This year marks 300 years since the beginning of the Georgian era. But what’s so special about the Georgians? It was the Georgian period that completely transformed Bath’s society, architecture and history, helping to make it the beautiful and iconic place that it is today – we have a lot to thank them for! Did you know that Bath has a staggering 5,000 listed buildings and offers the most impressive Georgian architecture in the country?
Here are some top tips for exploring Bath’s Georgian connections and delving deeper into the city’s rich history…
1. Taking the Waters
Bath was an extremely popular destination to visit during the eighteenth century, as people came to take the waters. This expression refers to the sick and injured bathing in the naturally warm thermal waters, which were believed to cure many ailments. Visitors today can head to Thermae Bath Spa, the only place in the UK where you can bathe in the naturally warm spa water. With stunning views from the open air rooftop pool, it’s a truly unforgettable experience. Our Georgian friends also believed that drinking the thermal water was good for you – this can still be sampled today at the Pump Room Restaurant, although it’s certainly an acquired taste!
2. A Glimpse Into Eighteenth-Century Life
It’s hard not to be amazed when standing in front of the impressive Royal Crescent, but how about experiencing first-hand what it would have been like to live at this grand address? No.1 Royal Crescent is a recently renovated museum that offers a vivid picture of life in Georgian Bath. Explore the grand bedrooms of the gentleman and lady of the house, as well as heading downstairs to the original kitchen and scullery, servant’s corridors, housekeeper’s room and servants' hall.
3. Astronomic Discoveries
Did you know that the planet Uranus was discovered in Bath? You can visit the very same location of discovery today at the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, where astronomers William and Caroline Herschel once lived. The house and garden is open to the public, offering visitors a chance to step inside a restored Georgian house and view the original telescope and other equipment used to discover more about our night skies.
4. Local Delicacies
The Bath Bun was invented by Dr Oliver, whose patients loved them so much that their waistlines expanded at an alarming rate - they were quickly replaced with the savoury Bath Oliver biscuit. Today's Bath Bun is made from sweet yeast dough and often has a sugar lump in the centre. The bun is still served in Bath and can be enjoyed in the Pump Room Restaurant or in one of the traditional tea rooms near Bath Abbey. It’s a very tasty treat, so well worth a try!
5. A Work of Art
During the eighteenth century, some of the best portrait painters came to Bath, such as Thomas Gainsborough. He worked here for many years, and many of his paintings can be viewed in the magnificent Holburne Museum, which is free for visitors to enter.