What to do in beautiful Bath
England’s popular spa town is named after and famous because of its Roman-built baths.
Often voted among the best places in the country to live, work or visit, the city boasts stunning architecture, Roman remains, was once home to the author Jane Austen and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bath is on the banks of the River Avon, in the west of England.
More specifically, it’s in the north-east of the county of Somerset, 97 miles west of London and 11 miles south-east of Bristol.
The city is brimming with things to do, here are some of the best attractions and ideas:
With more than one million visitors a year, the Roman Baths are a huge tourist pull.
The Romans built this grand temple, bathing and socialising complex in around 70AD.
Constructed around Britain’s only hot spring, it is now one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world.
Sadly, it’s not possible to swim in the Roman Baths today but you can taste the water which has been freshly pumped.
Spoiler: The drinking water is warm and rather unpleasant but a good experience!
Tip: Make sure everyone takes an audio guide. You wear them around your neck and hold them to your ear like a phone. In each area is a number to type in and there are different guides for children – theirs are the numbers on orange backgrounds.
For more information visit the website: Roman Baths
The city is not huge but if it’s your first visit, you struggle to get around, need a rest or just fancy a fun way to see the city, take a hop-on, hop-off bus.
On a sunny day, it’s a treat for children (and grown-ups) to sit on top of an open-air bus.
They stop near all the major attractions and have audio in 10 languages – you collect headphones when you get on and plug them in next to your seats under the window.
Why is travelling by open-topped bus so much more fun and relaxing than going anywhere by car?
Tip: The app works well for showing where all the buses are so you aren’t waiting around. Your e-ticket is swapped for a paper ticket when you first board and you will need it every time you hop on and hop off so don’t lose it!
The Royal Crescent
As we said at the start, the architecture in Bath is a sight to behold.
And The Royal Crescent is one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in the UK – this iconic landmark was built between 1767 and 1775.
Formed, as you would expect, in the shape of a crescent, it’s a 538-foot wide, curved row of 30 terraced houses overlooking Royal Victoria Park.
Many important people have lived or stayed here and it has been the location for films and dramas including Bridgerton, Persuasion, Inspector Morse and The Duchess.
Curious visitors can even get a look inside one – a museum resides at Number 1 Royal Crescent. This restored town-house shows what fashionable life would have been like in the 18th century. Children are enthusiastically welcomed and can turn detectives on a trail around the house.
There is also a hotel located in two of the town houses – The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa.
Tip: Make the most of the staff’s expertise and don’t miss the chance to dress up in Georgian clothing. Also, there is a lovely small park opposite the Crescent, which makes an excellent picnic spot.
Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House
This cafe/restaurant – hailed a world-famous tea and eating house – is set in one of the oldest houses in Bath.
It is known for its regional speciality – Sally Lunn Bath Bunns – a type of bun baked to a secret recipe.
The Bunns are similar to brioche and can be eaten with sweet or savoury toppings.
Sally Lunn’s is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
Tip: The restaurant gets really busy, if you don’t want to queue (you can only book if eating after 5pm), you can bypass the queue to visit a tiny museum and shop downstairs which sells Bunns to take home to toast and eat at your leisure.
Address: Sally Lunn’s House, 4 North Parade Passage, Bath, BA1 1NX.
Tip: Confusingly, there’s another regional speciality you can find in this city, called the Bath Bun, sprinkled with fruit and crushed sugar.
Try both to decide which wins the battle of the buns.
American Museum and Gardens
This Georgian estate on the outskirts of Bath, includes an American museum, beautiful gardens with valley views and a lovely children’s outdoor play area.
It was founded in 1961 to bring American culture and history to Europe.
Its cafe, The Deli, sells America favourites such as macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, filled bagels, hot sandwiches, cakes, scones and American cheesecake.
The museum recreates American houses through different decades and the enthusiastic staff will let you play games in a replica saloon bar.
Tips: If it’s a nice day and you buy food from the café, take it outside and enjoy it on the terrace with fantastic views over the garden.
As well as being a much-photographed example of Georgian architecture, this is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops all across it on both sides.
Walk across it or view it from the crescent weir or Parade Gardens (you have to pay to enter these gardens).
Interesting fact: It featured in the 2012 film version of Les Miserables.
Park and Ride
If you have a car, there are three excellent park and ride options around the edge of the city.
We used the one at Odd Down. The buses run every 10 to 15 minutes and this is a much less stressful option than trying to drive and park in Bath.
Parking is free all day if you buy a return bus fare (£2.70 per adult with children free).
For more ideas of what to do in Bath, visit the city’s official tourist information site Visit Bath.
*Have we missed any of your favourite attractions? Let us know of any attractions you would like us to add.
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*We received free or reduced rates for the purpose of this story, all views are our own.