Bath is a charming city located in the southwest of England, known for its natural hot springs, stunning Georgian architecture, and rich history. For over 2,000 years, Bath has been a place of significance, and it has played a critical role in shaping the history of England. From the Roman Baths to the Georgian architecture, the city is steeped in history and culture, making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to England. With the success of period dramas like Bridgerton, it’s never been more popular to visit Bath – the ultimate Georgian and Regency City. In this article, we will take a closer look at the best things to see and do in Bath, along with delving into its fascinating history. Whether you’re interested in exploring Roman ruins, soaking in natural hot springs, or admiring beautiful Georgian architecture, Bath has something for everyone. Come along for Anglotopia’s official Bath City Guide.
A Brief History of Bath
Bath is a beautiful city located in the southwest of England. The city is known for its natural hot springs, stunning Georgian architecture, and rich history. The Celts were the first to discover the natural hot springs in Bath, and they believed that the springs had healing powers. The Romans invaded Britain in AD 43, and they quickly recognized the value of the hot springs in Bath. They built a magnificent bathhouse complex around the hot springs, which became known as Aquae Sulis. The complex was a place of socializing, relaxation, and healing, and it attracted visitors from all over the Roman Empire.
After the departure of the Romans in the 5th century, Bath fell into decline, and much of the Roman architecture was lost. However, in the 7th century, Bath became an important religious center when King Osric of the Hwicce founded a monastery on the site of the former Roman baths. The monastery attracted many pilgrims and became one of the most important religious sites in England.
In the Middle Ages, Bath continued to grow and prosper. The city became a center for cloth production, and its woolen cloth was highly sought after across Europe. The city also played a significant role in the English Civil War, with both Royalist and Parliamentarian forces occupying the city at different times.
In the 18th century, Bath underwent a transformation. The city became a fashionable spa town, and many of the stunning Georgian buildings that we see in the city today were constructed during this time. The famous architect John Wood designed much of the city’s architecture, including the Royal Crescent, the Circus, and the Pulteney Bridge. The city also attracted many famous literary figures, including Jane Austen, who lived in Bath for several years (though she didn’t like it much).
During the Victorian era, Bath continued to thrive as a spa town, and many more buildings were constructed. The city also became an important railway hub, and visitors from all over the country could easily travel to Bath for a day trip or a longer stay.
Today, Bath is a thriving city that attracts millions of visitors every year. The city’s stunning Georgian architecture, beautiful parks, and natural hot springs continue to captivate visitors from all over the world. Bath is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its history and culture are celebrated throughout the city.
If you’re planning a trip to Bath, you’re in luck – there’s never a bad time to visit this beautiful city. Whether you’re a fan of warm sunshine or chilly autumn days, there’s always something exciting happening in Bath. To make the most of your visit, be sure to check out the events and festivals calendar.
Springtime in Bath is particularly exciting, with a range of festivals to choose from. The Bath Literature Festival, the Bath Comedy Festival, and the Annual Flower Show at Royal Victoria Park are just a few of the highlights. In the summer months, the city is bustling and prices can be higher, but the chance of sunny days makes it all worth it.
If you’re looking for a quieter time to visit, autumn can be ideal. The crowds of summer are gone, and the countryside becomes even more breathtaking as the leaves change color. Plus, hotel prices are often lower during this season.
Finally, winter in Bath is truly magical. The city hosts a Christmas Market with carol singers, handicraft stalls, and plenty of warm, mulled wine. And if you’re a fan of film or classical music, don’t miss the Bath Film Festival and the annual Mozartfest. No matter when you go, you’re sure to fall in love with this charming city.
What to see and do in Bath, Somerset, England – Bath City Guide
Visit the Roman Baths
Visiting the Roman Baths in Bath, England, is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the city. The Roman Baths are one of the best-preserved Roman bathing complexes in the world, and they offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Romans who used them over 2,000 years ago. Visitors can explore the Great Bath, the hot and cold plunge pools, and the ancient Roman sauna. In addition to the baths themselves, the site includes a museum with a range of artifacts from the Roman era, including statues, coins, and jewelry. The Roman Baths are an essential part of any trip to Bath, offering a unique and immersive experience that is not to be missed.
Explore the Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey is a magnificent medieval church that is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Bath, England. The abbey’s stunning Gothic architecture, breathtaking stained glass windows, and intricate carvings make it one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Visitors can explore the abbey’s rich history, take a guided tour, or attend a service. The abbey also offers stunning views of the city from its tower, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts. Whether you’re interested in history or architecture or simply want to enjoy the beauty of this magnificent church, visiting Bath Abbey should definitely be on your list of things to do in Bath.
