The Theatre in London Study Abroad Program was flexible enough in the schedule that I could plan my own trip to one of England’s other cities. Jane, one of the trip leaders gave me websites I could go to to buy train tickets and find a cheap yet comfortable place to stay. With that help I was able to plan my own mini-trip to Bath for a weekend.
Day One: I found a tour company online called Mad Max who planned tours of the sites around Bath, the most exciting of which was Stonehenge at the end. The tour began at a village called Castle Comb, one of the most beautiful villages I’ve ever seen. It’s also quite famous. Steven Speilburg just finished filming his new movie Warhorse there.
Next we visited the Avebury Henge, a place far less well know but far more impressive than Stonehenge. In fact, you could fit several Stonehenges inside Avebury. Also, at Avebury people were free to walk through and around and actually touch the stones.
The village he took us to for lunch was called Lacock. It’s another very famous village, a few segments of the Harry Potter movies were actually filmed there, such as Professor Slughorn’s house in movie six, which I was able to see up close.
Then finally, we got to Stonehenge. Before I went up to look at it I purchased a pastry the British folk call a Rock Cake (a dense piece of dough with chocolate chips inside and sprinkled with sugar and baked) I found it to be appropriate and amusing. It was truly an amazing thing to see up close. I walked around it twice, despite how chilly it was that day.
Though I had planned to visit more restaurants while I was in Bath, I kept going back to Sally Lunn’s. I first visited this place after my Stonehenge Tour, they had a special deal for afternoon tea that day. I ordered the Bath Cream Tea which was accompanied by a bun with cinnamon sugar butter. The atmosphere mixed with the tea and bun made me feel completely at ease and relaxed and genuinely happy. I looked outside at the architecture of Bath and instantly felt like I was in one of Jane Austin’s stories.
Later that night I was walking around the town and discovered that I was there during the weekend of Bath’s International Music Festival. There were live bands playing absolutely everywhere. As soon as I was out of earshot of one venue, another would take it’s place. One of the happier accidents of my trip. Not caring how cold it was at night, I wondered around for several hours listening and watching different bands play.
Day Two: This was my day to really explore Bath. The town was small enough that I was able to see all the sites I wanted to. I started at the Royal Crescent, a very beautiful piece of architecture. After admiring it for awhile I visited the Jane Austin Museum and Fashion Museums, both of which were very interesting for me; but I noticed the looks on the faces of some men who were clearly dragged there by their girlfriends were less than enthusiastic. The Roman Baths was a site absolutely packed with tourists, the baths may have been more interesting if I had been able to approach them.
However, all was not lost because I did go on a wonderful tour of Bath Abbey; a tour that required you to climb over 200 steps to get to the top and see the bells. However, I cannot say it wasn’t completely worth it. The view from the top of the Abbey was breathtaking.
That was my own planned tour of Bath, the next day I got back on the train and made my way back home......to London that is.