Bristol (Bath), England, United Kingdom

Bristol, on England’s southwest coast, has been an important port since the Roman era. The remains of iron age fortresses have been found nearby, and Roman forts and villas dotted the surrounding countryside. Later, it was an advantageous site for expeditions to the New World. John Cabot sailed from here in 1497 to make the first European landfall in North America since the Viking era. The port played an important part in early growth of colonial North America, and in the infamous triangle slave trade, shipping manufactured goods to Africa as the first leg. In the 19th century, Samuel Plimsoll enhanced maritime safety from Bristol by developing his scribed line along the side of merchant hulls to regulate overloading. Bristol is one of England’s most popular holiday destinations, listed among the top ten cities in popular guidebooks. It is also ranked among the best cities for living by the Sunday Times. For us, however, the compelling attraction is the nearby city of Bath, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its original Roman baths and its remarkably intact Georgian architecture. Sights such as the stately Royal Crescent, the remarkable Circus and the picturesque Pulteney Bridge are showered with superlatives by architectural cognoscenti. The city’s quiet elegance and grace also conjure the romantic era of Jane Austen’s novels for visitors of all ages.