Bath is a city that’s well known for its fascinating historical sites but, if you’re planning on going on holiday here soon, I’d really recommend casting your eye a little further afield as well. You see, within easy driving distances of Bath are some of the country’s most exciting – and mysterious – world heritage sites.
Below, I’ve put together a list of the top three world heritage sites to include in your itinerary. I’d also suggest booking a holiday cottage in Bath for your trip, since this will likely mean there’s plenty of space for you to park the car – which isn’t always the case with city centre hotels – as well as simply offering you comfy, roomy accommodation.
Probably the most famous historical wonder near Bath is Stonehenge. Just over an hour from the city by car, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Wiltshire and has been captivating tourists and scholars alike for years.
It was erected between 3000 BC and 1600 BC – but beyond that, precious little is known. There are plenty of theories about Stonehenge’s purpose, though, including that it was a place for sun worship or a sacred burial site.
Come here and you can have fun trying to work the truth out for yourself. The attraction’s open all year round, and there’s an informative audio tour you can take too, which I’d recommend if you’re interested in finding out facts about the site – and hearing some more theories as to its origins.
There’s also an onsite cafe but, since there’s a lovely picnic site as well, I suggest packing a decadent lunch in your holiday cottage before you leave – you can pick up local produce at Bath’s markets – and having a long lazy lunch.
2) The Jurassic Coast
Next on my list is the Jurassic Coast, which is about an hour and a half’s drive from Bath. Stretching for 95 miles along the south coast of the UK, this is the first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site to be designated in England – and it’s pretty spectacular.
It runs from east Devon all the way to Dorset, with its rocks holding the secrets to some 185 million years of the world’s history. As well as being a really gorgeous place for a walk, the coastline offers some fantastic things for history lovers to do.
For instance, if you head to Charmouth, you can hunt for fossils, while there are also plenty of interesting museums to visit. The Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, for instance, has a wide selection of fossils on display, as well as the largest pliosaur skull found anywhere in the world, measuring a whopping 2.4 m!
3) The Avebury Stone Circle
The last site on my list is the Avebury Stone Circle, which is actually the largest stone circle in the whole of Europe. Stretching over a quarter of a mile across, it was originally erected 4,500 years ago – and, quite uniquely, is so large that is has a village in the centre, complete with a chapel and pub!
The stone circle was actually re-erected in the 1930s by Alexander Keiller. A keen archaeologist, he also established an onsite museum in 1938 to display his finest findings – somewhere that you can still visit today. And, since it has things like interactive displays for kids, it’s also great for families.