Ancient ruins and neoclassical architecture whisper of Bath’s rich history as a thermal spa epicentre for the Romans; however, there’s more to this UNESCO World Heritage Site than world-class bathhouses. Perfectly compact, Bath is filled to the brim with amazing restaurants, museums and galleries, and cosy independent shops. Whether you’re looking to relax and recharge, drink in the local arts and culture or go gastropub hopping, Bath has everything you need for the perfect city escape. Read on for our local tips for how to spend a weekend in Bath.
The Jane Austen Centre
If you’re a lover of all things Jane Austen, then why not pay homage to the famous writer? After all, not only did Austen live here but two of her novels were set in Bath (bonus points if you know which books!). Step back in time when you step into this original Georgian townhouse near Queen Square. The Jane Austen Centre offers delightful waxworks, tour guides in period costumes, a lovely Tea with Mr Darcy menu in the tea room, and a host of talks and activities that shed light on Austen’s life and the city that inspired her work. Recommended by local insider Matthew Wilcox
Coming to Bath without visiting the baths may be sacrilegious, especially because you’d be missing out on the stunning and most well-preserved Roman baths in the world. Constructed around 70AD, the Roman Baths offer pampering spa packages, guided tours, afternoon tea (with champagne) and even an escape room. During the summer months, enjoy a relaxing soak until 10pm under the romantic illumination of torchlights. Grab a fast-track ticket online to hop the queue or visit on a weekday and skip the crowds. Recommended by local insider Matthew Wilcox
Right in the heart of this historic city lies Britain’s only natural thermal spa. At Thermae Bath Spa you’ll find the perfect blend of historic spa mixed with more contemporary award-winning features including an open-air rooftop pool, which offers mind-blowing 360-degree views of the city. Choose from more than 40 spa treatments at their multi-sensory Wellness Suite, relax in the Infrared Sauna or just chill out like the Romans and Celts did thousands of years ago in the spa’s naturally hot, mineral-rich waters. Recommended by local insider Matthew Wilcox
If you’re looking for a picturesque spot to wander through nature, the historic Royal Victoria Park will delight with its lush Botanical Gardens. This 3.8 hectare space encompasses shrubs, rock gardens and perfumed pathways, and is renowned for having one of the greatest collection of plants from around the world. Enjoy the serenity of nature while taking in quaint bridges and pretty streams, while admiring the local flora and fauna. If you look closely you’ll also find little plaques on the trees in memory of loved ones. Recommended by local insider Madlena Gocheva
If you’ve worked up an appetite then head over to Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House for their world-famous Sally Lunn’s bun (a delight that is part-bun, part-bread and part-cake). Within the oldest house in Bath you’ll find a cosy pub atmosphere and popular local delicacies. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, all well as afternoon tea and a pre-theatre dinner. Enjoy a delicious bun and a cup of tea in their Jane Austen room (legend has it that Austen was also quite the bun enthusiast). Recommended by local insider Madlena Gocheva
What’s cooking, Bath? Well, you’re sure to find out with the Guilty Pleasures food tour from Savouring Bath. Get to know the award-winning bakers, cheesemongers and all-round gastronomic geniuses of the city, as your local tour guide takes you to seven or eight different spots to enjoy sweet and savoury food and drink pairings. The tour caps at eight people, making it an intimate experience for those epicurean travellers looking to enjoy every mouthwatering bite of what Bath has to offer. Recommended by local insider Matthew Wilcox