The Romans established the City of Bath in AD 43 and this city, awash with architecture, history and culture, has been welcoming visitors ever since. Many of Bath's great buildings date back from its renaissance in the 18th century when it again became a fashionable spa town and played host to royalty and the cream of aristocracy, who visited the city to "take the waters". Today, visitors can walk around the old Roman Baths, enjoy the splendour of Bath Abbey or simply take in the breathtaking Georgian architecture of this beautiful city, which somehow managed to escape the ravages of industry and the Luftwaffe.
Jane Austen lived and based many of her books on Bath, and on Gay Street, near where she once lived, visitors can find the Jane Austen Centre, which displays her life and times. For an authentic feel of life gone by, period decorations and furniture have been reinstated in No1 Royal Crescent, so that the house appears as it might have been as a fine 18th-century townhouse. Though architecturally Bath is something of a period piece, it is also a very modern city; its restaurants and pavement cafes packed full of local businessmen and artisans. The International Music Festival marks the beginning of summer and adds to the city's lively, festive atmosphere and its Theatre Royal is one of the country's leading provincial theatres, attracting big names and pre-West End runs.