From Georgian architecture and ancient hot pools to more exuberant pools on a rooftop and cream teas. The UNESCO heritage city of Bath in Somerset is a must for a weekend city break, you’ll leave feeling full of knowledge and be relaxed at the same time.
I happened to only have one day in Bath, as part of my England to Wales Road trip lately, but I still managed to cram in a lot in within that time.
Here are my top 5 things to do in the city of Bath, Somerset
1. Soak up the history at the ancient Roman Baths
Bath is also referred to as Bath Spa, taken from the Latin Aquae, meaning ‘the waters of Sulis’ and was built upon natural hot springs, developed by the Romans around 70D as a bathing complex. The baths lie some ways underground and the site is one of the best preserved Roman sites in the World. As you walk around, you can really get a feel for what it must have been like in Roman times here.
Temperatures of the water reached around 46 degrees, and over one million litres flowed through daily. The Romans believed that this source of water was a mystical source from the gods, and so believed it had healing qualities.
The Roman Bath site is not thought to be safe to swim or bath in, and as such, it remains as a historical site only. If you want to feel the effects of the thermal waters, you can bathe on the top of a roof at New Royal Bath (Therme Spa) nearby, which actually uses the same water, but of course it is much cleaner. A 2 hour session there will cost you £32-35 (weekends are more expensive)
Entry into the Roman Baths site costs £14 per adult, or if you wish to combine your tickets and see the fashion museum and Victoria art gallery, you can do for a price of £20 per adult. Students get discount with valid ID, and there is a great FREE audio guide to enlighten your visit some more, which are available in 9 different languages.
The Roman Baths are open year round, Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00 (09.30 from November to March)
2. Discover the pages from Jane Austen’s Books
Famous novelist Jane Austen spent some part of her life growing up in Bath, and referred to it in some of her books. You can discover many of these places on a Jane Austen tour, or find them for yourself. Around the city are some maps, which highlight key areas to visit. Though I’d imagine if you were a true Jane Austen fan, you would know what you wanted to see.
There is a Jane Austen Centre situated at 40 Gay street, where you’ll be greeted by a staff member dressed in attire appropriate to that era.
3. Stroll through the many beautiful parks and gardens
Bath is a wonderfully green city, with a number of parks and gardens that you can wander around and take a rest from the busy city. My favourite park was Parade Park at the bottom of the city, near the river. The Royal Victoria park, which leads to the Royal Crescent, is stunning also.
4. Indulge in a great Cream Tea
I love a good cream tea. I had one when visiting Arundel in West Sussex. There is something about a good warm scone, clotted cream and jam. Washed down with a cup of Earl Grey. Bath is not short of tea shops, where you can indulge is a good scone or afternoon tea. If you get there early enough or don’t mind queuing, Sally Lunn’s historic eating house, home of the Sally Lunn Bun, is based in one of the oldest houses in Bath, on 4 N Parade Passage.
The queues were out the door, and along by the window, and so we decided that our precious time and rumbling tummies would head elsewhere. We ate at the courtyard cafe, on the same street, and the cream tea was delicious.
5. Discover the glorious Architectural sites
From Roman, to Georgian; the architecture in Bath is simply stunning. Take a walk along the cobbled streets and discover places such as Bath Abbey, and the Theatre Royal to the Royal Crescent and Royal Circus. The stonework is like something out of Pride and Prejudice, even the standard high street shops look beautiful within the buildings in this city.
Bath is possibly one of the most beautiful and historic cities I have been to in England. It has something for everyone, and I intend to get back there soon to rediscover the city, and experience new things.