Bath - A Collector's Paradise
by Terry & Doris Michaud
If we were forced to select just one place in all of Britain in which to spend our vacation, both from a tourists standpoint and as a devoted collector, the city of Bath would rank among the top five spots. Probably the biggest mistake most visitors make is not allowing enough time in which to enjoy this magnificent part of England.
If you are on a whirlwind tour attempting to visit 14 cities in 3 countries in 7 days, don't include Bath, for it will simply aggravate you to get just a tiny taste of what you will really be missing. A minimum of two days will just barely allow enough time to enjoy the highlights, and a week or more would be even better.
As many of you know, Bath was a famous Spa town in the 18th century, and a visit to the Roman Baths museum in the centre of the city is an absolute must. The Roman remains in the area are among the finest in Europe, and any serious student of Roman history will want to take advantage of this great opportunity to see these awe-inspiring sights first hand.
The city of Bath is recognized as a World Heritage site, and here you will see some of the most famous architectural masterpieces in Europe, including The Royal Crescent, The Circus, the Guildhall and Assembly Rooms.
Depending on when you schedule your visit, you may be able to include one of their famous art events, such as the Bath International Music Festival held in May, or the Literature festival that takes place in February.
In the 18th century, some of Britain's finest cabinet makers were producing their work in Bath. Much of this furniture remained in the area, and as a result, there is a strong presence of first-class antiques shops and centres there today.
A guide booklet available from the Bath and Bradford on Avon Antique Dealers Association lists over 100 antique dealers in the area, many who specialize in specific areas of interest, including Furniture, Antique Textiles, Linen & Lace, Clocks, Jewellery, Books & Prints, and Fine Art, to name but a few.
There are also antique markets and centres that host a number of dealers offering speciality items or general line antiques. Truly there is something for everyone, no matter what your area of interest.
The Bartlett Street Antique Centre features over 50 knowledgeable dealers offering everything from buttons and barometers to textiles and toys. 160 showcases are filled with added treasures for the collector.
The Fountain Antiques Centre has established dealers trading on two floors, and you'll find quality 19th and early 20th century furniture, porcelain, militaria, toys, clocks, and an endless variety of collectables.
Another centre that you will want to check out is the Assembly Antiques Centre, and it also is filled with specialist dealers in silver, furniture, paintings, prints and other goods. At this centre and others, you can arrange for shipping services to get those treasures back home safely.
Having your purchases shipped allows you to travel about freely and continue your search, and it avoids the hassle of trying to cram everything into your luggage for the return home.
There are several regularly scheduled antique markets held in the area, including the Paragon Antiques Market that takes place every Wednesday, and the Bath Flea Market held on Saturdays. To get advance information to assist you in planning your visit, contact the Bath and Bradford On Avon Antique Dealers Association at www.babaada.com
The best advice we ever got in knowing how much clothing to pack for the trip was to pack only those things that were absolutely essential, then go through and discard half of it! Remember, you don't have to impress anyone, so cut your wardrobe to the bone.
Keep good records of daily expenditures, and always get receipts. It will help you when making out your list of declarations and will be available if demanded by customs.
Britain for Collectors is written by Terry & Doris Michaud, internationally known in the world of teddy bear collectors. They have authored 5 books on collecting and regularly write features for magazines in the U.S. and abroad. In a partnership with Bill & Rosemary Hayes they conduct annual collector's tours to Great Britain.