chapter  7
20 Pages

The Petit Tour to Spa, 1763–87

WithRichard Bates

This chapter argues that the British travel culture relating to Spa was clearly distinguishable from the longer, more physically demanding, aristocratic and classically focused Grand Tour. It explores the distinctive nature of British travel to Spa, through analysing the profile of British visitors, their reasons for visiting Spa, the accompanying ‘Petit Tour’ in terms of its route, attractions and supportive nascent travel industry. The chapter suggests that the popularity of Spa with a broad array of ages and family groups was both supported by and encouraged the development of an incipient travel industry, via a well-developed infrastructure of travel, tourism services and entertainment industries. It outlines some of the fruitful research avenues, but there remains potential for further research in numerous directions. Safe travel with an established support system allowed even single women with children to make the journey. Finally, the chapter explains the reasons behind the abrupt decline of British travellers to Spa in the 1780s.