There is no better vantage point to see and understand the genius of Bath’s landscape than at the top of one of the many surrounding hills.
The view from Alexandra Park is one of the most photographed – not surprisingly as it offers a panoramic vista overlooking the cricket ground and Rec, Bath Abbey, captures the curve of the river Avon and the route of the railway line running alongside it, and sweeps right round to Bristol and, on a fine day, the Welsh Hills. Here you can see how the architects of Bath designed terraces of houses to fit into the contours of the hills and the planting of horse chestnut and copper beech trees creates the sense that the city has always been here.
The Bath Skyline Walk takes you over the hills that surround Bath, always capturing a new view of the city and offering a different perspective – the folds in the hills, unseen from the streets below soon become apparent from above.
A more sedate stroll eastwards along the Kennet & Avon canal will take you through some of the most scenic parts of the city. The route from Widcombe Lock, through Sydney Gardens and out towards Bathampton is popular with cyclists and walkers while Bath Boating Station offers the opportunity to take to the waters of the River Avon in one of their punts or canoes. There is an abundance of wildlife along the river including kingfishers, herons and moorhens.
Royal Victoria Park and the Botanical Gardens are charming and a stone’s throw from the architectural gems of the Circus and Royal Crescent. There are plenty of picnic areas as well as a children’s play park, and the open space of the Middle Common is a popular area for frisbee and football as well as the take-off location for a hot air balloon trip.
A cycle track links Bath with Bristol to the West, and heading south east out of Bath the former Somerset & Dorset railway line has been transformed. Where two tunnels were dug into the hillside for the trains to pass through there is now a cycle path. Within a matter of minutes cyclists can leave the city behind them and emerge into the lush green of the Somerset countryside.
There is a 13-mile circuit that takes you from the city centre, through the tunnels, over the beautiful Tucking Mill Viaduct, past Dundas Aqueduct on the Kennet & Avon Canal, and then looping back along the river into Bath.
After all that exercise, you may want to rest your body and soothe your mind by taking a dip in the natural thermal waters at Thermae Bath Spa.
The Twilight package (£55 for one person, or £100 for two people) includes light supper and, if you time it right, the chance to watch the sunset from the Rooftop Pool, or bathe beneath the stars: a perfect way to end the day!