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Things to do in Bath

Bath is one of the most charming cities to visit in the United Kingdom. The quaint, cobbled streets and Georgian era architecture are beautifully complemented by the tumbling waters of the River Avon, while the city’s famous underground hot springs are still put to good use even to this day. Bath is an old Roman city, and it’s a beautiful place to explore English history through the centuries before enjoying contemporary British culture in the present too.

There are many must see places in Bath, from the Roman ruins and intriguing museums to glorious green parks and a bustling city center. Of course, Bath has always been and still remains a spa town and there are plenty of places to relax and unwind after a hard day of sightseeing. To help you to plan your trip to this lovely English city here’s our guide on the best things to do in Bath.

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How to Get to Bath 

Bath is found in south-west England, just 15 miles away from the city of Bristol which is found to the west and just over 100 miles away from London which is found directly to the east. The city is well connected by road and rail to the rest of the country and it’s easy to travel here from other major cities. There are regular trains from London with Great Western Railways and the journey time is only one hour and a half. This train line also connects Bath with both Bristol and Oxford, allowing travelers to easily create a southwestern itinerary that includes all of these popular cities.

Trains across the United Kingdom can be an expensive form of transport however and budget travelers may prefer to make use of the bus system. National Express has regular connections to Bath from London and Bristol and from various other cities too. Bus travel is usually much cheaper than train travel but it may not be as efficient.

There is no dedicated international airport to be found in Bath, however, Bristol Airport is incredibly close and is located just 20 miles away. From Bristol Airport there are international connections across Europe with many budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easy Jet while scheduled carriers such as KLM operate flights which can then connect onto routes across the world. London Heathrow Airport may also be a great option to fly into, particularly from outside of Europe. From Heathrow, there are dedicated bus connections to Bath when you land with National Express.

Bath is a relatively small destination by English standards and the city center itself is particularly compact. It’s easy to traverse most of the major sights and attractions on foot, however, there are also taxis, public buses, and a hop on hop off service available for visitors.

Bath,UK - Waiting for a train on Bath Spa station platform

What to expect in Bath

When you visit Bath you may be wondering what exactly to expect from this ancient Roman city. Bath is a pleasant place to explore and whether you are interested in history or shopping or simply want to find a great place to relax then the city has much to offer for all tastes and styles. It’s easy to get around and you will find that it’s not so busy during the week. Weekends though can be a different matter entirely as it’s an incredibly popular short break getaway for people from around the UK as well as from abroad. If you can then it may be more enjoyable or at least more peaceful to visit the city on a weekday if your schedule allows it.

Bath is set up for tourism and you will find it easy to choose from the wide range of accommodation in the city. There are plenty of dedicated tours and activities to help you to enjoy the sights and the history while the tourist information office is always helpful and willing to offer great advice on the ground.

You will find plenty of ATMs in the city and plenty of money changing outlets too. The local currency is the British Pound and you will find that card and cash are accepted almost everywhere. Tipping is not a particularly British thing to do and Bath is no exception, however in the service industry – particularly restaurants or cafes – if you do experience impressive hospitality then it is acceptable but not expected to offer a tip when you pay the bill.

Bath, England, UK- Street view of old, historic town Bath. Bath is known for the curative Roman-built baths.

Places to visit in Bath

The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths are one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture to be found anywhere in the United Kingdom. The ruins of this once popular bathing spot are the origins of the city itself. This is where Bath began with the thermal waters that led the Romans to build their spas and to populate the area. If you are wondering what to do in Bath when you first arrive then the Roman Baths are most definitely the best place to begin your tour. Learn about the city’s beginnings and then see how that legacy has shaped the Bath that you see today.

Bath UK - View of inside Historic Roman Baths with Bath Abbey in the Historic Somerset Bath city United Kingdom.

Royal Victoria Park

The Royal Victoria Park holds a special place in British history as this was the first park to be opened by Queen Elizabeth when as a princess aged just 11 years old she dedicated the park to the city. It’s a beautiful green space and a wonderful place to simply stroll around.

Fountain on grounds of gardens in Royal Victoria Park in Bath, England.

The Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent is Bath’s best example of Georgian architecture and it’s found on a hill overlooking the Royal Victoria Park. This is the most iconic location in Bath, where tall Georgian style townhouses were built in the 18th century around a scenic crescent. Many are still lived in however No.1 Royal Crescent is a permanent museum which takes visitors back in time to experience exactly how these townhouses would have looked after their construction in the Georgian era.

BATH, UK - View of the Royal Crescent, a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent, one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey is a spectacular and historical building that dates back to the 10th century. It’s an excellent place to experience English history, even if you aren’t religious, and to admire the building work that has survived for so many centuries.

Bath United Kingdom - Street view with The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Bath commonly known as Bath Abbey. Ordinary people walk on city square

Jane Austen Centre

The Jane Austen Centre is dedicated to the famous English novelist who spent many years of her life living and working in Bath. The city has adopted Jane Austen as their literary hero because she drew much inspiration for her work from here and the surrounding areas. As well as exploring Jane Austen’s life and literary legacy the center also explores life in general during Bath in the early 19th century. It’s a fascinating insight into a side of the city’s history that is usually overshadowed by the more prominent and well known Roman era.

