Top 10 Places To Visit In Bath
1. Roman Baths
While the ancient Romans are credited with establishing Bath’s ancient hot springs as a place of relaxation and rejuvenation, legend has it that a British king discovered their healing powers some 500 years earlier.
The Romans, however, left their mark, constructing the city’s famous Roman Baths and Temple of Sulis Minerva in 75 BC around the city’s largest of three hot springs. The water contains 43 different minerals, gushes from a depth of nearly 10,000 feet at a rate of 275,000 gallons per day, and is a constant 46.5 degrees Celsius. Consider joining a fun two-hour Bath city walking tour if you want to combine a tour of the Roman Baths with a tour of other city attractions. The best parts of the baths, including the hot springs, the Great Bath, the pump rooms, and the changing rooms, are included in these morning or afternoon tours, as is a walk to the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey.
2. Bath’s Georgian Roots: Royal Crescent
Bath’s perfectly preserved Georgian architecture is probably the second-best reason to visit this lovely city. The Museum of Bath Architecture is a great place to start your adventure. This one-of-a-kind facility, housed in a former private chapel, perfectly exemplifies how classical design influenced the city’s architecture. It also houses the Bath Model, a magnificent 1:500 scale architectural model of the historic city center. Walk to the northwest section of the city, which has the majority of the best architectural examples. Visit Queen Square and Gay Street, both of which have beautifully symmetrical façades from the early 18th century. Then, proceed to the Royal Circus, a perfect circle of three-story homes with various classical orders (column types) on each level.
3. Bath Abbey
In 1499, the Bishop of Bath and Wells founded the Gothic cathedral known as “the Bath Abbey.” According to legend, it was built after Bishop Oliver King had a vivid dream of angels climbing up and down ladders to and from heaven. He also heard a voice say, “The crown should plant an olive tree, and the king should rebuild the church.”
The dream was intricately immortalized in stone on the building’s west side, and was interpreted as a sign to rebuild the church – the site had been used as a place of worship by Christians since AD 757.
4. Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge, one of Bath’s most recognizable pieces of architecture, is one of only a few bridges that still have buildings atop them. Completed in 1774 to connect central Bath to undeveloped land on the other side of the River Avon, it is regarded as one of the world’s most iconic bridges. It even appeared in the film adaptation of Les Misérables).
Three arches house a variety of quaint little shops and restaurants, and the bridge leads to Great Pulteney Street, which is lined with beautiful Georgian-style homes. The bridge also serves as the starting point for a number of exciting river excursions.
5. Thermae Bath Spa
You’re in luck if you want to have the same bathing experience as the ancient Romans who built the original baths here. A dip in the waters of Thermae Bath Spa, located across the street from the Roman Baths, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the same thermal waters that have drawn people to the area for thousands of years, dating back to the Celts. Water massages and hot stone therapies are among the spa treatments available. Couples can book one of the romantic twilight packages, which include dinner (at the restaurant’s on-site restaurant), a spa treatment, and a sunset rooftop pool session.
6. Cross Bath
The Cross Bath is a short distance from Thermae Bath Spa (and is owned by the same company). This historic spa facility offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to soak in the city’s ancient waters. The original open-air thermal bath is a highlight of a visit to this fully renovated 18th-century building. The fact that only 10 guests are allowed at a time adds to the fun.
Your 1.5-hour experience can also be booked for private sessions for a truly memorable experience – a great option for couples and small groups of friends. Robes and towels are provided, as they are at the Thermae Bath Spa.
7. Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum’s outstanding art collection includes paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Stubbs, as well as 18th-century silver, Wedgwood porcelain, Renaissance bronzes, and early period furniture.
The museum, housed in the former Sydney Hotel, now includes a garden café with views of the beautiful Sydney Gardens, Britain’s only surviving 18th-century pleasure gardens.
A variety of events and educational programs, such as classical music performances and lectures, are held on a regular basis. Participating in the museum’s “late-night” programs, which allow you to explore its many exhibits after hours, is a fun thing to do if you time it right. On the premises, there is a café and a shop.
8. Fashion Museum Bath
After admiring Bath’s magnificent architecture, you’ll undoubtedly want to learn more about the styles and fashions that would have been worn by the residents of the city’s many exquisite homes. The Fashion Museum, housed in the stunning Assembly Rooms, houses a world-class collection of contemporary and historical clothing, including 150 dressed figures and over 30,000 original items dating from the late 16th century to the present.
If your child enjoys dressing up, try on some of the reproduction garments made available for visitors. The museum also has a nice café and a gift shop. The admission price includes an informative audioguide.
9. Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House
This living museum and historic eating house, which dates back to 1482 and was rebuilt in 1622, is famous for its delicious Sally Lunn’s Buns, which are made from secret traditional recipes. The cinnamon butter topping is reportedly a favorite of actor Nicolas Cage (also try the homemade lemon curd with clotted cream), and variations of the bun are popular in places like Williamsburg, Virginia, and New Zealand.
The cellar museum, located just steps from Bath Abbey, demonstrates how the site has been used to refresh weary travelers since Roman times. Highlights include the original kitchen, an 1140 oven, and the only visible remains of the medieval bath. The best times to visit and avoid crowds are around 10 a.m. or dinnertime – tables for the latter can be reserved. Alternatively, grab a bun or two to go.
10. Herschel Museum of Astronomy
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy is housed in a beautifully restored Georgian townhouse and contains numerous artifacts related to the acclaimed musician and astronomer, William Herschel.
Viewing original pieces of music and numerous instruments, as well as many references to his greatest achievement, the discovery of the planet Uranus in 1781, are among the highlights of the museum. This ground-breaking achievement was accomplished with a telescope Herschel designed and built himself in this very building. The Bath Postal Museum is a fun diversion for philatelists, with displays of related materials and numerous antique post boxes.