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January 7, 2009
In response to Kilgore661’s question:
as to why I like the Francis Hotel so much, let me write a few sentences explaining my response to his pregnant question.
The Francis is a true English Hotel, not like the high-volume tourist hotels in London, the Francis caters to the English pensioner, groups that only stay for one night before their mammoth buses take them to another city and tourists like me who have selected Bath as a place to stay during their entire visit to England. My plan has always been to day-trip during the week and thoroughly enjoy the Bath experience during the weekends and early evenings during the week. When one day-trips from Bath to London, it is best to catch the earliest train which is the 557… that is the train that leaves Bath Train Station at 5:57 in the morning; so, late nights on-the-town in Bath is something that I have never really experienced.
The quality of the breakfast buffet in the Francis is unique to my taste (I spent two weeks at a hotel in York, just next to the railroad station and their breakfast buffet was very good). Nothing in Texas approaches the quality of the Francis, and the dinners are excellent. The room has always been very nice. The room that I have always stayed in borders Barton Street, which is on the east side of the hotel.
I have been to Bath maybe fourteen or fifteen times and for each visit, the time spent has been two-three weeks, but I am only a tourist who now wishes that he spent more time in English Literature and English History classes and did more class-work and study back then, so that I could appreciate the City of Bath even more than to the level I do now. What is so extraordinary about Bath is the concentration of marvelous things to see and to explore and what makes the Francis so incredible is that it is right in the middle of Bath and everything I will talk about is within walking distance of the hotel except for a bus ride to Prior Park. The only times that I have taken a taxi in Bath is either upon arrival with my suitcases or back to the Train Station upon departure.
First to get our bearings, Queen Square, which is in front of Francis Hotel, is bordered to the east by Gay Street, to the south by Chapel Row Street, to the west by Queen Square Street and to the north by Queen Square Place. Without a map, one can become confused with the similarity of street names in Bath… hint... hint.
Note: Before we begin, these tours contain abbreviated descriptions, but the actual GigaPan comments and/or the snapshots contain more information. Accessing Google can be very productive/rewarding to anyone who spends time searching.
*Walking Tour to Royal Victoria Park By Way of the Circus, the Royal Crescent and the Victoria Obelisk*:
So let us continue on our first walk as we explore Bath via GigaPans and snapshots: When we exit the Francis, our first walk will be north to the Circus and to the Royal Crescent and then continue west to Royal Victoria Park and then back to the hotel.
When we exit the hotel, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=13782&snapshot_id=38192,
we can either walk to the mailbox and drop off a letter, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7228&snapshot_id=20684
or walk straight past the obelisk,
and then make a right to Gay Street,
and continue north to the top of the top of the hill, which is the Circus:
The Plane Trees are gorgeous, no matter what time of the year:
As we leave the Circus, we walk west along Brock Street towards Royal Crescent (there are some very nice shops that you will walk by and some of the experiences therein may last a lifetime:
and as we approach the Royal Crescent, we have this great view:
where we can stop and have a party or maybe even join one (this party-time atmosphere has been going on for over 200 hundred years):
The view from Royal Avenue is one of the most incredible in all of England (not at the top of the list but close to it):
where all kinds of events take place:
People are always taking photos of the people or events or of the landscapes that can be seen from the Royal Crescent:
www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=5417&snapshot_id=25954. Note: John Woods the Elder started the Circus, but John Woods the Younger finished it as well as was the architect for the Royal Crescent. Kilgore661 has brought to my attention that the Circus, Gay Street and Queen Square form a Masonic Symbol... a key, which I did not know.
As we continue to Royal Victoria Park, we walk along Royal Avenue that turns into Cotswold Way and at that point, we see one of the most beautiful views in all of Bath and at the center is the Victoria Obelisk, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=4863&snapshot_id=25305. The view will have to be a surprise for you to see when you travel to Bath or when kilgore661 takes a GigaPan of it or when I finally return to Bath and I will take a GigaPan of it. As we walk towards the Park, we can walk south through the paths to the gardens, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=9802&snapshot_id=27929, and see where Bath citizens get their vegetables.
As we continue west, we find ourselves in a beautiful Park that the British take great care of and spend a royal fortune for upkeep:
It is amazing to see and someday, maybe, some gigapanographer will show us their GigaPans of this most beautiful Park.
After we complete out tour of the Royal Victoria Park and as we return to the Francis, there is much to explore on our own... the thrill of discovery, so-to-speak.
