Saturday, 12 April 2014

A Rainy Day in Bath: No. 1 Royal Crescent, the Fashion Museum & the Holburne

When I was on my way to Bristol last month, the train rolled through Bath Spa station, Bath was looking lush in the bright sunshine and I thought "wow, I miss this place, I really need to come back here for a visit sometime"... but I had no idea I'd be back there quite so soon.

It turns out I needed to take a trip to Bath for work this week, and with the afternoon to myself I made the most of it and of my Art Pass which gets me in free to a few places in the city (hurrah!) and which made me feel a bit better about the pricey last minute train fare!

Sadly the weather was rather unsplendid with lots of grey cloud and rain showers, but I still had a lovely time doing lots of touristy things. First up I headed to The Circus, the famous circle of houses built in the 1700s.


Just round the corner from the Circus are the Assembly Rooms, which are mentioned in novels by Jane Austen & Charles Dickens. It was interesting to see these spaces but my real reason for visiting was the Fashion Museum which is in the building's basement.


As a huge fan of all things textile-related I really enjoyed this museum! There were lots of different clothes (and accessories) on display, the information provided about them was interesting and there were fun dressing-up stations for adults as well as kids (I am always a bit jealous when museums just have kid-sized outfits and very much enjoyed trying on lots of bonnets and other slightly ridiculous hats).

I especially loved the "behind the scenes" section which displays garments as they're found in the museum's stores, so you can see the boxes they're kept in and learn a bit about how the pieces are stored, handled and generally cared for.


Also great: the inclusion of related extracts from novels and other texts of each period that mentioned the types of garments on display, and the comments wall which instead of asking for visitor comments about the museum (as these things usually do) asked for suggestions of other museums etc for textile-lovers to visit for inspiration. 

After having a bite to eat in the cafe, I headed to the Royal Crescent to admire the sweeping crescent itself and the not-especially-great-in-the-grey-weather view...

 
 
... and to visit No. 1 Royal Crescent, which is a house that's been "decorated and furnished as it might have been during the period 1776-1796" (much like how the Dickens Museum in London is set up as it looked when Dickens lived there) with letters and books on the desk in the study, the table set for dinner, etc.


The guides here were friendly and had lots of interesting stories to tell about the objects in each room and Georgian history aside it was a treat just to be able to peek into one of the buildings on this famous street and see the views from the windows.

Next I headed to the nearby Georgian Garden, which was a nice (free!) counterpart to visiting the Georgian house in the Royal Crescent.

 

Then I walked back to the centre of the city...

 

... over Pulteney Bridge...

 
 
 

... through the excellently named Laura Place... 


... and up to The Holburne, a free-to-visit art museum. The museum's galleries contain a whole bunch of paintings but my main interest was in the quirky collections of objects, especially the spoons, the cabinets of small treasures and the antique embroidery (this piece of embroidery and this bonkers beadwork basket were particularly delightful).



Then I walked back into the city centre...

 
 
 

I'd hoped to have a look round the Abbey or a cuppa and a bun at Sally Lunn's but sadly there wasn't much time before my train was due. So I just had a quick wander round the outside of the Abbey admiring the architecture...

 

... then bought a bite to eat for my train journey home and headed for the station, already starting to make plans to come back for another visit.

8 comments:

Ariadne Skyrianidou said...

I love your trips. You manage to see so much!That's what I try too. Great that you can make so much good use of your free Art pass!AriadnefromGreece!

Katie said...

Bath is so pretty! I must go back, missed the textile museum and Dickens house last time.

TroubleAndStrumpet said...

Thanks for posting about Bath - its easy to forget how special things are & take them for granted when you're there every week. I shall open my eyes & be a little more appreciative in future!

BugsandFishes said...

Ariadne - thanks! I always try and see as much as I can, especially on these further-away days out as the train fare is so pricey, gotta make the most of it!

The Art Pass is proving to have been an excellent purchase, I'm seeing lots of places I otherwise wouldn't have visited which is great.

Katie - it is a beautiful city. The textile museum is well worth a visit! The house isn't one of Dickens, though, it just reminded me of the way the Dickens museum is set up in London :)

TroubleAndStrumpet - I totally agree! I lived very near Bath for almost a decade and only used to visit for a bit of shopping now and then, never to just enjoy the city or to see the touristy sights.

Paula said...

Oh, what lovely photos of Bath. I lived there for 5 years in the late 1980s and early 1990s and had a wonderful time living there. Sadly the house prices there were way too high for me so back home to Wales I came. I love living in Wales but I try to get back to Bath once a year at least. My favourite place there is The American Museum up at Claverton Down. If you haven't been there I heartily recommend it.

BugsandFishes said...

Paula - yes, Bath is lovely but quite pricey! Thanks for the tip re: the American Museum :)

Dichohecho said...

There's a lovely patchwork/quilting focused shop called Country Threads, a wool shop almost opposite it called something like Wool, and then The Makery further up in town. The Makery has recently moved, hopefully to somewhere bigger. There's also The Guildhall Market which has haberdashery and an amazing jewellery shop, and the Vintage & Antiques market at Green Park Station was rather lovely when I went.

BugsandFishes said...

Thank you! I saw some of those shops on my walk back to the station and thought "I must remember to look those up when I get home" and promptly forgot all about it. I will def try and do some crafty shopping next time I visit the city :)

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