If you are looking for a city rich in beautiful Georgian archetecture, steeped in ancient history and with plenty of places to explore then Bath could be your next trip on your Bucket list.
Bath happens to be one of my favourite places in the UK, having been there 3 times you could say I’ve developed an infatuation with the place. Bath is a city nestled in the idylic countryside of Somerset, not too far from Bristol. It’s famous for it’s hot springs and Ancient Roman baths that you can still visit today. Bath is classified as a World Heritage site and it’s packed with interesting places to explore. Bath the place to be in 18th century England. It was once the playground of the rich with its endless stream of balls and parties. Bath was also the place that everyone frequented for its natural spring water from Bath’s famous Pump Rooms. People would bathe in it and drink it in a bid to cure any possible ailment they might have.
These days Bath isn’t so much of a party capital and more a capital people visit to relax and unwind and explore. I recently went on a 2 day trip to Bath with my mother as an early birthday treat. Today I’m going to give you my top tips on the must-do attractions in Bath; so that you can get the most out of your trip to Bath no matter how short it may be.
Without further ado let’s begin!
Bath Spa is easy enough to commute to from London, you can get a direct train from London Paddington or a slightly longer service from London Waterloo. We arrived in Bath in the late morning and weren’t due to head back until the evening the day after. So we had plenty of time to explore this compact city with all that it had to offer.
Eat at a Tea Room
One thing you must do whilst on your visit to Bath is to visit one of the many tearooms it has to offer. Bath has many narrow streets lined with tea rooms, some in ex-residential Georgian town houses and some in quaint little tea shops. It’s very instagramable and you’ll be spoilt for choice on your visit.
One I’d highly recommend visiting on your trip is the Regency Tea Rooms which can be found in the Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street. The Jane Austen Centre itself is something definitely worth a look in. The centre tells you about her life, her writing carer and how Bath came to influence her writings. With your entry ticket you qualify for 10% off in the shop and Regency Tea Rooms. The Tea Rooms are in what was once Jane Austen’s bedroom and now they’ve been turned into some grand, yet cosy tea rooms.
They do everything from high teas, cream teas, cakes and savouries and the classic Bath Bun. I would recommend going for the Ladies Afternoon Tea for £11.50 which includes a tea of your choice, a selection of sandwiches and a scone. The scones here are some of the best I’ve eaten and I’ve had a lot of afternoon teas in my life. The food here is delicious and there is so much attention to detail.
Check Out The Georgian Architecture
Bath is a World Heritage site. So It’s no secret that Bath is rich in stunning Georgian architecture, it’s one of the things that makes this city so popular with photographers and tourists. Bath is abundant in examples of Georgian architecture like The Circus, The Circle and the Royal Crescent. All of which come with very interesting stories about the people who lived there from the royalty, the gentry and the truly daring. If you want to learn more about the history of Bath there are guided tours you can embark on. We didn’t join a tour on this trip, but I did on my previous visit to Bath and I would recommend going on one if you are a history buff. One of the reasons why Bath is so incredibly beautiful is because the vast majority of the city is Georgian architecture. It’s like stepping back in time to a postcard perfect city.
Being that Bath is such a compact city, everything is reachable on foot. So if you want to get some beautiful shots of the city you could probably check everything off your list in a couple of hours. However, if you have a mobility disability like me, I’d recommend staying on the main streets and avoiding the more narrow side streets.
Bath is equally scenic at night, so if you’re up for an evening stroll it’s definitely worth taking some shots of the city in the evening hours. Places like the Abbey and Pump Rooms are very quiet in the evening so you can get some fantastic shots of the architecture when it’s less busy.
Visit Pulteney Bridge
Another sightseeing must on your list is Pulteney Bridge. Pulteney Bridge was originally build in 1774 and it crosses the River Avon. The bridge is also a rarity in that it’s one of 3 bridges in Europe which has shops on both sides. The Bridge houses some very quaint shops, bakeries and cafes.
