Flying in a hot air balloon in Bath can show you some outstanding urban scenery as soon as you ascend. With the balloon’s envelope full, you’ll rise up from your launch site and, safe in the passenger basket, you will see many impressive sights.
If you’ve taken off from the lush green lawns of the Royal Victoria Park in Bath, the finest Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent will likely be in view, but there are many other wonders in the city you might also see, including the Roman Baths, the Royal Theatre and the American Museum and Gardens, to name but few.
Outside of the city, as you sail beyond Bath’s boundaries on the breeze, you’ll encounter a whole new world from above. The famous painter Thomas Gainsborough established a studio in Bath and painted this wondrous countryside, immortalising the rolling green fields you’ll witness on your flight in many of his landscapes.
One unique urban treasure you may be afforded a bird’s eye view of on your balloon trip around Bath is an unspoiled market town called Bradford-on-Avon. Right near the river it’s named for, the town is only eight miles from the Somerset city and has many unique features you’ll be able to identify as you pass above.
Straddling the Avon, you’ll spot the arches and subtle stonework of the Town Bridge. If you are wondering what the curiously small building at the end of the bridge is with the domed roof, it was once the place where troublemakers of the town were confined overnight. Known as “The Lockup”, it would allow the townsfolk a peaceful evening safely under lock and key.
The town has a lengthy history, stretching back to when the Romans ruled our shores between 43 to 410 AD. Historic buildings originating from many different eras still stand around the market town, including several from the 17th century. With its lofty spire, the Holy Trinity church is impossible to miss, and while parts have been rebuilt, its tower dates back to 1480. If you’re lucky, you may hear its eight bells ring out as you drift by. The town also has dedicated buildings for many other faiths from Roman Catholics and Baptists to Quakers and even has its own Buddhist monastery.
Finally, perhaps the most standout building in Bradford-upon-Avon is a huge tithe barn with Grade II listed status. Known as the Saxon Tithe Barn, its dimensions make it 30 feet in width and 180 feet in length. Today, it’s part of the Barton Farm Country Park, but it was first raised in the 14th century and was used for collecting taxes, which would take the form of physical goods that were used to help fund the church.
When lockdown lifts and you are able to, book a trip over Bath and its surrounding countryside, and hope your course takes you over the beautiful market town of Bradford-On-Avon.