The Pulteney Bridge, Avon River
City of Bath
In the South West England, there is a town that is too pretty for words. It was founded in the 1st century AD by the Romans as a thermal spa (Aquae Sulis) and thus renamed Bath.
It’s current form started in the 18th century, under in King George III. We must give thanks to the hard and inspired minds of John Woods the elder (1704-1754) and the younger (1728-1782), and their interpretation of Andrea Palladio’s (1508-1580) concept of picturesque aestheticism. We now see the seamless integration of the The Roman Baths and temple complex, the remains of the city of Aquae Sulis, and the more modern English City.
Other architects and visionaries responsible for overall city landscape were Robert Adam , Thomas Baldwin and John Palmer.
Bath is also a must place to visit for any Jane Austen admirer 🙂
(above photo Royal Crescent © Christina West)
This Palladian bridge in the Prior Park Landscape Garden was built in 1755, and it is one of only four in the world. is set into a sweeping valley with magnificent views of the city of Bath.
(above photo The Circus © Robert C)
From ‘Obsession: John Wood and the Creation of Georgian Bath’, 2004, pp95-98).
The (originally ‘Kings’) Circus (South Eastern Section – c1762-6) bathed in the late October sun of 2007, one of the best autums I can remember. As ever, the play of light across the beautiful Bath stone allows this shot to become magical! (Best viewed large size.)It has been pointed out that the Circus was originally devoid of any plants or grass, being a circle of cobbles, since Wood intended the link to nature to be a direct one-to-one relationship between the architecture and its symbolism and the open skies above – ‘a dramatic and theatrical space where the architecture took centre stage’. Wood believed that there had always existed a temple to the Sun and Moon on Lansdown hill and the Circus was to be his recreation of a temple of the Sun, with the Royal Cresent the reborn temple of the crescent moon! As such the Circus is the same internal diameter (318′) as Stone Henge, itself an ancient temple of the sun.
(above photo Temple of Sulis Minerva Roman Baths © Andrew Cameron)
(44) 0 198 – 584 5420
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Wiltshire, BA12 7NW England
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14th February- 22nd February, Open daily
28th February- 29th March, Weekends only
4th April – 1st November, Open daily
Set deep beyond the forests edge, past the rolloing lawns is Longleat House, one Britain’s most beautiful and stately homes and among the best examples of High Elizabethan architecture. The first private residence to open its enormous doors to the public, Longleat is located near the towns of Warminster in Wiltshire and Frome in Somerset. Built by Sir John Thynne, mainly designed by Robert Smythson, in 1580, Longleat recalls countless storybooks and postcards. It is now home to the 7th Marquess of Bath, a direct descendant of Sir John Thynne, who is an artist, mural painter and sponsor to many aspiring artists.
Longleat House is set within 900 acres (400 hectares) of magnificent Capability Brown landscaped parkland. A further 8,000 acres (3,200 hectares) of woodland, lakes and farmland surround the estate! In the late 13th Century, a priory belonging to the Black Canons of the Order of St Augustine occupied the site where Longleat House now stands.
As you enter the property during spring, the road is bordered by a most beautiful garden of rhododendrons blooming in every colour. There are many different activities to partake in, including the House tour, Longleat Hedge Maze, the Safari Animal park, Safari Boat ride, Longleat Railway, Grounds & Garden Walks. The Library is also quite expansive, where books range from early medieval manuscripts to 19th and 20th-century children’s tales- much like air Longleat itself!
path to the Glastonbury Tor
Just hearing the name- Glastonbury- brings images to mind: Arthurian England and Avalon, magical druids, hordes of young people covered in mud listening to music. In life, Glastonbury Tor truly is a magical place. There is a reason that all these iconographic legends are attached to it. When we caught our first glimpse of the Tor; we were struck by its perfection. It appears as a hallucination, something too wonderfully perfect to be real.
As we climbed toward the tower on top of Holly Hill, I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of thousands of feet that have trod the same path over thousands of years. Arthur trod here; for as long as man has been in England, he has walked these paths. Saxon kings, Roman centurions, me.
The famous little town (10,,000 people) of Glastonbury is a bit hippie touristic these days. What we did, and highly recommend, is to stop in and grab a picnic from the many organic food vendors who line the streets. Definitely walk! Walk to the top of the High Street, make a right behind the abbey (duck in the back gate for a cute little garden and follow the signs up the back path towards the Tor.
We went totally hippie and brought divining rods (thanks Zoe!)- and I tell you they work! It was amazing to watch them cross as we transgressed the ley lines and power spots. One thing I found quite interesting, though in retrospect quite obvious, is that wherever I found a trampled oval from a resting sheep- I would invariably find a power spot where my rods would cross as fast as if someone grabbed them while in my hands! If you didn’t bring a pair, grab one in any of the shops and head out to do some magic yourself – your in Avalon!