Gorgeous deserted street in Bath, England with Georgian columns on a cloudy day.

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge is one of the most well-known bridges in England. The dramatic, triple archways and terraced sides feature in many paintings and photographs of the city because it is truly a wonderful and unique design. The bridge spans the River Avon and dates back to 1769. Unlike many other bridges to be found anywhere else in the world Pulteney Bridge is particularly unique because it was designed to accommodate rows of shops which were built on either side of the road that crosses the Avon.

BATH, UK - : City scene with weir on the River Avon near Palladian Pulteney Bridge

Victoria Art Gallery

The Victoria Art Gallery is the premier location in Bath for art lovers. This great gallery showcases some of the best works from both local artists as well as more historic pieces dating back hundreds of years from across Britain and Europe.

BATH UK - CIRCA Victoria Art Gallery

Things to do in Bath

Enjoy a Spa Experience

Bath is, of course, famous for its Roman-era spas, but this is a historic legacy that has continued until this day. While the Roman ruins are no longer there for bathing in, the city does have more modern offerings waiting for travelers that make use of the geothermal waters under the ground.  The most impressive is the Thermae Spa which can be one of the most romantic things to do in Bath. This excellent spa experience has several different levels and bathing areas, including an outdoor terrace where you can relax in the steamy waters overlooking the city’s skyline. A spa experience is a must-do activity when visiting Bath.

BATH, UK - VIsitors at Roman Baths Great Bath

Bath Guildhall Market

The Guildhall Market is the oldest continually running market in Bath. This shopping area is full of charming little retailers and local products. You can find some great souvenirs here to take away with you after your travels to Bath.

BATH, ENGLAND-Tourists and locals shop the historic Guildhall Market. The market has been serving the community for around 800 years.

Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal is a wonderful location to catch a dramatic performance while staying in Bath. The theater dates back to the Georgian era, like much of the city’s architecture, and today it is still used to host plays and concerts throughout the week. The schedule changes but you might be lucky enough to witness everything from classic Shakespearean plays to contemporary theater performances.

BATH, ENGLAND - The New Theatre Royal in Bath, Somerset, England, is over 200 years old, with capacity for an audience of around 900

Where to stay in Bath

Bath has a great selection of accommodation, particularly when it comes to mid-range and luxury offerings to visitors due to the city’s spa legacy. Backpackers and budget travelers will find less suitable options in the city and will want to book early to avoid missing out on the cheaper hotels and hostels.

YHA Bath

The YHA Bath is possibly the most consistent and reliable budget option to be found in the city. Offering cheap dormitories and a few value budget rooms, the YHA is set in the grand interior of a historic mansion on the edge of the city center. The mansion is surrounded by green, well-kept gardens and considering this is a hostel, it’s a welcomingly elegant environment to stay in. There are shared kitchen and common areas as well as quick access to the city.

Z Hotel Bath

The Z Hotel makes for an excellent mid-range accommodation choice when visiting Bath. It’s found right in the city center just a short walk from all the major tourist attractions. The rooms are basic but modern, clean and well serviced. There is an onsite bar where you can spend your evenings winding down or you can explore the best restaurants and pubs of Bath which are all close by.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough is one of Bath’s most opulent and famous hotels. This is a highly regarded luxury option that in keeping with Bath’s historic legacy offers guests its own spa facilities, including a relaxing swimming pool that is fed from underground thermal waters and that’s decorated in a Romanesque style. There is a great onsite restaurant and bar and you will find the Gainsborough perfectly located in the center of Bath.

Tours to do in Bath

Hop on Hop off Bus Tour 

A great way to see the city is to jump on a Hop on Hop off bus tour. These bright red, open top buses are great value as they offer visitors transport around Bath, the freedom to explore in their own time, and information along the way.

Free Walking Tour

One of the best free things to do in Bath is to join a local free walking tour. The most interesting free tour in the city is run by the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides. These are dedicated locals with an intimate knowledge of the city’s history and intricacies. This tour is so free in fact that the Honorary Guides appointed by the Mayor are not even allowed to take any tips at the end of the two-hour walk. Tours are run daily in the mornings and afternoons and the meeting place is directly outside the Roman Baths in the city center.

See Historic Stonehenge

If you would like to travel outside the city then Bath is an excellent place to join a tour to nearby Stonehenge. This world-renowned historical site is located just 30 miles away in Salisbury and is a must-see for anyone visiting the United Kingdom

Visit The Cotswolds

Bath is located right on the edge of the Cotswolds. This is a huge area of outstanding natural beauty, where rolling fields and charming villages are found amongst the beautiful vistas. There are many tours leaving Bath that take visitors through the region’s highlights for a lovely day out in the English countryside. 

Stonehenge, Salisbury, : Stonehenge an ancient prehistoric stone monument. It was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in England.

Recommend budget tours in Bath

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Things to do in Bath

Things to do in Bath

Things to do in Bath

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious!With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!