The historic city of Bath is one of England’s most beautiful cities. Bath is the largest city in the county of Somerset in England and has an exciting and interesting history due to being home to one of the few natural hot springs found in Britain. The city was founded by the Romans and developed during the Georgian era into the popular spa city that it continues to be till this day. With its historic architecture and charming beauty it is easy to see why Bath welcomes millions of visitors each year.
Getting There: Bath is located in the county of Somerset in England. Bath is around a 2 and a half hour drive from London. I found lots of car park in the city centre with affordable parking.
If you are travelling by public transport you can get a Great Western Train from Paddington to Bath for around £15 depending on when you are travelling. The train journey from London takes around an hour and a half. You can also catch a National Express Coach from Victoria, which is the more affordable option but can take much longer.
Due to its location you can easily combine your trip to Bath with other nearby popular locations including Bristol, Stonehenge or the Cotswold.
Things to do and see: The entire city of Bath was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The city has so many incredible things to see, do and explore.
Once you get to Bath the city is best explored by foot. I visited the city of Bath as a solo traveller and so decided to join one of the free walking tours. There are a few different options for tours of Bath including photography and cycling tours. I decided to go on the Mayor’s walking tour. The tour is completely free and volunteers will not accept any tips or gratuities. The tours run everyday at different times depending on the season you are visiting. I would highly recommend the tour as it gives you more knowledge and insight into the area and takes you to all the key locations in the city. You do not need to book the tour beforehand and can just turn up when a tour is running at a time that is convenient for you. For information on the tours including location and timings check out their website – http://www.bathguides.org.uk/index.html
A network of foot paths can be found all over the city and are easy to navigate for walking and exploring the city. You can go for boat rides along the River Avon as well.
The city of Bath runs along side the River Avon, which offers incredible views when walking through the city. The Pulteney Bridge is the most well known bridge that crosses the River Avon in Bath. It was completed in 1744 and is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops across its full span on both sides when it was built. Over the years it has had to be rebuilt due to damage by floods and it is now a grade 1 listed building. Close to the bridge is the Pulteney weir which has been on maps of Bath since 1603 and was designed to prevent flooding.
The most iconic place to visit in Bath has got to be the Roman Baths. It is one of the UK’s most visited attractions. The Roman Baths are located in the heart of the UNESCO city and the ancient complex is a site of historical interest. You can walk through the remains of the historic Roman Baths with the flow of the natural thermal water still running through it. Opening times and ticket prices vary depending on when you are visiting. If you can book online you can get a 10% discount off the entrance tickets. The Baths are mainly wheelchair accessible with tours, audio guides and interactive learning along the way. There is also a gift shop and restaurant.
The same mineral-rich thermal springs found in the Roman Baths are also used in a wellbeing centre and spa near by if you are looking to actually go into the waters.
Another key attraction in Bath is Bath Abbey. Bath Abbey was originally founded in the 7th century and has been reorganised and rebuilt many times after. It is one of the largest examples of Gothic architecture in England. The abbey is another Grade 1 listed building in Bath and continues to be used as an active place of worship till this day. As with most places of worship it is free to visit but a donation is often encouraged when you go through the entrance. You can also climb to the top of the abbey to one of the best views of Bath.
As mentioned earlier during the 18th century of Georgian Era Bath was transformed into a popular spa city for wealthy families to visit. In order to develop the town an array of luxurious homes were built to house the wealthy visitors. One example of this is Royal Crescent, a row of exclusive terraced houses, laid out like a crescent. Notable people have stayed in these homes over the years and the building are now another Grade 1 listed area in Bath. Number 1 Royal Crescent in now a museum. The large house in the centre is now the Royal Crescent Hotel.
Another historic street is known as Circus, a street of large townhouses forming a circle with a green space in the middle.
The Bath Assembly Rooms were also designed to cater for the wealthy visitors of Bath during the Georgian Era. The Assembly Room were built to use for entertainment including balls and concerts and were visited by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. The Assembly Rooms are now open to the public to visit and house the Fashion Museum, tea rooms and fine art work. The grand rooms have been used for filming location for period dramas and films. Entry to the Assembly Rooms is free but check before visiting to see if they are open as rooms are often hired for events.
Bath is home to lots of museums including the Holburne Museum and the Museum of East Asian Arts. There is also the Jane Austen Centre based on the famous English novelist. Jane Austen lived in Bath for a few years and used it as a location for some of her writings. The museum is a permanent exhibition of Jane’s time in Bath and her writing.
Bath is also home to an array of parks and gardens including the Royal Victoria Park and Botanical Gardens. Prior Park Landscape Garden is also another popular green space in Bath that also offers amazing views of the city and its architecture.
In Bath City Centre there are an array of shopping options including designer stores, high street shops and independent markets and eateries.
There are lots of other things to do in Bath if you are staying for longer including Sham Castle, Victoria Art Gallery or Theatre Royal.
A number of events and festivals also take place in Bath throughout the year including the Bath Literature Festival.
It is worth noting that Bath is a very popular place to visit and it can get very busy, particularly during the summer months.
Accommodation: You could spend just a day in Bath but if your staying in Bath there are lots of options of places to stay deciding on your budget. Have a look online for hotel, bed and breakfast and hostel options to suit your requirements.
Food: There are lots of vegetarian places to eat in Bath including well known restaurants such as Wagamama and Bill’s. There are so a range of independent places to eat that sell vegetarian food. Bath’s park and river side also offer great places for picnics if the weather is nice.
In terms of Halal food there are a few options around the centre of Bath including a few Indian and Turkish restaurants. I went to a halal Moroccan restaurant called Tagine Zhor. I saw it while out on my walking tour. I personally found the food and price to be average but was a fan of the service.
Bath has a number of tea houses throughout the city. Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House is a popular choice. It is said to be the oldest remaining house in Bath, from approximately 1483. This tea house is famous for of their Sally Lunn Bun and is now also a museum.
Prayer/Masjid: Bath city centre is also home to a Masjid, called Bath Islamic Centre. Unfortunately I did not get to visit while I was in Bath so cannot comment on the facilities avaible but still thought I would mention it for other Muslim travellers to check out if they need to.
Final Thoughts: Bath is charming and historic city with lots to do, see and explore. I would highly recommend visiting Bath, especially if you are looking for a nice weekend break away from busy London life. Bath is the kind of place that has lots to offer and will appeals to a variety of interests and people whether you are visiting for a few hours or a few days.