Known worldwide for its hot thermal springs, the city of Bath has attracted countless settlers across the centuries. From a charming Roman settlement to an enchanting Georgian hub, Bath has developed into the striking city it is today. Crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the spa capital is located in South West England, just 1 ½ hours away from London and has many magnificent places to visit. To discover the best of Bath, I would recommend you visit the following 7 places.
1. Escape to medieval times and visit Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey is one of the first places to visit in the city of Bath. The abbey you can explore today was built in the 16th and 17th century in Bath’s signature limestone, but has known many alterations since then. The sight’s key attractions are its arresting Gothic architecture, its beautiful stained glass windows and its remarkable fan vaulted ceiling. Don’t forget to explore this iconic landmark from all sides; each will reveal a different facet of the abbey’s personality and history.
Please note that at the end of the central aisle, you should find a pedestal mirror that will allow you to enjoy the ceiling’s striking lines better.
While visiting Bath Abbey, I would recommend you go on the Tower Tour. This tour takes you through the abbey’s narrow and spiral staircases to the rooftop for spectacular views over the city of Bath and the surrounding countryside. For more information, please visit bathabbey.org.
2. Discover the heart of Georgian Bath at the Royal Crescent & The Circus
To explore the best of Bath further, you should visit the iconic Royal Crescent and The Circus. Both curved rows of magnificent terraced houses in Bath’s signature limestone are the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the spa city. The Royal Crescent enjoys unobstructed views over the Royal Victoria Park and the valley, while The Circus is designed in a mesmerizing perfect circle.
When visiting the Royal Crescent, take the time to discover the back of the curved row. While the front of the Crescent is perfectly symmetrical, the back is a mishmash of different shapes and styles and is beautiful in its imperfection.
3. Travel back in time and explore the Roman Baths
Another key place to visit in the spa city is the Roman Baths. The Baths were a natural thermal spa and date back to the Roman Empire. Over the centuries, this historic site has been visited by a multitude of visitors in search of the relaxing hot waters and medicinal properties of the thermal springs. The Roman Baths key attraction is the Great Bath, the biggest pool in the spa situated in an arresting column-lined courtyard.
Please note that although you can visit the Roman Baths, you can no longer bathe in its spa waters. For more information, please visit romanbaths.co.uk.
If you’re after the full Roman Baths experience, taste the hot tangy water at the spa water fountain in the West Bath or in the Pump Room. Back in the 18th century, the Georgians drank the water as a treatment for certain ailments.
4. Relax and get pampered at Thermae Bath Spa
While you can no longer enjoy the relaxing waters at the Roman Baths, you can experience the natural thermal spring at Thermae Bath Spa. The spa has several pools and steam rooms, and its key attraction is the remarkable rooftop pool from which you can enjoy lovely views of the city of Bath. For more information, please visit thermaebathspa.com.
Thermae Bath Spa can get very busy over the week-end, especially during the summer. You can find yourself queuing to get in and sharing the pools with many fellow visitors. I would thus recommend you visit the spa in the mornings during the week.
5. Enjoy window shopping and discover Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge is another key place to visit in the best of Bath. This astonishing bridge is lined with small charming shops and is a delight to explore. Built in the 18th century, the iconic landmark crosses the River Avon and links the Pulteney area to the city centre. A key attraction of Pulteney Bridge is the distinctive horse-shoe shaped Pulteney Weir, where ducks enjoy swimming around.
You can enjoy the best view of Pulteney Bridge, Pulteney Weir and the city of Bath from Spring Gardens Road. To get there from the city centre, cross Pulteney Bridge and just after the bridge take the flight of steps to your right. Walk down the stairs, along the river and you will end up on Spring Gardens Road.
6. Take a stroll and escape to the Royal Victoria Park
The Royal Victoria Park is the biggest park in the city centre of Bath. It starts below the Royal Crescent and continues behind Marlborough Buildings. At this best of Bath sight, you can enjoy lush green parkland, a delightful pond, enchanting botanical gardens, a children’s play area, a charming mini-golf course, and many other attractions.
When visiting the Royal Victoria Park, I would recommend you escape to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens harbour an array of colourful, exotic and delightful plants, flowers, shrubs and trees. To get there, walk past the park fences and the obelisk, take the road straight ahead. Around the corner on your right, you will see the wrought iron fence of the Botanical Gardens.
7. Get lost in the charming streets of Bath
Last but not least, I would urge you to explore the best of Bath by putting your map and phone away and ambling along the cobbled streets. You will encounter many magnificent terraced houses, quaint tucked-away streets and delightful little shops.
Explore Bath further
From the arresting 7 crescents of Bath to the breathtaking Bath Skyline trail and the peaceful Kennet & Avon Canal, Bath features countless places just waiting to be explored. Explore the spa city with the self-guided walking tour, the top hidden gems guide and more Bath city guides.