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Though it may be redundant to say, the hot springs of Bath are, for most, the driving force behind visits to the city, with a history that goes back over 2,000 years. Archaeologists and history buffs are in their glory when in Bath, especially while visiting the Roman Baths, where talks and lectures take place throughout the year.
Museums, landmarks, and galleries dot the landscape and keep you wanting to take in one more before leaving. The Beckford Tower and Museum on Lansdown Road is hard to miss at 120 feet tall. Built in 1827, it houses the art collection and library of writer William Beckford. For the dramatist in you, there is the Museum of Costume on Bennett Street, with outfits dating from 1660.
The Royal Crescent is one of Bath's most celebrated landmarks and millions visit every year to look at what Rory Bremner has described as 'one of the best views in the country'. The historic house museum No. 1 Royal Crescent allows you to take a look inside and see what interiors would have looked like in the eighteenth century, furnished with genuine Georgian antiques and featuring loans from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Bath Abbey, as it is known today, was built in 1539 and subsequently subject to power struggles between authorities that alternately supported and neglected it. During the 1860s, the abbey underwent major rehabilitation that returned it to its original splendor. Bath Abbey is located on Orange Grove.
Perhaps Bath's most famous resident was Jane Austen who lived at various addresses in the city from 1801 to 1805 when following her father's death the Austen family moved out to live with her brother Francis in Southampton. Jane Austen's achievements and Bath life during the Regency period is celebrated at the Jane Austen Centre in Gay Street.
Another equally celebrated Bath resident was the astronomer William Herschel. He and his sister Caroline, also an astronomer, lived at 19 New King Street. This house is now The Herschel Museum of Astronomy. It was in the garden here that Herschel, using a telescope he had made himself, discovered the planet Uranus in 1781.
Claiming status as the oldest house in Bath is the 1482 Sally Lunn Museum and Restaurant. According to legend, Sally Lunn was the daughter of a pastry cook of Bath, after whom were named the teacakes that bear her name. In fact, if you're a pastry afficionado, you have probably met Sally in the pages of your favorite cookbook. It is said that Sally herself lived in the house that bears her name. Visit her memory and sample the pastry that gave her a place in posterity.