Elegant, handsome, and utterly charming, the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath is one of those cities you cannot help but fall in love with. The much loved historic spa town nestled just It’s home to a collection of extraordinary sights crammed into a very compact space, think exquisite Roman and Georgian architecture mixed in with bohemian hangouts, fine restaurants, traditional pubs, and quaint historically styled shops. It’s a very tough choice but here are my best and most beautiful places to visit in Bath, England…
1. Roman Baths and Pump Room – famous and must-see attractions to visit in Bath
One of the most amazing historic sites in Europe, the Roman Baths, situated in the heart of Bath, offers a glimpse into 2000 years of history. The city’s thermal springs rise to fill with natural, mineral-rich hot water. Run by the Heritage Services section of Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Roman Baths remain one of the most well-preserved religious spas of the ancient world. The Pump Room at the bath contains a fountain with natural hot water that has over 42 minerals, concentrated in calcium, magnesium and sulfate.
Nearby attractions include walking on the original Roman pavements, viewing the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva and visiting the museum collection that contains a gilt bronze head of the Goddess Sulis Minerva, and other Roman artifacts. It is no wonder that the Roman Baths attract over 1 million visitors every year – making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the United Kingdom.
2. Bath Abbey – a stunning example of medieval architecture
Founded in the 7th century, Bath Abbey is a parish church of the Church of England and former Benedictine monastery. The Abbey was reorganized, rebuilt, and restored in the 10th, the 12th, and 16th centuries. This beautiful site has lovely exterior gardens and spectacular interiors. Carved with angels, the Abbey has some marvelous sites. The Abbey floor is made up of 891 flat gravestones called Ledger Stones. The King Edgar Window displays the crowning of Edgar as the first king of all England at the Saxon monastery. The Great East Window tells the story of Jesus in 56 scenes.
The West Window depicts the first five books of the Bible. The panels at the bottom show God’s Creation of Eve and Noah’s Ark. The West Front showcases the dream of Bishop Oliver King that led him to replace the ruined Norman Cathedral with the present Abbey. The Fan Vaulted Ceiling was originally created in the 1500s by the king’s master masons but wasn’t completed till the 1860s. Birdie’s Chantry Chapel is a room for quiet, reflection, and prayer. There are 635 memorials on the Abbey’s walls and the Waller Tomb.
For history buffs, the Tower Tour takes you around the Abbey explaining its rich history and heritage. The ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ Tour is ideal for visitors interested in the Abbey’s renowned Footprint Project that will not only repair the Abbey’s unique floor but also give new opportunities for people to learn and volunteer with the Abbey.
3. La Perla Restaurant – a gorgeous and popular dining spot
This is possibly Bath’s best Spanish restaurant and tapas bar, La Perla is a ‘must-dine’ for anyone visiting Bath. Located near Bath Spa train station, La Perla is a stylish, tunnel-shaped tapas restaurant.
This lovely establishment is known for its homemade and one-of-a-kind tapas. This incredible fine dining restaurant in unique surroundings, with enjoyable ambiance and relishing dishes, is fairly well-priced and, in my opinion, worth the money!
4. The Botanist – for botanical cocktails, craft beers served up in gorgeous surroundings
I loved this place! Located in Milsom Place, The Botanist is a 8000 sq ft bar and restaurant that adds an eclectic life to an ancient site of Bath, the Octagon. Built in 1766, the Octagon is a private chapel, previously popular as the ‘only safe place of worship in Bath’. Also commonly described as the most elegant proprietary chapels of Bath during the Georgian time, the chapel was turned into a well-known antique shop, Mallet & Sons, in the 19th century. The building’s octagon shape and the restaurant’s interiors with its octagon shapes throughout the dome, bar, and gallery perfectly complement each other. The venue is truly eye-catching and unique.
The restaurant’s extensive menu includes food from the deli, grill, and rotisserie and a wide range of craft ales, beers, and fancy botanical cocktails, inspired by resident botanists’ travels across the globe. Just underneath The Botanist in the basement vaults (used as wine storage in the past) is its sister, Beneath Bar, an apothecary-style bar with an impressive drinks menu.
5. Royal Crescent and the Circus – one of the best and most famous places to visit in Bath
You can’t leave Bath without visiting this famous beauty spot. Renowned for its elegant splendor and grandeur, the Royal Crescent and the Circus showcases remarkable Georgian architecture. The Circus, originally called King’s Circus, designed by the architect John Wood, the Elder, is a historic ring of large townhouses in the city of Bath. Deriving its name from the Latin circus, meaning a ring, oval or circle, the Circus is divided into three equal sections with a lawn in the center.
