Friday, 22 November 2013

Walking in Bath

 Walking beside the River Avon

We took the early bus to Bath, and took a sunny short walk along the River Avon past the old warehouses. These buildings will be incorporated in the  future development of large shopping malls and restaurants further along, and facing the river. The warehouses are listed buildings, and note the white, jutting out box-like structures to the left, that once contained pulleys and ropes for hauling wares up from and down to the barges that once carried goods to Bristol and to London along the Kennet and Avon Canal, that connects with the river here.  

 Feeding the ducks in Royal Victoria Park.

This beautiful park was opened in 1830 by the 11 year old Princess Victoria, and was the first park to carry her name.  It includes an obelisk dedicated to her.  It was privately run as part of the Victorian public park movement until 1921, when it was taken over by the Bath Corporation.

The park is overlooked by the Royal Crescent and consists of 57 acres with attractions that include a skateboard ramp, tennis courts, bowling green, a putting green, a boating pond and a 12 and 18 hole golf course.  There is a play area for children and a 9 acre botanical garden.

the botanical gardens were formed in 1887 and contain one of the finest collections of limestone living plants in the West country.  The gardens contain a replica of a Roman Temple, which was used in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924.  In 1987 the gardens were extended to include the Great Dell, a disused quarry that was formally part of the park, and which contains a large collection of conifers.

 The Royal Crescent.

This beautiful Grade 1 listed crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent.  Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger, they were built between 1767 and 1774, and it is one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom.  Although many alterations have been made to the interiors, the facade remains as it was when first built.

Many notable people have either lived or stayed here, and blue commemorative plaques are attached to the relevant buildings.  The Royal Crescent now includes an hotel and a Georgian house museum, and some houses have been converted into flats.  It is a popular location for the makers of films and television programmes, and is a major tourist attraction in its own right.

After our walk we went into Bath Abbey to listen to a concert given by St Andrew's School, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Benjamin Britten.  I will write about the concert in a later blog.  Unfortunately I never managed to drink a pint of beer on Friday.   What a shame!

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