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Visiting the Circus, Bath, England: Georgian excellence by John Wood, the Elder and John Wood, the Younger

Updated on August 14, 2012
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
The Circus, Bath, England
The Circus, Bath, England | Source
The Circus, Bath.
The Circus, Bath. | Source
Map location of Bath, and North East Somerset, England
Map location of Bath, and North East Somerset, England | Source

A superb, 18th century achievement

This fine, circular set of buildings (hence the name 'Circus') in Bath, in England's North-East Somerset, was commenced in 1754. It was and completed in 1768. Its two architects were John Wood, the Elder (1704-1754)(1) and John Wood, the Younger (1728-1782)(2). The Younger Wood took over the work when the Elder died.

The buildings themselves are townhouses, with three segments making a circle. Wood, the Elder, was influenced by the Roman Colosseum in his design. A combination of Doric, Composite and Corinthian columns are used. This set of buildings is regarded as among the most elegant examples of Georgian architecture in England.

With some of Bath's examples of fine architecture, the question may arise as to where the best locations are for good photography. But by the circular nature of the Circus, the answer to such a question about taking impressive photographs is, surely: from anywhere within this impressive complex!

It is sometimes said that the Circus is shaped like the sun, while the Royal Crescent is shaped like the moon.

Without doubt, it may be said that it is outstanding buildings in the City of Bath such as the Circus and others, which give the University of Bath's School of Architecture and Building Engineering such a wealth of field trip information close at hand!

August 14, 2012


(1) John Wood, the Elder also designed, among other buildings in Bath, the North and South Parades, Prior Park and Queen Square; he also designed The Exchange, Bristol and the Town Hall, Liverpool, among others.

(2) Other of John Wood, the Younger's, works include the Royal Crescent, Bath, which in some ways became better known than the Circus, but which was built subsequent to it; he was also responsible for the Assembly Rooms in the city.

Also worth seeing

In Bath itself, in addition to the various buildings, mentioned above, designed by the Woods, other attractions include the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, and Pulteney Bridge. Museums in the city include the Museum of Costume and the Museum of the Book.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport , from where car rental is available. London Heathrow is 162 kilometres from Bath . There are fast railroad links between London and Bath Spa station. Some facilities mentioned may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


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    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 3 years ago

      Emily Richey: Bath is indeed most memorable. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Emily Richey profile image

      Emily 3 years ago from Florida

      Great hub! This makes me miss Bath.

    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 5 years ago

      Bath is certainly an amazing place. Thank-you for your comment.

    • eddy4me profile image

      Eddy Jones 5 years ago from Wales.

      Another great hub;thank you so much for this read.