One morning when the clouds over Bath parted and we were about to head out for the day to take some photos in the sunshine, Diane, our host at our B&B, offered to drive us into town so we wouldn’t have to walk. On the way, she took a small detour to show us some of the lesser known parts of Bath. Our first stop was Lansdown Crescent, another of the crescent-shaped set of homes that are so popular in Bath. Even though it’s quite a bit smaller than the Royal Crescent and The Circus, I found this one to be even prettier than the other two. Lansdown Crescent sits high on Lansdown Hill with a clear view of the countryside of Bath. As we stood there taking pictures, a herd of sheep were grazing just below us on a small patch of grass. The peaceful nature of the place is probably why William Beckford, one of Bath’s most famous residents, chose it as the place to live out his final years.
William Beckford was an English writer better known for squandering his inheritance from his father on art and architecture than his writings. But the real scandal surrounding Beckford was the discovery and outing of his bisexuality after he’d been married. England in 1784 was not the tolerant society it is today, and due to the allegations against him, Beckford and his wife chose to exile themselves from Britain for a number of years.
On his return years later, Beckford moved into Lansdown Crescent and began building a large tower on the same hill to house his collections of books and art. After his death, Beckford’s Tower became a museum dedicated to his life and collections, and also his final resting place. Visitors can explore the museum, climb the 154 steps to the top for the tower, and wander through the pretty garden paths outside the museum.
But the tower was not the focus of our stop there. Instead, we were there for the gorgeous, panoramic views of Bath and the countryside from the top of the hill. From the tower, we walked on the paths through the cemetery, stopping to pay our respects at Beckford’s grave on the way, of course. From there, paths were cut through the trees on the other side of which were some of the most stunning views of Bath that I’ve ever seen.
Thank goodness for the sunshine that day, or we wouldn’t have been able to see this beautiful other side to Bath, England. And what a site it is to see! There are plenty of spots to lay out a blanket and read or have a picnic up here. Living in London has significantly increased my appreciation for big open spaces and a little peace and quiet. Not that I don’t love our new city life, but it’s nice to find places like this to escape to every once in awhile.