Bath, Somerset - England
The picturesque city of Bath is one of England’s top destinations. Lined with quaint cobblestone streets, Bath is Britain’s only designated World Heritage listed city, famous for its 18th century Georgian architecture and ancient Roman Baths. It’s also considered to be the most romantic city in the UK. And after our visit there, we couldn’t agree more! Located in Somerset (about 100 miles west of London), Bath is only a 90-minute journey by train from London’s Paddington Station.
Ancient Roman Baths
The historic city of Bath takes its name from its Roman-built baths, the oldest Roman remains in the U.K. and one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. The Roman Baths (pictured below) is the only mineral spring in the country and is the city’s most popular landmark, conveniently located in the center of Bath. Allow plenty of time (1-2 hours) to tour this ancient spa complex, learn about its history and get a feel of what life was like during the Roman era. Audio Self-Guided Tours and Public Guided Tours are included with admission. At the end of your tour, enjoy sampling a small glass of their famous natural “warm” Spa Water, containing 43 healing minerals. Free tastings are available to visitors throughout the day at the fountain in the Pump Room. The stunning 18th century Pump Room restaurant is one of Bath’s most popular venues for afternoon tea and includes live entertainment.
History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to Bath Abbey; it dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. Its magnificent architecture and place of worship draws thousands of people from around the world. If you have time, we highly recommend that you take the 45-50 minute Guided Tower Tour (maximum 16 people) to learn more about this historic Abbey. Note: To reach the top of the tower, you must climb 212 steps via two spiral staircases, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and take it slowly. And make sure you’re well hydrated. There are a few places where you can rest on the way up, however, to reach the halfway point and take a breather, you must climb the first 120 steep, narrow, winding steps to the Ringing Chamber. Then it’s another 50 steps to the Bell Chamber. And finally, along low and very narrow hallways, another 42 steps to the top of the tower, where you’ll see magnificent panoramic views of Bath. Tours are available daily year-round, except for Sundays and during services, special events and bell ringing.
Jane Austin Centre
Jane Austin fans will love this intimate museum. Recognized as one of the greatest writers of English literature, the museum chronicles her life and works. Bath was home to the famous author from 1801 to 1806 and was the backdrop to two of her novels – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Take a free audio walking tour and enjoy exploring the permanent exhibition at your leisure or take one of the guided tours and watch the short film to learn more about Jane, her family and her life. Plan on spending at least an hour at the museum.
Pulteney Bridge (pictured below) is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic bridges, especially at night when it’s illuminated. For the best bridge views at a distance and the crescent weir (u-shaped waterfall below the bridge), stand along the Parade Gardens.
The Royal Crescent
Bath is famous for The Royal Crescent (pictured below), a crescent-shaped row of 30 terraced houses built between 1767 and 1775. Believed to be the very first crescent built anywhere in the world, it’s one of the country’s greatest examples of Georgian architecture. Understated elegance best describes the iconic five-star luxury Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, a part of Bath’s famous Royal Crescent. Our getaway weekend there was one of the highlights of our Bath visit. The hotel is conveniently located near the town center (about a 15-minute walk).
Book Sightseeing Tours & Day Trips from London
Day Tours from London include visits to Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Downton Abbey Village, Highclere Castle, Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle, Cotswolds, Lake District, and Statford-upon-Avon. Book a Roman Baths and Bath City Walking Tour, a Bath River Cruise, a City Sightseeing Bath Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour, or get Skip-the-Line Tickets to the Jane Austen Centre and bypass any lines during busy tourist season.
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The Best Time To Visit Bath
The best time to visit Bath is in the Spring, Summer and Fall (May-September). July and August are peak tourist season. December Holiday Season is beautiful in Bath, however Winters can be cold and rainy. Whenever you go or whatever the weather, Bath is always a charming place to visit.
Bath festivals take place from May-September, so expect crowds during this time. May: Bath Festival and Bath Fringe Festival; April: Bath Comedy Festival; September: Great Bath Feast and Jane Austen Festival.