14 fascinating facts about the Royal Crescent

One of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, the Royal Crescent is one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture anywhere in the United Kingdom. Whether you’re a local wanting to know more about your city or a visitor going to Bath for the first time, read on to discover more about the Royal Crescent! 

  1. Originally known simply as The Crescent, the street only gained its royal accolade at the end of the eighteenth century, following a visit from Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.  

  2. This impressive landmark built between 1767 and 1774 forms a crescent of 30 Grade 1-listed terrace houses. To this day, the Georgian stone facade remains much as it was when first built. 

  3. In total, the Royal Crescent has an impressive 114 Ionic columns, each 30 inches in diameter and reaching 47 feet in height.  

  4. The rear of the Crescent is a jumble of differing depths and roof heights, as each original purchaser simply bought a length of the façade, and then employed their own architect to build a house behind it, to their own specifications. This is described as ‘Queen Anne fronts and Mary-Anne backs’ and occurs repeatedly in Bath. 

  5. The central house is the only house that boasts two sets of coupled columns, with a single window between them which is the middle of the crescent. 

  6. In front of the Royal Crescent is a “ha-ha”, a ditch on which the inner side is vertical and faced with stone, with the outer face sloped and turfed. It makes an invisible partition between the lower and upper lawns and is designed so as not to interrupt the view from Royal Victoria Park, and to be invisible until seen from close by. It is unknown whether it was contemporary with the building of the Royal Crescent, however it is known that when it was first created it was deeper than it is at present. 

  7. Of the crescent's 30 townhouses, 10 are still full-size townhouses; 18 have been split into flats of various sizes; one is the No. 1 Royal Crescent museum and the large central house at number 16 is the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

  8. The historic house museum at No. 1 Royal illustrates how owners of the late 18th century might have furnished and occupied such a house. It is owned and maintained by the Bath Preservation Trust. 

  9. In April 1942, No. 2 and No. 7 Royal Crescent were both gutted by incendiaries, as part of the Baedeker Raids on Bath. These houses were subsequently restored to their former glory.  

  10. In 1972, the resident of No. 22, Miss Wellesley-Colley, painted her front door and windows primrose yellow instead of the traditional white. Miss Wellesley-Colley had to fight two enforcement orders from Bath City Council and defend herself at a public enquiry, before it was finally declared that the door could remain yellow.  

  11. The Crescent is a popular location for films and period dramas. Jane Austen's Persuasion included many scenes shot at the Royal Crescent, and it also featured in the 2008 film The Duchess starring Keira Knightley. 

  12. No 1 also appears in the Netflix drama Bridgerton as Featherington's home, and the elegant façade appears regularly, even though in the show the house is said to be located in Grosvenor Square in London. 

  13. Remains of a Roman wall were found behind the crescent in 2003, as well as evidence of possible Iron and Bronze Age settlement on the lawn in front. 

  14. The council banned coaches and buses from the crescent in 2017, after many years of complaints by residents that the tours were disruptive. This is why our buses don’t go past the Crescent anymore! 

The Royal Crescent remains one of Bath’s most popular tourist attractions, bringing tourists from all over the United Kingdom to the city. Buy your sightseeing bus tour tickets and hop off at stop 10 or 15 on the Bath City Tour line to see the Crescent first-hand.