New Year....New View.....
As a new year begins there is a tendency to try something different, to wipe the slate clean and have a fresh start. Many of you will turn to new hobbies or giving up old habits and a large number definitely start to eye up a gym membership as a way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle.
Why not combine all these new year resolutions by keeping it simple and explore the surrounding stunning viewpoints that the city of Bath has to offer - You'll get off that sofa, breathe in fresh air, meet fellow explorers and essentially - get fitter just by walking a short distance from any central location in the city (...and if that's still a bit tricky, not to worry, there's plenty of bus routes that can get you to a decent starting point!)
The best part of this? It's free! You'll actually be rewarded with incredible scenery, looser waistline and a massive sense of achievement. Why not set yourself a challenge this new year and see if you can bag all these view spots of Bath - and don't forget your camera!
The best views in town.....
Bath is blessed due to its setting in the landscape sitting perfectly within a 'bowl' that creates a 360 degree nature-rich panorama of paths, woods and vistas ripe for you to discover. This guide explores many locations that form part of the well maintained 'Bath Skyline' so you'll find many routes are easily accessible from starting points dotted throughout the city, creating a connected network of pathways leading you through some of the UK's most cherished landscape.
It's January now, a perfect opportunity to start discovering these amazing views early whilst the trees are bare, giving you even more clear views...You can return throughout the seasons and watch the glorious landscape transform over the coming months - beautiful blossom in Spring anyone? Gorgeous colours in Autumn? - oh yes! (if you can't wait until then, don't worry - the photos below will surely entice you into the countryside to explore the beautiful landscape for yourself!)
Other incredible vantage points are also found a short walking distance near the outlying villages and are worth seeking out as part of your New Year, New View hobby. Below are a growing selection of the best views in Bath which are amazing at any time of the year.
In no particular order, Let's pull on those boots and explore the best views of Bath.....
01. Alexandra Park
Rising high just a short distance from centre of Bath is a wooded hill concealing a picturesque park and arguably the best views over the beautiful city below.
This incredible peak offers an experience unlike any other in the city - A steep edge drops away revealing almost the entire vista of Bath before your eyes - Soak in that scene and pick out incredible landmarks, from the Royal Crescent in the west to peaks of churches and Bath Abbey in the east.
Uninterrupted views over Bath don't come better than this.
Accessed by foot you can climb 'Jacobs Ladder' - a pathway winding under mature trees starting at Bath Spa Station, leading through Beechen Cliff.
Alternatively, by car from Wells Road and Shakespeare Avenue - free parking is available within the park itself - perfect for those with mobility issues.
Post code: BA2 4PS
02. Beckford's Tower
Seen from almost every point in Bath, Beckford's Tower is a grade 1 listed folly that is now a wedding venue, holiday let and museum open to the public throughout the year (March to October).
Standing at almost 50 metres above the landscape below the tower can offer beautiful panoramic views over the city. However, should you wish to experience views across the countryside (should the tower be closed) a fantastic alternative is to walk along the public footpath found in the fields directly behind the cemetery.
Glimpses of the city can be discovered from this vantage point but the highlight of this particular spot is that it immerses you deep into a rural landscape, stretching far into the distance over the rooftops of Weston Village and beyond towards Timsbury.
From the tower you can either walk down into Bath (approx 45 minutes) or continue the countryside walk north west towards Landsown Lane and Upper Weston.
Accessed via Landsdown Road from the city centre it is possible to park in a small lay-by adjacent to the cemetery. A car park is also available when the museum is open, situated next to main entrance. Post code: BA1 9BH
03. Solsbury Hill
If you're looking to experience Bath in all it's glory with a healthy dose of fresh air and stunning countryside then Solsbury Hill is a must-visit location - and yes, you may even start to hum the famous Peter Gabriel song of the same name when you arrive (as I couldn't resist!)
For sheer vastness of space this 360 degree hilltop is hard to beat - Every view offering gorgeous patchworks of green fields, small villages, wooded valleys and ancient architecture mingling together in a sweeping panoramic feast for the eyes.
Distant landmarks are a joy to discover, from the white horse on the edge of Salisbury plain to the 'caterpillar' trees north towards the A46 road. Rivers, canals and railways can be glimpsed winding their routes through trees and hedgerows towards Limpley Stoke where tiny hamlets and historic country houses are dotted along the steep valley slopes.
Exhilarating in winter or calm and serene on a hazy summer evening each visit though the seasons offers a new experience and viewpoint that will leave a lasting impression.
On foot access is from Batheaston village via Solsbury Lane. Postcode: BS1 7HB
04. Prior Park
The sweeping landscape of Capability Browns shining jewel in Bath is a joy to behold by itself and well worth the short trip out of the centre. Now add stunning views and an equally rewarding walk and you'll have the perfect combination to inspire you to jump off that sofa and get out of the house.
Take in the stunning vista from a curved footpath beneath Prior Park College which leads the eye through a rolling parkland flanked by trees to the beautiful Palladian Bridge straddling a series of lakes. Continue this path to lead onto the Bath Skyline walk where the views over the city really begin to reveal themselves.
Maintained by the National Trust the six mile circular walk leads the visitor around the perimeter of the city stopping at fantastic vantage points, follies and natural pockets of countryside all the while keeping the city of Bath as an incredible backdrop.
A bus service (No.2 every 30 mins) operates from the city centre which takes you to the main entrance of Prior Park Landscape Garden.
Car parking for disabled visitors. Post code: BA2 5AH
05. Brown's Folly
This next location takes a little more effort to get to but rest assured the views that you'll discover are well worth venturing further from the city centre.
Located on a steep wooded hillside above Bathford and Limpley Stoke valley this walk takes the visitor through an ancient landscape full of species rich veteran trees, ancient mining sites and unique grassland environments - it's actually designated a Special Site of Scientific Interest (or SSSI if you prefer).
Views from the plateau area are purely magical, with uninterrupted sight-lines to the eastern fringes of Bath nestled in a lush green landscape full of hedgerows and pockets of trees. It's a scene that confirms Bath is one of the most picturesque cities in the UK surrounded by natural beauty.
Once you're done staring at the amazing view be sure to explore more of the woods via a network of pathways - keep a look out or amazing wildlife and discover Browns Folly Tower peering above the tree line.
A small car park (approx 10 cars) can be reached via Bathford Village and Prospect Place. Postcode: BA15 2QP
06. Kelston Hill
Located above the picturesque village of Kelston and also reached via Weston village this prominent hill is the location of an ancient barrow. Offering stunning views over Bath and further afield towards Bristol this is a walk that's worth spending time at the peak to soak in all the fascinating landscape features.
Bath's unique architectural delights seem to ebb and flow through the landscape depending on the season as trees hide buildings in the summer only to reveal them during the winter months. Look to the north west to see the impressive urban vista of Bristol and beyond this, the Severn Bridges and the hazy peaks of Wales on a clear day.
Two views for the price of one!
On foot from Weston village via Deanhill Lane and the Cotswold Lane or alternatively via Kelston village, postcode: BA1 9AG
07. Bath Abbey Tower