Bath is one of the more magical cities to visit in England! When I first arrived I felt as if I stepped right into a storybook land where I'd bump right into Sleeping Beauty while walking the streets. Just the look of it is so charming as everything is constructed from the same color Bath stone! Visiting Bath is a perfect 2 hour escape away from London, and I highly recommend at least 2-3 days so that you can get a true feel for this quaint and historical city. There are quite a lot of things to see and do in Bath, so here are my favorites to cover on a short trip!
Built in 1769, the Pulteney Bridge is one of Bath's iconic landmarks, and one of the prettiest photo ops! Filled with marketplace type boutique shops including a few places to grab coffee and pastries, this bridge is perfect to hang out in during your afternoon or evening stroll through town. There's a staircase on the further end of the east side that will take you down to the riverfront where you can enjoy lunch or a glass of at one of the restaurants. Boat tours on the river that take you right under the bridge are also accessible here through the Pulteney Cruisers.
Bath Abbey Square
The heart and main "downtown" area of Bath, England, it is easy to just get lost in the streets of this area just by walking around and looking at everything. This is where you will find the famous Roman Baths which I'll get to in more detail below, as well as what the square is named after, the Bath Abbey Church. I've traveled to quite a few places in Europe and I was just giddy at over how cute and beautiful Bath is! This area is typically super crowded, not often can you get a photo like below with only a few people in the square, or no one at all in the streets! I happened to catch these right before a rainfall so I got lucky.
The Roman Baths
One of the best preserved pieces of Roman ruins in the world! The Roman Baths along with the Grand Pump room right next door are two very high trafficked historical attractions in Bath, England. It is actually a hot mineral spring spa used way back in the day possibly for a place of worship. There are four main features: the Sacred Spring (pictured above), the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the museum. Though you can enter the building and look around you have to actually get tickets for an audio tour to get you into the baths as well as the museum which houses Roman artifacts. It's unsafe to actually go into the Roman Baths, but you can try a sip of the hot mineral spring water in the Pump Room's fountain - it tastes terrible but many believe it has healing powers! Visit the Official Website for booking information and tour tickets.
Bath Skyline Walk
My favorite thing to do while visiting Bath, was the Skyline Walk. If you are the outdoorsy type and are looking for an easy walkable hike that will take you through the countryside, then this is for you! The walk itself can be as short or as long as you make it, depending what you want to see, and the path is marked with the National Trust Stickers and points of interest markers ( see photos above ) that you'll see along the way to keep you on track. It isn't as well marked as it seems though and in my attempt to do the full 6 mile loop, I got lost along the way and missed a few areas. It's not a bad place to get lost in though!
Key areas of interest are:
Sham Castle: Pictured above, this castle is truly a sham! It's simply a facade of a castle that was originally built to improve the view from a wealthy postmaster’s nearby estate.
Bathwick Fields: If you are short on time, you can easily do the "walk to the view" hike up to Bathwick Fields and get the best lookout of Bath. This is a main stop and point of interest on the full Bath Skyline walk. ( above photos / bottom row )
Prior Park Landscape Garden: This beautiful part of the park is such a pretty stop on the walk if you can make it there before closing. Since I got lost I arrived when the gates were closed and had to miss this section! Highly recommend making a separate visit here if you can't fit it in on the Bath Skyline walk.
For complete step-by-step, make a stop at the Bath Visitor Center and pick up the brochure. Or visit the Official Website of the Bath Skyline walk. It's not the best map out there but you'll get the gist!
The Royal Crescent
It's hard to capture this even with the widest lens, but this piece of architecture is always on the must-see list when visiting Bath. There's nothing quite like it that I've seen in my travels, and it's huge! Built over 240 years ago, The Royal Crescent consists of a 500ft row of 30 houses one of which is a historic house museum. Like the whole city of Bath, it is made out of Bath stone and is definitely one of the most impressive structures of Georgian architecture in the United Kingdom.
Boat River Ride
Like many cities in Europe, Bath is on a river and just like when I visit Paris or London, I have to take a ride in it! Bath's river is nothing fancy- it's not big enough for a ferry service or a formal tour, but it is a relaxing way to drift through the city a bit on a nice summer day. You'll find a few areas on the river -- in the main area by the Pulteney Bridge, and across the other side of town near the canals. As mentioned above, Pulteney Cruisers is the one closest to the main center of town, or you can hire a narrowboat and steer yourself! Info on all the boat tours can be found here.
Thermae Bath Spa
The closest thing you will get to a modern day Roman Bath, Thermae Spa is where you can experience the mineral waters right in the heart of the city. There are a couple ways to visit the spa-- book a treatment like a massage or a facial and you automatically get a 2 hour window to the spa facilities, or show up and wait in line until you can purchase a spot for a 2 hour visit to the spa. I opted for the latter, and on the day I visited there was hardly a line so I got in within 10 minutes. You are not allowed to take any photos whatsoever in the Thermae Spa, so I am linking to the Bath Visitor Guide image below which shows the spa, and website for the full information. Great way to experience the thermal waters and there is a lot of relaxing therapeutic areas to visit inside including ice and steam rooms.
Photo/Image credit: Bath Visitor Guide image- downloadable guide available here.
Bath is truly a quaint city you can get lost in! Where else can you go where everything is built using the same color stone? I'd love to hear what your favorite small cities to visit are especially in Europe! Leave me a comment or DM. Happy Travels!
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