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Visiting Bath By Narrowboat - Canal Boat Visit To Bath
Bath, England - Bath Tourist Information - Bath Abbey - Bath Attractions
We visited Bath, Somerset on the Kennet & Avon Canal and River Avon Navigation as part of our summer cruise 2010.
Bath is situated 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 13 miles (21 km) south-east of Bristol and was granted city status by Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1590, and was made a county borough in 1889 which gave it administrative independence from its county, Somerset. The city became part of Avon when that county was created in 1974. Since 1996, when Avon was abolished, Bath has been the principal centre of the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES).
Bath is connected to Bristol, its docks and the sea, by the River Avon, navigable via locks by craft up to 75ft with a beam of up to 16ft and an air draught of 8ft 9ins. The River Avon was connected to the River Thames and London by the Kennet and Avon (K&A) Canal in 1810 via Bath Locks. The K&A Canal passes through parts of Somerset and Wiltshire terminating at Blake's Lock in Reading close to Kennet Mouth, uniting towns like Bradford-on-Avon, Devizes, Hungerford and Newbury along its course.
This interesting waterway closed for many years, but was restored and re-opened, mainly due to the efforts of The Kennet & Avon Canal Society, during the last few years of the 20th century. Bath is now a popular destination for narrowboats, widebeams and other small craft particularly hire boats from Foxhangers, Bradford-on-Avon and Hilperton.
There are many 'continuous cruiser' boats on the western stretch from the Caen Hill Lock Flight to Bath, that have apparently become 'continuous moorers'! Some of these boats look ready for the breaker's yard, not giving a very good impression of the great waterway that the K&A is.
There are only a few tightly restricted British Waterways visitor moorings above Bath Locks, a greater number of BW VMs west of the Bus Station on the River Avon (railings) and east of Churchill Road Bridges as well as a small number of chargeable Bath Council moorings on the River Avon Navigation on the wall below the city weir above North Parade Bridge - Mooring tickets can be purchased: £4.50p per visit (up to 12 hours during the day), £9.00p for 24hrs or overnight - from the Leisure Centre, North Parade, adjacent to the moorings.
Our first visit was on the way downhill to Bristol and we stayed 48 hours on the Top Lock moorings. The first day we ventured into town and used the open topped Bath CitySightseeing, Hop On - Hop Off Bus tour to get an overall view of the city. We had great views of many of the visitor attractions of Bath, including: The Royal Crescent, The Circus, Pulteney Bridge, The Royal Victoria Park and much more. Your 24hr ticket also entitles you to visit Sally Lunn's Museum - Sally Lunn's is home of the Sally Lunn Bun and take the (included) Skyline Hop on - Hop Off Bus Tour, which we did, skirting out to the east of Bath, giving views from above the city.
The second day we went into Bristol by bus so that we could make the best of the planned short stay there in the Floating Harbour later in the cruise.
Our second visit was on the uphill return from Bristol when we stayed 24hrs
on the Bath Council moorings (close to the city centre below the Bath Weir)
and walked into the city followed by 48hrs on the top lock moorings again when
we visited The Roman Baths (chargeable - allow at least 2hrs) and Bath Abbey
with its Heritage Vaults Museum (both free entry but donations verbally requested
at the entrance - allow at least 1hr in the Abbey and 20mins in the small underground
Bath was first established as a spa resort with the Latin name, Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") by the Romans in AD 43 although verbal tradition suggests that Bath was known before then. The Romans built baths and a temple on the surrounding hills of Bath in the valley of the River Avon around hot springs, which are the only ones naturally occurring in the United Kingdom. Edgar was crowned king of England at Bath Abbey in 973. Much later, Bath became popular as a spa resort during the Georgian era, which led to a major expansion that left a heritage of exemplary Georgian architecture crafted from the mellow wheaten gold Bath Stone.
The City of Bath was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987. The city has a variety of theatres, museums, and other cultural and sporting venues, which have helped to make it a major centre for tourism, with over one million staying visitors and 3.8 million day visitors to the city each year.
Bath has two universities and several schools and colleges. There is a large service sector, and growing information and communication technologies and creative industries, providing employment for the population of Bath and the surrounding area.
Bath is on National Cycle Route 4, with one of Britain's first cycleways, the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, to the west, and an eastern route toward London on the canal towpath.
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