Self-guided walking tour in Bath: 16 sights to visit

The Paragon, an impressive curved street of Georgian town houses, and a stop in the Bath walking tour

One of the top travel destinations in the UK, the city of Bath offers an escape to magnificent Georgian architecture and beautiful Cotswold countryside. This self-guided walking tour explores the key sights and hidden gems in Bath. Walking along Bath’s streets, you’ll be awestruck by the Roman, medieval and especially Georgian influences that have shaped the spa city, and you’ll rapidly fall in love with this beautiful golden city.

This self-guided walking tour takes 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours with limited stops. If you wish to visit any landmarks, such as the Roman Baths or Bath Abbey, this walking tour will take longer. If you’re short of time, you can cut this tour short and visit the first 11 sights only. You may also wish to complete this self-guided walk over 2 days and cut the tour in half at sight 11 to enjoy a more relaxing walk.

Location: Bath, Somerset

Walk difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours

Distance:  7 miles (11 km)

Contents:
Why visit Bath
Bath walking tour itinerary
    1. Bath Abbey
    2. The Roman Baths
    3. Milsom Street
    4. Queen Square
    5. Royal Victoria Park
    6. The Royal Crescent
    7. The Circus
    8. The Assembly Rooms
    9. Lansdown Crescent (optional)
    10. Walcot Village
    11. Pulteney Bridge
    12. Great Pulteney Street
    13. Sydney Gardens
    14. The Kennet & Avon Canal
    15. Alexandra Park (optional)
    16. SouthGate Shopping Centre (optional)
How to get to Bath
Explore Bath further

Why visit Bath

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. The spa capital is located in South West England, just 20 minutes from Bristol and 1 ½ hours away from London.

The arresting architecture of the Circus, a famous landmark in Bath and a stop in the Bath walking tour
The Circus

Crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath offers Roman and medieval landmarks, magnificent Georgian architecture, striking golden limestone, and at its doorstep, the beautiful Cotswold countryside. From the arresting Royal Crescent to the imposing Bath Abbey and the serene Kennet & Avon Canal, Bath features countless splendid sights just waiting to be explored.

Bath walking tour itinerary

1. Bath Abbey

The Bath walking tour starts in the heart of the spa city at Bath Abbey. Built in the 16th and 17th centuries in Bath’s signature limestone, Bath Abbey has undergone many alterations since then. The abbey features arresting Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows and a 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.

The stunning architecture of Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths
Bath Abbey

Top tip:

While visiting Bath Abbey, go on the Tower Tour. This tour takes you up the abbey’s narrow and spiral staircases to the rooftop for spectacular views over the city of Bath and the surrounding Cotswold countryside.

Walk instructions:

This self-guided walking tour starts at Bath Abbey (BA1 1LT). The entrance to the abbey can be found on Abbey Churchyard.

Find out more:

Bath Abbey invites visitors to make a small donation. For more information, visit bathabbey.org.

2. The Roman Baths

Located next to Bath Abbey, the Roman 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 people 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.

The Great Bath at the Roman Baths, with views of Bath Abbey
The Roman Baths (The Roman Baths)

Top tip:

If you’re after the full Roman Baths experience, taste the hot tangy spa water at the water fountains 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.

Walk instructions:

The entrance to the Roman Baths can also be found on Abbey Churchyard.

Find out more:

You can visit the Roman Baths for a fee. However, you can no longer bathe in its spa waters. For more information, visit romanbaths.co.uk. If you wish to experience Bath’s thermal springs, you can visit Thermae Bath Spa.

3. Milsom Street

Milsom Street is a charming Georgian street lined with shops. Back in Georgian times, Milsom Street was the hub of the city and a fashionable shopping venue. This shopping street enjoys stunning Georgian architecture, intriguing stonework and lovely independent and high street shops with regal store fronts.

Bath's Milsom shopping street with striking buildings and shops
Milsom Street

Top tip:

If you’re interested in quirky shopping streets, explore Union Passage, a narrow lane parallel to Union Street filled with delightful shops.

Walk instructions:

With your back to Bath Abbey, walk along Abbey Churchyard, turn right onto Stall Street and continue straight ahead to Milsom Street.

4. Queen Square

Featuring Georgian town houses built around a square, Queen Square is one of the most remarkable examples of Georgian architecture in Bath. The town houses on the northern side of the square resemble a palace and are the most impressive. Enclosed by black iron fencing, the square houses an 18th century obelisk and cherry trees.

The striking Georgian architecture of Queen Square in Bath, a stop in the Bath walking tour
Queen Square

Top tip:

On her various trips to Bath, Jane Austen stayed in Queen Square in the late 18th century. The Jane Austen Centre is located a stone’s throw away on Gay Street. If you’re a fan of Jane Austen, visit the museum and discover more about the artist’s life, novels and stays in Bath.

