Ring my bell!

Bath Abbey’s historic Tower was the site of 38 marriage proposals last year as individuals climbed 212 steps to the top of the city landmark to pop the question to their loved ones.

bath abbey
Bath Abbey

The Abbey has been offering visitors tours of its Tower for nearly ten years but only launched its Romantic Tower Tours a few years ago. Since its first Romantic Tower Tour in 2012, over 180 couples have enjoyed this experience. The couples range from those who live locally to as far afield as Australia and the United States with reasons for taking the tour including being on honeymoon or wanting to celebrate a wedding anniversary. Increasingly, the Abbey’s Tower Tour Guides have reported a trend in visitors surprising their partners with marriage proposals while on a Romantic Tower Tour.

bath abbey
Looking down on the Christmas Market and Roman Baths

Holly Doughty, Events and Tower Tour Lead, said: “We usually get special requests from one of the couples, so we tend to know in advance but we of course never give the surprise away. Usually, we’re hidden around the corner waiting for the “Yes!” before we appear with a bottle of champagne to congratulate the happy couple.

bath abbey
Looking across to the Rec and Bath Rugby ground.

We’ve been running Romantic Tower Tours for more than five years now and usually get a couple of proposals each month but it’s always still really fun for us. The best part is that we can claim a 100% success rate. All proposals made up here have ended up with a happy engagement! At 49 metres high, surrounded by stunning 360-degree views of Bath, love definitely must be in the air up here!”

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey – the lantern of the west!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not book a Tower Tour for two for a fun and imaginative way to celebrate the day? Tailored for two, couples will get to spend quality time together at the top of the tower enjoying glasses of champagne surrounded by spectacular views of the city. Other highlights include sitting behind the Abbey clock-face, chiming the Abbey bells and standing on top of the famous vaulted ceiling.

Tower Tours View of North West
A view from the top of the tower – looking towards the Guildhall.

To book a Romantic Tower Tour, contact Holly Doughty, Bath Abbey’s Tower Tour and Events Lead, today on: 01225 422462 ortowertours@bathabbey.org. Prices start from £100 (per couple) depending on timings and availability.

Bath Abbey also offers Tower Tours for individual visitors and groups. Tickets cost £8 per adult, £4 per child. The fully guided tour takes 45 – 50 minutes and tickets can be purchased from the Abbey shop on the day only. Group bookings need to be booked in advance.

For more information, please see www.bathabbey.org/towertours

Bath Abbey
The Bath Abbey bellringers.

Top 7 facts about the Bath Abbey Tower

  1. The Abbey Tower is 49 metres tall and there is a total of 212 steps to climb before reaching to the top.
  2. Bells have been rung at the Abbey since before the 16th century, and this tradition is carried on to this day.
  3. There are ten bells in total. If an Abbey ringer from the 18th century entered the tower today, he would feel quite at home. Not much has changed: eight of the ten bells date from 1700, two smaller bells were added in 1774 to make the present ring of ten, and they still hang in the original timber frame.
  4. The heaviest bell – called the tenor – weighs about 1.7 tonnes (1,688kg) the equivalent of a 4 x 4 vehicle.
  5. In 1869, the Tenor bell unexpectedly cracked during ringing practice one night, and had to be recast. The replacement was examined by the Abbey organist, and given the go-ahead. However, when it was hauled up and reinstalled, it proved to be out of tune, so it had to be recast a second time!
  6. The Tenor bell bears the inscription: ‘All you of Bathe that hear me sound Thank Lady Hopton’s hundred pound’. What many people don’t know is that Lady Hopton only paid us £20 for the bell herself and her family were made to pay the remaining sum! But it’s her name that’s on the bell not theirs, what a clever lady!
  7. The bells are arranged in descending scale in an anti-clockwise direction and this is unusual, most towers have bells hung in a clockwise direction. This can be a little confusing for visiting bell ringers!