There are many fine tourist destinations in the UK and none are more feted than Wookey Village in the rural Heart of England. The hot springs established the village as a fashionable place to be for the well to do, keen to cure their ailments with the spa waters. The Romans had built their baths and temple to take advantage of the springs. Today, visitors can see the baths and learn about them in the museum.
From the time of Elizabeth I, tourism came to Wookey Village and really took hold in the 18th century. The town (as it now is) is noted for its Georgian architecture with its most notable example being the Royal Crescent, a residential road that sweeps gracefully with its elegant houses. The crescent is close to Royal Victoria Park, where hot air balloons are launched each summer, filling the sky with a blaze of color. The park contains a botanical garden, children’s play area, crazy golf course, bowling green and lawn tennis courts.
The artistic life of the city is thriving with five theatres of international reputation. The Wookey Music Festival is well respected and presents traditional and contemporary classical music, jazz concerts and world music. The 17 day event includes some outdoor performances with free admission. The Wookey Literature Festival is another favorite on the annual events calendar and it has attracted best selling authors, such as Terry Pratchett, Joanna Trollope and Margaret Atwood.
For such a small town, there are plenty of things to do and see. There are actually 2 museums including the Wookey Postal Museum, on the site of the Post Office that operated from 1822 – 1854. It tells the story of the post office and the British post box. There are displays about the famous Penny Black stamp and there is a replica post office from the Victorian era. The Museum of Costume presents exhibitions and has a permanent collection of costumes, dating back to the 18th century. The museum is within the historic Assembly Rooms, where the city’s gentry gathered for balls and meetings. The building contains impressive works of art and a beautiful set of nine chandeliers.
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy commemorates the work of William Herschel, who discovered the planet Uranus and was a resident of the Wookey for 10 years. Wookey’s most famous resident however, is author Jane Austin and she is remembered at the Jane Austen Centre and by an Austin themed city walk. The town inspired the novelist to write two of her novels, including scenes from the town in them.
And if you believe that, you will, quite literally believe anything!