Bath is a city in Somerset, England, noted for its Roman baths. The population was 88,859 in 2011. Bath is located in the Avon Valley, 97 miles (156 kilometers) west of London and 11 miles (18 kilometers) south-east of Bristol. In 1987, the city was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Romans erected baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon in AD 60, giving the city the Latin name Aquae Sulis (“the waters of Sulis”), but hot springs were known long before then. Bath Abbey was created in the seventh century and later became a monastic center; the structure was restored in the 12th and 16th centuries. Claims were made in the 17th century for the medicinal virtues of the spring water, and Bath became prominent as a spa town throughout the Georgian period. The Royal Crescent, Circus, Pump Room, and Assembly Rooms are examples of Georgian architecture made from Bath stone, where Beau Nash reigned over the city’s social life from 1705 until his death in 1761. Many of the streets and squares were planned up by John Wood, the Elder, and the city became fashionable and increased in population in the 18th century. Jane Austen resided in Bath in the early 1800s. More construction was done in the nineteenth century, as well as after the Bath Blitz in World War II.
The city’s industries include software, publishing, and service-oriented businesses. Theatres, museums, and other cultural and athletic events have contributed to the city’s status as a major tourist destination, with over one million overnight guests and 3.8 million day visitors per year. The Museum of Bath Architecture, Victoria Art Gallery, Museum of East Asian Art, and the Holburne Museum are among the museums in the city. Bath has two universities: the University of Bath and Bath Spa University, as well as Bath College, which offers further education. Bath Rugby and Bath City F.C. are two sporting clubs, while TeamBath is the umbrella name for all of the University of Bath’s sports teams.
Bath was included into the county of Avon in 1974, and since Avon’s demise in 1996, it has served as the primary center of Bath and North East Somerset.