I am a born and bred Londoner, although I have lived in different parts of the city, I have never left. But although London runs through my veins, a little bit of heart lives in Bath. My love of Bath started a few years ago when Lila was a baby. I was having a bit of a mum meltdown and needed a break really badly. Rob decided to book me a trip to Bath for 4 days of rest and me time and it was one of the best trips of my life. I’m a big Georgian history geek and the city is about as close to going back in time as you can get. From the moment I first laid eyes on Bath, I was in love. Now I try to go back as often as I can and I know the city as if it was my second home.
This post is aimed at first time visitors and includes some of the main tourist sights, which are all absolutely beautiful and well worth a visit. Bath is definitely a city for history lovers like me and is full of culture, beautiful architecture and history. It’s one of those places where the beauty of your surroundings hit you from the moment you arrive and no matter how long or short your stay, there are so many wonderful things to see and do. Here’s a list of some of the best things to do in Bath…
Bath Abbey dominates the skyline of the city and is absolutely beautiful both outside and in. I love popping in to read all the beautiful memorials or just to have a few quiet minutes to myself. The Abbey has many stunning features including the most beautiful stained glass windows, a fan vaulted ceiling that towers above you as you explore the beautiful abbey. If unlike me you’re OK with heights you can also take tours up one of the abbeys beautiful towers. Take some time to walk around the outside too, it truly is beautiful. If you’re in Bath, the abbey is an absolute must see. Bath Abbey website.
The Roman Baths
Bath has so many wonderful historic attractions, that really make it stand out from other cities. It is best known for all the stunning Georgian architecture, but the history of Roman bath is every bit as fascinating. People have been drawn to Bath’s spa water for centuries and the Roman’s were no exception. The Roman baths complex is vast and there is plenty to see. From the Roman Baths themselves to the informative displays which tell the story of how Roman people bathed and lived in the city. The number of artefacts on display is very impressive. I’d recommend at least a couple of hours for your visit, as there is so much to see and take in. Be sure to pick up the audio guide and listen to it as you walk round. You will learn a lot! Roman Bathroom website.
The Fashion Museum
If you’re a fashion history geek like me, you will absolutely adore Bath’s fashion museum. Housed below the famous assembly rooms, their collection is both impressive and vast. Both their temporary and permanent displays will take you on a journey through fashion history, with pieces from the last few centuries to enjoy. One of the highlights for me is an area where you can dress up in replica historic costumes, with fun stuff to try on for both adults and children. Be prepared to swoon a little at all the gorgeous clothes! Fashion Museum Website.
The Assembly Rooms
If you’re a fan of Jane Austen novels, you will love a quick trip to The Assembly Rooms. It’s the best place to get a feel of where regency balls took place and just enjoy how pretty the spaces are. The venue is often used for events, so not all rooms are always accessible to it’s worth checking first. I like to just pop into the tea room for a nice slice of cake and a cuppa to have a little rest from exploring the gorgeous city. Assembly Rooms website.
No1 Royal Crescent
Royal Crescent is one of the most famous addresses in Bath. This stunning row of houses has been featured in many films and TV programmes, including Persuasion, which is one of my absolute favourites. A few years ago No1 was restored to it’s former glory and as you walk through it’s rooms, you can really experience what life was like in a Georgian townhouse. The ten display rooms include a wonderful drawing room, dining room and bedrooms, as well as a glimpse into the life of servants downstairs. This is a great way to really appreciate Bath’s Georgian history and there are loads of brilliant photo opportunities too. No1 Royal Crescent website.
There are lots of interesting museums in Bath and despite my many visits to the city I’ve not yet managed to visit them all. One museum that I like to visit regularly is the Holburn Museum. You can reach the museum by taking a lovely walk from the city centre, which takes you across Pulteney Bridge and down Great Pulteney Street, another great opportunity to get a few pretty photos. The museum is home to art exhibitions and an excellent collection of objects including ceramics, bronzes and silverware. The museum sits in gorgeous grounds with the lovely Sydney Gardens sitting just behind it. Holburne Museum website.
Cross the road to take a look at the house that Jane Austen once lived in, at 4 Sydney Place, which is marked with a plaque.
One of my favourite places to have a little wander and enjoy a little green space, is the lovely Sydney Gardens. This is one of the UK’s only surviving pleasure grounds and is the oldest park in Bath. This small park has a series of paths which have had many Royal Visitors and of course Jane Austen herself walk along them. One of the highlights of the park are the bridges that cross the canal, another great photo opportunity. The park has a fantastic play area, so if you’re visiting with little people, this is a great place for them to let off some steam.
American Museum in Britain
The wonderful American Museum sits just outside Bath and lives in a Georgian manor house, situated in 125 acres of gorgeous grounds, which look out over the countryside. The museum houses the largest collection of American artefacts outside the US. A highlight would have to be the rooms which are recreations of American life through different eras. Another highlight is the huge collection of American quilts, which I could look at all day. There is just so much to see here and if you have the time to venture out of the city centre, then this excellent museum should not be missed. American Museum website.
