The city of Bath is beautiful and is the sort of place you could very happily spend several hours wandering round without having anything in particular planned. There are plenty of shops (independent retailers and high street chains) and tea rooms that you could easily pass the time in. There are also a multitude of different attractions which could be seen as part of a day trip, or make up the bulk of a long weekend. Here are some of the ones I’ve enjoyed (and some that I have on my list for next time!).
The Jane Austen Centre
As an English Literature lover, and a fan of Jane Austen, I thought a trip to Bath wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Jane Austen centre. The centre tells the story of Jane’s time in Bath, as well as exploring the effect that this had on her writing. Whilst I enjoyed my visit, I don’t think the exhibition is as good as the Brontë Parsonage, and it is more expensive too. If you are a Jane Austen fan then it is worth going to, but if not then I wouldn’t put it at the top of your places to go.
Bath is a historic spa town, whose waters have been praised for their healing properties since the Roman times. The Thermae Bath Spa is a modern spa where you can bathe in the thermal waters. If your interest is more of a historical nature, then I would certainly recommend visiting the roman baths. It’s not the cheapest attraction, but it is incredibly informative. A free audio guide is included in the ticket price and the baths are incredibly well preserved. It is one of the most visited heritage sites in the UK, and once you have been it is not hard to see why.
The Abbey in Bath is located in the heart of the city, opposite the Roman Baths and is worth going into if you have the time. One of the things that we found most interesting was the number of wall plaques, and the inscriptions on them. It was incredible to see how far some people had travelled given the dates that accompanied the description. If we were to go again I would want to do the tower tour to get a bit more from the visit, and also see some the views of the city.
Bath is a walking city and this is the best way to take in some of the sights. If you set off on your own walking tour then make sure you head to the weir and Pulteney bridge, which is one of Bath’s historic sights. All over Bath there are beautiful examples of Georgian architecture, but some of the best known examples are the Circus and Royal Crescent. I found the Circus in particular interesting to walk around given the number of famous historical figures who have stayed in the houses.
One of the places that James and I stumbled across on our first visit to Bath was George Bayntum, a bookshop and bookbinders. If you like antiquarian or nicely bound books then this is the place to come! There’s also a large second-hand book department if you are looking for something slightly more affordable.
Still to do…
I could quite happily keep visiting Bath even once I’ve done everything as I feel really comfortable there and I love the architecture. It might even be my favourite UK city (after York of course). However, there are still a few things I want to do when I next go. The Fashion Museum is one of them, which houses a collection of historical and contemporary dress. The Bath Postal Museum I think would be a lot more interesting than it sounds, so that’s another one on the list. The final thing I’d like to do is the Bath Skyline Walk, a six mile round trail with beautiful views over the city. Guess I’d better plan another visit then…