Pulteney Bridge Bath England UK

One of the most inspiring and beautiful of all the local sights is Pulteney Bridge. Its splendour and glory echo the architectural revolution that was sweeping Bath around the mid eighteenth-century. By day it is a breathtaking sight, but at nighttime it becomes awe inspiring. Flood lit at sunset, the river Avon reflects its majesty whilst the slight waterfall on the river give a sight that will stay with you forever as a highlight of your visit to Bath.

Bath Hotels

Pulteney Bridge is one of only a handful of bridges worldwide standing today with shops and restaurants lining both sides and overlooks the tranquil flow of the river Avon.

A view from a distance of the bridge and the river walk by its side

Sir William Pulteney was the earl of Bath and spent nearly thirty years as an active Member of Parliament. He was married to a Scottish lawyer. He inherited an estate across the river Avon called Bathwick in the year 1767. At the time Bath was undergoing great architectural changes but the inherited estate was rural but William and his wife could see the potential for the development of the estate into an important extension of the City. The only draw back to the plan was transport from one side of the river to the other. There was no bridge at the time and only a small ferry was operating and William could see a bridge had to be built.

A little bit closer showing the wier and a well timed bit of river traffic

After much consideration about the type of bridge he wanted to build, he undertook the advice of Robert Adams. Robert was born in Fife in Scotland, and was at the time one of Scotland's most admired architects. His artistic qualities and finesse where greatly admired around Britain and was becoming greatly influential to William in the type and design of the bridge. Robert, who had just visited Venice and Florence suggested a design what incorporated many shops along both sides of the bridge and for the design to be much more in keeping within other European cities he had visited. And so the bridge was built and completed in 1773 but with the outcome of the American War of Independence money was tight and so the dream on the bridge itself began to turn into a nightmare with very few tenants prepared to take residence. For many years the estate which he had inherited was left unchanged with little or no new buildings being constructed. It wasn't until 1788 when a Bath architect, Thomas Baldwin made the plans and started to create the new estate. Perspective view of the bit of Venice in Bath

Unfortunately many disasters have taken place on and around the bridge which has left it needing many repairs and reconstruction over time but as you can see it has been fully restored to it former glory and looks more like how it was originally designed to look then any other time.

The best place to see the delights other than walking across the bridge itself is from the Parade Gardens. During the summer months a small fee is charged to walk around the park although it is worth every penny. During summer you might catch a brass band playing from the bandstand, live children's entertainment or simply walk around the award winning flowerbeds. It's an ideal location to take a family picnic and take in the views of the bridge, river Avon, and the many riverboats taking trips up and down the river.

Travel Resources