The Romans established Bath in the year 43 AD and this city, awash with fabulous architecture, history and culture, has been welcoming travellers ever since. Many of Bath's great buildings date back from its renaissance in the 18th century when it again became a fashionable spa town and played host to royalty and the cream of aristocracy, who famously visited the city to 'take the waters'. Today visitors can walk around the old Roman Baths, enjoy the splendour of Bath Abbey or simply take in the breathtaking Georgian architecture of this beautiful city, which somehow managed to escape the ravages of industry and the Luftwaffe.
Jane Austen lived and based several of her books in Bath, and on Gay Street, near her home, visitors can find the Jane Austen Centre, which allows visitors to immerse themselves in her life and times. For an authentic feel of life gone by, period decorations and furniture have been reinstated at No. 1 Royal Crescent, so that the house appears as it did in its days as a fine 18th-century townhouse.
Bath is home to much older attractions than its Elizabethan assets, including the famous ancient Roman baths, situated over natural hot springs. Bath was a prosperous tourist destination as early as its Roman occupation, when the baths were built, and continued its reputation as a therapeutic health resort through the medieval period.
Though architecturally Bath is something of a period piece, it is also a very modern city. Its restaurants and pavement cafés are packed full of local businessmen and artisans, and its cinemas, pubs, and nightclubs keep its residents entertained each evening. Bath's answer to Camden Market is Walcot Street, where a bohemian street market takes place each weekend, its parks and gardens are also popular for relaxing and enjoying pleasant weather.
The International Music Festival marks the beginning of summer and adds to Bath's lively, festive atmosphere. Its Theatre Royal is one of the country's leading provincial theatres, attracting big names and pre-West End show runs.