With medieval heritage, Roman history, and Georgian architecture, Bath is one of the most fascinating cities in England to visit. Famous for being the only town in Britain where you can bathe in the water from natural hot springs, Bath is also set in the middle of the beautiful Somerset countryside meaning there is so much for visitors to see and do, inside and outside the city. Events include the Bath Literature Festival in March, the Bath International Music Festival in May and the Bath Film Festival which goes on throughout the autumn.
Things to See and Do
Roman Baths – Take a tour of the original spa built by the Romans over 2000 years ago and also used by the Victorians. Taste the mineral-rich spa water afterwards in the Pump Room restaurant. Entry: around US$20.
Bath Thermae Spa – After a tour of the old baths, why not relax in the new ones. There is a large rooftop pool as well as smaller ones and lots of different saunas and steam rooms. Entry: around US$60.
Bath Abbey – You will have enjoyed fantastic views of the Abbey from the rooftop pool at the Spa but take a look inside to appreciate the glorious interior. Take a Tower Tour to explore behind the scenes, learn more facts, and of course, climb the tower. Entry: Free but US$10 if you take the Tower Tour.
No.1 Royal Crescent – Located in the stunning Royal Crescent, which is a curved street of beautiful Georgian townhouses, this fascinating little museum shows what the interior would have looked like back when the house was first built in the 1770s. Feed the ducks in Victoria Park afterwards. Entry: around US$15.
The Jane Austen Centre – To find out all about the famous writer, visit this charming museum where you can also play dress-up and try on vintage Regency clothes. Entry: around US$15.
The Fashion Museum – This museum shows off a world-class collection of historic and contemporary clothes through the ages. Entry: around US$13
Ghost Tour – It’s not a surprise that a city with such rich history is bound to have a few ghosts lurking around. Take a chilling night walk through the city with Ghost Walks of Bath for around US$13.
Backpackers – The centrally located St Christopher’s Inn hostel offers dorm beds from about $20 including a continental breakfast.
Bed & Breakfast – Britton’s Farm Estate is a luxury boutique bed & breakfast within a working pig farm, so you can say hello to your breakfast in person the day before. Rooms start from $250.
Spa – If you’re looking for more relaxation, The Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, which is a beautiful old building set in stunning grounds, will not disappoint. Rooms start from about US$500 without breakfast.
The centre of Bath is small enough to walk around easily, and with so much amazing architecture, it’s a pleasure not to be missed. There is no airport in Bath but it’s possible to fly into nearby Bristol, or otherwise it is only about a two hours’ drive/train trip from the centre of London.
Buses – The bus system is quite expensive and not that reliable but there is a hop-on hop-off tourist bus which conveniently drops visitors off at different attractions for about US$20 for a day pass.
Trains – The main train station is Bath Spa in the centre of town and with frequent services to London and the rest of the south of England. Tickets are cheaper if booked online before.
Taxis – Hail a black cab on the street or call for a private service. V Cars or Abbey Cars offer reasonable rates and fast pick-up times.
Bakery – Head to any bakery in Bath to try a Bath Bun which is a sweet buttery bread roll with sugar and raisins on top. Price guide: Budget
Gastropub – There is no shortage of pubs in Bath serving tasty pub grub but try the King William Pub and Dining Rooms for some great seafood options. Price guide: Mid-range
Italian – Jamie’s Italian offers rustic but delicious Italian fare, along with a selection of mouth-watering desserts. Price guide: Mid-range
Luxury Dining – Rajpoot Tandoori has the reputation of being one of the best Indian restaurants in the country and offers an interesting cellar setting, outstanding service, and delectable dishes. Price guide: Expensive
Historic – Sally Lunn’s Refreshment House & Museum claims to be the oldest building in Bath (built in 1483). Whether or not this is true, it is certainly extremely old and offers scrumptious lunchtime treats and a free visit to the cellar museum if you eat or drink something. Price guide: Budget
Pub – 18th century coach house turned pub, The Bell, offers a wide selection on ales, an alternative scene and lots of live music. Or try The Rising Sun to play a traditional old game of skittles.
Bar – RSVP and Revolution are two busy bars located opposite each other and popular with the local student population. Expect loud music, skimpily-dressed teenagers, and sticky floors.
Cocktails – Opium is located underground and offers a decadent opium den theme with a bohemian feel and a great cocktail list.
Club – Moles is a famous Bath club with the longest running club night in the city, Cheesy Tuesdays. Alternatively, Po Na Na hosts a younger crowd and has different themes on different nights too.
Shopping and Markets
High Street – Head to the Southgate Centre near the train station for all your high street needs and some good eating options. It’s housed in a fake-Georgian building but at least it was an effort to keep the city looking as historical as possible.
Boutique – Heading up Milsom Street and George Street, visitors will come across a number of cute and quirky independent and boutique shops.
Vintage – Try Scarlet Vintage and Grace & Ted for some beautiful vintage second-hand pieces.
Market – Walcot Street has antiques shops and weekend markets selling all sorts of bargain items.