Bath Postal Museum
The postal museum was the first place I popped into on my first ever visit to Bath. This small museum is perfect for a quick visit and I actually learnt a lot of interesting stuff about the history of the postal system. This is another spot that would be perfect to visit with kids as there are plenty of interactive displays. Bath Postal Museum Website.
This is a lovely central spot, with stunning views over Pultney Weir and Pulteney Bridge. The garden is beautifully maintained and the floral displays and various statues make this a beautiful photogenic spot. There is a cafe within the garden if you’re looking for refreshments. I love the state of Mozart surrounded by animals that sits in the heart of the gardens.
Lunch at the Pump Rooms
Both times that I’ve visited Bath with my mum, we’ve treated ourselves to a gorgeous meal at The Pump Rooms. A visit combines, gorgeous food, beautiful music and surroundings with lots of history. The Pump Rooms is home to an original fountain where you can ‘take the waters’, well worth a try despite the slightly awful taste. The restaurant serves delicious food and afternoon teas, which can be enjoyed while listening to a live pianist or string ensemble and is the most wonderful treat while staying in the city. The Pump Rooms website.
Thermae Bath Spa
Despite having been to Bath many times, my last visit this summer was the first time I had visited the Thermae Bath Spa. I have to say, the morning I spent there was one of the most enjoyable and relaxing mornings I’ve ever had. They use the thermal spa water in both their rooftop and indoor pools, as well as offering various steam and sauna experiences and treatments. I felt absolutely amazing after taking in the views of the city rooftops while bathing in the warm mineral rich pool. If you need a bit of pamper time and to revitalise and refresh, then you will feel amazing after a visit here. I’m planning a more in depth review about the spa very soon, so watch this space. Thermae Bath Spa website. (My trip to the spa was kindly gifted)
Bath Tour Bus
I am a big believer that tour busses are the best way to see the highlights on every city break. I always make a little time, wherever I’m visiting to explore from the open top deck of a tourbus. Bath offers two tours, one of the city centre and one that takes you up into the hills that overlook Bath, both are very much worth doing. I’ve done both numerous times, even once in the snow! I learnt absolutely loads of interesting facts about the city both from the audio guide and the fabulous staff who are full of brilliant Bath trivia and knowledge. City Sightseeing website.
The Circus and Royal Crescent
Bath is a great city to explore on foot and I really got to know my way round by exploring and just wandering around. There is something gorgeous to see around every corner. If you’re going to walk anywhere take a stroll from Queens Square, up Gay Street and onto The Circus. This iconic round street is one of the most beautiful in Bath and is seriously photogenic. From the circus a stroll down Brock Street will bring you to The Royal Crescent. If you feel like a bit more walking, keep going and take a stroll round the excellent Victoria Gardens.
It wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t mention some of the vintage shopping opportunities in Bath. For high end, exceptional vintage pieces you can’t go wrong with Vintage to Vogue on Milsom Street. Their stock really is stunning. For fun affordable vintage from all eras check out The Yellow Shop on Walcott Street. The city also has some very good charity shops, where I’ve found some excellent vintage in past.
My Bath Tips
Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up on my many trips to Bath.
Explore at night – Bath may be extremely beautiful by day, but I always try to have a long walk in the evening, the city looks every bit as stunning at night and there are fewer tourists. It’s such a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day of sightseeing.
Go off the beaten track – Bath is full of fabulous attractions and places to visit. However Bath is simply stunning all round and if you really want to take in the city just wander around for a few hours as every street is gorgeous. Look up and take in all the amazing architectural details.
Visit in the winter – Christmas time is fabulous in Bath and the Christmas Markets are very popular and certainly draw in the crowds. My favourite time to visit Bath is in January and February when the weather is cold and crisp. The first time I ever visited it was very snowy and the city looked absolutely incredible. Just be aware that a few attractions close during the winter months, but you will have those that are open to yourself a bit more.
Where to stay – I’ve stayed in lots of different places Bath, but my absolute favourite would have to be Harrington’s Hotel. The location is perfect and the rooms are absolutely gorgeous. I have also stayed in one of their beautiful apartments and it’s probably the nicest place I’ve ever stayed, it was like having our own little home in central Bath – what a dream!
While writing this post I’ve been thinking about a few of the places I’ve missed off the list that are smaller and not quite so well known. I’ll definitely be doing a follow up post with some more ideas and maybe some walking routes very soon.
Let me know in the comments if you have any Bath suggestions that I can check out next time I visit.
Some of the experiences on my last trip to Bath were kindly gifted by Visit Bath, they are all places that I have paid to visit before. My trip to the spa was gifted by Thermae Bath spa. My trip to The American Museum was part of a previous press trip a few years ago. All opinions are my own.