Walk along the Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bath, England. Built in the 18th century, the bridge spans the River Avon and is lined with beautiful Georgian buildings that house a variety of shops and cafes. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the bridge and enjoy the stunning views of the river and the city. The bridge is particularly beautiful at night when it is illuminated with soft lights, creating a romantic and magical atmosphere. Pulteney Bridge is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Bath, and it offers a unique glimpse into the city’s rich history and architecture.
Take a stroll around the Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent is a stunning row of 30 Grade I listed terraced houses in Bath. It was designed by John Wood, the Younger, and constructed between 1767 and 1774. The crescent overlooks a beautiful lawn, and the houses are some of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the city. Visitors can take a walk along the crescent and admire the beautiful buildings or visit the Royal Crescent Museum, which is located in No. 1 Royal Crescent. The museum offers a glimpse into Georgian life, with period rooms that have been restored to their former glory, as well as exhibitions that explore the history of the crescent and its residents. It’s a fascinating and educational experience that’s not to be missed.
Discover the Jane Austen Centre
The Jane Austen Centre in Bath is a must-visit destination for any fan of the famous author. Located in a beautiful Georgian townhouse, the museum offers a fascinating insight into the life and works of Jane Austen. Visitors can learn about Jane’s time in Bath, her family, and the inspiration behind her novels. The museum also features an exhibition of period costumes, interactive displays, and a Regency Tea Room where visitors can enjoy a traditional English tea service. The Jane Austen Centre is a wonderful tribute to one of England’s most beloved authors and a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Bath.
Visit the Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art and history. Located in the heart of Bath, England, this museum is home to an impressive collection of fine and decorative arts. The museum’s collection includes works by Gainsborough, Turner, and Stubbs, as well as a range of ceramics, silver, and glassware. The building itself is also worth admiring, as it is a beautiful example of Georgian architecture. With a range of temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year, the Holburne Museum is a fascinating and educational destination for visitors of all ages.
Enjoy the beautiful views from the Bath Skyline walk
The Bath Skyline Walk is a stunning six-mile route that offers breathtaking views of the city and its surrounding countryside. The walk takes you along the Bath skyline, with panoramic views of the city’s beautiful Georgian architecture and the rolling hills beyond. Along the way, you’ll see historic landmarks like Sham Castle and the Iron Age Fort, as well as tranquil woodlands and meadows. The Bath Skyline Walk is a great way to get some fresh air, exercise, and see some of the city’s most beautiful sights.
The Thermae Bath Spa is a modern spa complex in Bath that offers visitors the chance to experience the natural hot springs that the city is famous for. The spa is located in a stunning contemporary building that blends seamlessly with the surrounding Georgian architecture. Visitors can enjoy a range of spa treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps, as well as relaxing in the rooftop pool that offers stunning views of the city. The spa also has a range of steam rooms and saunas, making it the perfect place to unwind and relax after a day of sightseeing.
Experience the Georgian architecture of the Circus
Bath is famous for its stunning Georgian architecture, which was built during the 18th century when the city became a fashionable spa town. The Royal Crescent and the Circus are two of the most famous examples of Georgian architecture in Bath. The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses that form a sweeping crescent overlooking Royal Victoria Park. The Circus is a circular street that features three impressive townhouses. The Assembly Rooms, Pulteney Bridge, and the Beckford Tower are also excellent examples of Georgian architecture in Bath. A visit to Bath wouldn’t be complete without admiring these beautiful buildings and learning more about their history.
Take a boat tour on the River Avon
A boat tour on the River Avon is a fantastic way to see the beautiful city of Bath. The river winds its way through the heart of the city, taking in sights such as the Pulteney Bridge, the iconic weir, and the stunning Georgian architecture that lines the riverbanks. A boat tour allows you to sit back and relax while taking in the sights and is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Bath. Whether you choose a guided tour or opt for a private boat, a trip along the River Avon is an unforgettable experience. You can also rent a punt (a type of small boat) and go for your own journey up or down the river.
Visit the Fashion Museum
The Fashion Museum in Bath is a fascinating attraction that showcases the evolution of fashion in England from the 16th century to the present day. The museum is located in the Assembly Rooms, a splendid Georgian building that has been beautifully restored. The collection includes over 100,000 items of clothing and accessories, ranging from elaborate Tudor gowns to modern-day designer wear. Visitors can admire the intricate details of the garments and learn about the social and cultural changes that influenced fashion over the centuries. The museum also hosts regular exhibitions and events, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in fashion and history.
