12 Old Orchard Street has seen a lot over its two and a half centuries. From 1750 to 1805 it was a theatre, the first purpose-built one in Bath. World-renowned actress, Sarah Siddons made a name for herself here in the 1780s, not long before the building moved on to it's second life as a chapel. The Benedictine Mission purchased the derelict theatre and made it their principal place of worship, from 1809 to 1863. In 1865 the building was taken over by three local Masonic Lodges who clubbed together to make this their shared home. Part of the old theatre housed an extensive Masonic Museum, but much of the collection was lost during the Baedecker Raids in 1942, although there is still a small museum here, as well as the library which survived the bombs. The Old Theatre Royal can only be visited by guided tour, unless you make your way there for one of the musical or theatrical performances that take place here from time to time.
Facilities – at a glance
Assist dogs allowed
- Parking nearby
- Fully accessible
- Facilities: Lift between floors
- Accessible toilets
- Opening Times: Guided tours: Tue-Thu 11am & 2.30pm, Sat 2.30pm
Also in the area
About the area
Somerset means ‘summer pastures’ – appropriate given that so much of this county remains rural and unspoiled. Ever popular areas to visit are the limestone and red sandstone Mendip Hills rising to over 1,000 feet, and by complete contrast, to the south and southwest, the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels. Descend to the Somerset Levels, an evocative lowland landscape that was the setting for the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. In the depths of winter this is a desolate place and famously prone to extensive flooding. There is also a palpable sense of the distant past among these fields and scattered communities. It is claimed that Alfred the Great retreated here after his defeat by the Danes.
Away from the flat country are the Quantocks, once the haunt of poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. The Quantocks are noted for their gentle slopes, heather-covered moorland expanses and red deer. From the summit, the Bristol Channel is visible where it meets the Severn Estuary. So much of this hilly landscape has a timeless quality about it and large areas have hardly changed since Coleridge and Wordsworth’s day.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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