Bath

Bath

Bath, with its grand sweeping Georgian crescents is perhaps the UK’s most elegant city. Jane Austen and her contemporaries came here to ‘take the waters’ and to enjoy carriage drives, promenades, balls and card parties. Being the site of Britain’s only hot springs, the city also has a fascinating Roman history and visiting the well-preserved Roman Baths is a top visitor interest, as is enjoying the 21st century spa facilities at Thermae Bath Spa. The 14 episodes in this series will take you on a tour of the city’s key sights, telling you stories behind them through the writings of travellers, historians and authors. In short, here is all the research you would do yourself if only you had the time!


Bath Episode 01 Introduction

Welcome to Bath!

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Our introduction to Bath, which many people think is the UK’s most elegant city, will give you an overview, geographically, historically and culturally, and an introduction to the remaining 13 episodes: the places you will visit, the stories you will hear and the characters who have influenced the city over the centuries.

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Bath Episode 02 Roman Bath

Two thousand years ago in Bath

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Nowhere in the UK will you see better preserved Roman Baths than in the city of Bath! This episode centres on them and on the adjoining museum and explains what you can see there and what they tell us about the life of the Romans who built them: their advanced engineering skills, the key role the baths played in their social and business lives and something about their beliefs and customs.

Useful links

https://www.romanbaths.co.uk

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Episode 03 In and around the Abbey

Bath in medieval times

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This look at life in medieval and early modern times in Bath centres on a visit to the Abbey and to the streets around it. Find out why the coronation of Edgar, in Bath Abbey in 973, was so crucial for English history (and for all coronation services in the thousand plus years since then) and hear what to look out for on a visit.  Learn too about daily life in the city long before the Georgians and their elegant manners changed things radically.

Useful links

https://www.bathabbey.org
https://www.sallylunns.co.uk

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Bath Episode 04 Taking the Waters

The healing powers of Bath’s hot springs

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It’s over 11 thousand years since Bladud is said, thanks to his pigs, to have discovered the healing properties of the waters in Bath. This episode looks at stories of people bathing and ‘taking the waters’ in the city over the centuries, with a particular focus on the medieval and Georgian periods, then bringing things right up to date at the 21st century Thermae Bath Spa.

Useful links
https://www.romanbaths.co.uk
https://www.thermaebathspa.com

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Bath Episode 05 Gorgeous Georgian Architecture

18th century elegance in the streets of Bath

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Bath’s 18th century building boom left a legacy of lovely crescents and squares which are still today the most impressive areas of the city. This episode takes a look at how they came to be built, at the design ideas behind them and at what life was like inside, for the wealthy owners and also for their servants.

Useful links
https://museumofbatharchitecture.org.uk
https://no1royalcrescent.org.uk

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Bath Episode 06 The season, 18th century style

The era when ‘everyone’ came to Bath

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Hear what all those elegant visitors were actually doing all day (and evening!) when they came to ‘do a season’ in 18th century Bath. Find out all about the flamboyant master of ceremonies, Beau Nash, and the buildings you can still visit today which will conjure up the atmosphere for you: the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms.

Useful links
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bath-assembly-rooms
https://www.bathvenues.co.uk/pump-room-history
https://visitbath.co.uk/listings/single/pump-room
https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/pump-room-restaurant

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Bath Episode 07 Jane Austen’s Bath

Bath’s most famous resident

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Jane Austen’s novels are a window into life in Regency Bath, a city she lived in for a period and over whose ways she often raised a quizzical eyebrow. Hear what she herself did in Bath and how she presented the city in her writing, then find out where in the city today you can have some Jane Austen experiences.