Walk instructions:

At the bottom of Milsom Street, turn right onto Quiet Street and at the end of this street, turn right, then immediately left onto Wood Street. At the end of Wood Street, you’ll reach the south eastern corner of Queen Square.

5. Royal Victoria Park

Opened in 1830, Royal Victoria Park is a large park named in honour of the then Princess Victoria. Located in the centre of Bath, the park is partly overlooked by the Royal Crescent. Royal Victoria Park boasts tree-lined avenues, an obelisk, picturesque park cottages, botanical gardens, duck ponds, a children’s playground, tennis courts, a mini golf, a skateboard park and a bowling green.

Trees, parkland and parkgoers in Bath's Royal Victoria Park
Royal Victoria Park

Top tip:

While in Royal Victoria Park, visit the Botanical Gardens. Featuring an array of colourful, unusual and delightful plants and trees, the Botanical Gardens date from the late 19th century and are one of Bath’s hidden gems.

Walk instructions:

At the opposite corner of Queen Square from Wood Street, take the side street, Queen’s Parade, and continue to Royal Avenue. The park starts here and enjoys lovely views of the Royal Crescent. However, the main parkland is further along. Continue along Royal Avenue, cross Marlborough Lane and go past the park fences.

6. The Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bath and one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture. A curved row of magnificent terraced houses in Bath’s signature limestone, the crescent is regally imposing and enjoys unobstructed views over Royal Victoria Park and the surrounding Cotswold hills and valleys.

The crescent-shaped building of Bath's Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent

Top tip:

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.

Walk instructions:

From the heart of Royal Victoria Park, follow Royal Avenue past the park fences and turn left onto Marlborough Buildings and right onto the Royal Crescent.

Find out more:

If you wish to explore life in a Georgian house, you can visit the museum at No. 1 Royal Crescent. For more information, visit no1royalcrescent.org.uk.

7. The Circus

The Circus is another remarkable example of Georgian architecture and forms a mesmerizing perfect circle of spectacular town houses in the golden Bath stone. The landmark was designed with the same diameter as Stonehenge and features three entrances and a green with a cluster of large imposing trees.

The Circus, iconic round-shaped building in Bath
The Circus

Top tip:

Don’t forget to admire the stonework on the façade of the town houses of the Circus. You’ll find decorative emblems, from acorns to serpents and other Masonic symbols.

Walk instructions:

At the opposite end of the crescent from Marlborough Buildings, follow the road onto Brock Street and to the Circus.

8. The Assembly Rooms

Located near the Royal Crescent and the top of Milsom Street, the Assembly Rooms are housed in another splendid Georgian building. Back in Georgian times, high society gathered at the Upper Rooms, as it was then known. They spent the evening ballroom dancing, listening to concerts or playing card games. These entertainments were held in four different and magnificent rooms, each purpose-built.

Entrance to Bath's Assembly Rooms
The Assembly Rooms

Top tip:

If you’re interested in fashion, visit the Fashion Museum. Housed in the Assembly Rooms, the museum exhibits an impressive collection of contemporary and historic dress.

Walk instructions:

From the Brock Street entrance to the Circus, veer left onto Bennett Street. You’ll find the Assembly Rooms on your right.

Find out more:

You can visit the Assembly Rooms for free, however, the Rooms are not always open. For more information, visit nationaltrust.org.uk.

9. Lansdown Crescent (optional)

Apart from the Royal Crescent, Bath also features six other crescent-shaped rows of terraced houses. Lansdown Crescent is the most impressive crescent after the Royal Crescent. Dating back to the late 18th century, Lansdown Crescent is located on Lansdown Hill and enjoys delightful communal gardens with lovely views of Bath.

This hidden gem is off the beaten path and up a steep hill, and so you may wish to skip this stop if you’re short of time.

The curved row of town houses on Camden Crescent, one of Bath's hidden gems
Camden Crescent

Top tip:

While in Lansdown Crescent, explore Somerset Place, Cavendish Crescent and Camden Crescent, another three Georgian crescents near Lansdown Crescent. Cavendish Crescent is the shortest and plainest crescent in Bath with only 11 houses and no embellishments. Camden Crescent suffered a landslide which destroyed some houses. As such, the central row of pillars is no longer in the middle of the crescent.

Walk instructions:

From the Assembly Rooms, continue along Bennett Street and turn left onto Lansdown Road. Walk up the steep hill, turn left onto Lansdown Place East (4th street on your left) and continue along the road to Lansdown Crescent.

To visit Somerset Place, continue past Lansdown Crescent and along Lansdown Place, and turn right onto Somerset Place. For Cavendish Crescent, continue past Lansdown Crescent and along Lansdown Place and Sion Hill, and turn left onto Cavendish Road then left again onto Cavendish Crescent. To visit Camden Crescent, go back down Lansdown Road and turn left onto Camden Crescent (2nd street on your left).

