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Beauty and beyond

With a history that takes you from Roman to Regency times and on into the 21st century, the city of Bath is the perfect year-round destination

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Dip into Bath and you’ll discover one of the world’s architectural masterpieces. Nestled in a sheltered valley and surrounded by lush countryside, Bath is nourished by natural hot springs – the same thermal spa harnessed by the Romans. Far from a museum piece, Bath is a vibrant, modern city, boasting a stunning 21st century spa complex – the only place in the UK where you can relax in natural thermal waters.

The city has been welcoming visitors for over 2,000 years. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the UK’s only city – it’s easy to see why. From the iconic Royal Crescent and The Circus to Pulteney Bridge, around 5,000 listed buildings can be found, all constructed in golden stone.

Yet, Bath does not rest on its considerable historic laurels, Roman, Georgian or otherwise. It is a thriving, vibrant and prosperous community, today perhaps more than ever. Throughout the year, festivals, theatre and vibrant street entertainment brings excitement and life to this beautiful city. There’s the Jane Austen Festival (Sept 13-21), which in 2013 will be celebrating 200yrs of Pride & Prejudice and the Great Bath Feast (Oct 1-31), that applauds Bath’s chefs, restaurants and the best of the region’s local produce. At the end of the year the festivities culminate with the region’s most enchanting event, the Bath Christmas Market (Nov 28 – Dec 15), which is a delight to behold as well as a great place to shop in the cold, winter months.

But Bath is a city that’s ripe for discovering whatever time of year. Famed for Britain’s only natural thermal waters, it’s the perfect destination for a spa break. You can visit the famous Roman Baths and see the extensive remains of this former temple and bathing complex. And just a short walk away is the Thermae Bath Spa, featuring an impressive rooftop pool where bathers can relax and soak up wonderful views as well as a choice of over 50 different treatments to try.

To really get to grips with the city, hop on an open-top bus tour or for a spectacular aerial view spoil yourself and take to the skies with a champagne hot-air balloon flight. Back on land; don’t forget to head to the Jane Austen Centre to learn more about the city’s most famous resident whose knowledge of the city is reflected in two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both of which are largely based in Bath.

Bath is also a celebrated shopping centre, with a reputation that goes back to Georgian times. Set within a compact and accessible city centre the range of specialist and well-known stores leaves shoppers spoilt for choice. The city has a high proportion of independent shops with an excellent choice of boutique, gift and homeware shops. You’ll also find all the usual brand and high street names and the SouthGate shopping area is a great place to shop till you drop!

And if all this leaves you feeling hungry or thirsty there is a mouthwatering selection of restaurants, pubs and tearooms on every street. Set in a truly wonderful location with Wiltshire to the east, Somerset to the south and the Cotswolds to the north, a visit to Bath and its environs will leave you spoilt for choice.

For advice on where to stay including booking accommodation online, what to do and where to eat out go to or contact the Visitor Information Centre for a personal and helpful service on 0906 7112000.