Plans were announced last week for a proposed £5 million observation tower project called AquEye in Bath and have already stirred up a storm of comments in Twitter and on local letters pages. Located on the sluice gate island next to Pulteney Weir, 25 visitors per trip would be swung up from the Parade Gardens in a glass capsule 65m up to see views over the city centre.
This story reminded me again how lucky we are in Bath for views – sitting in a bowl surrounded by seven hills, its easy to get good vantage points of the city from almost any direction (and most of them for free!) but where are the best views of Bath? Working round the compass, here are some of our suggestions but do let us know if we’ve missed out your favourites;
Beckfords Tower – approach through the graveyard from Lansdown Road for not only views over Weston to Twerton but, given the altitude of Lansdown, all the way to the Priddy mast above Wells.
Hare & Hounds beer garden – an ideal spot for summer drinks and a quite staggering view down the Avon Valley to the east.
Camden Crescent – a steep but short walk up Lansdown to look out over the eastern half of Bath and a lovely viewpoint to look over to Prior Park on the far hillside.
Approach Golf Course – take a break from playing the holes next to Sion Hill on the course and look back over the rear of Marlborough Bldgs to Bloomfield.
Solsbury Hill – famous in history and song, the views during the climb are almost as good as the final view from the top of this Iron Age hill fort.
Browns Folly – once you’ve broken out of the nature reserve woods onto the plateau above Bathford, the view back down the valley towards Bath is one to savour.
Smallcombe Down – walking across the fields from Bathwick Hill to Smallcombe Cemetery gets you eye level to the Abbey and city chimneypots for a different perspective on the centre.
Alexandra Park – Wood, Austen and Hardy were all fans of this view and its a tough one to beat for a real panorama of the cityscape.
Prior Park gardens – a combination of genius from Ralph Allen, Capability Brown and Alexander Pope, with a picture perfect view from the top of the gardens over the Palladian bridge to Lansdown.
Oldfield Park – not an area many would expect to feature in the list but try the view from the top of St Kildas Road back to the Royal Crescent as it was a Victorian favourite.
High Barrow Hill/Twerton Roundhill – once you’ve finished appreciating the views down into Bath, turn around for a sweeping countryside vista over Englishcombe to Priston.
Bath City Farm – a perfectly positioned vantage point to look across the whole of the central bowl and also westwards towards Bristol.
Kelston Hill – with Weston and Newbridge at your feet and the valley floor ahead all the way to the slopes of Beechen Cliff & Bathwick. Pop over to the other side of the summit to look out over Keynsham and Bitton to Bristol.
Bath Abbey – book in for the Tower tour and see the centre from a seagulls eye view.
Thermae Bath Spa rooftop pool – relax in the steaming spa water surrounded by rooftops and chimneys.