Map of Bath Locks

Bath LocksThe preamble:Visiting the Kennet & Avon in May and September 2010, I stayed a day at Devises taking in the Caen Locks then moved onto Bath. Wow! what a city this is, the centre of which I have mapped out here.

The city: is a World Heritage Site with superb architecture of a homogeneous nature, just as Paris centre largely is. What I mean is that the city officials over the past three centuries have managed to keep the architecture style and building materials (Bath Stone) in keeping with those from the Georgian era when its latest renaissance took place.  The communal atmosphere is something to rave about. Everyone enjoys either sitting around in public squares relaxing and listening to well accomplished buskers (I suspect music academy students), sightseeing the superb architecture, visiting the various museums, eg the Roman Baths, and of course the Abbey is a gem and who wouldn’t want to take photos of its magnificent frontage?

The canal: the Kennet and Avon Canal which empties into a navigable stretch of the River Avon which starts in the centre of bath and extends to the Bristol Channel.

The Locks: are a true treasure and the towpath is well maintained and very largely metalled. Save your visit for good weather in May to September and walk the stretch I’ve presented here over and over again. Firstly, get out at breakfast time and wander along from Lock 7 to Sydney Gardens, and engage the boaters along the way in conversation, it’s that sort of place where people want to talk.

The wander: go down from Bridge 186 through Sydney Gardens along the majestic Great Pulteney Street crossing the tremendous Pulteney Bridge with (now) shops perched on, a smaller version of Ponte Vechio in Siena, Italy. Then head off down High Street and take in the bustling area around Bath Abbey. (See images below). If you end up near High Street and want some breakfast do call at the The Whole Bagel, Upper Burrough Walls and sample a toasted bagel filled with their superbly crispy bacon  and  ketchup no butter as I did every morning. (I have no connection with this establishment except admiration!). As of 20 September they have moved 4 shops to larger premises wher you can sit to enjoy your bagels.

The visuals: I have visually  recorded a typical walk from bridge 194 where the canal meets the River Avon, up to the two picturesque bridges in Sydney Gardens, a delightful spot. You can see my photos in a slideshow.

The Conclusion: I would earnestly encourage you to stay in Bath and take in a truly traditional British city with superb architecture which revives peoples appetite for visual and communal enjoyment. It makes an ideal centre point for visits to other stretches of the Kennet &Avon.

Geoff

Click on image for larger view:

Great Pulteney Street

Laura Place on Great Pulteney Street 

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge

River Avon with Abbey on the left

Grand Parade with River Avon and rear of Abbey on left

Bath Abbey from front

Front of Bath Abbey, with Abbey Churchyard in the foreground. A great place for atmosphere snacks and buskers.

Busking with Abbey front on left

Relax and watching the buskers in the square adjacent to the south side of the Abbey.