Stepping up at Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey in the evening sunlight.

 

Slowly does it. The narrow spiral staircase that leads to the top of the tower.
Slowly does it. The narrow spiral staircase that leads to the top of the tower.

Climbing 212 steps to the top of Bath Abbey’s 161 foot high tower is a bit of an undertaking but the view – once you are getting your breath back on top – has got to be worth the effort!

This Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul runs very successful tower tours throughout the year and special mulled-wine fuelled Christmas Market tours at this festive time in December.

Looking down on the nave from on top and across to Parade Gardens.
Looking down on the nave from on top and across to Parade Gardens.

You do get a break in the middle of the climb to admire the roof of the 211 foot long nave – which itself soars 75 feet into the air above the pews inside.

Stopping in the bell chamber with the ropes of the eight bells hanging above our heads.
Stopping in the bell chamber with the ropes of the eight bells hanging above our heads.

There’s also a stop in the ringing chamber to allow your guide to tell you more about how the eight bells are rung.

The old carillon in the ringing chamber.
The old carillon in the ringing chamber.

There’s also the Westminster chime they produce as time keepers to the city and how a simple little electronic mechanism has replaced the massive carillon that used to produce the tunes we sometimes hear coming from the tower as we go about our business beneath.

The little electronic box that does the trick now.
The little electronic box that does the trick now.

Continuing our climb – with a peep through a window at the bells themselves – we are out on the tower’s flat top and admiring the view of the rooftops of the beautiful city of Bath spread out on all sides beneath.

Looking down on the market and Roman Baths
Looking down on the market and Roman Baths

The present Abbey Church was built at the beginning of the 16th century and is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic in the West-Country.

Increasing more and more tours are ending with marriage proposals at the top end of that 212 step staircase as Holly Doughty explains.