From exploring Georgian mansions on the Royal Crescent to sipping cider at a local pub, here are the best and most essential things to do in Bath, England – in just one or two days.
You may have heard Bath being described as “one of the most beautiful cities in the UK”, and you would have heard right.
In fact, the entire city of Bath is registered as a World Heritage Site, its gorgeous Georgian architecture and literary legacy protected for centuries to come.
Generally speaking, Bath is the sort of city you can grasp quite easily in a day or two simply by taking to its honey-hued streets with a sense of adventure.
You don’t really need a guide like this, but, hey, we’re here now so let me try to give you a little glimpse of what you can expect.
Roam Like the Romans
Bath is such a great walking city, and that’s the first thing I suggest doing.
Simply wander and follow the crowds, absorbing the architecture, eavesdropping on the locals along the way…
Stop at the many cutesy cafes for coffee, or pop into the stylish bars and pubs for a quick pint.
You’ll have a feel for the place in no time.
Tip: You might also enjoy taking a walking tour (like this one) to make sure you see all of the essentials in an hour or so.
See Bath’s Royal Crescent
As one of Bath’s most emblematic landmarks, the Royal Crescent is a horseshoe row of 30 mansions built between 1767 and 1774 by architect John Wood.
A Grade I listed building, it’s often celebrated as one of the world’s finest examples of Georgian architecture.
No.1 Royal Crescent is open to the public and is a heritage museum that shows what life was like for the rich and fortunate few who called these palacios properties home during the late 1700s.
Tip: Located at No. 16, the five-star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is arguably the most luxurious place to stay in Bath.
Stroll Through Royal Victoria Park
Located just across the road from the Royal Crescent is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Bath.
The perfect place to picnic and eavesdrop on the locals’ conversations.
Circle the Circus
Even more impressive than the more famous Royal Crescent, at least in my humble opinion, Bath’s Circus is a paragon of Georgian architecture.
It was designed by John Wood the Elder, who was inspired by the Colosseum in Rome. The 33 mansions that form the circus overlook a grassy area, which would intended to host sporting events and important cultural/political events.
Tip: Want to stay in Bath’s iconic Circus? You can rent the apartment at No.18 and live like Georgian nobility.
Eat Lunch at Bath’s Only Michelin-Starred Restaurant
Housed in the sensational Queensberry Hotel (definitely check out my review of this beautiful boutique before booking your hotel in Bath), the Olive Tree is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Bath and arguably the finest place to eat in the city.
Explore the creative dishes of head chef Chris Cleghorn, which draw on regional produce, and be sure to treat yourself to the fantastic wine pairing menu (possibly the best I’ve ever had).
Rest, Revive and Rejuvenate in Bath’s Famous Roman Spa
Bath was actually founded by the Romans, who were drawn here by the natural thermal hot springs (hence the name).
As well as exploring the site of the original Roman baths (get your tickets here), you can also take a dip in the Thermae Bath Spa (a modern facility with a stunning rooftop pool/spa area.
Seek Sense & Sensibility at the Jane Austen Centre
Bath’s most famous resident was of course the great Jane Austin (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, et al).
The suitably charming Jane Austen Centre is a house-museum that celebrates the life and work of the great author. It also offers an insight into the cultural and societal aspects of life that would have likely inspired many of her biggest creative ideas.
Watch the theatrical introductory presentation by one of the costumed guides, try a Regency-recipe biscuits and a pot of tea in the Regency Tea Room. Guests are also offered the chance to try on Regency costumes, including bonnets, top hats, shawls, fans and dresses.
Oh, and be sure to pose for photos with the “world-famous” Jane Austen waxwork.
Find Your Way at Bath Abbey
Bath’s Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, more commonly known as Bath Abbey, is a herculean feat of “Perpendicular Gothic” architecture (trust me, it’s impressive).
Its ethereal stained-glass windows and heavenly columns are well worth a visit, regardless of your religious disposition.
Tip: Bath Abbey is a working church with regular services. You may be invited to join a service (or to leave if you don’t plan on doing so).
Feel Like a Local at The Crystal Palace Pub
Yes, it’s true, I adore pubs and always make an effort to explore as many as possible when I’m in a new city. All in the name of research, of course – I do it for you, fellow adventurer.
The Crystal Palace is one of the nicest pubs I’ve discovered on my long-standing quest for the perfect pint. It’s located just behind the Abbey and is an undeniably beautiful pub – real fire and everything!
But there’s something about it, the way the staff and locals interact and make you feel so welcome, that gives you a sense of what it’s like to actually live in Bath.
Tip: Bath is the largest city in the English region of Somerset, and Somerset is famous for its cider. Ergo, you really should be sure to sip a few jars of scrumpy while you’re here! They have quite a few different options on tap, and more by the bottle.
Address: 0-11 Abbey Green, Bath BA1 1NW
I also like the look of the following bars and cool cafes:
The Beckford Bottle Shop (Wine Bar)
The Common Room (Cocktail Bar)
Circo Cellar Bar & Cocktail Lounge
Make it Happen
Stay there: Definitely check out my review of the gorgeous Queenberry boutique hotel, a 4-star property housed in one of Bath’s signature Georgian mansions and located right in the heart the city.
Get there: I use and recommend the Omio portal to find and book the quickest and cheapest flights, trains and buses to and around Europe (and beyond).
Get around: I use and recommend using the Discover Cars portal to find the best deals on car rental.
Sleep there: I use and recommend Booking.com and Airbnb to book the best hotels and apartments when travelling – often with free cancelations.
Find local tours and experience: I use and recommend using the GetYourGuide app to quickly, cheaply and securely book travel tours and experiences wherever you are. From food tours and theatre tickets to skip-the-line entry to famous museums and landmarks, you can book it all with a few swipes of your phone.
Store your luggage: Wherever you’re travelling, free yourself up by storing your luggage with Eelway. Drop off your bags at their partner network shops and hotels, where your luggage is securely stored and insured. There’s no minimum or maximum storage time and most of their luggage storage drop-off points are open 24/7.
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