I love going to Bath as you've probably gathered if you read my blog - it's a bit like Jane Austen fairyland for me. From the minute you see the signs on the motorway and make the turning onto the winding, leafy road which descends into Bath itself, I always feel as if I've left the real world and made my escape! Part of the pleasure is the feeling that you are going back in time as you travel past the Tollgate tea shop,which is always busy at any time of day, Dyrham Park, a lovely 17th century Baroque house, and little villages, no more than a few houses each with tantalising names like Pennsylvania - yes, really!
This top photo shows a view looking toward the Cross Bath - the view from the other end was used in the filming of Persuasion. There is something so elegant about the line of columns - so pleasing to the eye!
I don't think there is anywhere else in England where there are so many examples of Georgian houses and buildings all in one place. Although I've been many times over the years there are still new places I find, interesting shops, museums, restaurants and pubs to discover, not to mention all the wonderful walks to go on. I always come back with aching legs! Recently, I saw these amazing sculptures in the square by Bath Abbey - the contrast between old and new made a good photographic opportunity.
The last view is of Abbey Green just a short step away from the Abbey itself. This area with its little shops and lanes is a favourite of mine - narrow alleyways lead off to places like Sally Lunn's, and the Bath Sweet shop - still a favourite with my children, and take one's footsteps to the river and Pulteney Bridge.
Writing in June 1799 Jane Austen wrote about Bath shops to her sister and about her purchases:
My cloak is come home. I like it very much, and can now exclaim with delight, like J. Bond at hay-harvest, "This is what I have been looking for these three years." I saw some gauzes in a shop in Bath Street yesterday at only 4d. a yard, but they were not so good or so pretty as mine. Flowers are very much worn, and fruit is still more the thing. Elizabeth has a bunch of strawberries, and I have seen grapes, cherries, plums, and apricots. There are likewise almonds and raisins, French plums, and tamarinds at the grocers', but I have never seen any of them in hats. A plum or greengage would cost three shillings; cherries and grapes about five, I believe, but this is at some of the dearest shops. My aunt has told me of a very cheap one, near Walcot Church, to which I shall go in guest of something for you. I have never seen an old woman at the pump-room.
Elizabeth has given me a hat, and it is not only a pretty hat, but a pretty style of hat too. It is something like Eliza's, only, instead of being all straw, half of it is narrow purple ribbon. I flatter myself, however, that you can understand very little of it from this description. Heaven forbid that I should ever offer such encouragement to explanations as to give a clear one on any occasion myself! But I must write no more of this. . .