Just an overnight trip from London, it’s no surprise that heritage-listed Bath is a popular destination for UK tourists. Known for its natural hot springs and Georgian architecture, the southwest England town attracts visitors seeking a spa getaway or charming country daytrip.
We recently spent 24 hours in Bath and made the mistake of going on a bank holiday weekend – something I would definitely not recommend unless you like queuing, which I doubt you do. I would also recommend staying at a bed-and-breakfast, as hotels are rather few and far between and a B&B is more in the spirit of things (with the benefit of a free breakfast).
Bath has a few lookout points and we the hiked up there so you don’t have to. I have to say, the hard work did not really pay off, so I would instead recommend enjoying the view over the rooftops from Hall & Woodhouse. There, you can also enjoy a glass of wine and some pub food – may I suggest the fish and chips with fried peas. Side note: I’m not necessarily sure that peas were designed to be fried
The Royal Crescent is Bath’s most popular landmark and for good reason. This row of 30 terraced houses once served as holiday homes to the rich and/or famous, including royals. You’ll get the postcard-perfect picture for your Instagram and, if you have time and want to spend the money, pop into No. 1 Royal Crescent to see how the other half lived. Other worthwhile sights include the Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge and The Circus, made up of more gorgeous houses in a circular motion.
Just a short few strides across the road, you’ll find the Royal Victoria Park and associated gardens. Beautifully manicured, lush and green, this is the perfect place for an alfresco picnic lunch, and one of the best places to photograph of Royal Crescent from a distance.
It would be almost rude to go to Bath and not visit one of its namesakes. There are several options here. If you’re a history buff, you may wish to pay to see the Roman Baths. We decided the queue was not worth the privilege of paying to look at an ancient pool of water so we satisfied our curiosity by peering over the fence. Instead, we opted for the Thermae Bath Spa. While just at popular and slightly more expensive, Thermae’s two-hour time slot allows you to experience Britain’s only natural thermal waters, just as Celts and Romans did over 2000 years ago. With prices starting at £34 you can access the open-air rooftop pool (a great view), indoor Minerva Bath, and Aroma Steam Rooms featuring various soothing vapours. You’ll also get a robe, towel and slippers. An extremely relaxing way to end your visit.
Image: Ancient Roman baths
Eat and Drink
We ate and drank at some great spots. A couple of standouts were Vino Vino, a very cool wine and cocktail bar that also does delicious mezze boards, and Sub 13 a trendy cellar bar that makes a mean cocktail. While we’re on the subject of food, Bath is also famous for its buns (of the bread variety, thank you very much). A sweet roll made from milk-based yeast dough with crushed sugar sprinkled on top, many teahouses are scattered around Bath piggybacking off this claim to fame. Without being too much of a negative Nancy, we stuck our head into a few and they were very touristy and over rated. We did however find a fantastic place to enjoy some homemade cake and cream tea: Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms serves traditional tea in 1930s style – a great way to enjoy the English countryside.
Have you been to Bath? What was the highlight of your visit?