At the top of Gay Street, the elder John Wood’s masterpiece, the Circus, consists of three crescents arranged in a tight circle of three-storey houses, with a carved frieze running round the entire circle. Wood died soon after laying the foundation stone for this enterprise, and the job was finished by his son, John Wood the Younger (1727–81), who was as instrumental as his father in defining Bath’s elegant Georgian appearance. The painter Thomas Gainsborough lived at no. 17 from 1760 to 1774.
The Circus is connected by Brock Street to the Royal Crescent, grandest of Bath’s crescents, begun by the younger John Wood in 1767. The stately arc of thirty houses is set off by a spacious sloping lawn from which a magnificent vista extends to green hills and distant ribbons of honey-coloured stone. The interior of No. 1 Royal Crescent, on the corner with Brock Street, has been restored to reflect as nearly as possible its original Georgian appearance.
At the bottom of the Crescent, Royal Avenue leads onto Royal Victoria Park, the city’s largest open space, containing an aviary and botanical gardens.