I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Bath; vaguely planned months ago as the first stop on my round-the-world trip, the extent of my knowledge of Bath was limited to the frequent references Jane Austen makes of it in her novels. Believing the baths to be similar to the pseudo-ancient Sutro Bath Ruins in San Francisco, I didn’t appreciate until arriving that this was actually an ancient city with history dating back almost 2000 years!

The Roman Baths (shown below) are one of Europe’s best preserved sites dating back to 70 AD.

Immediately upon arriving I understood why this entire city has been listed as a World Heritage Site.

The Circus and Royal Crescent (shown above) are iconic examples of the city’s Georgian architecture – they’ve now been converted to townhouses listed for a cool £6-8 million each!

The first thing I noticed was the harmony of the city – old and new lives side by side so easily here. From ancient roman remains and 18th century architecture to the Apple Store and Urban Outfitters, centuries of history and culture literally coexist on top of each other.

I was excited to see firsthand that Bath isn’t just a tourist destination – it’s actually closer to resembling an extremely historic college town, with over 16,000 students enrolled at the University of Bath and giving a youthful vibe to the entire city. (It was Graduation Day when I arrived! Bath Abbey Square was filled with happy new graduates and their families taking pictures and celebrating.)

The city was the perfect size for one of my all time favorite activities: wandering. While the entire city is 11 sq miles the actual downtown area is quite small and almost impossible to get lost in for long. One of my favorite tidbits of the city was that almost all of the buildings were constructed using the same Bathstone from a local quarry so that, regardless of size, shape or detailing, all of the buildings were complementary, both alike and unique at once…

Besides the beautiful ruins and Georgian buildings, the city is also home to the Pulteney Bridge, one of two famous bridges having shops built across its full span on both sides (so that when walking or driving across, one doesn’t even recognize they’re crossing a bridge. Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy is designed like this too.)

Another unexpected surprise was learning that Bath is an important center for the study and preservation of Fashion! The Fashion program at the University of Bath is expansive working closely with the city’s Fashion Museum, listed as one of the Top 10 museums of fashion in the world with a huge collection of dresses dating back almost 300 years.

And last but not least, what an amazing discovery to find California Mission-style burritos in this small town 5000 miles from home! Bath really does have it all…

Thanks for reading!

xo Carrie