Bath is a unique, stylish and wonderful city. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the perfect place to explore Roman Baths, natural thermal waters, stunning architecture, Georgian terraces and much, much more.
There are plenty of things to do in Bath to suit all tastes and interests – I’m sure you will fall in love with Bath and understand why this is a world class tourist destination.
Bath can be visited as a day trip from London, but you might find the area deserves some more time to truly explore the area.
Things to do in Bath
Bath is a compact city and most of the attractions are within easy reach of each other.
1. Roman Baths Museum
The Roman Baths Museum is an absolute must when in Bath. I would recommend coming as early as you can in the day (midweek if possible) as it does get busy. The audio guide really does bring the experience to life and is available in 8 different languages, as part of your admission cost.
The complex is a well-preserved Roman site that was once used for public bathing. The actual baths are below modern day street level and include the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum.
2. The Pump Room
The perfect accompaniment after seeing the Roman Baths Museum would be afternoon tea (or an alternative beverage) at this beautiful restaurant, built in 1795. The Pump Room is elegant with stunning decor throughout. There is a fountain with the warm spa water flowing from it – you can even taste the water containing 43 minerals.
3. Assembly Rooms & the Fashion Museum
Wander around the Assembly Rooms and appreciate where the Bath socialites of the 18th century would gather to listen to music, dance, drink tea and play cards. There are 4 rooms to explore, the Ball Room, the Tea Room, the Octagon Room and a Card Room. The Assembly Rooms are also home to the Fashion Museum with its collection of world renowned dresses, including both contemporary and historic styles.
4. Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey is the last great medieval church to be built in England. The 15th century Bath Abbey was built between 1499 and 1616, with the internal fan vaulting erected during the 19th century.
Visitors can climb the 212 steps of the tower, the reward is a beautiful panoramic view of the city at the top. You are able to sit behind the face of the clock and stand on the Abbey’s vaulted ceiling. This is part of a fully guided tour lasting around 45 minutes.
5. Pulteney Bridge
A very beautiful and historic bridge lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. It was completed in 1774 by the architect Robert Adam for William Pulteney to connect central Bath with the other bank of the River Avon. The best way to view it is from the river bank which you can access via some narrow steps at the end of the bridge.
6. Jane Austen Centre
Jane Austen made Bath her home from 1801 to 1806 after two long visits at the end of the 18th century. Jane Austen’s connections with Bath are showcased at the Jane Austen Centre in a permanent exhibition. Located in an original Georgian townhouse, costume guides will show you the links between Bath and Jane Austen and her family. Within the Jane Austen Centre are the Regency Tea Rooms, serving coffee, afternoon tea or champagne, alongside delicious scones, crumpets, cakes, sandwiches and other tasty treats.
7. Royal Crescent
Overlooking Royal Victoria Park is the splendid semi-circular terrace of Georgian houses named Royal Crescent. Built in the 18th century for the wealthy socialites of Bath. Visitors can go in No 1 Royal Crescent and learn about life during that time. The House has been furnished and decorated according to the style of 1776 – 1796.
8. The Circus
Not far away from Royal Crescent, is the Circus. There are 30 houses divided into 3 terraces, curved in a circular shape. Famous residents have included David Livingstone and Thomas Gainsborough. The architecture is stunning with a beautiful green park area in the middle.
9. Thermae Bath Spa
Unfortunately you can’t bathe in the Roman Baths, but that is where the Thermae Bath Spa comes in! Visitors can bathe in four natural thermal baths, including the amazing open-air rooftop pool with incredible views of Bath’s skyline. Over 40 complementary therapies are available in the treatment rooms alongside four state-of-the-art steam rooms.
Admission – Children under the age of 16 are not permitted. No bookings can be made for spa sessions in advance unless you are a group of 8 or more or are having a spa treatment.
Included in your visit is the Open-air Rooftop Pool, the Minerva Bath, Aroma Steam Rooms and Springs Cafe & Restaurant. The weekends are the busiest times with Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays often being quieter.
10. Royal Victoria Park
The park was officially opened by Queen Victoria, who the park was named after, when she was just 11 years old, in 1830. Royal Victoria Park is not far from the city centre, just a short walk away.
The park covers 57 acres with a wide range of activities. Highlights include an 18 hole mini golf course, botanical gardens, tennis, an adventure playground, skateboard park, BBQ facilities, a lake and a band stand with lots of musicians performing throughout the year.
Stop off in the Royal Pavilion Cafe situated within the park for tea, coffee, cake or other refreshments.
11. Sally Lunn’s
Sally Lunn’s is a world famous tea and eating house and can be found in one of the oldest houses in Bath, dating back to 1482. Sally Lunn was the legendary creator of the Bath bun, a regional speciality. Whilst at the tea rooms you can actually visit the kitchen where the baker first created the bun, which has been turned into a small museum.
Visit Sally Lunn’s for morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. Regional English food is served including their ‘trencher dinner.’
12. Boating on the River Avon
Within walking distance of the city centre you can hire a punt, canoe, rowing boat or kayak and explore the River Avon.
Visit Bath Boating for more information.
A great way to get to know an area, particularly if you are short on time, is to take part in a tour.
You can opt for a flexible hop on hop off type of tour where you can set your own schedule, or for something a little more organised with a knowledgeable tour guide who can answer and questions you might have.
City Sightseeing Hop on Hop off Open Top Bus
There are 2 routes you can go on, the City Route (50 minutes) and the Skyline Route (45 minutes.) Once the tickets are activated you can use them for 24 hours, getting on and off at the stops you choose with audio commentary included.
Check out the City Sightseeing website for tickets.
Free World Heritage Site Audio Tour
A free walking guide from Visit Bath taking you through the city’s architecture and history is available for download from Visit Bath, as is a Jane Austen guided tour.
Eat and Drink in Bath
Rosarios – A traditional Italian cafe serving tasty cakes, drinks, pastries and light meals including sandwiches, paninis, salads and homemade soups. Takeaway available. A wide choice of gluten free food is available.
Crystal Palace Pub – Located in the centre of the city in a Grade II listed building, serving a traditional lunch and dinner menu. They serve tasty roasts on a Sunday.
The Raven of Bath – Located on a quiet cobbled street in the centre of Bath. A traditionally family owned pub serving a brilliant range of pies with mash or chips. Other meals include Ploughman’s Lunch, locally made sausages and more.
The Bathwick Boatman – Set in the perfect location overlooking the River Avon serving freshly cooked delicious dishes.
The Bell Inn – A cooperative pub owned by 536 customers since July 2013. With live music, quality real ales and pub games including billiards, table football, chess and backgammon.
Getting There From London
Train – Southwestern run direct trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa. The quickest journey time is currently 1 hour 11 minutes. If you book far enough in advance, tickets prices will be much lower.
Car – London to Bath is around 115 miles. Depending on traffic, journey time will be around 2 hour 10 minutes via the M4. There are 3 park and ride services for Bath and a number of car parks.
Coach – National Express run coaches from London to Bath. The fastest coach time is 2 hours 20 minutes (one way) with others taking around 3 hours. For cheapest fares and the best choice of departure times, book as far in advance as you can.
Organised Tour –A number of tour companies organise day trips from London to Bath. They include;
Anderson Tours – Day trip to Stonehenge and Bath with entry to Stonehenge and the Roman Baths. Adult prices are from £59 and Child prices are from £53.
Golden Tours – Offer a variety of tours that include Bath.
Visitor Information Centre
Visit Bath – Abbey Chambers, Abbey Churchyard, Bath BA1 1LY. Located next to Bath Abbey.