10. Walcot Village

Also known as the Artisan Quarter, Walcot Village is one of the best off-the-beaten-path places in Bath. Here, you can spend an afternoon browsing the exotic and remarkable antiques and independent shops. From antique furniture, silverware and jewellery to works of art, you’ll find astonishing items in Walcot Village.

Colourful shops and townhouses on Walcot Street
Walcot Street

Top tip:

On your stroll along Walcot Street, spot the grotesque stone faces on the wall of The Paragon. The faces were carved in Bath’s signature limestone and represent mythical but also local characters.

Walk instructions:

From Lansdown Crescent, go back down Lansdown Road. [If you skipped Lansdown Crescent: From the Assembly Rooms, continue along Bennett Street and turn right onto Lansdown Road.] At the end of the Lansdown Road, turn left onto The Paragon. This is a small detour to explore The Paragon, an impressive curved street of Georgian town houses. At the roundabout, turn sharp right onto Walcot Street.

Find out more:

Please note that most antique shops are open from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and are closed on Sundays.

11. Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge is another key place to visit in Bath. This astonishing bridge is lined with charming small 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.

Bath's iconic Pulteney Bridge, Pulteney Weir and River Avon
Pulteney Bridge

Top tip:

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 flights of steps on your right. Go down the steps, along the river and you’ll end up on Spring Gardens Road.

Walk instructions:

Walk down Walcot Street, continue along High Street and turn left onto Bridge Street. At the intersection, you’ll reach Pulteney Bridge.

12. Great Pulteney Street

Lined with imposing Georgian terraced houses, Great Pulteney Street is the widest street in Bath and one of the most impressive. Dating back to the late 18th century, Great Pulteney Street extends from Pulteney Bridge in the city centre to Sydney Gardens in Bathwick. At the start of Great Pulteney Street, Laura Place forms an interesting Georgian plaza with a fountain in the middle of the street.

Great Pulteney Street's terraced townhouses bathed in a golden light
Great Pulteney Street

Top tip:

Along Great Pulteney Street, discover Sunderland Street, the shortest street in Bath with only one address and two front doors.

Walk instructions:

From Pulteney Bridge, continue straight ahead along Argyle Street and Great Pulteney Street.

13. Sydney Gardens

Reached from the city centre by Great Pulteney Street, Sydney Gardens is an 18th century pleasure garden and the oldest park in Bath. Popular in Georgian times, the park was a favourite with Jane Austen. Sydney Gardens boasts beautiful cast-iron bridges over the Kennet & Avon canal as well as a children’s playground and tennis courts.

The Kennet & Avon canal flowing through the Georgian park of Sydney Gardens, a stop in the Bath walking tour
Sydney Gardens & the Kennet & Avon Canal

Top tip:

If you’re interested in art, visit the Holburne museum. Housed in Sydney Gardens, the art gallery was built around the collection of Sir Willian Holburne.

Walk instructions:

At the end of Great Pulteney Street, you’ll find the Holburne museum. From there, either veer left or right and follow the edge of the park along Sydney Place to either entrance to the gardens.

14. The Kennet & Avon Canal

Built in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kennet & Avon Canal runs through the city of Bath, including Sydney Gardens, as well as across the lovely Cotswold countryside. Walking along the peaceful canal, you can admire the stunning Georgian town houses lining the canal, the colourful narrowboats lazily cruising on the waters or moored to the banks, as well as the picturesque and intricate locks.

Kennet & Avon canal with canal boats and townhouses, one of Bath's hidden gems
The Kennet & Avon Canal

Top tip:

For a longer walk along the canal, stroll to Bathampton and beyond. In Bathampton, you can stop for refreshments at the George Inn before making your way back to Bath or continuing along the canal path to Bradford-on-Avon.

Walk instructions:

Follow the wide central path starting at the Holburne museum, cross over the railway bridge and veer right towards a small intricate white gate leading to the canal. Turn right and walk along the canal path to Widcombe. Please note that at the intersection with Bathwick Hill, you’ll need to switch banks by walking back up to street level and crossing the road. Just follow the signposts.

15. Alexandra Park (optional)

Located at the top of Beechen Cliff hill, Alexandra Park overlooks the beautiful city of Bath. From the two panoramic viewpoints in the park, you can spot Bath’s famous landmarks, from Bath Abbey to the Royal Crescent. You can also admire the rows upon rows of Georgian terraced houses and enjoy striking views of the Kennet & Avon canal, the River Avon and the surrounding Cotswold Hills.

This hidden gem is off the beaten path and up a very steep hill, but the spectacular views of Bath are worth the climb.

