The best things to do in Bath include many of the city's famous historical charms. It's a small, compact city that’s best explored on foot. It’s also among England’s prettiest, sitting on the banks of the River Avon and full of fine examples of Georgian architecture. In fact, the whole city is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site – not many places can claim that honour.

    The city of Bath is so named because of the spas that were developed around Roman times, and you can still enjoy a dip in the UK’s only natural thermal spa. This tells us 2 things about the Romans: they weren’t very inventive with their names, but they were very clean.

    What are the best things to do in Bath?


    Roman Baths Museum

    Walk in the footsteps of the Romans

    • History

    This well-preserved relic from the times of Ancient Rome allows you to see the original bathhouse from thousands of years ago. Other ancient artefacts excavated from around the site are on display, including a large collection of coins. The use of costumed actors, videos and 3D models bring the past to life and make it enjoyable for the whole family. You can even sip water from the hot spring (although safe, the minerals taste quite bitter). An audio guide is provided as you enter.

    Location: Abbey Chambers, Church St, Avon, Bath BA1 1LZ, United Kingdom

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1225 444477


    Thermae Bath Spa

    Britain’s only natural thermal spa

    • Couples
    • Luxury
    • Unusual

    The Romans were the first to discover the mineral-rich waters under Bath, and bathing in them is still popular thousands of years later. Thermae Bath Spa is a classy place where you can relax in the hot pools and enjoy a few sessions in the steam rooms. There are several baths within the spa, but the best spot is in the open-air rooftop pool. The warm water is revitalizing in any weather. It gets particularly busy on weekends, so aim for a weekday, if possible. 

    Location: The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath St, Bath BA1 1SJ, UK

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1225 331234


    Pulteney Bridge

    Check out the shops along both sides of the bridge

    • Shoppers

    Pulteney Bridge is a scenic spot in Bath and quite unique. Built in the 1700s, its noteworthy for the shops that are built into the bridge on both sides. Most people are so taken with the shops and charming cafés that many don’t realise it’s a bridge. The river runs through a weir next to the bridge, which creates a cascading effect. It’s easy to find in the city centre, just behind Guildhall Market and the Central Library. It’s particularly romantic when lit up at night.

    Location: Bridge St, Bath BA2 4AT, UK


    Bath Abbey

    Climb the spire to get a bird’s eye view of the city

    • Photo
    • History

    This Gothic-style building is one of England’s finest medieval churches. It took 120 years to build and it shows in the level of fine details, both inside and out. Look out for the ladder of angels on the abbey’s west front and the beautiful stained-glass windows. The fan-style vaulting that covers the ceiling is incredibly detailed. Bath Abbey is next door to the Roman Baths Museum, in the centre of a pleasant pedestrianised square.

    Location: York Street, Bath BA1 1LT, UK

    Open: Daily 9 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1225 422462


    Bartlett Street Antiques Centre

    A selection of shops showing vintage curios from different eras

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Luxury

    Don’t come here expecting a bargain, but for fans of antiques and vintage curios, this collection of shops on Bartlett Street is fascinating. You’ll find plenty of jewellery, homeware, and art. The shop owners are generally friendly and don’t push hard for a sale, which makes browsing enjoyable. Prices are fair, although deals can be reached on some pieces.

    Location: 8 Bartlett Street, Bath BA1 2QZ, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1225 487888


    Queen’s Square

    We wish every street in England looked so good

    • Photo

    Bath is rightfully famed for the honey-coloured Georgian buildings that can be seen throughout the city. Strolling aimlessly is an enjoyable experience, but head for Queen’s Square to see some fine examples of the restrained yet handsome architectural style. In the centre of the square there’s a small park with a monument in honour of the Prince of Wales.

    Location: Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HX, UK


    photo by NotFromUtrecht (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    The Jane Austen Centre

    An interesting look at the life of one of Britain’s literary greats

    • Couples
    • Photo
    • History

    This small museum is dedicated to the life and times of one of the county’s wittiest and most successful writers. Jane Austin wrote 6 novels, some of them in Bath, which focused on the upper classes of 18th century England. She wrote with cutting irony and a sharp eye for the foibles of her time.

    At this museum, you’ll learn about the customs, fashions and food common in Jane Austin’s Bath, and you can even dress up in period costumes if you fancy. The museum is just off Queen’s Square.

    Location: 40 Gay St, Bath BA1 2NT, UK

    Open: Daily from 9.45 am to 5.30 pm (slightly reduced opening hours in winter, from November to March)

    Phone: +44 (0)1225 443000


    Prior Park Landscape Garden

    Quaint gardens offering stunning views of the city skyline

    • Couples
    • Photo
    • History

    Prior Park Landscape Garden provides couples with a romantic escape from the hustle and bustle of Bath, just a short distance to the city centre. Designed by famous poet Alexander Pope and legendary landscape architect Capability Brown, these 18th-century gardens are set in a sweeping valley above Bath city. 

    You can relish the stunning views, with sunset a particularly romantic time to visit. This is especially true during the warmest days of summer, when the gardens teem with all manner of plants and animals.

    Location: Ralph Allen Dr, Bath BA2 5AH, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1225 833977


    Theatre Royal Bath

    Choose from up to 3 shows on within this beautiful old theatre

    • Couples
    • Nightlife
    • Families

    The Theatre Royal Bath combines theatrical classics with new plays that struggle to get shown at bigger theatres. Depending on the night, you might be able to choose from Shakespeare or an off-Broadway visiting performance – that’s the great thing about having 3 stages. Popular shows at the Theatre Royal have included musicals like The Rat Pack to classics like the theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, Great Expectations.

    Location: Saw Cl, Bath BA1 1ET, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1225 448844


    photo by Heather Cowper (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum

    Enjoy afternoon tea in the oldest house in Bath

    Bath is a genteel city with a slow pace of life. Enjoying some cakes and tea served in bone China cups is the perfect way to spend a couple of hours here. Sally Lunn’s teahouse is one of many tearooms in Bath, but we prefer this spot down a narrow alleyway close to Bath Abbey. Not only is it reported to be the oldest house in Bath (built in 1482), but this is where the famous fluffy buns known as Sally Lunn buns were first baked. This sweet, brioche-style bread goes great with a cup of tea.

    Location: 4 North Parade Passage, Bath BA1 1NX, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveller

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