Visiting Bath – A City Guide
Set in Somerset’s rolling, leafy hills is Bath, a charming, historic city on the banks on the River Avon. The city is known for its natural hot springs and elegant Georgian architecture. Once occupied by the Romans, the city still offers visitors the chance to find out how life once was inside a Roman bathhouse. Visitors can also bathe in the mineral-rich waters of the UK’s only natural thermal spring.
Bath: city layout
Bath’s neat rows of terrace houses and grey rooftops are spread across lush countryside. The River Avon flows right through the town, curling around the ancient heart of the city, where you’ll find the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Nearby is Pulteney Bridge, which was completed in 1774 and is unique in that it comes with rows of shops as part of its design. Lovers of architecture will enjoy visiting the city’s northwest, where you’ll find the Circus and the Royal Crescent, both curved rows of terrace houses built in the late 1700s. There are several large parks surrounding the city.
Bath’s best views
Bath’s stone buildings and sweeping green hills make for plenty of beautiful photographs and we recommend seeing the city from as many angles as possible. You can play a round of golf at the scenic Bath Golf Club, which has been around since 1880. Tuck into a delicious meal at the Hare & Hounds pub, which has outdoor tables and a jaw-dropping outlook over the countryside. If weather permits, pack a picnic lunch and relax on the grass outside the Royal Crescent, which has sweeping views over Bath.
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Hotels in Bath
Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet or a bustling, lively experience, Bath has plenty of diverse neighbourhoods to choose from.
Bath’s historic city centre is ideal for visitors who want to stay close to the city’s major tourist attractions, as well as its many restaurants, bars and historical sites.
If you’re keen to see Bath’s bohemian side, Walcot is the edgier part of town, with antique shops and funky places to eat and drink, as well as quaint Georgian homes. It’s well suited to younger, active travellers.
Bear Flat, just a 15-minute stroll from the city centre, is a charming residential neighbourhood, ideal for families or travellers keen to experience Bath like a local. Look out for the Bear pub on the high street, which has a white, life-sized polar bear statue above the door.
Weston is a quaint, leafy village on the outskirts of Bath. It’s ideal for families and visitors looking for a quiet, relaxing stay away from the bustling tourist hot spots. There are some old-world pubs to be discovered here, as well as a pleasant high street.
Oldfield Park is more laid-back, residential area popular with university students. The high street has pubs, cafés and supermarkets to explore.
Eating Out in Bath
Bath has an incredible array of restaurants and cafés offering everything from a relaxed pub lunch to Michelin-starred fine dining. Cuisines on offer include Italian, French, Mediterranean, Thai and Spanish. There are also some excellent delis and cafés to choose from.
Bath’s city centre is overflowing with great places to eat and drink, from cheery pubs to upscale restaurants.
Walcot Street is a vibrant strip in the Artisan Quarter with a wide range of dining choices, including the stylish Hudson Steakhouse, the elegant Aqua Italian restaurant and Made by Ben, a buzzing spot for sandwiches and pies.
Foodies will love the regular street food markets, which can be found at SouthGate. From noodle bowls to tasty wraps and from giant pans of paella to tables laden with sweet treats, you’ll find something to whet your appetite. The oldest farmers’ markets in Britain can be found at Green Park station every Saturday.
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Shopping in Bath
Bath offers a number of bustling shopping districts presenting everything from high-street brands to flea markets. Shopping in Bath tends to take place on high streets, rather than in vast, enclosed shopping centres.
SouthGate is the city’s biggest shopping centre, offering popular high-street brands and major department stores in an open-air setting.
Northumberland Place is a narrow pedestrianised street with cute cafés and independent stores to explore. Close by you’ll find the Corridor – opened in 1825, it is said to be one of the world’s earliest shopping arcades.
Walcot Street is Bath’s bohemian district. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of independent stores selling everything from fashion to antiques to food. There’s also a flea market on Saturdays.
The grand Milsom Street is featured in Jane Austen’s novel “Persuasion”. Here you’ll find designer fashion boutiques and department stores, as well as the chic arcade Milsom Place.
Unique shopping experiences
Culture & Nightlife in Bath
Bath has a rich cultural and entertainment scene, including nightclubs, live music venues, theatres and bars.
The city is full of exciting museums and galleries to explore. Step inside No.1 Royal Crescent and be transported back to upper-class Bathonian life in the 1700s. Enjoy paintings and sculpture at the Victoria Gallery, where entry to the permanent collections is free. The Fashion Museum explores over 400 years of fashion including Georgian dresses and wartime uniforms. There’s even a dress-up room for children – and adults, too.
Bath’s city centre offers great nightlife, with plenty of pubs, cocktail bars and live music venues to choose from. Sub13 and Opium Bar are great spots for a cheeky nightcap. The Bell Inn in Walcot serves up live music and DJ sets in a laid-back, bohemian setting.
Fun nights out in Bath
Visiting Bath with a Family
Bath has plenty of unique, fun experiences for families, from the playful to the educational.
Bath is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors with the family. Hire a boat at the Bath Boating Station and see the River Avon and its wildlife up close. Explore the caves and cliffs at Cheddar Gorge, the largest gorge in the UK – a double-decker bus will give you a tour of the region, and if you’re feeling energetic, you can test your agility at the climbing centre.
Enjoy incredible views over the city of Bath and the surrounding countryside with a ride in a hot air balloon with Bailey Balloons. Animal lovers can meet Shetland ponies, ducks, cattle and goats as you explore 37 scenic acres of countryside at Bath City Farm, which also includes a fun play area for toddlers.
Fun family days out in Bath