Take a guided tour of the city
There are a variety of guided tours available in Bath, catering to different interests and preferences. The most popular tour is the one of the Roman Baths, which takes visitors on a journey back in time to the era of the Roman Empire. City walking tours of Bath are very popular and a great way to see the city. Other popular tours include the Jane Austen tour, which highlights the locations in Bath that inspired the author’s novels, and the architectural tour, which covers the city’s stunning Georgian buildings. For those interested in the city’s darker history, there are ghost tours and crime tours that explore Bath’s past of hauntings and criminal activity. Additionally, there are food tours that offer visitors the chance to sample the city’s best culinary delights. Whatever your interests, there’s a guided tour in Bath that’s perfect for you. There are also Bridgerton tours of bath now!
Explore the Prior Park Landscape Garden
Prior Park is a National Trust property located in Bath, England. The park was created in the 18th century by the famous architect John Wood the Elder and was later expanded by the landscaper Capability Brown. The park boasts stunning views of the city and is home to a beautiful Palladian bridge, a gothic temple, and a serene lake. Visitors can stroll through the park’s winding paths, relax on the grassy lawns, and enjoy the park’s many natural and man-made features. Prior Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, or simply enjoying a peaceful walk in nature.
Sally Lunn’s Buns
Sally Lunn’s buns are a famous delicacy in Bath, England that have been enjoyed for centuries. These buns are a cross between a bread roll and a brioche bun, with a light, fluffy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. Legend has it that Sally Lunn, a French Huguenot refugee, brought the recipe for these buns to Bath in the late 17th century. Today, visitors to Bath can still taste the original Sally Lunn’s buns at the historic Sally Lunn’s Eating House, which has been serving them since the 18th century. Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea or used as a base for savory dishes, Sally Lunn’s buns are a must-try when visiting Bath. This is very popular with tourists – reservations are recommended.
High Tea at the Pump Room
If you are looking for a quintessentially British experience, then high tea at the Pump Room in Bath, England is a must-try. This historic venue dates back to the 18th century and has been serving high tea to visitors for over two centuries. The grand Georgian architecture of the Pump Room, combined with the elegant decor, creates a sophisticated ambiance that is perfect for traditional high tea service. The menu includes a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and cakes, all served on fine china. The experience is completed by a live piano performance, which adds to the relaxed and refined atmosphere. Overall, high tea at the Pump Room is a delightful way to experience the best of British culture and hospitality.
Visit the Victoria Art Gallery
The Victoria Art Gallery is a must-visit attraction for art lovers in Bath, England. The gallery houses a collection of over 1,500 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 15th century to the present day. The collection includes works by Gainsborough, Sickert, and Nash, as well as contemporary artists such as Grayson Perry. The gallery is located in a beautiful Georgian building and offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of art and culture. With a range of temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year, the Victoria Art Gallery is a vibrant and dynamic cultural hub in the heart of Bath.
Enjoy the panoramic views from Beckford’s Tower
Beckford’s Tower is a unique landmark in Bath that provides stunning views of the city. The tower was built in 1827 for the wealthy and eccentric writer, William Beckford. The tower’s Gothic design is inspired by Beckford’s love of medieval architecture, and it features a spiral staircase that leads to a beautiful observation deck. Visitors can climb the tower and take in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the city of Bath and its famous landmarks like the Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey, and Pulteney Bridge. Today, the tower is open to the public and serves as a museum and cultural center.
Learn about the city’s history at the Museum of Bath at Work
The Museum of Bath at Work is a fascinating museum that showcases the history of the city’s industrial past. Located in a former Victorian schoolhouse, the museum features exhibits on a variety of industries, from brewing and printing to engineering and manufacturing. Visitors can explore recreated workshops and see how workers lived and worked during the Victorian era. The museum also hosts regular events and workshops, making it a great place to learn about Bath’s rich industrial heritage.
Take a trip to the American Museum in Britain
The American Museum in Britain is a must-visit attraction for those interested in American history and culture. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history of America, from the Native American era to the present day. Visitors can explore the museum’s stunning gardens and enjoy scenic views of the surrounding countryside.
Visit the tranquil Bath Botanical Gardens
Bath Botanical Gardens is a peaceful and serene oasis in the heart of the city. The gardens are home to a wide variety of exotic plants and flowers, as well as picturesque ponds and fountains. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the tranquility of this beautiful natural setting.