Views of the city of Bath and the surrounding hills from Alexandra Park, one of Bath's hidden gems
Views from Alexandra Park

Top tip:

Visit the delightful streets surrounding the park, including Shakespeare Avenue, Byron Road, Shelley Road and Kipling Avenue, and enjoy the charming architecture of the town houses.

Walk instructions:

From the end of the Kennet & Avon canal path, turn left onto St Matthew’s Place and veer right onto Widcombe Parade and then Claverton Street. Turn left onto Lyncombe Hill (2nd street on your left), then right onto Calton Road (1st street on your right). At the start of Calton Road, you’ll find an uphill path with steep steps, known as Jacob’s Ladder, that will take you to Alexandra Park and the first viewpoint. Continue straight ahead to the second viewpoint.

16. SouthGate Shopping Centre (optional)

SouthGate is an outdoor shopping centre in the heart of the city of Bath. Packed with high street shops and restaurants, SouthGate was rebuilt in 2009 in the iconic Bath stone and mimics the Georgian architecture of the spa city. Along with Milsom Street, Union Street and Stall Street, SouthGate is the best place for shopping in Bath.

Union Street, a shopping street in the spa city of Bath
Union Street

Walk instructions:

From the second viewpoint in Alexandra Park, take the downhill path to the right of the town houses to Holloway Street. Turn right onto Holloway and at the bottom of the hill, veer left down a footpath towards the roundabout. [If you skipped Alexandra Park: From the end of the Kennet & Avon canal path, turn left onto St Matthew’s Place and veer right onto Widcombe Parade and then Claverton Street.] Cross Claverton Street using the underpass, continue round the roundabout and cross the first bridge. Turn right onto SouthGate Street, cross Dorchester Street and veer right along the pedestrian part of SouthGate Street.

To reach Bath Abbey from SouthGate, continue straight ahead along SouthGate Street and then Stall Street, and turn right onto Abbey Churchyard.

Find the walk itinerary pdf fileBath walking tour by adragonsescape.com

Download the walk GPX fileBath walking tour on my.viewranger.com

How to get to Bath

By train

Arriving by train is usually the easiest way to get to Bath from any other UK city. Bath Spa is Bath’s main train station located in the heart of the city centre. There are direct trains to Bath from most South West cities, including London, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. If you’re arriving from other UK cities, such as Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh, you’ll need to change trains at Bristol.

By bus

Bus services to Bath are generally cheaper than trains. Again, there are direct buses to Bath from most South West cities, including London, Bristol and Exeter. Bus journeys tend to take longer than the train, and the British roads are notorious for roadworks and traffic which slow down the journey. The Bath Bus Station is located in the city centre next to the train station.

Views of rows of terraced houses from Camden Crescent, a key landmark in Jane Austen's Bath
Views from Camden Crescent

By car

Travelling by car to Bath is probably the option involving the most hassle, unless you’re arriving from a remote location with little public transport. You cannot rely on British roads for a speedy arrival, and Bath does tend to get congested, especially during rush hour.

You can park in Bath’s city centre in off-street car parks as well as on the streets. However, there is usually a time limit for on-street parking. You can park on the streets for free in the evenings and on Sundays. For more information about car parks in Bath, please visit bathnes.gov.uk.

By plane

The closest airport to Bath is Bristol airport and is well served by other major UK and European cities. The main airlines flying to Bristol include British Airways, EasyJet, KLM, Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Lufthansa. Bristol airport is located 45 minutes from Bath, and you can easily get into the city by bus or taxi.

For international or cheaper flights, London airports are your best bet. Prefer Gatwick and Heathrow as you can get to Bath more easily by train or bus. Cardiff and Birmingham are the other two airports closest to Bath, and again, you can travel to Bath by train or bus.

Explore Bath further

Alongside striking Georgian architecture, Bath offers hot thermal springs, the enchanting Palladian bridge of Prior Park, beautiful Cotswold countryside and much more. Explore Bath further and find the top places to visit with the Bath travel guides by A Dragon’s Escape.

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park in Bath, one of the city's hidden gems
The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park

The Bath Skyline walk

The Bath Skyline walk offers a wonderful escape to the beautiful Cotswold countryside surrounding Bath. The walk leads you across enchanting valleys and over rolling hills to enjoy splendid views of the city and the surrounding hills. Throughout the walk, you can spot Bath’s top sights, including Bath Abbey and the Empire hotel. Find the Bath Skyline walk guide.

Views of top Bath landmarks on the Bath Skyline walk
Views on the Bath Skyline walk

Plan your escape

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love the Escape travel guide packed full of ideas to explore Bath, Bristol, the Cotswolds and beyond. To receive this exclusive guide as well as inspirations every month to explore and plan your escape, enter your email address and subscribe to the Escape Monthly newsletter.


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Reference: Visit Bath

Featuring image: The arresting architecture of the Paragon in Bath

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