Useful links
https://janeausten.co.uk
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bath-assembly-rooms
https://www.bathvenues.co.uk/pump-room-history
https://visitbath.co.uk/listings/single/pump-room
https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/pump-room-restaurant

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Bath Episode 08 Museums and Galleries

Lots of ideas for outings around the city

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Here we present a selection of Bath’s best museums and galleries: the Fashion Museum, housed in the Assembley Rooms and featuring clothes, ranging from Elizabethan-era gloves to the very latest ‘dress of the year’; the house where astronomer William Herschel discovered Uranus; the Postal Museum, telling the story of Bath’s revolutionary postmaster whose profits helped finance the Circus and the Royal Crescent and Bath’s two best known art galleries, the Holburne Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery.

Useful links
https://www.fashionmuseum.co.uk
https://herschelmuseum.org.uk
http://www.bathpostalmuseum.co.uk
https://www.holburne.org
https://www.victoriagal.org.uk

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Bath Episode 09 Parks and Walks

Taking the air in Bath

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A genteel walk – or ‘parade’ as it was known in the 18th century! – is a very ‘Bath’ thing to do and this episode will take you on lots. We visit some of the loveliest parks and explain their history; think Jane Austen at a fireworks display and a brief glimpse of Queen Victoria’s ankles. And we suggest some excellent city centre routes which take you past the things you most want to see, plus some more energetic ideas for leaving the city centre and getting out into the surrounding countryside.

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Bath Episode 10 Theatre and Music

Two staples of Bath’s long history of entertainment

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Hear a little of the history of theatre in Bath, including the story of the ‘Theatre Royal’, now more than 200 years old, and its predecessors. Find out how Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Sarah Siddons made their theatrical name in Bath, and hear about one of the city’s finest musical traditions, the genteel combination of tea and music in the Pump Room.

Useful links
https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk
https://www.bathvenues.co.uk/pump-room-history

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Bath Episode 11 A Bath Anthology

Readings to help you prepare or reminisce

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Squeezed into our anthology are lots of authors who wrote about the city and whom you’d enjoy reading before a visit or afterwards when you want to reminisce.  Or indeed when you are actually there: a spot of Jane Austen in Sydney Gardens, perhaps.  On this episode you will hear a selection of diary entries, travel-writing and fiction, all of it centred on Bath and providing plenty of new perspectives.

Useful links
https://mrbsemporium.com   –   (the best bookshop in Bath!  Bound to have a good selection of the authors mentioned here, as well as lots of other books on the city.)

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Bath Episode 12 Lacock and Corsham

A day out from Bath

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The first of three episodes suggesting days out from Bath, this one takes you to Lacock and Corsham. Hear about the widowed Mum of eight who founded Lacock Abbey in the 13th century, about the life of the nuns there and the village’s role as a popular film set. You’ve probably seen it in Pride and Prejudice, Wolf Hall or Harry Potter. Secondly, off to Corsham, home of Corsham Court and of a 17th century almshouse and schoolroom.

Useful links
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock-abbey-fox-talbot-museum-and-village
http://www.corsham-court.co.uk

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Bath Episode 13 A day out to Wells

A day out to England’s smallest city

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Less than an hour from Bath, a visit to Wells makes a lovely day out. Hear about the main attractions, including the cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace and learn lots of fascinating snippets: everything from bell-ringing swans to England’s last fighting Tommy, via a fight in a vineyard, the stabling of horses in the cathedral and a record-breaking Olympic gold medal.

Useful links
https://www.wellscathedral.org.uk
https://bishopspalace.org.uk
https://bishopspalace.org.uk/whats-on/swan-news
https://www.wellsmuseum.org.uk
https://wellswalkingtours.co.uk/wp
https://www.visitwellssomerset.co.uk
http://www.wellssomerset.com

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Bath Episode 14 Glastonbury

Somerset’s quirkiest town?

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This episode – the last in the Bath series – takes you on a day out to Glastonbury, home of the abbey ruins, the Tor, the King Arthur legends and one of the country’s most unusual high streets. Find out what happened to destroy the abbey, why a tree from Glastonbury was on Britain’s Christmas stamps in 1986 and what starring role the town played in the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.

Useful links
https://glastonbury.uk
https://www.glastonburyabbey.com

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