Explore the medieval Bath Street
Bath Street is a fascinating place to explore for history buffs. The street is lined with medieval buildings, many of which date back to the 12th century. Visitors can admire the unique architecture and learn about the fascinating history of this ancient city.
Toppings Bookshop is a charming independent bookstore that has been serving book lovers since 2003. The interior of the shop is cozy and inviting, with wooden shelves lined with an impressive selection of books across genres. The knowledgeable and friendly staff is always happy to help customers find their next great read or offer recommendations. Toppings also hosts regular literary events featuring a diverse range of authors, making it a hub for the local literary community. The shop’s commitment to promoting literature and the joy of reading makes it a must-visit destination for book enthusiasts visiting Bath. It recently moved to a beautiful Georgian building making it the perfect place to discover books.
Shop at Southgate
Southgate is the perfect destination for a shopping spree. The area is home to a wide variety of shops, from high-end fashion boutiques and designer stores to independent retailers and quirky gift shops. Visitors can browse for hours and find everything from the latest fashion trends to unique souvenirs and gifts. The Apple store comes in handy when you’re staying nearby and your toddler spills tea on your laptop (true story).
Check out the Bath Covered Market
The Bath Covered Market is a vibrant and bustling marketplace that offers a wide variety of goods and services. Visitors can browse stalls selling everything from fresh produce and artisanal cheeses to handmade crafts and vintage clothing. The market is a great place to soak up the local atmosphere and sample some of the region’s best products.
Victoria Park is a beautiful green space in the heart of Bath. The park is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with family and friends. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the city and relax in the peaceful surroundings. If your kids need a break from all the history and walking, this is the perfect place to take them.
The Canal/Riverwalk is a great way to explore the city from a different perspective. Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the canal and enjoy stunning views of the city’s historic architecture. The walk is also a great way to spot wildlife and experience the natural beauty of the region.
Tips for Saving Money While Visiting Bath
If you’re planning a trip to Bath, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy this beautiful city. With a little bit of planning and some insider tips, you can cut down your costs and have an amazing time without breaking the bank.
One of the best ways to save money in Bath is to visit mid-week instead of on weekends. This way, you’ll be able to find cheaper room rates and avoid the crowds at the main attractions. Additionally, if you travel to Bath on a First Great Western train, you can take advantage of many different two-for-one offers at local restaurants and attractions.
Most of the main historic buildings and landmarks in Bath are within walking distance of each other, so you can save money on transport by strolling around and enjoying the beautiful architecture on foot. Plus, several restaurants in Bath offer lunch or early dinner menus that provide excellent value for money. If you’re looking for a cheap meal, you can also grab fish and chips or meat pies instead of dining at expensive restaurants.
If you plan on taking more than one bus in a day, it’s worth getting the one-day bus ticket, which can save you money compared to buying individual tickets. And if you’re looking for entertainment, you don’t need to spend a fortune on theatre tickets. Instead, just watch the street performers who are scattered throughout the city. From guitar players to opera singers, these performers are a delight to watch, and you can enjoy their performances for free (although it’s always nice to show your appreciation by tossing a few coins into their hats!).
How to get to Bath
The most convenient way to get to Bath from London is by train. Trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa station run frequently throughout the day and take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a bus from London Victoria Coach Station to Bath Bus Station, which takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. If you prefer to drive, the journey from London to Bath takes approximately 2 hours via the M4 motorway. However, it is worth noting that parking in Bath can be difficult and expensive, so it may be more convenient to take public transport instead. There are also plenty of companies that will do a one-day guided tour from London (and back) – we provided recommendations below:
What’s near Bath, England?
The Cotswolds – This iconic and beautiful part of England is nearby, but we recommend treating that as a separate thing to do – as there is so much to see and do in the Cotswolds.
Prior Park – Fabulous National Trust Property
Dyrham Park – Another National Trust Property where Remains of the Day was filmed (exteriors)
Longleat Safari Park – A popular safari park and stately home located in Wiltshire, about 25 miles from Bath.
Cheddar Gorge – A stunning limestone gorge and cave system located in Somerset, about 20 miles from Bath.
Avebury Stone Circle – A Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, located in Wiltshire, about 30 miles from Bath.
Lacock Abbey – A beautiful country house with medieval roots, located in Wiltshire, about 20 miles from Bath.
Why not start planning your getaway to Bath today? Let us know your favorite things to do in Bath in the comments below.