Royal Crescent and the Circle
Just down the block from the Jane Austen Center is the Circle, a section of high society buildings organized in a circle around a large tree. Both the circle (and the Royal Crescent nearby) are impressive for their very deliberate uniform geometry. The crescent also sits adjacent to the Victoria Gardens, which I found to be significantly more interesting.
Victoria and Prior Park Landscape Gardens
Continuing along the road leaving the Royal Crescent in Bath, I found the gates to the Victoria Gardens. I’m starting to find that the majority of parks in the United Kingdom are not only significantly larger, but also much better cared for than most of the parks that I am familiar with in California.
That care is well worth it though, walking through the main avenue of the gardens and into the botanical gardens was wonderfully full of an entirely different set of foliage than what I have grown to expect at home.
Not content the leave the day unfinished, I doubled back through the park along the River Avon to reach the Prior Park Landscape Gardens that are located a few short miles outside of the city.
The landscape gardens were built by a postal tycoon (the man brought postal services to this part of Britain) who used his fortune to build a mansion high up enough where he would be able to see the city as well as the city could see him.
Naturally, the gardens then have spectacular views of the whole of the city. There is a really excellent bridge there as well that is covered in carved graffiti from the Eighteenth century. The graffiti was likely left by students when the mansion was converted into a school (which has since been closed).
Of the two, I’d say the landscape gardens were the more unique of the two, and definitely worth the walk to reach.
After all this walking, I really wanted to find an interesting place to sit down for a bit. I found a pub with a raven wearing a top hat that was known for their ales. Feeling that it was an appropriately British thing to do, I decided that while in Aquae Sulis I should do as the British do. I was not disappointed.
The raven ale, thick and dark, was the best beer that I’ve had in years. I’ve never been a particularly big drinker (I tend to regard alcohol like I do soda, as a treat) and I could have easily done with a few more of them in good company. I also had a venison pie there that made the meat pie I had on Carnaby street in London seem like a frozen dinner.
I would sleep well that night, and needed it for the journey to Cardiff ahead.