Bath is almost 3000 years old. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Britain’s only city with that accolade. The Romans put Bath on the map in 44 AD by creating a complex of baths. A medieval abbey followed, then the attention-grabbing Georgian terraces. Yet, Bath offers more than a treasure chest of heritage sites, museums and galleries. There’s ample opportunity to unwind. The city has plenty of cosy cafés and relaxing pubs. It boasts a world-class spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Plus, there are breweries, gin distilleries and local vineyards to enjoy.
What to do in Bath with the kids
The Bath World Heritage Centre celebrates Bath’s unique history with interactive exhibits and displays. They will inspire, excite and educate little ones. The Centre also offers a mobile app to lead little explorers around key city sites. It provides a GPS map, fun facts, and walking trails. What’s more, the Centre and the app are free.
A short stroll from the city, Royal Victoria Park is a beautiful expanse of parkland. The 11-year-old Princess Victoria opened it in 1830. Woodlands and gardens aside, there are also tennis courts, an 18-hole mini golf course, and an adventure playground. Kids still not tired? There are also climbing frames, a skateboard park and zip lines.
Another fun way for children to enjoy Bath’s heritage is a Treasure Hunt run by The Secret City. The puzzle-filled hunt will explore many of Bath’s historic sites. They’ll learn about Roman mythology, famous figures, and mystic architecture. All that’s needed is a fully-charged smartphone and a sense of adventure.
Bath City Farm is a family-friendly 37-acre farm with a history older than the Doomsday Book! Their activities cater for all ages, with animal feeding, wood crafting, nature trails, and a play space for toddlers. Their four-legged friends include miniature Shetland ponies, pygmy goats, lambs and pigs.
For a special treat or a simple recharge, immerse yourself at Thermae Bath Spa. This unique complex combines the ancient spa with modern amenities. Relax in the same heated waters that flow through the Roman Baths. There are several wellness studios and treatment options. Plus a spectacular rooftop pool with stunning views of the city. It’s also ideal as a luxury treat with your besties.
Looking for something to do on date night? Bath has you covered. There’s the Little Theatre Cinema, which combines a vintage 1930s atmosphere with cosy furnishing, and a great selection of films. Or try the Theatre Royal Bath, one of the country's oldest working theatres. It stages everything from Shakespeare to Broadway hits and British comedy classics. There’s also the charming Rondo Theatre. Based in an old church hall it performs dramas, comedies, musicals, and even circus shows.
Need something a little more active? Then explore Bath’s major highlights on foot with Blue Badge Tourist Guides. Their walking tours cover the fascinating history and architecture of Bath on a relaxed and informative amble.
What to do in Bath with friends
The Grade I-listed Beau Nash House is where culture and comedy meet. It’s home to Komedia Bath which has clocked up 5 Chortle Awards for Best Venue in the West and Wales. Even the kitchen has awards. What’s more, they also put on live music, films and cabaret.
Delve into the city’s dark history with Baths’ Ghost tours. You'll explore the historic sites on an interactive tour with spooky tales and paranormal experiments. Need a drink after that? Then, you’ll find plenty of pubs and bars to sample local brews by Abbey Ales, Electric Bear and Bath Ales. Cider lovers fear not. You’ll also find a good selection of the West Country's best-known beverage.
If you love a good festival Bath knows how to revel. The main event is the 10-day Bath Festival which features rock, classic, world music and more. There is also the Jane Austen Festival inspired by Bath’s most famous resident. There are 10 days of literary-themed events with colourful parades, talks and workshops.
Swap the hustle and bustle for fresh air and stunning views. A short stroll away is the outstanding Prior Park Landscape Garden. Designed in the 18th century, it contains wooded paths, scenic lakes and a delightful Palladian Bridge. Close by you’ll find the Bath Skyline Walk. This 6-mile loop leads you through meadows and woodlands, past an Iron Age hill fort, and delivers stunning panoramas of Bath.
What we like to do in Bath
With a nod to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Pulteney Bridge, opened in 1770, has restaurants and shops lining both sides. Its elegant arches span the Avon, providing symmetry with the weir’s curved cascades below it. Photogenic during the day, it’s both charming and romantic after dark, when the lights come on.
Just beyond Pulteney Bridge is Great Pulteney Street which is worth a slow saunter. This avenue is as wide as it is grand, with eye-catching Georgian buildings lining either side. In fact, films like “Les Miserable”, “The Duchess” and “Vanity Fair” have exploited the street's impressive architecture.
Sally Lunn’s eating house is reputedly Bath’s oldest surviving house. However, it may be more famous for the Sally Lunn bun, a local delicacy. What’s more, Bath is a diner's paradise. It caters to foodies, families and those with plant-based diets. It has a wealth of bakeries, cafes and gastropubs. There's Adventure, which provides bagels and coffee over breakfast to late-night pizzas and cocktails. There’s also award-winning Oak for tasty vegetarian dishes. Or try The Circus, which dishes up classy British fare fused with global hints.
What not to miss in Bath
The Roman Baths, built around 70 AD, is one of the best-preserved historic sites in Northern Europe. Over 1 million litres of hot spring water still flow through the extensive ruins every day. And history comes alive in the captivating museum which provides interactive exhibits and CGI reconstructions of everyday Roman life. Plus, the free audio guides, with adult and children versions, reveal even more curious details of life 2,000 years ago.
The spectacular Bath Abbey has been a site of worship for around 1,300 years. In fact, Edgar, the first king of all England, was crowned here in 973 AD. Learn about its fascinating history and admire the stained-glass windows. Then marvel at the impressive stone-vaulted Gothic interior. Finally, climb the 212 steps to the top of the Abbey’s bell tower for breathtaking views over Bath. You’ll ascend through the ringing chamber, the bell chamber and past the clock.
The Royal Crescent is one of the most recognisable streets in Britain. It's a glorious arc of 30 Georgian townhouses, decorated with Ionic columns, and fronted with expansive lawns. Built between 1767 and 1775, many are now adorned with the blue plaques of famous residents. They've changed little over the years, although one is now an upmarket hotel and spa. Another is a splendid museum, No. 1 Royal Crescent. Inside you'll find displays of authentic Georgian life, both “upstairs" and "downstairs”. Discover rooms decorated with furniture, pictures and period items.
A short walk away, you’ll find even more arresting architecture at The Circus. This ring of spectacular terraced townhouses was completed in 1768. Residents here included the likes of painter Thomas Gainsborough, and Prime Minister, William Pitt the Elder.
Where to stay in Bath
Bath is the perfect destination for a top city break or a cheap family holiday. Pass the Keys can offer you a host of choices. There are cosy studio flats with gorgeous views for couples, to spacious homes for a family holiday. There are also elegant Georgian Townhouses and delightful cottages. Many are centrally located and most provide free parking.
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