Stroll around to see some of the buildings, crescents, and squares in town. John Wood the Elder (1704-54) laid out many of the most famous streets and buildings of Bath, including North and South Parades and Queen Square. His masterpiece is the Circus, built on Barton Fields outside the old city walls. He showed how a row of town houses could be made to look palatial. Fellow architects have praised his "uniform facades and rhythmic proportions." Also of interest is the shop-lined Pulteney Bridge, designed by Robert Adam and often compared to the Ponte Vecchio of Florence.
The younger John Wood designed the Royal Crescent, an elegant half-moon row of town houses (copied by Astor architects for their colonnade in New York City in the 1830s). At No. 1 Royal Crescent (tel. 01225/428126; www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk), the interior has been redecorated and furnished by the Bath Preservation Trust to look as it might have toward the end of the 18th century. The house lies at one end of Bath's most magnificent crescents, west of the Circus. Admission is £5 for adults, £4 for students and seniors, and £2.50 for children ages 5 to 16; a family ticket is £12. The house is open from mid-March to October Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am to 5pm, and November Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30am to 4pm (last admission 30 min. before closing); it is closed Good Friday and December to mid-February.
Free 1 3/4-hour walking tours are conducted throughout the year by the Mayor's Honorary Society (tel. 01225/477411). Tours depart from outside the Pump Room in the Abbey churchyard (look for the WALKING TOURS sign) Sunday to Friday at 10:30am and 2pm, Saturday at 10:30am; May to September, another tour is added on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday at 7pm.
The Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay St. (tel. 01225/443000; www.janeausten.co.uk), is located in a Georgian town house on an elegant street where Miss Austen once lived. Exhibits and a video convey a sense of what life was like in Bath during the Regency period. The center is open mid-February to October daily from 9:45am to 5:30pm, and November to mid-February Sunday to Friday 11am to 4:30pm, Saturday 10am to 5:30pm. Admission is £6.50 for adults, £4.95 students and seniors, £3.50 children 6 to 15, and £18 family ticket.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.