Take a River Boat Ride Up the River Avon
After visiting Pulteney Bridge why not head off the beaten track and see the picturesque views of the Somerset countryside as you travel up the River Avon. You can catch a river boat on the River Walk just off Pulteney Bridge which takes you to Bathampton and back on a round trip, or you can disembark there. A round trip takes an hour and there are plenty of beautiful views to enjoy, its such a peaceful way to spend part of your trip if you want to get away from the business of the city. It’s simply idyllic in the warm weather and at this time of year you can spot plenty of river wildlife and their young like Swans and King Fishers. I rather felt like Ratty from Wind and the Willows!
During the boat trip you’ll also hear a brief history of the River Avon and Bath, as well as the neighbouring countryside.
Visit the Roman Baths Museum
One of the most popular attractions in Bath Spa is the Roman Baths Museum. Bath was built on natural hot springs and the Romans built a large temple and hot spring baths there. You can still see the Ancient Roman Baths and many artefacts that were uncovered during its excavation.
Fee audio guides are given on admission which give an insightful glimpse into what life in Bath or Aquae Sulis to call it by its Latin name. The museum also offers audio guides that have been adapted for those with sight loss and BSL Open Touch Handsets. The museum also offers lifts to access the various levels of the museum. They also have tactile models of the various artefacts in the museum and braille transcripts.
It’s such a marvel to see how such a key part of ancient history still remaining in the heart of this beautiful place. It was such an immersive experience and really interesting to lean more about Roman civilisation.
It’s the number one must do attraction in Bath. I’d recommend you give yourself around an hour or more to really be able to see everything they is to see and to work though all the exhibits. It’s the most busy attraction in Bath, so be sue to allow time for waiting in the queue. It was one of those museums where you can tell the staff have a good grasp of disability access and hospitality. They offered me accessible guides and pointed out the lifts that were available fo use.
It’s a stones throw away from the Bath Abbey which actually overlooks the Baths and right next to a whole host of eating places and shops. So if you only have one day to spend in Bath, make this your number one priority. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to miss it.
Visit the Fashion Museum
If, like me, you are interested in the history of fashion you simply must visit The Fashion Museum. The Fashion Museum is located right underneath the Bath Assembly Rooms. The Assembly Rooms were once the heart of 18th century parties and gatherings, you can drop in to see them on your visit to the museum.
This museum houses an impressive collection of garments from the 18th century to the present day. I particularly enjoyed seeing the exhibition on the early 20th century attire and how the impacts of war and female emancipation radically altered the attire.
One thing that I really enjoyed about the museum is that, like the Roman Baths Museum, free audio guides are offered that take you on an interactive tour of the exhibits. Each exhibit also has a photo on screen of the artefact so you can see it up close in further detail. I don’t think I have ever been to a fashion exhibition that offered audio guides before. So it was a really welcome change to actually be able to enjoy the exhibit like fully sighted people.
You can also try on an array of period costume like hats, dresses, gloves and wigs. So if you fancy really getting a sense of the period attire then there’s plenty on offer!
A Saver Ticket offers you entry to the Roman Bath Spa, the Fashion Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery. Or you can of course purchase the tickets individually.
Relax in the Parade Gardens
If it’s a pleasant day outside then you could head over to the Parade Gardens and spend some time enjoying the scenery and the sunshine. Bath’s Parade Gardens is a stones throw away from Pulteney Bridge. The gardens open at 10am and adults pay £2 for admission or £1 if you are a student. It’s also accessible via a ramp and free deckchairs are also available to use in the gardens.
These well manicured gardens are blooming with flowers at this time of year and it’s truly a symphany of colour and scent. There is so much to photograph here like floral sculptures and the band stand in the centre of the gardens. You will also find a small cafe selling food and drinks if you find yourself in need of sustenance. It’s a really beautiful place and a lovely spot for a picnic or to simply have some time to relax.
There you have it! Those are my top tips for how to get the most out of a 2 day trip to Bath. Let me know if you’ve been to Bath and if so where you would recommend visiting. Also let me know of other UK places you think I should visit. If you enjoyed this blog post you can also check out my blog on my trip to Alnwick, Northumberland.
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