paris and Prague (but not London). By public transport catch the Flyer bus service from the airport to Bristol Temple Meads station, then the train from there to Bath; expect the journey to take about one hour, and longer between 4pm and 6pm when Bristol's roads are congested.
Southampton Airport (http://www.southamptonairport.com) is under 2 hours from Bath by train, and connections are good. It is served mainly by the budget airline Flybe, flying mostly to European destinations.
The alternative is to use one of the London airports and travel on to Bath by train, car or bus. The most convenient are:
Bath Spa station is located in the city centre and has regular inter-city and regional train services from Bristol, London, Reading, Salisbury, Southampton, Weymouth and Swindon. From London, you should travel from London Paddington station. There are several through trains an hour which take around 1 hour 40 minutes for the journey. Train times (from any location) can be found on the National Rail Planner (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/planmyjourney/) or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK. There are no luggage lockers in the station, but you can leave your bags in a lost luggage office at a nearby coach station for a small fee.
Get off the M4 at Junction 18, follow signs for about 5 miles.
Parking in central Bath is often a nightmare and two hour limits apply on many streets. Major central multi-storey car parks are based at Ham Gardens (near the bus and train stations) and Charlotte Street (off Queens Square). A Larger parking lot is available in Victoria Park, adjacent to the Royal Crescent. Average 2004 rates are around £1 - £1.50 an hour -or the more prohibtive 30p per 10 minutes in the most convenient street locations.
The best way to drive into town is to use the park and ride facilities (http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathNES/transportandroads/Parking/parkandride/default.htm) when travelling into Bath for the day. You can park for free and then take a bus for £1.70 per person return (round-trip, discounts exist) right into the city. The only downside to this is that the last bus leaves at 8:30pm, so you can't use this service if you're staying in Bath late.
Coach station is not far from the railway station.
Most locations in Bath are easily walkable from the city center and stations. Bath's roads can be quite congested and driving is not particularly to be recommended for local journeys, but is probably the best way of seeing the surrounding region.
Typically for British public transport, public buses are at best adequate. A popular 'Park and Ride' bus system operates from a ring of parking lots around the outskirts of the city (Newbridge, Lansdown and Odd Down).
The regular bus service runs to and from central Bath morning to evening (7pm). Tour buses complete an enjoyable circuit of main attractions - these can be picked up en route or at the main bay at 'Bog Island' near Bath Abbey. Attractions en route include the historic Royal Crescent, The Circus - and some tour bus companies include a route up the winding Ralph Allen Road past the impressive Prior Park Gardens. Tickets cost between £6 - £8 for the 45 minute, hop-on, hop-off service.
Museums and Galleries
Theatre Royal - The historic Theatre Royal (http://www.theatreroyal.org.uk) in the Sawclose, near the city centre, opened in 1805. It offers a rich programme of drama and other entertainment throughout the year, ranging from traditional pantomime at Christmas to Ayckbourn, folk singers, opera and Shakespeare. Programmes in the past few years have included a summer season mounted by the distinguished director Peter Hall. In addition to the main house, the Theatre Royal has two smaller performance spaces - the Ustinov Studio and a (very) new theatre for children, the Egg - and three restaurants, The Valuts, the 1805 Rooms and the Egg Cafe.
Bath Golf Club - Excellent, free draining hilltop course. Not overly long but an excellent challenge for the mid-handicapper. Always in excellent condition. Located at Sham Castle, near Bath University.
Tracey Park Golf Club - Appealing 27 hole parkland course between Bath and Wick (bristol). The Crown course is superior to the Cromwell course, which has some newish holes. Nice clubhouse.
Lansdown Golf Club - Narrow fairways are a feature of this hilltop course next to Bath racecourse: can get windy.
Entry Hill - Municipal, nine-hole learners course. Not bad now that the trees have grown up. Superb views over Bath.
Orchardleigh Parkland Golf Course (http://www.orchardleigh.net/Golf.htm) - Classy parkland layout near Frome (10 miles from Bath). Lots of trees and water - virtually impossible to get around without colliding with some wood or finding the drink. Quite tight, with firm fairways in summer. Also a bit of a wildlife haven and there is a French-style chateau on the drive in.
Bowood - Very long, challenging championship course near Chippenham. Bring a trolley! Superb greens. A gem of the area.
Bristol & Clifton - Mature, well tended course near M5, a real pleasure to play.
Knowle - Tight, tree-lined, not overly long - several well known golfers associated with this course.
Castle Combe - Millionaire's golf - quality layout, hilly in parts, pricey, off junction 17 of M4. Course attached to the charming Manor House.
Erlestoke - 'Middle of nowhere location' (well not quite as its near the Westbury White Horse) this is a parkland gem with some cracking holes. Best rate is Monday twilight.
Wells - There are several reasons to make the 20-mile trip over the Mendips from Bath to Wells: the stunning cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and swan-filled moat, and the old golf course that winds up and down the hillside on the outskirts of the city.
Marlborough - An hour's drive from Bath towards London. Hugely appealing parkland layout with a tough opening hole. Excellent weekend twilight rate.
Wales - Make the short drove west from Bath, over the Severn Bridge into Wales, for a choice of quality courses near Cardiff, including Celtic Manor (Ryder Cup host 2009), St Pierre, Radyr and Wenvoe Castle. Rolls of Monmouth is also good.
Bath's Cricket Clubs
Visitors to Bath wanting to enjoy a summer afternoon watching cricket have some lovely grounds that welcome spectators for saturday and sunday fixtures:
Bath Cricket Club - Nestled in the 'bowl' beside the River Avon, the Bath Cricket Club has an imperious setting. The church on South Parade offers a picture perfect background. Located on North Parade, five minutes walk from the train station. Bath Cricket Club are one of the stronger regional league sides.
Lansdown Cricket Club - Former early 1970s home of Viv Richards, Lansdown Cricket Club is an equally attractive ground at the upper end of Bath. Located at Combe Park, next to the Royal United Hospital (near Weston village). Bus number 14 runs to Weston from Bath town centre).
There is a free walking tour of the city that lasts about 2 hours and is a great experience. More information about it and others can be found here (http://visitbath.co.uk/site/travel_and_tours/tours_round_up).
Bath is home to the University of Bath, a well respected institution with a focus on science and management subjects.
Many Bathonians are employed in the tourist industry. There is also a thriving retail and dining industry.
Bath is arguably the best city outside London for shopping. Some excellent boutique shopping to be had in the upper part of the city, notable for its art and antiques. Head up Milsom Street to George Street and beyond.
The idea that Bath is a 'posh' city is dispelled by a weekend tour of the bars in the lower part of the city. Most aren't worth bothering with, but a few stand out.
There is a definite shortage of cutting edge nightclubs in Bath. Expect bog-standard commercial dance on popular nights. Serious clubbers travel to Bristol or London.
Accommodation in and around Bath ranges from budget hostels and smart, comfortable self-catering homes, through elegant bed and breakfast and guesthouses, hospitable farms and inns, to top-of-the-range hotels.
Bath Spa Hotel is the celebrity's favourite: this author has personally seen Joan Collins and Felicity Kendall. A nice grotto is a feature of the large front lawn. Adjacent to the attractive Sydney Gardens - a great starting point for the mile-long canal walk to Bathampton village.