Visiting Bath, Cardiff and Bristol

Jonny Schmidt Edinburgh, Scotland


August 5, 2016
By Jonny S., Museum Studies Internship Program, Scotland

Before my third week at Hopetoun House (a large estate house outside of Edinburgh where I’m doing an internship) started I was able to take a three-day weekend trip. This week I decided that I wanted to go down to Bristol, England and visit the cities of Bath and Cardiff. My plane left at 8 AM on Friday morning the 22nd of July and while I was at the airport I actually saw the First Minister of Scotland, Nicolas Sturgeon! Once I flew into Bristol, I immediately took a train to Bath which actually only took 11 minutes to get to.

Bath is known as a Roman town as it has Roman baths there. Because of this, it was considered a vacation town in the 18th and 19th century. Even today it still very much thrives on tourism and is very nice. Right when I got there I walked through the shopping area that was designed to look like a Roman town. The day was beautiful so I went directly to the Roman baths. The Roman baths is this Roman structure in the middle of the city with a giant pool in the middle that is heated by underground volcanic activity. The ancient structure also had many other rooms where the floors would have been heated in the past to create a soothing atmosphere. I was so awestruck by this; it felt like I was back in ancient times.

After that I explored the city and found that it is very beautiful, with a huge cathedral, a bridge that has shops attached to the side of it and Victorian art museum. Something I noticed a lot was the Georgian style of streets; they were very wide and grand just like New Town in Edinburgh. One Georgian area was called the crescent and it was very grand as it was a long row of four-story building arranged in a huge semi circle. My day in Bath was definitely filled with a lot of walking but it was a really nice town. The nightlife was pretty good as well as some of the pubs there had some great live music. When I went to a hostel that night, I was dead tired, but I would do more the next day.

The next morning I got on the train and took and hour and a half trip to Cardiff, the Capital of Wales. Now, Cardiff is a lot bigger than Bath so right when I got there, skyscrapers surrounded me. So I walked around in this area next to the rugby stadium and through a park till I got to the national art and history museum. This museum was notable because it had the sculpture “The Kiss” by Robin. After leaving I figured I should visit Cardiff Castle.

The Castle area was a wide courtyard surrounded by stonewalls with a castle on the hill in the middle. It had been there since Roman times, and during WWII it had been used as a bunker for civilians. Some of the rooms in the castle were so colorful and filled with sculptures; it was completely different from any castle I had been to before. I noticed all the Welsh flags everywhere and it reminded me of the pride of the Scottish as well.

Now Cardiff also had a bay area so I walked to that part of town and wow was it amazing. The bay was beautiful and all the seaside shops and carnival area was so much fun. The National Assembly of Wales was there as well that passed laws on certain Welch issues. The building looked right out onto the bay. The one thing I noticed about Cardiff was that everything in writing there had Welsh and English translations side by side. I heard Welsh actually a lot when I was walking around as well, it was definitely a first language for many of them. As I continued walking by the bay I saw the studios where they film Doctor Who, a rowing competition between the four nations of the United Kingdom and the lock that let boats into the bay. It was such a fun day and I loved walking around the bay. On my way back I stopped at a pub before I had to take the 9 PM train Bristol, which took about an hour.

When I got to Bristol, I immediately found my hostel, then walked around the city when everyone was out. It was very lively with lots of people dressed up in weird costumes for some reason. The next day I walked around Bristol for a while again. I went near the river area, which had a historic ship in it, and then I walked to a tower from which I could see the whole city. Bristol was definitely large but looked very plain. I went to the art museum there which had a lot of Monet’s actually. After that I stopped at a Georgian house in one of the side streets, it reminded me of the one I visited in Edinburgh.

I decided next to visit the Bristol cathedral and when I entered they were actually rehearsing and I got to hear them sing. For the rest of the day I explored around the city stopping at shopping centers, going to an art festival and visiting a WWII bombed church. One thing I noticed in the park actually was a lot of people playing Pokémon Go, which was hilarious because it was literally everyone. To end the day, I took the bus back to the airport, but I got there early and the plane was delayed so I got to spend some quality time within the Bristol airport. I got back at around midnight to my place.

Now my third week interning at Hopetoun House got a bit more interesting as I had to get into dive into my research project a lot more. Actually I had two projects, one research for Arcadia University and one project for Hopetoun House. My project for Hopetoun was finding stories of the Hope family’s history internationally. This meant I had to compile stories and references to when they when they were involved in other countries. My project for Arcadia is about how the Hopes and Scotland were involved in the West Indies specifically. While they were different they were somewhat connected, with the common thread of the Hopes being abroad linking them. While doing research I continued to work and Hopetoun, guiding people and learning more about the whole process. It definitely took me some time to figure out how I was going to go about these projects. When I went to the archives again on Thursday, it was still hard finding primary sources. This was definitely I very interesting and fun week as I got to spend more time at Hopetoun and work on my research project.

Jonny S.Jonny is a student at Iowa State University and is blogging from his summer abroad with the Museum Studies Internship Program, in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Scotland Summer Travel