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The City of Bath takes its peculiar name from the Roman Baths that were built here between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, the remains of which can still be seen today. Since its earliest days as a Celtic settlement, the history of Bath is inextricably linked to the natural waters that rise up here. The heyday of Bath came in the 18th century when it became a fashionable spa town, and was a focus for English high society. Much of the architecture of Bath dates from this time, and the city is famous for its elegant Georgian townhouses and sweeping crescents. Today Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With plenty to see and do, it is an absolute must for any visitor to the UK. As well as a spa town, in its history Bath was also very famous as a religious centre. This was because of the magnificent Abbey that is still situated in the heart of the town.
There has been a church on this site since at least the 7th century. However the building that you can see today dates primarily from the 15th century, although traces of an earlier Norman church can still be seen in the Norman Chapel.
During the reformation in the 16th century the abbey suffered at the hands of Henry VIII and fell into disrepair, however within a few decades restoration work began. Since then the Abbey has been carefully modified and preserved, the result of which is today's superb building with its breathtaking interior.
There are numerous monuments and memorials to Bath's past residents within the church. And the elaborate exterior is also worth a second glance - the west front is said to be based on a dream of Jacob's Ladder that Bishop Oliver King had in the 15th century.
The Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults opened in the Abbey in 1994, and these contain an excellent exhibition about the history of the Abbey and the importance of religion in Bath's history. Bath Abbey is open to the public daily but times vary so check in advance. Entry to the main Abbey is free, but a donation is requested. Entry to the Heritage Vaults costs around £2 for adults.
Bath is inextricably linked to the famous writer Jane Austen. Not only did the writer live in the city for many years, several of her novels were set here. This Centre, located on Gay Street, between Queen Square and The Circus tells of the author's work, her home and family and the life she led in Georgian Bath. The Jane Austen Centre is open daily but hours vary according to day and season so do check opening hours in advance. Admission costs around £3.50 for adults.
Also at this end of the park, just off Gravel Walk, there is a beautiful walled Georgian Garden. Restored in the 1980s, this garden has original 18th century paths and flowerbeds, and it is planted in accordance with gardening traditions of that era.
In the western part of the Victoria Park there is Bath's Botanical Gardens and an aviary.
A devout Methodist, she raised extensive funds for the Methodist movement, and built several chapels with the money. Today the chapel is no longer used for services, but is home to the Building of Bath Museum and the British Folk Art Collection.
This art gallery and shop is housed in the Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, just off the Paragon. The museum houses a delightful collection of arts and crafts from the 18th and 19th centuries, whilst the shop stocks all manner of unusual crafts, trinkets and gizmos. Opening hours for the British Folk Art Collection vary according to day and time of year, so check in advance. Admission is free.