A comfortable gateway to England’s rugged West Country and easy excursion from (or chilled out alternative to) London, lovely and compact Bath is an excellent destination for experiencing the best of contemporary Britain coupled with an accessible and superbly preserved links to centuries of history.
I was there recently and had a splendid time sightseeing and mostly just taking it easy. Here are a few of the many highlights of my trip to help you make the most of your visit to this elegant city situated within a picturesque stretch of the verdant English countryside.
Heart of the city center, Bath, BA1 1LT
The beautiful and impressively well preserved Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is worth a visit if only for a look at the natural light streaming in from its massive windows. Entry if free, but donations are requested.
The Bell Inn
103 Walcot Street, Bath, BA1 5BW
Live music, friendly folks, and hearty homemade food – ah, that’s what a West Country pub’s supposed to be like, right? A true local pub in every sense, The Bell is owned by 536 customers, fans (including Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel) and workers and is run as a cooperative. Craft beer and real ale aficionados will love this pub’s selection of bottled and draft drink.
No 1 Royal Crescent
Bath, BA1 2LR
The ornate symmetry, the insight into the formalities of socializing during the Georgian era, the phenomenal knowledge and consideration of the numerous docents on hand … a tour of No 1 Royal Crescent is such a wonderful way to while away an hour, learn about Bath’s unique and significant historic, and take in considerably more grandeur than you’re apt to find most anywhere else. Whether you actually tour this lavish home or not, a visit Bath without seeing its majestic Royal Crescent setting would be incomplete.
Stall Street, Bath BA1 1LZ
The best preserved ancient temple and baths in Northern Europe, this sight is not to be missed! The Roman Baths offer a fascinating way to discover the distant past with loads of information and activities that make it fun for all ages.
Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House
4 North Parade Passage, Bath, BA1 1NX
Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House is just that: one of the oldest houses in Bath with a kitchen museum shows the actual kitchen used by “the legendary young Huguenot baker Sally Lunn in Georgian Bath to create the first Bath bun – an authentic regional speciality now known the world over.” You’ll get a kick out of our pit stop at this centuries old and fairly kitsch eatery. I loved my bun with cinnamon butter.
Thermae Bath Spa
The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath Street, Bath, BA1 1SJ
Probably the best thing about my recent visit to Bath was an early evening Twilight for Two session for my girlfriend and me at Thermae Bath Spa. Available from 4pm with last full entry at 6pm (daily except for Saturday), the Twilight package offers three-hour sessions at this modern spa using the same mineral rich, geothermal heated water as the ancient Roman Baths with a light meal in the spa’s Springs Restaurant (straight from the pools in your robe and slippers if you like!). We especially enjoyed the steam room and getting to take in the views from the heated rooftop pool. We also admired the spa’s aim to provide accessible means of wellbeing with its range of ‘affordable luxury’ options.