Bath city guide: plan your visit now

Gainsborough Spa Pool, Bath
Gainsborough Spa Pool, Bath

From the Romans to the Georgians to Jane Austen, the World Heritage City of Bath is brimming with history, making it perfect for a short break. Read our Bath city guide and start planning your trip now…

The Georgian Royal Crescent is one of Bath’s most famous landmarks | Bath city guide | things to do in Bath
Royal Crescent. Credit: VisitBritain, Stephen Spraggan

To luxuriate in Britain’s only naturally warm spring waters at Thermae Bath Spa, which opened in 2006, is to be immersed quite literally in history.  The mineral-rich thermal springs to which the city of Bath owes its name drew both Romans and Georgians during the two great heydays of its spa culture. And the beguiling blend of the honeyed limestone architecture of those periods – the Roman Baths complex and the unified neo-classical Palladian sweeps of Georgian crescents (see above), terraces and squares – have rightly earned the city World Heritage City status.

“Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?” swooned Catherine Morland, heroine of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which was set here. Certainly no one caught up in the social and cultural whirl played out on this beautiful stage.

Here’s a taster of what you can enjoy in Bath:

Eat

The world-famous Sally Lunn’s is something of an institution in Bath – not surprising considering it is located in one of the oldest houses in the city. It was here that legendary baker Sally Lunn first introduced the ‘Bath bun’ to her Georgian clientele; a delicious baked creation that is part bun, part bread, part cake and which visitors flock from across the globe to sample.

Shop

If you want to pick up some local crafts or art then a visit to the Artisan Quarter, around the London Road and Walcot Street area, which has been a hive of activity for artists since the 1960s, should be on your itinerary. You can browse paintings, sculpture, ceramics or glass from the likes of contemporary artist David Simon, or you can try your luck and go bargain hunting in the Old Banks Antiques Centre.

Gainsborough Spa Pool, Bath
Gainsborough Bath Spa thermal pool

Sleep

The Gainsborough Bath Spa is a new 5-star hotel in the city centre that boasts the only natural thermal spa within a hotel in the UK – it was also named Hotel of the Year (England) at the 2017 AA Hospitality Awards.

Housed in a Georgian Grade II listed building, the hotel promises elegant design with glamorous touches such as a ballroom and a lavish-sounding restaurant and bar.

Visit

The Royal Crescent is a must for any visit – with a sweeping formation of 30 Grade I listed  houses, it is one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in Britain.

Visit the Roman Baths, of course, the picturesque Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey, and pop into the Jane Austen Centre to find out more about the famous writer’s links to the city.

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