If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that has oodles of history and charm, then the quaint city of Bath is the perfect destination for you.
Due to Bath’s Roman remains, 18th-century architecture, 18th-century town planning, social setting, Hot Springs and landscape setting, the city, on the whole, was deemed to be a site of ‘outstanding universal value’ and so was actually added by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987.
The city is truly beautiful, filled with Georgian architecture and a rich history that spans thousands of years, seamlessly weaving the feel of small-town life with cosmopolitan sophistication; all of which makes it easy to see why it’s such a tourist hotspot with people from all over Europe.
Unsurprisingly, accommodation in Bath tends to err on the picturesque side – from cosy bed & breakfasts to grand guesthouses and five-star hotels – there’s a real variety of places to choose from, catering to all budgets.
If you’re after a place that has a history and is overflowing with charm, then the Abbey Hotel Bath is somewhere for you to consider. Not only is it located in the heart of Bath city centre, making it ideal for sightseeing, but the rooms are also modern yet comfortable, delivering a truly authentic British feel.
Whilst many hotels in Bath will come with a bit of a price tag, there are ways of getting around that. Z Hotels offer affordable rates and no-frills stylishness, and with rates per night starting at £45, the Z Bath is actually a bargain.
Or if you’re wanting to go cheaper still, the YHA Bath has recently had a £2.5 million facelift, turning the wooded enclosed youth hostel into a beautiful Italian inspired mansion. Despite it being 20-minutes on foot to the city centre, the walk is truly beautiful and takes you through the National Trust’s bucolic Bathwick Fields, over the canal and through streets lined with blossom and bath stone.
Not a fan of hotels? Take a look on Airbnb. They have plenty of quirky and beautiful places to stay – from boutique townhouses for big groups to cosy apartments right in the city centre.
Bath might not be a city that sprawls, but that doesn’t mean there’s not lots to see and do. There are loads of sites to check out, so much so that you’d struggle to see everything that Bath has to offer in a couple of days.
Step back in time at the Roman Baths – you can’t travel to Bath and not visit its namesake. The Roman Baths are one of the finest historic sites in northern Europe and is actually a World Heritage Site on its own, and we definitely agree. Explore the baths, walk on the original Roman pavements and see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva at one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world.
Be stunned by Bath Abbey – this historic and beautiful place of worship leaves little to the imagination. The magnificent stained-glass windows, columns of honey-gold stone and some of the finest fan vaulting in the world, create an extraordinary experience that will deliver the wow factor like never before.
Celebrate Bath’s most famous resident – not only is she Bath’s most famous resident, she’s also one of the most renowned writers of all time; Jane Austen’s works are famous all over the world. From Pride and Prejudice to Sense and Sensibility and more, her novels deliver a snapshot of what it would be like to live in the Regency times. Head to the Jane Austen Centre and discover all about the lady herself, try on regency costumes, don’t forget the bonnets and top hats, and meet Jane Austen (well, her wax alter ego anyway). Oh, and after you’re done experiencing the regency life, don’t forget to head upstairs to The Regency Tea Rooms for a delicious afternoon tea.
Stroll along the Kennet and Avon Canal – while it might not have the 1200 year history like the Roman Baths, the Kennet and Avon Canal, at only 200 years old, is the perfect place to stretch your legs on a nice day. Taking the canal towpath is the perfect way to reach the Thermae Bath Spa, the stylish shops, the busy bars and trendy restaurants that help to recreate the buzz of the Georgian era.
Explore Stonehenge – OK so it’s not exactly in Bath, but this iconic symbol of Britain is just an hour’s drive away. Stonehenge is the perfect trip to do on your visit to Bath. Head to the site first thing in the morning to see the sunrise through The Stone Circle and grab a pic that’ll leave your friends green with envy.
Have a barrel of laughs at the Komedia – if you’re a fan of comedy then the Komedia never fails to deliver. Head there at the weekend to catch one of their Krater Comedy Club nights and see a whole host of the latest comedians take the stage.
Get lost in the music – Bath has a great music scene, from swing and jazz to pop and RnB, you’ll be able to find something of your liking on your visit. Check out the Chapel Arts Centre, Moles and the Forum to see who’s in town on your visit.
Head out for a cheeky drink – while its beautiful Georgian architecture might not spring itself to the drinking scene, Bath does, in fact, have quite the variety of places to head for a drink or two. After all, there are two rather large universities based here. From somewhere quiet to enjoy a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, to experimenting with cocktails or dancing the night away in one of Bath’s many nightclubs, the drinking scene in Bath doesn’t discriminate, and in fact, has some rather cool and quirky places to quench your thirst.
Go for a dip at the Thermae Baths – after visiting the Roman Baths it’s time to head to the new baths at the Thermae Spa. The New Royal Bath pays homage to its Roman predecessors with its largely stone design blended with glass, light and water to create a truly tranquil feel. What’s more, if the weather is on your side you can head up to the roof to take a dip in their open-air rooftop pool where you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the city and the surrounding hills, which is made all the more beautiful at night with their twilight package.
Catch a show – it should come as no surprise that the theatre venues dotted around the city are easy on the eye. Housed in beautifully historic buildings, these award-winning venues have fantastic year-round programmes that are perfect for an evening of entertainment in the city.
Acorn – if you’re a fan of vegetarian dishes then Acorn is the perfect restaurant choice for you. Loved by locals and tourists alike, their 100% plant-based dishes have the power to convince even the biggest meat-eater that veggie food can be good too.
The Pump Room – this iconic restaurant is in the heart of Bath and is the perfect place for Jane Austen fans. With crumbly scones, luscious clotted cream and sweet and fruity jams, The Pump Room delivers one of the best afternoon teas you’ll ever come across. But if you’re less of a fan of the picky nature of an afternoon tea and more into bigger meals then you’re in luck as they’ve got a rather scrumptious breakfast and lunch menu too.
The Oven – pizza lovers, this is the place for you. It’s a popular pizzeria that offers some delicious artisan-inspired pizzas that’ll leave you craving more. These guys know customer service, which is why they’re never stingy with their toppings, ensuring you get everything you could wish for and more, and will dish it all up on a plate for you quickly so that you can get to your next destination with plenty of time to spare.
The Raven – if you’re after a good hearty pub meal then The Raven should be your go-to. It’s a typical British boozer, but unlike many, has a real focus on its food, especially the pies. Once you’re done tucking into your grub you can wash it all down with one their special brews, the Raven and the Raven’s Gold.
The Scallop Shell – a favourite for locals and fish-loving tourists, The Scallop Shell has been nominated for many awards, but unfortunately, despite the incredible menu, the freshest of produce and well-thought decor, it’s never been able to take home the crown. While their staple is, of course, their fish and chips, their seafood grill options are out of this world…or should we say out of the sea?!
So, there you have it…all the best things to do when you visit Bath in one place! We hope you’ll have a fun-filled stay whilst you’re visiting. Enjoy!
If you’re planning a road trip to Bath and are on a tight budget, have a look at our guide to planning a road trip on a budget. You never know, it might give you a few tips on how you can save a bit of cash to spend when you arrive.