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5 Bath museums you don’t know about

There are some gems among the lesser known Bath museums – let’s see them together!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

When you think about Bath Spa, England, probably your memory highlights the Roman Baths, the Abbey and Jane Austen, and for a reason: those made Bath a major tourist attraction of the country! You can check my updated article about the cultural insights to learn more about those.

However, there are more things to learn and to do in this wonderful city. I’ve returned here for the third time to show you a lesser known side of Bath, and I hope you’ll include it into your itineraries too! Ladies and gentlemen, more Bath museums that are worth a visit!

My trip was supported by Visit Bath.

1. Herschel Museum of Astronomy

Herschel Museum of Astronomy is an actual house where William Herschel has discovered a new planet with the help of a telescope he designed himself – he called that planet ‘George’s star’, and we now call it Uranus! This make this an absolutely unmissable landmarks among Bath museums.

The exposition is spread over three floors and a garden and however it covers in detail life of William, who was born in Prussia and moved to England. He was an organist, a director of the Bath orchestra later in his life, and also an amateur astronomer who designed his telescopes himself and was finally acknowledged even by King George III for his discoveries.

Museum also tells a story of his brother Alex and sister Caroline. Although the majority know William Hershel, Caroline was quite a character too: one of the first female scientists in the world who herself discovered a number of space entities including comets, she also helped his brother too. You can watch a screening of Caroline telling her story and guiding you through the museum route. 

The museum has a kids activity area and some special kids activities take place throughout the year.

2. Sally Lunn’s Historical Eating house and Museum

Bath museum where you cannot? Yes, please! Why not start your day at Sally Lunn’s Bath, museum and historical cafe then!

It’s located in one of the oldest buildings in Bath dating back to 1482 (4 North Parade Passage, Bath BA1 1NX). We were there not to have an ordinary breakfast but to try the famous original Bath Bunn, the recipe of which is still a secret! It’s a huge round pastry, hall bread, half cake, dating back to 1680 of diameter of a palm, the portion is one half of the bun.

You can choose savoury – like with  salmon or English breakfast – or a sweet option such as Cinnamon Butter or Lemon Curd. It’s also open for lunch and dinner. Don’t hesitate to visit a shop downstairs and observe an exposition on how the buns were traditionally made.

3. Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein is a unique museum. Although it might give you chills from fear – especially the basement floor, in reality, it’s a very informative historical museum telling you a heartbreaking story of Mary Shelley and her inspiration behind the book such as galvanism, spirituality, Gothic and Romantic influences.

You’ll learn about her troubled love life with her lover and later husband Percy Shelley who left her widowed at 24 y.o, her kids who died prematurely, and her deeply unhappy relatives and friends. Shelley’s best-known fictional character, Frankenstein, who seeks love and ends up with revenge and murder, doesn’t look like the worst imaginable monster after all.

4. Museum of East Asian Art

You probably know that Asia is my favourite part of the world, and for sure I had to visit the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath. It has 2000 carefully collected objects, with the oldest exhibits dating back to 5,000 BC!

The museum was founded by Brian McElney OBE, a lawyer who spent a long time in Hong Kong and started his collection in 1955 with a 17th century Sakyamuni Buddha. In 1993 his collection grew to something bigger and became a public museum. Sadly, in 2018 the museum lost almost half a hundred of objects to burglary, and police managed to return just a small fraction of them damaged.

Located steps away from the Circle, this museum is spread on three floors. The upper one is dedicated to the precious porcelain, mainly from China and Japan, then we visited a temporary exhibition ‘Revolution, Propaganda, Art: Printmaking in Modern China’. It contains modern Chinese prints showing the troubled beginning of the XX century, then the communist propaganda and finally, upon Mao’s death, more liberated ways to express one’s creativity. There is a continuation of the main exposition and a shop on the ground floor. 

Please check the opening hours before your visit as the museum doesn’t work every day. 

5. Bath Postal Museum

Adjacent to a functioning post office in the very center of Bath, Bath Postal Museum is small but quite interesting. You can learn there the details about the British postal service history starting from the early 18th century and the rule of Charles II both from artifacts and interactive objects.

One of the interesting sections is the Damage to Mails on Land – learn how people and animals destroy the precious enveloped writings!

Where to stay in Bath

This time we stayed in the Primrose cottage curated by Always Sunday. Our cottage had two floors with a hall, kitchen, eating area and bathroom on the first and two bedrooms on the second. There also was a small terrace which we didn’t use unfortunately due to weather conditions. 

The interior was stylish – and many objects were exactly like I was looking for our Italian flat! Interiors lover could also visit Always Sunday store

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Hope you liked my blog!
Anna xxx

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