The spiritual center of the city, Bath Abbey is a masterpiece of perpendicular Gothic design. Popular among local worshippers as well as tourists, this church has a regular congregation that numbers in the hundreds. Attend a religious ceremony, concert or lecture in this impressive ecclesiastical structure.
Trace the history of the church, whose full name is the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The history of the site dates back to the eighth century, with additions and renovations taking placee several times since then. It can now seat about 1,200 people in its cruciform-plan interior.
Before entering, take some time to explore the spacious plaza out front. This square is a popular spot for street artists and offers some great views of the church’s exterior. Take note of its majestic spires and arched windows, which are both typical Gothic architectural elements. Inspect the western façade, where you’ll find a sculpture depicting angels ascending stone ladders to heaven.
Inside, look up at the church’s attractive ceiling, which features a beautiful example of fan vaulting. Fan vaulting is a popular Gothic ceiling pattern, in which curved ribs radiate outward, resembling a handheld fan. Stroll through the spacious nave and note the large church windows, which create a light and airy feel inside.
Elsewhere on the church walls, you’ll be able to see many beautiful memorial stones, some of which are dedicated to fallen soldiers. Read the stone plaques to discover their stories.
Descend to the cellars to explore the Heritage Vaults Museum, which is devoted to the history of the abbey. The modest collection features sculptures, religious relics and models of older incarnations of the church.
The church opens is open daily from morning to late afternoon and has limited opening hours on Sundays. It is free to enter, although there is a suggested donation. Take a tour of the tower for a small fee. There are discounted rates available for kids.
Bath Abbey is located just north of the city’s main railway station, next to the Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa. Take the bus or train to get there.