Bath, often regarded as Britain’s most beautiful little city, is famed for the archaeological wonder from which it derives its name: its 2,000-year-old Roman baths. Bath, located in the Avon Valley between the Cotswolds and the Mendip Hills in the lovely county of Somerset, is widely recognised for its brilliantly maintained honey-colored Georgian homes.
Today, about 500 of the city’s buildings are deemed historical or architecturally significant – so significant, in fact, that Bath was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987, one of just a few such places in the United Kingdom. A great way to make the most of your vacation is to walk the Bath Skyline Walk, a six-mile network of walkways that provide the best views of the city.
Visitors appreciate the city’s various cultural events in addition to its stunning architecture, parks, and gardens. Exploring Bath’s various museums, entertainment venues, and tourism sites are popular things to do.
Bath is also well-known for its numerous award-winning festivals and events, such as the Bath Christmas Market, one of the greatest seasonal shopping possibilities in the UK. The Bath International Music Festival, which is consistently well-attended, is also noteworthy.
With our list of the best attractions in Bath, you can learn more about what to see and do, as well as popular sightseeing options and excursions.
While the ancient Romans are credited with establishing Bath’s old hot springs as a destination of leisure and regeneration, history has it that a British king discovered its medicinal qualities some 500 years earlier.
The Romans, however, made their imprint, constructing the city’s famed Roman Baths and Temple of Sulis Minerva in 75 BC around the city’s biggest of three hot springs.
The water comprises 43 distinct minerals, gushes from a depth of approximately 10,000 feet at a rate of 275,000 gallons per day, and is a constant 46.5 degrees Celsius.
The award-winning Roman Baths and Temple, voted Britain’s most romantic structures, are among the greatest specimens of Roman architecture remaining in England, attracting over a million tourists each year.
Many of the antiquities discovered during archaeological investigations, like as altar stones and magnificent mosaics, are on exhibit in the museum or surrounding the Great Bath.
While free guided tours are given on a regular basis, individuals who want to travel at their own leisure can pick up an audioguide with their tickets.
This useful handbook is also available in a version for youngsters, who are encouraged to interact with personnel dressed in realistic period costumes. After all that touring, are you hungry? For a delicious supper, choose between the sophisticated Pump Room Restaurant and the more relaxed Roman Baths Kitchen (the latter has a pleasant patio area, too).
Consider taking a pleasant two-hour Bath city walking tour if you want to combine a tour of the Roman Baths with a tour of other local sights. The greatest features of the baths, including the hot springs, the Great Bath, the pump rooms, and the changing rooms, are included in these morning or afternoon trips, as is a walk to Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey.
Bath Abbey Churchyard is the address.
Bath’s superbly preserved Georgian architecture is undoubtedly the second best reason to visit this lovely city. The Museum of Bath Architecture is an excellent site to start your adventure.
This one-of-a-kind institution, housed in a former private chapel, wonderfully exemplifies how classical design affected the city’s architecture. It also houses the Bath Model, a stunning 1:500 scale architectural model of the mediaeval city centre.
Walk to the northwest portion of the city, which has the majority of the outstanding architectural specimens. Queen Square and Gay Street, with their elegantly symmetrical façades originating from the early 18th century, are worth a look. Then, proceed to the Royal Circus, a complete circle of three-story residences with various classical orders (column kinds) on each level.
Then there’s the Royal Crescent. This massive semicircular swath of residential townhouses is known for its stunningly consistent, palace-like façade.
No.1 Royal Crescent is available to the public (most residences on the crescent are privately owned) and offers a unique view into life in the 1770s for the affluent – and their less-than-wealthy servants. There are a number of guided excursions, educational activities, and themed itineraries available.
Bath’s address is 1 Royal Crescent.
In 1499, the Bishop of Bath and Wells erected the Gothic cathedral of Bath and Wells (also known as “the Bath Abbey”).
It was created after Bishop Oliver King had a vivid dream of angels climbing up and down staircases to and from heaven, according to mythology. He also heard a voice say, “The crown should plant an olive tree, and the king should rebuild the cathedral.”
The dream was painstakingly etched in stone on the building’s west side, and was seen as a sign to rebuild the church — the location having been utilised as a place of worship by Christians since AD 757.
For those with flexible schedules, visiting during one of the numerous music performances or public talks (see the abbey’s website for dates and details) is a nice option. A guided tower tour programme is also available, which includes stops at the bell chamber, clock face, and roof.
You’ll get a great perspective of the city and the nearby Roman Baths from here (it’s a 212-step hike, but there’s a rest place halfway up).
Couples may also visit the private tower after dark for a truly unforgettable experience. Check out the on-site gift shop if you want something to remember your stay by.
Bath’s address is 11a York Street.
Pulteney Bridge, one of Bath’s most famous pieces of architecture, is one of just a few bridges that still have buildings above them.
Completed in 1774 to connect downtown Bath to undeveloped territory on the opposite side of the River Avon, it is regarded as one of the world’s most famous such bridges. It even had a cameo in the film adaptation of Les Misérables).
Three arches house a variety of delightful small stores and restaurants, and the bridge leads to Great Pulteney Street, which is lined with exquisite Georgian-style mansions. The bridge also serves as the starting point for a number of exciting river trips.
Bath’s address is Bridge Street.
You’re in luck if you want to have the same bathing experience as the ancient Romans who built the original baths here. A plunge in the waters of Thermae Bath Spa, located across the street from the Roman Baths, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy the same thermal waters that have lured people to the area for thousands of years, dating back to the Celts.
The building itself is a charming architectural combination of a new modern glass-fronted construction completed in 2006 and historic Georgian-era structures.
