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Bath’s must-see Georgian architecture

  • Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 18 March, 2024

Bath is famous for its beautifully-preserved Georgian architecture – most of it made from honey-coloured ‘Bath stone’ and giving the whole city the enchanting feel of having stumbled into the past, or onto a film set.

The city owes its impressive architectural legacy to luck; it happened to become of fashionable spa and social city in the early 18th century – when Georgian and Palladian styles dominated. The gorgeous, golden ‘Bath Stone’ used in the buildings – so pleasing to behold – is all sourced locally in Somerset, from the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines.

Look out for architectural gems at the Circus, Royal Crescent, and Pulteney Bridge, with its horseshoe weir.

While you're there

The Museum of Bath Architecture, housed in a former chapel (built 1765), explains the building of the city during the 18th-century Georgian era, in the Georgian architectural style. In includes maps, paintings, house reconstructions and even a 1:500 scale model of the whole city.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Museum of Bath Architecture

  • Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Exterior of the museum

Experience

A small museum housed in a former chapel (built 1765) that explains the building of the city during the 18th-century Georgian era, in the Georgian architectural style. In includes maps, paintings, house reconstructions and even a 1:500 scale model of the whole city.

Good for age: 18+

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Pulteney Bridge

  • Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Close up of the golden stone bridge spanning the river Avon

Experience

Built in 1774 in the Palladian style, this designated ancient monument is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops across its full span on both sides.

Good for age: 18+

The Royal Crescent

  • Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Landscape of the wide curve of the Crescent

Experience

This gently-curving Georgian promenade of 30 terraced houses, was the first-ever crescent of terraced houses to be built back in 1774. With 114 Ionic columns, it stands as one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the city and the UK.

Good for age: 18+

The Circus

  • Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom (UK)

Aerial view of a circular building with 3 roads like spokes

Experience

Bath’s Circus, a grand circle of tall townhouses where three roads meet (the name is from the Latin circus, for oval or ring), was designed by John Wood the Elder in 1754. Wood was inspired by a visit to Stonehenge – and by a penchant for symbolism, embedding 525 motifs representing the arts, the sciences and even Masonic emblems into his design.

Good for age: 18+

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 18
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

It’s best seen on foot: book on architectural walking tours, usually led by a local expert or and enthusiast who can give you the lowdown on the city’s rich past and design style. Allow 2 hours.

Bath, by established authority Michael Forsyth, is the best of the city’s architecture guides, with insightful commentary plus detailed walking tours to follow and excursions further afield.