There are few other cities in the United Kingdom, as charming and sophisticated as Bath. Located less than three hours driving from London, Bath is a popular choice amongst travellers wanting to experience a smaller, quainter city than the more popular British capital. I have visited Bath more times than I can remember, and each time I discover a newer side, a newer dimension, which makes me love it ever more.
This weekend, I decided to return to Bath and spend my time exploring its beautiful streets, fantastic tea houses and delicious restaurants. There is a lot to do in Bath and I could write a list of things to do which could cover days on end, but for our purposes, I tried to pack as much info into this article to convince you that Bath is worth your while. Best thing is to allocate a day as a side trip from London, for when you are ready to enjoy a more quieter British country city.
Why visit Bath
Walking around Bath's streets is like stepping into a Jane Austen novel. I always thought London is the essence of the Britain, but that was before I visited Bath for the first time. Bath is home to some of the greatest example of Georgian architecture in the whole of the UK, with its famed Royal Crescent being amongst the most acclaimed.
The city centre is composed of a network of small streets, dotted with old style boutiques. It is as if you are walking right on the Harry Potter's Diagon Alley. The houses in Bath are built of what is cold the Bath stone which is an oolitic limestone found especially near the city and it is relatively yellowish in colour. Because of its wonderful architecture, Bath is a very popular filming location, including movies such as Vanity Fair, Dracula, The Duchess as well as some other contemporary dramas.
Getting to Bath
The best way to get to Bath on your own is by taking the train. From London, it will take roughly one hour and a half to get to Bath Spa, the main train station located right in the city centre.
Another option is to combine a visit to Bath with the nearby mystical stone circles at Stonehenge. Tourist England offer a couple of great guided tours in the area, departing every day from Central London.
A third option is to drive to Bath, but know that parking can be quite expensive. If you do decide to drive, then I recommend parking on Charlotte Street, as I always found parking spaces available and reasonable parking fees (min of £5.50 for 4 hours). If you live in Bristol and fancy a day out, it's best to cycle to Bath using the old Railway path, now called the cycle path. This is for pedestrians and cyclists only. It's an absolute joy to take this route, as you will enjoy small paths through forests, beautiful British rolling hills and wonderful pubs and smaller towns along the way. It's really quite special if you have the time and energy to allocate the time. I used to walk from Bristol to Bath, then take the train back. Alternatively, just rent a bike and pedal your way to Bath and back.
What to do in Bath
The possibilities in Bath are virtually endless. You could go to Bath just to eat, walk, enjoy some tea, eat scones, shop, meet friends, window shop, photograph... I love this little city and all its beautiful options. Here is what I recommend you try if you've never visited Bath before.
A visit to the Roman Baths
Go back in history and visit the famed Roman Baths, located below the modern street level and has four main features, the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and finds from Roman Bath. The tickets cost £15 per adult. My favourite part is the terrace which overlooks Bath and is lined with Victorian statues of Roman emperors and governors of Britain.
The Bath Abbey
If you like gothic architecture just as much as me, then you are definitely going to appreciate the Bath Abbey. You can visit the interior but make sure to check the official website as the opening times change around special holidays in the UK. Also, note that if you wish to use a tripod whilst in the Abbey, you can only do so between 9 am and 10 am.
A walk around the Bath city centre for photography opportunities
As I already mentioned, Bath is a fantastic city, with photographic opportunities at every corner. I visited Bath during the Jane Austen festival and the city centre was full of ladies dressed in old style dresses, which made this city even more charming and wonderful. Whether you which to take street photography, enjoy special holidays to just snap pics of the architecture, Bath is the perfect place for it.
Enter old school boutiques
Bath is so amazing for shoppers because it has a network of small streets all dotted with old-school boutiques. Bath is the city where you will find tons of traditional sweets, amazing cheese shops and great tea houses, but also the place for high-end shops selling expensive clothes and designer furniture. The beauty of it is that you can find something that suits all budgets, hence it's really a joy to do a bit of shop hoping whilst in Bath.
Gave an afternoon cream tea
There is no place I'd rather have an afternoon cream tea, than in the city of Bath. Why? Because the tea house owners in Bath managed to preserve the look and feel of how a traditional British tea house should look like. Yes, you can go ahead an imagine old ladies having tea and scones from cute little cups of bone china. This is what I love about Bath.
Enjoy the Bath Skyline Walk
Finally, there is no real adventure in Bath if you don't (at least attempt) to do the Bath Skyline walk. This is a great opportunity to photograph the city of Bath from above. But getting to see Bath's rooftops comes with a price of course. It means taking on some hills and walking for about four hours by going up and down continuously. It is said that completing the Bath Skyline walk is the equivalent of playing one full football match. Don't you wish you could do this every weekend? Bath residents are so lucky to have such beautiful walk right in their back garden!
There is plenty more to do in Bath, such as hunting for a local pub and drinking the Bath Ale Gem (which is my favourite ale of all time), listening to live music right in the city centre or eating traditional pies in one of the many British shops located around the city. I love Bath and I always find it so excited to go see it again and again.
Over to you now, tell me why you want to visit Bath and what are you going to do first? Answer me by leaving a message in the comments section below.