A Visitor’s Guide To The Royal Crescent In Bath
A sweeping semi-circle of terraced, honey-hued houses, the Royal Crescent is a stunning example of Georgian architecture and one of Bath’s major tourist attractions.
If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore the Royal Crescent, then look no further than Broad Street Townhouse. Located right in the very heart of the historic city, our pub and inn offers 11 sumptuous, kingsize en-suite bedrooms split over three storeys and is recognised by the Sunday Times as the best hotel in Bath!
HISTORY OF THE ROYAL CRESCENT
Designed by English architect John Wood the Younger, the Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses built between 1767 and 1775 and is considered one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in Britain.
Whilst the façade may look neat and tidy with its 114 symmetrical Ionic columns, the rear is a muddle of differing depths and roof heights – a result of each house being built by a different architect, who, were obliged to follow John Wood the Younger’s specifications for the front, but were left to their own devices for the back of each property.
The building was originally known as The Crescent, only gaining its ‘royal’ accolade at the end of the eighteenth century after a visit from Prince Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany.
THE ROYAL CRESCENT TODAY
Today, the Royal Crescent is one of the most famous streets in Britain, and was a contributing factor in the city of Bath receiving UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987.
Whilst most of the townhouses remain homes to private residents, No. 15 and 16 have combined to form the 5 star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, and No. 1 has been transformed into the historic No. 1 Royal Crescent museum.
Here, visitors can travel back in time for a glimpse of how eighteenth-century wealthy Bathonians may have furnished and occupied these houses.
FAMOUS OCCUPANTS OF THE ROYAL CRESCENT
Many notable people have lived or stayed at the Royal Crescent since it was built – some commemorated on special plaques attached to the relevant buildings, including:
- Sir Isaac Pitman, who developed the most widely used system of shorthand (known as Pitman shorthand), and was knighted in 1894.
- George Edward Bateman Saintsbury, an influential writer and critic famed for his work Notes on a Cellar-Book – one of the great testimonials to drink and drinking in wine literature.
- Christopher Anstey, an infamous poet of the eighteenth century, commemorated at Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
- Frederic Harrison, a jurist, historian, writer and thinker of very considerable stature
THE ROYAL CRESCENT ON FILM
The Royal Crescent’s stunning Georgian architecture has seen it form the backdrop for a number of films and period dramas, including:
- The Wrong Box in 1966: The Royal Crescent helped provide Victorian England exterior shots for the comedy film starring Michael Caine, Peter Sellers and Dudley Moore.
- Persuasion in 2007: The television film production of former Bath resident Jane Austen’s novel shot many of its scenes in Bath, with the Royal Crescent providing the backdrop for the moment Anne accepts the proposal of Captain Wentworth.
- The Duchess in 2008: The Royal Crescent was used as a location for the film starring Kiera Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.
MISS AMABEL WELLESLEY-COLLEY
In 1972, the resident of No. 22, Miss Amabel Wellesley-Colley sent shockwaves throughout Bath when she decided to paint her front door and window shutters primrose yellow as opposed to the traditional white.
Miss Wellesley-Colley, a relative of the Duke of Wellington, had to fight two enforcement orders from Bath City Council and defend herself at a 6 hour public enquiry (to which she wore a bright yellow suit), before it was finally declared by the Department of the Environment that the door could remain yellow, as you can still see it today!
BROAD STREET TOWNHOUSE
Whilst it’s possible to visit the Roman Baths in a day, there are so many other stunning sights to see in the city of Bath that you may well want to extend your trip!
Broad Street Townhouse is an award-winning Grade-II listed boutique hotel, situated in the very heart of historic Bath. A traditional Bath limestone building retaining many of its original architectural features, the Townhouse guarantees you a truly authentic Bath city stay, with 11 sumptuous, kingsize ensuite bedrooms split over three storeys and is recognised by The Sunday Times newspaper as one of the best hotels in the South West.
Next door, our newly refurbished sister venue The Pig & Fiddle is an iconic Bath pub – swing by for a pint of award-winning Butcombe beer or sample the stunning menu, full of exciting seasonal produce and indulgent pub classics.