Insider tips: Planning a trip to Bath
Paul & Mark are full time travel bloggers who discover hidden gems and local specialities on their blog Anywhere We Roam. As locals to the area, Bath is a place they have returned to many times.
What should I do on my first trip to Bath?
Over 2,000 years ago, the Romans in England noticed a small natural spring in the countryside in southwest England. Today, the best-preserved Roman bathhouse in the world remains on that location in Bath. The Great Bath, surrounded by a stunning terrace is an architectural masterpiece. Additionally, the Georgian buildings are another Bath highlight for first time visitors. The best location is the gorgeous sweep of terraced houses on The Royal Crescent.
What are some hidden gems to see in Bath?
Inspect one of the beautiful Georgian townhouses Bath is famous for by visiting the Assembly Rooms. It was the place to be seen in the 18th century and today you can explore the Ball Room, the Card Room and the impressive Great Octagon. Another hidden gem in Bath is the Jane Austen Centre, an interactive exhibition that focuses on the life of the author in the city.
How much time should I spend in Bath?
Bath is a very compact centre and a day trip will be enough time to see the best tourist attractions in the city. The main sights, including the Roman Baths, the outstanding abbey, the Pultney Bridge and the Royal Crescent can all be seen in one day. A weekend in Bath would be enough time to see all the attractions, plus enjoy the great restaurant scene and relax in the Thermae Spa.
What food is Bath known for?
The one thing you can’t leave Bath without trying is a Bath Bun. This sweet roll made from milk-based yeast and coated in sugar, is a very popular afternoon tea component in the city. The recipe dates back to the 18th century and Jane Austen wrote about it in letters in 1801. Don't confuse it with the other Bath staple, the Sally Lunn Bun which also originated in the city and was first recorded in 1680. The Sally Lunn Bun is something similar to a French brioche.
What is the best way to get around Bath?
Bath is a great city to see on foot with all the major attractions in a very compact area. It also allows you to get off the main tourist trail and explore some of the hidden laneways around the historic centre. A walking tour is a great way to get a feel for the city with a knowledgeable guide who can provide more information about the history of Bath.
What are the best months to visit Bath?
Throughout March and May - before the busy summer period - the weather in Bath is starting to improve and the city could still be relatively quiet with the usual local pace of life in action on the streets. In summer, the Bath Festival celebrates the best in music and books from around the world, while the Bath Feast, held in September, is a food festival celebrating the best of local produce.
What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Bath?
Most of the tourist attractions are in the centre of town, however there are other great areas to explore. Walcot is the bohemian side of Bath with independent vintage shops, hipster cafes and Asian restaurants and on Saturday it hosts a flea market. Bear Flat is another small region of Bath which is great to visit, it's known for old-school pubs and indie cafes.
What are the best neighborhoods for food?
There is no one neighbourhood that is particularly good for food in Bath, with great restaurants spread around the city. Walcot has a collection of Asian restaurants along with an eclectic mix of cuisines from around the world. For high end dining, there are several top restaurants in Georgian townhouses around the Royal Crescent and the Circus. Bear Flat is great for old pubs and local cafes.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
London Road and Walcot is the best shopping area in Bath for boutique shops and vintage homewares as well as several quirky concept stores. The high-end designer shops are centred around Milson Street and New Bond Street, In the squares and tiny lanes around Milsom Place you'll find elegant hidden stores and local artisanal suppliers.
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Bath?
Oldfield Park is a residential area just outside the city centre which is a good base for families and budget travellers who want something with good facilities in a quieter part of town. It's a short easy bus ride into the centre. The area around Victoria Park is great for first time solo travellers and the city centre has hotels across the budget spectrum which are all very easily located to see the main sights.
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Bath?
The Roman Baths have a special audio guide for kids and actors portraying characters from the Roman empire in Britain. The Herschel Museum of Astronomy is a special treat with a kid-friendly quiz trail, a Lego space and a selection of kid’s astronomy books. For outdoor activities, a cruise down the canal on a boat is a great thing to do in Bath with kids, and Prior Park Landscape Garden is a beautiful space with interesting architecture.
What is the best thing to do in Bath for solo travelers?
As a popular day trip destination Bath is a great place for solo travellers looking for a quiet weekend away with interesting things to do. The Roman Baths and Bath Abbey are two great sights that are perfect to explore solo. One of the best experiences for solo travellers is the Thermae Spa which has pampering packages and an awesome rooftop pool.
What is the best thing to do in Bath for couples?
From the charming Boating Station on the River Avon, hire romantic wooden row boats to explore the picturesque river before finishing with a picnic lunch in the gardens. The other wonderful thing for couples to do in Bath is to have afternoon tea at the Pump Room at the Roman Baths. The neo-classical room has served Bath's elite and entertains patrons with classical music.
What are the best annual events in Bath?
One of the best annual events in town is the Bath Festival. It's a celebration of music and books, and ends with a Finale Weekend where international acts converge on the city to see the festival out in style. The Bath Fridge Festival has a quirky mix of comedians, physical theatre, digital arts and cabaret in a celebration of underground artistic talent.
What are the best things to do around Bath?
Castle Combe is a charming place to visit in the Cotswolds that is just 25 minutes’ drive from Bath. The stone cottages underneath the forested hills that surround the village mark a great starting point for a country walk that follows the meandering river as it leaves the village. Cheddar Gorge is another impressive natural landmark which is a 50-minute drive from Bath.