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Bath's best walking spot

Psychology student Sasha Johnson shares her fondness for Alexandra Park.

View from Alexandra Park
Alexandra Park offers one of the best views over Bath.

When the Covid-19 lockdown hit, there wasn’t much to do apart from walking. At first, this didn’t seem the most exciting prospect – especially as a student. Wasn’t university life meant to be all about wild nights out, action, adventure? Surely the only walking I should have been doing was the obligatory Saturday night trip to McDonald’s in pursuit of a Happy Meal?!

It soon became apparent that this was narrow-minded. Slowly but surely as I started walking through Bath, the stereotypical student in me was replaced by an avid explorer, with the rucksack and camera to match. The city has so much to offer, and not just in terms of quality pictures for Instagram!

Whether you know Bath well or still find yourself getting lost in its cobbled streets, chances are you’ve heard of Alexandra Park. Located at the peak of Beechen Cliff, the park is the place to go to if you want a bird’s-eye view of the city in all its glory. I can’t believe it took me until three-quarters of the way through my second year to visit! However, it was well worth the wait.

Falling in love

Just to add to the romantic allure of Bath, it so happened that my first excursion to Alexandra Park occurred while on a date. If you’ve ever been there yourself, you’ll be well aware it’s a long, fairly intense walk up a steep hill to get there, so you’ll likely end up red-faced and sweaty by the time you reach the summit – not the best look when you’re trying to make a good first impression! Nevertheless, when I finally laid eyes on the vista that greeted me, any worries about my dishevelled appearance faded away.

I felt like I was on top of the world – or, at the very least, on top of Bath! The buildings that seemed so large at ground level now looked like something from a model village. Even the Abbey appeared like part of a toy town! To add to the atmosphere, each time a train passed below, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the train sets I had owned as a child. It was nostalgia and novelty, all at once.

That day marked the start of my love affair with Alexandra Park (but not, sadly, my date!). Since then, I’ve visited multiple times and, thankfully, my breathlessness after the hill climb has steadily improved. While the magic of Alexandra Park is in full force no matter when you go, one of my most memorable visits was during a sunset stroll. As the sky transitioned from gold to orange to indigo, and the city lights twinkled into life along with the stars, I knew I’d found my happy place.

It just goes to show, Happy Meals aren’t the only thing that can bring joy to a student!

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This article was written by Sasha Johnson for BA2 Issue 29, published in September 2021.