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Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 04 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Sian Lewis

Bath is one of the UK’s top tourist destinations for a reason: its beautiful Georgian architecture, aristocratic history and cream teas, along with its ancient and modern spas, make it a refined choice for a relaxing and romantic weekend break.

Culture is key to the city’s appeal, from the fascinating Holburne Museum to the Fashion Museum and the Theatre Royal, not to mention the handsomely preserved streets – backdrop to many a costume drama – and the house where Jane Austen lived and wrote.

The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognised for its Roman baths and elegant architecture.

Orientation

Like Rome, Bath is a city of seven hills, concentrated in a central valley and edged by the River Avon.

The city centres on the abbey, with upmarket boutiques and the most impressive Georgian architecture, including Pulteney Bridge and Royal Crescent, to the north and east, and the SouthGate shopping centre to the south.

The artisan quarter of Walcot Street runs along the Avon to the north, while Royal Victoria Park is to the west.

The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination

Roman Baths & Pump Room

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

The historic Grand Pump Room next door has a fountain spouting genuine mineral-rich Bath spa water for tasting. It also does an enjoyable afternoon tea, a popular and highly recommended way to round off your visit.

Best for ages: 8+ | £15

Thermae Bath Spa

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

A unique modern spa with steam rooms and showpiece rooftop pool, that uses Bath’s natural thermal water.

Best for ages: 12+ | £38

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Bath’s must-see Georgian architecture

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Bath’s beautifully-preserved Georgian architecture – most of it made from honey-coloured ‘Bath stone’ – is a delight to behold, even for the non-architecturally minded. See it on expert-led walking tours.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

Exterior front facade of beautiful abbey in golden bath stone
Experience

Bath Abbey

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

This Gothic beauty, built in Bath Stone in the 12th and 16th centuries, known for its unique architecture and fan vaulting. You can climb the tower for views of the city, and there’s also a small museum in the vaults housing artefacts and exhibits about the abbey’s history.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Christmas market stalls with people, underneath a large tree lit up in green festive lights
Experience

Bath Christmas Market

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

The cheery cluster of wooden cabins that take over the city centre from mid-November attracts a throng of shoppers, but is still well worth wandering through on a Christmas weekend trip if you fancy meeting local makers and sampling festive foodie treats.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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Empty punts lined up on the water's edge
Experience

Boating on the Avon

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Pile into a punt or a rowing boat from this pretty boating house on the outskirts of the city, and paddle along the River Avon. Stop for lunch at the Bathampton Mill country pub before making your way back.

Best for ages: 4+ | £12 | 1-3 hours

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Elaborate dresses in a glass display case
Experience

Fashion Museum

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Style worshippers will love this walk through the fashions of the 18th century through to modern-day garb – the Dress of the Year exhibition is a highlight. The museum is located on the lower ground floor of the Assembly Rooms, and the lofty Ball Room is worth a peek.

Best for ages: 8+ | £10

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

 Fully Guided Bath Ghost Tours

Fully Guided Bath Ghost Tours

Bath

Bath Ghost Tours offer the very best ghost walk in the city of Bath. A mixture of fun, theatrics. historical fact and paranormal experiments...

£16 | Rating 4.70 / 5 [58 ratings]

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Bad of Bath fun Walking Tour of Bath

Bad of Bath fun Walking Tour of Bath

Bath

Explore the other side of Georgian Bath in this fun and humorous walking tour taking in all the famous sites. Discover Bath's corrupt side,...

£15 | Rating 4.93 / 5 [171 ratings]

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BATH: 2-Hour Bath Walking Tour of Bridgerton Filming Locations

BATH: 2-Hour Bath Walking Tour of Bridgerton Filming Locations

Bath

If you enjoyed Bridgerton you'll love this tour, visiting the main filming locations in Bath of the hugely popular Netflix series. Relive th...

£20 | Rating 4.95 / 5 [83 ratings]

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Bridgerton Tour and Bath City Highlights with Music

Bridgerton Tour and Bath City Highlights with Music

Bath

This tour is the only Bridgerton tour that visits key filming locations in Bath. The walking tour provides guests with headphones so they ca...

£16 | Rating 4.76 / 5 [52 ratings]

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

Brindley’s

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

A bijou bed and breakfast with pretty bedrooms just a five-minute walk from the city centre – Jane Austen would approve.

Official star rating:

Queensberry Hotel

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Contemporary, stylish hotel spread across four Georgian townhouses on a classic Bath street.

Official star rating:

No 15 Great Pulteney

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Slap bang in the heart of things, No 15. is one of the smartest places to stay, on arguably Bath’s grandest road, close to  the city centre. There’s beautiful décor, a relaxed bar and fine attention to detail.

Official star rating:

The Bird

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Expect friendly, youthful vibes at this relaxed hotel, decorated in jewel tones and with a buzzy restaurant. The location is excellent – the city centre is a five-minute walk away.

Official star rating:

When to go

Bath has year-round appeal, and hotels are regularly booked up during summer and for events such as Valentine’s Day and the city’s many festivals. Due to the city’s geography, it can be very muggy in summer; July and August are also particularly busy months.

For a quieter spa session or architecture tour, May, June and September are the best times to visit, with (generally) pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Getting there and away

The easiest way to reach Bath is by train to Bath Spa station, which is centrally located with taxi ranks outside. Many sights and hotels are within walking distance of the station. The closest international airports are Bristol (40 minutes by taxi or car) or London Heathrow (1 hour 40 minutes by taxi or car).

Getting around

Bath is a walking city. The centre has pedestrian zones and a one-way system for cars; driving is stressful and not recommended.  Parking is expensive and restricted, although many hotels have their own car parks. After dark, taxis are plentiful and can be hailed on the street or from the taxi rank by the abbey. Bikes are also a good way to get around. The municipal Bike in Bath scheme is cheap and straightforward.

Where to shop

Bath has three shopping areas: SouthGate is a modern, pedestrianised open-air shopping centre; Walcot Street boasts independent retailers, a Saturday flea market and antiques and second-hand shops; and Milson Street has a mix of boutiques, high-street shops and independent lifestyle and fashion stores on the main thoroughfare and streets branching off it.

Other guides relevant to this destination

Bristol destination guide

United Kingdom (UK)

Bristol is the beating heart of the UK’s South West, with an offbeat focus on culture and the arts plus interactive history, a cutting-edge independent food scene and street eats all on offer.

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