A Taste of the Bath Circus and Royal Crescent

What is your favorite kind of architecture?

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In Bath UK, two of the common attractions (besides the baths, themselves), are the Bath Circus and the Royal Crescent. Now, I’m a real sucker for patterns and symmetry, so I was excited to see them.

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When seeing pictures online, however, I was confused as to the difference between the two. They both looked the same!

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For others wondering the same: The Circus is a circle of townhomes surrounding a large roundabout and small lawn. The design was inspired by Stonehenge, and the circle has a similar diameter. It is considered one of the architectural masterpieces of Bath.

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The Crescent is a series of townhomes in a much larger arch overlooking a wide lawn. The curving facade was actually built before the buildings behind it, providing a uniform look to the complex. The mismatched buildings behind it can be seen from other streets, but the front sure is impressive!

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Both the Circus and the Crescent facade were built by the same architect – thus the uniformity – but they are two distinct places! We enjoyed visiting both.


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A Taste of Sham Castle

Have you ever visited a folly? Where was it?

When looking for alternate things to do in Bath, UK (besides the famed Roman baths swarming with tourists), we came across this unusual find: Sham Castle. It is precisely what it says: a complete fake. While the facade looks like a proper castle from the front, there’s nothing behind it. It’s missing a moat, a drawbridge, three other walls, and an interior.

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It was built in 1762 purely for aesthetics, and it now serves only as a fun picnic spot.

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Follies have been built all around the world for various reasons, and there are actually two more that overlook Bath: Brown’s Folly and Beckford’s Tower, both towers built in the 19th century. Many are built simply to provide jobs. Some are even purposely constructed to look like ruins, when an original never existed.

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Britain even has a Folly Fellowship dedicated to preserving these ornamental buildings.

Sham Castle provided a great excuse to take some pictures.. even if there were no ruins to explore beyond the front gate!

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A Taste of the Roman Baths

Have you ever visited a public bath or natural hot spring?

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Most people visiting Bath, UK do so to see its namesake attraction: the Roman Baths. Though entry is steep (about £20 per person, depending on season), it’s not something we could have reasonably skipped. Fortunately, it comes with an audio guide packed with a wealth of information about every facet of the space, including the history, the customs, and the architecture.

Due to the drive from Bristol (and restrictions on how early we could pick up the car), we weren’t able to arrive much before midday, when the place was already quite populated. We usually prefer to avoid crowds whenever we can, but we were out of luck on this one.

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This site marks one of the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire, and people from all over would flock here to benefit from the healing waters of Aquae Sulis. Dedicated to the goddess, Sulis Minerva, ancient visitors would also beseech the deity to exact revenge on thieves by writing notes on thin sheets of lead and tossing them into the spring.

The tour was more involved than I had remembered from my last visit for a school trip. We saw the various rooms, from dedicated men’s and women’s, hot and cold, soaking, sweating, and swimming. The ingenuity behind the heating system (hot air under floors raised by stone pillars) and the plumbing really highlights the impressive skills of the Romans.

We couldn’t touch the water, due to it being untreated, lead-lined, and full of algae, but we did sample the fresh mineral water from the Pump Room. Being warm and a touch salty, it wasn’t exactly “refreshing;” I’d personally rather bathe in it… which we later did at the Thermae Spa (hey, we couldn’t visit Bath without getting in a little pampering!).

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The Ultimate Day-Trip to Bath UK | Things to Do

Going to Bath was a must for us and a much-needed place to relax. The town is named after the Roman baths that have existed there for nearly two thousand years, which still remains a must-see for any visitors. While they are baths, they are not in operation as one and instead serve as a museum. We spent much of our time visiting the Roman baths, but there are so many other things to see in this charming old town. If you only have a day, these are some of our top things to do in Bath. Make sure to check out our video recap below as well!

View from Pulteney Bridge
View from Pulteney Bridge

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40 Days in The British Isles: Preview

The UK and Ireland were not originally on our list for our world tour, as we knew they would be expensive countries. However, with enough house-sitting, we made the trip very affordable. Thankfully, this allowed us to stay for about a month and a half while seeing some top sites and even getting out into the countryside. Being in some English-speaking locations for a bit was refreshing. Seeing what felt like America’s great uncle was also fascinating as there were so many similarities. Here is a sampling of some places we visited and a short video with the highlights from this part of our world trip.

The London Eye

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