I was lucky to be able to book some extra cheap train tickets (hurrah) and even luckier that the weather forecast was for sunshine (double hurrah). Bath is always a gorgeous place but when the sun shines: wow.
The morning actually started out quite gloomy and grey, with lots of mist rolling across the countryside outside my train window. Once my train arrived I walked from Bath station through the city centre, crossing Pulteney Bridge which has the cutest little shops and cafes along it.
I'd planned to walk straight to the Holburne Museum (my first stop for the day) but ended up taking a short detour through Henrietta Park after spotting all that lovely autumn colour.
When I finally arrived at the Holburne, it was definitely time for a cuppa!
I had some tea and a slice of very tasty cake in the museum cafe, then headed out through the back gates for a nose around the area.
The museum backs onto Sydney Gardens which was originally created as a pleasure garden in the eighteenth century, with a maze and other entertainments. The maze may have gone, but there are still some interesting buildings to see and a series of ornamental bridges over the railway and canal which pass through the Gardens.
Apparently there was public outrage when the canal was first built as it had to pass through the newly built Gardens, but all the bridges are just so charming and the canal itself is rather picturesque as well.
Next time I'm in Bath I must try and find the time for a stroll along the canalside!
By the time I'd finished my stroll around the Gardens, it was turning into quite a glorious day. What a difference a bit of sunshine makes, huh?
I had a look at some of my favourite exhibits in the Holburne Museum - which is mostly free to visit, and a place I'd highly recommend - then visited their current exhibitions.
Gold, an exhibition of 60 works on loan from the Royal Collection, was small but perfectly formed... and very, very shiny! There was a really interesting mix of golden art and objects on display and it was fascinating to watch the short videos about the different techniques for working with gold as a material.
Accompanying the main exhibition is Honey Bee, an incredibly intricate golden paper cut sculpture by Nahoko Kojima. The shadows cast by this are almost as beautiful as the paper cut itself and the skill required to make such a thing, my goodness, just incredible.
I took my time walking back towards the city centre, enjoying the sunshine and the details of all the Georgian buildings (the rows of chimney pots, the symmetry, the smart front doors, etc). My eye was caught by this little watering can - I just love how it's the same colour as on the scaffolding outside the building.
My next stop was the Bath Postal Museum. I have to admit to going round in circles trying to find this museum! It turns out that it's in the basement of the current Post Office, and though it's listed as being on Northgate Street the entrance is actually tucked away on Green Street.
If you're interested in things like stamps and letter boxes (which I totally am) or you just love a nice little quirky museum this is a great place to visit. It's really thoughtfully put together, with a good balance of fun facts and nerdy details plus some interactive stuff for the kids - or not-completely-grown-ups, like me!
I was especially fascinated by their current exhibition, Wreck Mail: Letters from the Deep, a collection of letters that were carried on ships lost at sea due to enemy fire. The museum also has an extensive digital collection on its website of letters, postcards, etc, which includes lots more letters from shipwrecks (and mail from air crashes, too).
After exploring the Postal Museum I grabbed a quick bite to eat then walked to Queen Square to visit the (now finished) Gathered Threads exhibition. Local textile artists had created work inspired by objects in the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution's collection. The finished pieces were so varied and it was fascinating to see which objects had inspired each work and how each artist had translated a fossil or a fragment of pottery into fabric and thread.
The square was looking lovely in the sunshine!
To make the most of the autumn sun (which was rapidly sinking in the sky), I walked through Victoria Park...
... on my way to my final touristy stop for the day: the Royal Crescent.
The Royal Crescent is always worth a visit simply because it's gorgeous, but you can also go inside one of the houses - No.1 Royal Crescent - which recreates a Georgian home, so you can step back in time and see how people lived in Bath when the Crescent was first built.
I'd visited the house before but wanted to make a return trip as they had a temporary exhibition of dolls houses and I can never resist an exhibition of dolls houses (so much tiny stuff! so many interesting details!)
I had a quick wander through the house, spent ages looking at all the dolls houses (delightful!), then met up with a blogger friend for some tasty cake and lots of nattering about making and blogging... and then, sadly, it was time to bid Bath farewell and head homewards.
Fingers crossed it takes less than a year and a half before I'm back there again!