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, the host at our charming 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 lovely countryside views of Bath over the tops of the trees. As we stood there taking photos, 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 collection 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 of the tower, and wander through the pretty garden paths outside the museum.
Beckford’s Tower was closed when we visited, but it was no matter. The tower was not the focus of our stop there. Instead, we were there for the gorgeous, panoramic views of Bath’s countryside from the top of the hill.
COUNTRYSIDE VIEWS OF BATH
From Beckford’s Tower, we walked along 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 pastoral side of Bath! In addition to the view, there were also plenty of spots to lay out a blanket and read or have a picnic. Living in London has significantly increased my appreciation for wide open spaces and a little peace and quiet – I love our new city life, but it’s still nice to discover places like this to escape to when we travel!
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