Beckford’s Tower

Recently re-opened to the public after a major restoration Beckford’s Tower plays a huge part in Bath’s heritage. Named after the troubled eccentric William Beckford (shunned by society for his sexual predilections) and a wealthy man with a vision, who enjoyed collecting unusual treasures and overseeing the construction of remarkable buildings. Beckford’s Tower, built in 1826–27, can be seen for miles around, standing in a commanding position on the Bath skyline at Lansdown, its ornate lantern with gold-painted columns glittering in the sunshine. The tower itself – run by Bath Preservation Trust – is a glorious 19th-century folly, 36.5m (120 ft) high and full of atmosphere.

Visitors can take the 154 steps up the stone spiral staircase inside and enjoy what must surely be the finest views of Bath from the Belvedere. On the first floor there is a small museum dedicated to the life and career of Beckford, of which this tower in Bath is the sole survivor. The eerie character of the stone gates and the elaborate detail on the tower is enhanced by being set in a cemetery, where lie the graves of many of Bath’s illustrious former residents.

Lansdown Road, Bath BA1 9BH