Bath Abbey

Yesterday I toured the Bath Abbey, and I couldn’t have had a more beautiful day for it! I was hoping to get in on the first tour of the tower at 10:00am, but I just missed it, so I bought a ticket for the 11:00am tour, and took advantage of the fact that there were very few people in the Abbey at that time.

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The Abbey is beautifully light, with a myriad of windows (both stained and clear), as well as a lighter stone that really reflected the morning sunlight. 80% of the abbey wall space is window. This abbey is an atypical example of the Perpendicular Gothic form, and is most notable for its fan ceiling.

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At 11:00am the group gathered to start our tower tour – the group is made up of around 15 people, and there were two guides who told us they do 6 tours a day! The climb into the tower is 212 steps, though thankfully not all at once. The staircase was quite narrow, and the climb was steep, though definitely not the worst I’ve encountered!

Still, I don’t love heights, so I managed one photo of the staircase, and then focused all my energy and time on climbing the stairs.

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After the first set of stairs, we arrived in the Ringing Room. The Bath Abbey has 10 bells, and there are four different ways in which they can be activated, two systems are electric, the other is on a pulley system, and the fourth is good old fashioned human power!

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These aren’t the tower bells, just smaller examples of the diatonic scale the larger bells are capable of creating.

In addition to seeing the Ringing Room, we were also treated to a few moments sitting in the clock tower of the Abbey which was quite interesting! The clock is now lit by fluorescent lights, but back in the day there were candles that lit up the clock, and it was someone’s job to make sure the candles didn’t light the tower on fire for up to 12 hours at a time!

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Then we climbed up some more steps, and got to see the bells themselves! The guides told us that the smallest bell is around 300 kilograms, while the largest bell is 1.7 metric tonnes.

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We did some more climbing and arrived at the very top of the tower! It was wonderful to see the beautiful views of Bath from up so high!

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Then we started to make our way back down the tower to a slightly lower elevation. We also crossed over the ceiling, which meant we had a staircase with a handrail on the way back down!

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I was very glad of the chance to go up to the top of the tower (even if it does cause a little bit of unfortunate vertigo), and I was so grateful to have such a beautiful day for it! As I was leaving the Abbey I was able to get some really beautiful exterior shots as well!

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