Back to Bath: Art, Architecture and Atmosphere

In July I returned to the beautiful city of Bath – I told you I wouldn’t be able to keep away!  I very much felt at the end of my last trip that I wasn’t finished with the city; there was still so much I wanted to see, and many things I wanted to revisit.


Umbrellas lined the high street

First on the agenda was the Victoria Art Gallery.  I absolutely love galleries; I can spend hours and hours looking at paintings and making up stories for the characters in them (what better writing prompt?).  My favourite feature of the building was this incredible domed ceiling, painted with the signs of the Zodiac.  SAM_2094We sat under it reading for a while with a D.I.Y. hot chocolate from the machine, and the sense of beauty and magic of being in that space created the perfect atmosphere for reading some science fiction, namely Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler.  Feeling rested, we moved on to explore the main gallery.  It isn’t a very big exhibition space (though we only viewed the free, permanent exhibitions) but it is evident just how much thought they have put into utilising the space, and it was easy to spend a couple of hours there!

As it had made such an impression on me the first time, I made the decision to revisit Bath Abbey again while I was in the city.  This time, I decided to sit for a long while just soaking up the atmosphere, listening to the quiet chatter of the other wandering tourists.  For a recommended donation of just £2.50, there is so much to look at inside (I think we spent as long in there as I had done the first time I had visited the Roman Baths).  SAM_2124

With a little more time at my disposal, I also got a chance to admire the exterior – some of the details were fascinating.  Particularly startling were the angels climbing up and down the ladders – the ones heading downwards looked in pain, their wings back and their heads jutting out unnaturally.  We wondered if they had been sent down to Hell, but after questioning the volunteer on duty, it was confirmed they weren’t, merely moving down the ladder (though I still think they look frightening – you can click on the image below for a closer look).

After visiting the Abbey, we sat in the square watching a violinist perform – he was incredible!  Everywhere had such a great vibe, and the sun was shining…

On one of the days we walked uphill towards the Circus and the Royal Crescent.  There are some really nice shops in the streets between the two places – perfect for quirky souvenirs.

Easy walking distance from the Circus (literally a minute or so) is the Fashion Museum – my favourite part of the trip!  Generally I care little for fashion (think Andy pre-makeover in The Devil Wears Prada) but the exhibition was ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’, and it really was like walking through time.  There was something uncanny about the costumes, particularly the dresses, propped up in the displays.  It was easy to imagine the people who had once worn them, and many actually named the previous owners.

Fashion Museum

Fashion Museum

There was also a really interesting ‘behind the scenes’ section of the Fashion Museum, which showed where all the costumes were kept.  I thought it was a really good way of making something that would usually be tucked away behind closed doors part of the experience, and it was just as exciting as the main exhibition.

Sadly, I couldn’t stay in Bath forever… but I am determined to return; I’m still in love with the city, and I can understand why it captivated the hearts of so many great novelists, including Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.  There is still so much that I want to see!  If you want to read my post about my first visit to the city (where I stayed in an amazing Georgian Mansion), click here.

Until next time, happy adventuring!


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