For 2000 years, the city of Bath in southern England has been a prime vacation spot. It's been a place of worship for Ancient Romans, a spa city for Georgian nobility, and a source of inspiration for famous English authors. Today, Bath is a World Heritage Site, but this city is far from stuck in the past. Between spas, nightlife, shopping, live entertainment, and unique tours of the over 500 historically significant sites, there's something for everyone in Bath.
Perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Bath is the preserved Ancient Roman baths and temple to Minerva at Aquae Sulis. Guests can walk the same paths that the Romans did in the 1st century CE, learn about the importance of Bath's natural hot springs to local culture and worship, and take in the gorgeous architecture. The one thing they can't do is get in the water.
Bath boasts over a dozen unique spa locations. Thermae Bath Spa has two rooftop pools fed by the mineral-rich waters of Bath's natural thermal springs and provides a perfect place for guests to relax and take in the city's beauty. Those looking for a luxury experience can visit the Garden Spa by L'Occitane at The Priory Bath Hotel, and families may enjoy the child-friendly spa at Woolley Grange Hotel.
Bizarre Bath is an evening comedy walk that shows visitors the fun side of the city. This walking tour takes crowds through some of Bath's best street shows, including comedy, live theater, and stunts. Starting at 8 pm Tuesdays through Sundays, Bizarre Bath is a hilarious and exciting way to start a night out or end a busy day of sightseeing.
Jane Austen spent five years living and writing in Bath. Fans can explore the places she lived and see the inspiration for many of her novels. Just walking around the city can feel like stepping into the pages of a Regency-Era romance novel. Many of Bath's historic buildings feature sweeping Georgian columns and lavish facades. Makers of hit period drama Bridgerton recognized Bath's romantic vistas, and much of the show was filmed there.
There's something in Bath's pub scene to match any taste. Drink and dine in style at The Dark Horse, which serves an extensive drinks menu and foods made with fresh local ingredients in an intimate atmosphere. Bath's only piano bar, The Drawing Room, is a great place to relax. If you enjoy a nice glass of run, you'll love the Fidel Rum Bar, which carries a huge selection, including its own signature blends. There are also a number of pubs featuring live music and comedy on any given night.
Bath Abbey is a beautiful gothic church built in 1611 from golden Bath limestone. It's a true architectural wonder and an iconic part of Bath's skyline. Guests are welcome to join a service, light a candle for a loved one, admire the art and architecture, or read memorials left by worshippers from centuries ago. The tower tour takes visitors up the 212 steps of Bath Abbey's clock tower to a panoramic view of the city and surrounding countryside.
The oldest tea house in Bath is Sally Lunn, which has stood since 1483. They serve the famous Sally Lunn bun, a kind of hybrid bread and tea cake, alongside an all-day menu, including a traditional trencher dinner. Pump Room Restaurant is another classic tea house with elevated decor and the chance to drink water straight from Bath's natural hot spring. The water has an unusual taste and was once believed to have healing properties.
Tour the city in style with a leisurely river cruise. The river Avon cuts right through the heart of the city, giving tourists the perfect view of Bath's beautiful architecture, including centuries-old bridges. Visitors can choose between informative guided tours, adults-only cruises with prosecco included, or they can hire a private boat for a truly unique experience.
There are dozens of museums in Bath, many of them free to enter. No. 1 Royal Crescent is the place to experience what life was like in the city over 300 years ago. The American Museum and Gardens takes a British look at Americana. Visitors can learn about art at the Holburne Museum or Victorian Art Gallery, fashion at the Fashion Museum of Bath, and astronomy at the Herschel Museum. Mary Shelley's House of Frankenstein is a particular favorite, taking a thrilling and immersive look at the horror icon's life and writings.
The best place to shop in Bath depends on what you're hoping to buy. Milsom Street is the high street of Bath and features many of the larger retailers and high fashion outlets. Pulteney Bridge and nearby Argyle Street allows guests to stroll through a shopping district with restaurants, jewelers, flower shops, and fashion boutiques while enjoying gorgeous views of the river. Bargain hunters may enjoy Guildhall Market, while Upper Town is the best place to find antiques. Those looking for something truly unique will likely find it on Walcott Street, an artisans' quarter full of independent craft and curio shops.