The jewel of Somerset, the historic city of Bath was almost made for aeronautical exploration. A World Heritage Site, with its striking Georgian buildings and its instantly recognizable sandy-coloured stone, the city of Bath is a firm favourite with hot air ballooners across the South West.
Bath gets its name from the hot springs (Hat Bathu) around which an ancient Anglo-Saxon settlement established itself. The baths themselves are great to visit, but from the skies, the highlight of Bath has to be its grand cathedral, pretty streets and iconic townhouses.
Part of what makes this place such a marvel from a birds-eye vantage point is its famous architecture. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, an emerging tourist trade was accompanied by a market for places for visitors to stay. Top architect John Wood designed the remarkable Royal Crescent – a perfect semi-circle of what appears to be 30 townhouses – overlooking the Royal Victoria Park. This façade, composed of Ionic columns, is a design classic. From the skies, you can uncover its secret by observing it from all angles. The crescent might look like it comprises 30 houses, but in fact it hides individually built non-uniform houses, which in the Victorian era acted as lodges for affluent visitors.
The nearby circus is an impressive ring of buildings built taking inspiration from Rome’s Colosseum. Also artistically spectacular, the buildings feature unique architectural details including Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns over three levels.
Taking off from the lush Royal Victoria Park, your balloon flight ascends over these striking structures. Seen from the sky, you will never think of Bath the same way again. To the south, gaze upon the 16th-Century spectacle of Bath Abbey. Nearby, Pulteney Bridge is a remarkable example of Palladian architecture. Spanning the River Avon, the bridge is unique in that it has rows of shops along both sides of the structure. As you pass above it, don’t forget to take a picture.
Thanks to its position on the banks of beautiful River Avon, your balloon soars over open, rolling landscape. On a clear day, you might spy the famous Wells Cathedral to the south. The Somerset countryside is studded with picturesque villages, including Lacock, Castle Coombe, and Bradford-upon-Avon. Here too, you can capture on film the quintessential charm of this region’s golden brickwork. Winding through this region is the Kennet & Avon Canal which also boasts remarkable bridges and wildlife-spotting opportunities.
To the east, see if you can catch a glimpse of the Avebury stones. From the skies, Europe’s largest Neolithic stone circle is a reminder of just how rich and diverse the local landscape is when discovered from above.
Whether you are discovering the city as a visitor, or have lived your whole life in Bath, this is a city that cannot fail to delight, especially when explored by hot air balloon. Why not take advantage of this special opportunity?