The New Royal Bath, the primary bathing area, has a spectacular open-air rooftop swimming pool as well as an interior pool, two hot baths, two steam rooms, and a “ice chamber.” The original 18th-century “hot bath” and the charming garden-side health room are well worth seeing.
Water massages and hot stone therapy are among the spa services provided. Couples may book one of the romantic twilight packages, which include supper (at the on-site restaurant), a spa treatment, and a sunset rooftop pool session.
The Hetling Pump Room is located on Hot Bath Street in Bath.
The Cross Bath is located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Thermae Bath Spa (and is owned and run by the same corporation). This historic spa facility offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to soak in the city’s historical waters.
The historic open-air hot bath is a highlight of a visit to this fully rebuilt 18th-century edifice. The fact that only 10 visitors are allowed at a time adds to the pleasure.
Your 1.5-hour event may also be arranged for private sessions for a really unforgettable experience – a fantastic choice for couples and small groups of friends. Robes and towels are provided, as they are in the Thermae Bath Spa.
Bath’s address is 9, 10 Hot Bath Street.
Paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Stubbs are among the highlights of the Holburne Museum’s exceptional art collection, which also contains 18th-century silver, Wedgwood china, Renaissance bronzes, and early period furniture.
The museum, housed in the former Sydney Hotel, now features a garden café with views of the beautiful Sydney Gardens, Britain’s sole remaining 18th-century pleasure gardens.
A range of activities and educational programmes, such as classical music concerts and talks, are presented on a regular basis. Participating in the museum’s “late night” activities, which let you to explore its numerous exhibitions after hours, is a wonderful thing to do if you schedule it correctly. On the premises, there is a café and a shop.
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After admiring Bath’s magnificent architecture, you’ll undoubtedly want to discover more about the styles and fashions that would have been worn by the occupants of the city’s many lovely residences.
The Fashion Museum, situated in the architecturally magnificent Assembly Rooms, houses a world-class collection of modern and historical clothes, including 150 costumed figures and over 30,000 authentic pieces from from the late 16th century to the present.
Since its inception in 1963, the museum’s exhibits have covered a wide range of topics, including men’s and women’s apparel, day and evening wear, and current alternative fashion.
Highlights include a one-of-a-kind “dress of the year” wardrobe comprising gowns by well-known dressmakers and designers that have been amassed since the museum’s inception, with one new example added each year. Leading labels like as Mary Quant, Giorgio Armani, and Ralph Lauren are examples.
For children who like dressing up, trying on some of the replica clothing made accessible to visitors is a delightful activity. There is also a decent café and a gift store at the museum. The entry ticket includes informative audioguides.
Address: Bennett Street, Bath, Assembly Rooms
This living museum and historic dining house, which dates back to 1482 and was renovated in 1622, is famed for its exquisite Sally Lunn’s Buns, which are created from secret traditional recipes.
The cinnamon butter topping is apparently a favourite of actor Nicolas Cage (also try the handmade lemon curd with clotted cream), and variations of the bun are popular in locations like Williamsburg, Virginia, and New Zealand.
The subterranean museum, located only feet from Bath Abbey, explains how the spot has been utilised to revive tired visitors since Roman times. Highlights include the ancient kitchen, a 1140 oven, and the sole visible relics of mediaeval Bath.
The museum also has an interesting exhibit depicting how portions of the ancient city were elevated a full storey to prevent floods and, of course, to provide rich Georgians a nicer location to promenade.
The ideal times to come and avoid crowds are around 10 a.m. or dinnertime — tables for the latter can be arranged. Alternatively, you may have a bun or two to go.
Bath’s address is 4 North Parade Passage.
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy is housed in a beautifully renovated Georgian mansion and features various objects relating to the famed musician and astronomer, William Herschel.
Viewing actual pieces of music and several instruments, as well as many references to his biggest achievement, the discovery of the planet Uranus in 1781, are among the highlights of the museum. This ground-breaking achievement was accomplished with a telescope developed and built by Herschel himself in this same structure.
There are self-guided audio tours available, as well as various reproductions of Herschel’s equipment for guests to handle and experience. The museum and its workshop also provide a range of entertaining educational activities. There is also an authentic Georgian-era garden to explore.
The Museum of Bath at Work is another must-see sight. The museum’s features include a replica of a Victorian engineering and mineral water firm that remained unmodified until the 1960s, a stone quarry and crane, and a fully functional cabinet maker’s workshop, which spans 2,000 years of Bath’s economic growth.
The Bath Postal Museum is a delightful diversion for philatelists, with exhibitions of related items and various ancient postboxes.
Bath’s address is 19 New King Street.
Fans of English literature, particularly Georgian-era literature, may want to add a visit to the Jane Austen Centre on historic Gay Street in their Bath trip itinerary.
Austen famously vacationed in Bath before relocating here full-time from 1801 to 1806, a city that at the time drew the country’s upper classes due to its famed spas, pastoral surroundings, and active social scene.
Touring the well-preserved old townhouse with a period-costumed guide (guided tours of other city monuments are also offered) and viewing a broad array of exhibitions and artefacts pertaining to the author’s stay in Bath are highlights of a visit.
There’s even a waxwork of the author, which was created over a two-year period with the help of forensic experts to guarantee it matches Austen as precisely as possible (no realistic photographs exist of her).
The center’s tea room is well worth a visit for a real high tea experience, and there’s a well-stocked shop selling the author’s works and other mementos.
If you’re visiting Bath in the fall, try to arrange your visit to coincide with the annual Jane Austen Festival. This 10-day event, held in September, ends in a procession that gathers thousands of tourists and admirers, most of whom are costumed in accurate period costumes.
There’s also a much-anticipated Masked Ball, which Austen would undoubtedly appreciate.
Bath’s address is 40 Gay Street.