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While laying out the details of each section of the grand nationwide tour that is Routes To Ride, we’re always struck by some of the stranger features of each of the towns and cities that we are researching. With that in mind here’s the first in a hopefully regular series of articles which aim to dig up some historical, cultural and downright quirky facts about the places you’re riding to.

First up, the historical spa town and assumedly one of the cleanest in the country: Bath.

Like it or not, it’s pronounced “Barth”…

…according to its residents anyway. We checked with our resident Bathonian on this so you’ll have to trust us. Of course, this isn’t going to solve the long-debated pronunciation debacle; it really depends on what part of the country you’re from whether you’ll agree with us or not!

The mysterious waters of Bath

Originally known to Roman soldiers as “the waters of Sulis”, Bath was built upon the hot springs around the area, which were said to have magical healing properties; one Roman historian likened its relaxing waters to having a vice which must be given up. Bath spas began to pop up in the town as Romans passed through to relax; an early version of recreational leave was granted to those who had spent months guarding the borders of their garrisons.

It’s rather an arty place…

…with five theatres in the city to date, not to mention famous cultural figures such as Thomas Gainsborough and Jane Austen originating from Bath. In 2008 one even had the chance to see over a hundred decorated sculptures of pigs around the town to commemorate the legend of King Bladud.

…with a supernatural history

Mary Shelley also hailed from Bath; she of course was the author of the Frankenstein book which enjoys cult horror status to this day. As if that weren’t enough, actors Anthony Head and Andrew Lincoln are also local; the former appeared on TV as Giles, mentor of Buffy The Vampire Slayer while the latter can currently be seen fighting zombies in one of America’s biggest programmes of all time, The Walking Dead!

So go visit!

If all this wasn’t enough to get you interested in paying a visit, then seeing the sights and taking in the culture is definitely worth the trip. We’ve just added a route to Bath on our website as part of the Routes To Ride – so now you’ve got no excuse not to enjoy what Bath has to offer.

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