In the next few days, I will add another interesting tour of Bath. It will be appended to this comment and dated and we may take some day-trips to York and Salisbury and Wells to see the Cathedrals.
In the meantime, keep reading and writing:
January 9, 2009
*Walking Tour to Bath Abbey*:
If you are fortunate to arrive in Bath during late afternoon when sunlight is reflecting off of Bath stone as the train approaches the train station, you will readily see a number of church steeples and the most imposing; the view that will capture your sight more than any other is that of Bath Abbey: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=4863&snapshot_id=25302.
When leaving the Station, I would always walk north on Manvers Street, past the Baptist Church,
to the Abbey, but again, be careful of street names in Bath. This snapshot of Manvers Street also becomes Pierrepont Street and close to the Abbey, it becomes Grand Parade Street: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=10967&snapshot_id=40876
Bath Abbey is about four blocks east and four blocks south of the Francis and each different pathway is most interesting. I would always approach it from Stall Street: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=10967&snapshot_id=30351, and once I reached the Colonnade, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7536&snapshot_id=25797, well, you are now looking at a most memorable sight: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=3762&snapshot_id=25692. To your right is the Pump Room and a few more steps will take you to the entrance to the Roman Baths.
Entering the Abbey is very easy. Just walk through the door on the left and you will be inside and will be able to see stained glass and statues and a lot of history: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7547. I have never been able to gain access to the Abbey roof as what Kilgore661 accomplished, but if you are able to, then this is what you will see: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7536, including this view of the Roman Baths: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7536&snapshot_id=38934 (standing at the far end of the pool and looking back towards the Abbey is an exceptional view).
Additional GigaPans of the Abbey can be found at:
When leaving the Abbey, and before returning to the hotel, do yourself a few favors: visit the Roman Baths, enjoy High Tea inside of the Pump Room and do some shopping and or/ look at all the shop windows on Stall Street and all the English merchandise.
January 12, 2009
*Walking Tour to the Holburne Museum*
Now that we know where Bath Abbey is, we should never get lost in Bath, and so as we start our walk to the east to visit the Holburne Museum and St. Mary’s Church, it is easy to find Grand Parade Street: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7536&snapshot_id=41460.
As we look east from this vantage point, we will be right on top of the Weir on the Avon: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7466&snapshot_id=21176, and over on the other side of the Avon is a Maze. As we walk north towards Argyle Street, which, to our delight, we discover is the Pulteney Bridge, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7536&snapshot_id=21367, and up close:
After we cross the Pulteney, our next stop is the Henrietta Laura Pulteney Memorial: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=7541&snapshot_id=21387.
As we continue east, the street becomes the Great Pulteney Street and a block or so to the north is a street that takes us to a beautiful park, the Henrietta Park, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=9802&snapshot_id=28126, and if you examine this park either in Google Maps or Google Earth, you will readily see the circular path and all the trees and plants and flowers.
After we reluctantly leave Henrietta Park, we go back to Great Pulteney Street and to our left is the Holburne Museum: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=9802&snapshot_id=27920. There is much to be seen here and is worth several hours and there are gardens to be seen behind the Holburne. Afterwards, a walk to the south to see St. Mary’s Church is very rewarding: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=4833&snapshot_id=25496. This view of St. Mary's and Bath Abbey is, to say the least, awesome: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=9802&snapshot_id=27921.
As we walk back to the city center, the shops that you passed are all worth a closer look.
January 15, 2009
*Walking Tour to Bath’s Crescents – Lansdown, Cavendish & Somerset Place*
For this tour, we really should name it Search and Discovery. Before making this walk, please Google Earth search for Lansdown Crescent in Bath (Note: There may be other locations notated on Google Earth that are close to Bath, but are not the Lansdown Crescent we want to visit) and be very familiar with view in the Zoom Baby, Zoom GigaPan.
Although I will not provide an exact path to Lansdown Hill and the Crescents, I only suggest that you walk over to Bath Abbey and then walk by St Michaels and St Pauls Church, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=4863&snapshot_id=25313 and from there walk northwest. There are numerous streets that will take you to where you want to go, and each has many surprises and landscape views. This will really be a search and discovery effort. If we walk to Lansdown from the east, we will be very close to the other two targets.
Somerset Place, A Crescent:
And looking at these three Crescents in Google Earth, you will quickly see that they are immediately to the north of the Royal Crescent; so, a suggestion for a return walk is to walk back to the city via the Royal Crescent to see this great Bath icon: www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=4863&snapshot_id=25300, and then if time permits, a visit to the Pump Room for High Tea.
