Before Christmas, we decided to take a day trip to Bath- a quick 1.5 hour train ride west from London. Once we arrived, we started from the train station and walked almost directly to the Roman Bath Museum in the heart of the mostly pedestrian city. Across from the museum is the famous Bath Abbey, where a round of Christmas performances were happening all day long and the opera singer we heard on our way into the museum was incredible.
The waters below were steaming hot, despite the chilly temperatures. These have been used as baths since AD 60 and later in the 17th century, people would come from far and wide to "take the waters" (believed to have curative properties). I definitely remember seeing visits to Bath on one of my favorite shows, Downton Abbey. :)
Walking around outside town- this is the Pulteney Bridge over the river Avon. The scene where Javert jumps off the bridge in Les Miserables was filmed right here. There are definite similarities to the architecture in Bath and France, where the original Les Mis story was based.
View of Pulteney from the other side- you can see the familiar weir below that Javert fell into. Shops span both sides of the bridge and its totally charming and awesome. Bath had a small-town and ancient feel while being quite a big city with most of the same stores you would find in central London. We really loved it.
The famous Royal Crescent that you see in so many period movies. Jane Austen lived in Bath in the 19th century and wrote some novels based on her relationships and time spent here. The whole city has a very Jane Austen feel to it- like you've literally stepped in to one of her novels (take the modern cars away and you're totally there!)
After the Royal Crescent, we walked to the Royal Victoria Park so we could go ice-skating...
Because the ice-skating was sold-out for a few more hours, we headed back to the shops and grabbed a late lunch/early dinner at one of our favorite family restaurants, Nando's!
I love ice-skating and it was really fun (and extremely exhausting!) to show my kids how to do it. Brian has had a bad ankle so he watched while Kate and I helped our 3 novices: Taylor, Lauren and Tessa learn how to handle the ice. We got the penguins for Tessa and Lauren, but Tessa soon learned that all she needed to do was stand backwards on its feet and be pushed around...she had a fantastic time! ;)
Lauren worked really hard and eventually got the hang of it, which was really fun for me to see. I love it when my kids grasp new things and she was on her own before too long. Ever since Taylor broke her arm when she fell off a horse a year ago, she's been terrified of anything with the slight possibility of the same thing happening. She used Lauren's penguin most of the time and never really got the idea, but I'm still pretty sure she had a great time anyway.
Bath was so beautifully decorated for Christmas...we loved wandering the lighted streets and admiring this new town. I can totally see why this is such a popular place.