Note: A few words about the hotels in Bath. The Francis was initially selected because it is across from Queen Square. That was the only reason and I was pleased with the experience and every visit since then has been nice. No matter what price level you are looking for, all the hotels in Bath can be considered as excellent quality. Please remember that your take on a particular hotel may be different than mine; so, please search on the internet for hotels in Bath and make your own decision. Which ever hotel you select, you can always walk to Queen Square and start your tour form there.
This project could not be possible without the time and effort that kilgore661 and John Law have exerted in taking GigaPans of Bath and I give them great thanks for their accomplishment(s).
Note: As more GigaPans are added, I may extract from them to add to this text... this is a constant work in progress.
April 27, 2009
In a contest, Kilgore suggested that there were two GigaPans showing the Guild Hall Dome. I found six instances and they are:
6) And the last one I have found of the Guild Hall:
The Guild Hall is very close to the Abbey.
February 5, 2010
Your panoramas of Beckford's Tower are really spectacular: www.gigapan.org/searchGigapansList.php?ids=34582,36267,22134,22133
And a visit to Bath, especially during good weather requires a trip to the top of the hill to visit Beckford's Tower via the following methods:
But you have to remember that it's not an easy place to get to, being outside town on a road that doesn't lead to a centre of population. The simplest way is to get the No. 2 bus from town or a taxi for £4-ish, but that is hardly in the spirit of the walking tour idea. That said, it is quite a long walk from the Francis to Beckford's. There are three options:
1. From the Circus, the nearest point on your tour you need to get onto Lansdown Road. This is the road that runs past the tower and starts on the north edge of the city at the Paragon. The Circus is quite close to the start of the road, so basically you just go down Bennet Street until you get to the main road (i.e. Lansdown Road) and then start the long walk up the hill. Or catch the No. 2 there.
2. Again from the Circus, if you trace the route of Lansdown Road you can see that you could go north from the Circus and make up your own route before eventually heading east to Lansdown Road and walking up the hill or catching the bus. In terms of seeing historic buildings, I guess Lansdown Crescent is the place to head for - I guess there is a path through the park to the south of the crescent but I don't know that for sure. It would be a nice walk though. All of the buildings in this area are period buildings.
3. Go to the approach golf course north of Victoria Park and pick up the Cotswold Way. This is a long cross-county public footpath that goes through the park and eventually leads to Beckford's - you end up approaching the tower from the fields to the south-west of the tower rather than from the road.
And to visit the incredible Herschel Museum: www.gigapan.org/searchGigapansList.php?ids=39035,39057,39036,36546,42481 is just a short trip from the Francis, by turning left when leaving the hotel, taking the Chapel Row exit from the square (past church), keeping straight on at the first intersection and then turning right into New King Street. The museum is 150m on the left. It looks like a regular house from the street.
Your knowledge of Bath is truly remarkable! Have you considered applying for a job as a tour guide? Or how about suggesting to Bath Tourist Information that you be their Houston Outreach Worker? They would get bus-loads of people flocking here! :-)
Your panoramas of Beckford's Tower are really spectacular: www.gigapan.org/searchGigapansList.php?ids=34582,36267,22134,22133And a visit to Bath, especially during good weather requires a trip to the top of the hill to visit Beckford's Tower via the following methods:
"Ground Zero" is exactly the right expression - it is actually what the tour guides etc call the area around the Abbey :-)
Thanks as ever for your kind words.
August 28, 2009
This recent and spectacular Gigapan, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=29567, taken of Bath Abbey, Roman Baths and the Pump Room is *Ground Zero* of a Holiday in Bath.
Speaking from experience; visually, historically and experiencing maximum tourist enjoyment, there are few if any places in all of England that are so close together that are as memorable a visit as these three structures.
And if you want one more place to visit while you are in Bath, a very short walk through the walkway to the left of the Abbey will take you to the Parade Gardens, www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=22509, which you will love too.
April 28, 2009
Here is the 7th instance of a GigaPan of yours containing the Dome of the Guild Hall:
www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=3753&snapshot_id=67304Note: What this curent exchange between Kilgore and I is about, can best be described by going here:
Good job on finding that dome in so many panos. I would have guessed four when I set the puzzle - six is amazing.
Your knowledge of Bath is superb. It is way better than mine and I only live here!
Keep up the good work.
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