Each section faces one of the three entrances, to maintain a classical style. This 30-house development not only has luxurious status but also intricate detailing on the stonework. Wood’s signature designs like serpents, acorns, and nautical symbols can commonly be found. If viewed from above, the Circus, along with Queen Square and Gay Street, form a key shape, similar to those that adorn many of Wood’s buildings.
While visiting the Royal Crescent and the Circus, make sure you stand in the exact middle, not only to marvel at this ravishing building but also to try finding the exact spot from where you can hear your echo!
6. Sally Lunns – a Bath institution!
This place is a gorgeous must-see! One of the oldest houses in Bath, Sally Lunns is a famous tea house located in the center of Bath. Home of the original “Bath Bunn”, it serves one of the most famous local delicacies, the original Sally Lunn bun. Besides being housed in one of the oldest buildings of Bath, the cafe has a kitchen museum that showcases the original kitchen used by the legendary baker Sally Lunn to make the first Bath Bunn (Sally Lunn Bunn), a world-famous regional specialty.
The present-day menu includes the original Sally Lunn bun that is still baked to a secret recipe but also serves local English food and historic dishes such as homemade pies in the evening.
7. Thermae Bath Spa – a must-see attraction in Bath
Thermae Bath Spa is one of the most famous attractions in Bath, and rightly so, as it offers the chance to bathe and relax in Bath’s warm, mineral-rich naturals waters and is definitely one of the city highlights! Historically known for its mineral-rich waters, Bath has been associated with wellness and spa for over 2,000 years ago. Bath’s natural thermal springs were originally discovered by Prince Bladud around 863BC, who was cured from his skin disease after bathing in the waters. Since then, these waters have been enjoyed by the Celts, Romans, Saxons, and Georgians. However, until the restoration of this Spa in 2006, these exclusive waters went down the drain and ended up in the river Avon. Though the actual source of these waters remains a mystery, they are known to have over 42 different minerals.
The Thermae Spa has 4 four baths with warm thermal waters at the optimal temperature of 33.5°C. The largest bath, Minerva, named after the Roman Goddess of Health & Wisdom, is a pool with curves and columns, massage jets, whirlpool fountains and a lazy river. The relaxing rooftop pool with jacuzzi jets offers gorgeous views of the city and surrounding countryside, by day and night. The New Royal Bath set in a fusion of glass, stone, light, and water gives a unique spa experience. The Spa also offers incredible massage packages, towels, bathrobes, and slippers. End your relaxing day at the spa by indulging at the in-house Springs Cafe Restaurant.
8. Hare and Hounds Pub – a popular pub with great views
There are many great beautiful and traditional pubs to choose from in the city but I have a special fondness for this place. The Hare & Hounds Pub is a well-regarded eating establishment in a countryside setting that is based close to Bath’s city centre. The pub’s stone building offers marvelous landscape views of Bath’s beautiful nature. This gastropub contains a breakfast menu with incredible coffee and yummy pastries, the lunch menu includes home-cooked British cuisine dishes with local, seasonal ingredients and the dinner menu comprises an inventive three-course meal and the pub also has an impressive wine list.
The outdoor terrace is the perfect spot for a sunny summer lunch while its open fire also makes it an ideal choice for a cozy winter evening. The lovely natural scenery creates a spectacular backdrop with a romantic ambiance, making The Hare and Hounds an amazing wedding or private event venue. The spacious main room has high ceilings with large windows that flood it with natural light. There is an open fire, outdoor bar, conservatory, and other private areas that make this venue flexible and easy to tailor to a specific event.
The interiors are simple yet elegant, with wooden church chairs, wooden pews, wooden floors, and original art on the walls. The lovely pub with its pretty terrace gardens and stunning views across the Charlcombe valley is definitely worth a visit!
9. Prior Park Landscape Garden – one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bath
Prior Park Landscape Garden is a gorgeous 18th-century landscape garden designed by poet Alexander Pope and landscape gardener Lancelot Brown, now owned by the National Trust.
This wonderful garden consists of flowering trees, diverse wildlife, breathtaking woodland paths, pristine lakes, a famous Palladian Bridge that is one of four in the world, and spectacular sweeping views of the city of Bath. Set in a steep valley, the landscaped garden is ideal for long walks, and is filled with perfect picnic spots with stunning views.
10. Jane Austen Centre – a must-see attraction for literary fans
The Jane Austen Centre was created to celebrate one of Bath’s most famous residents, Jane Austen. The center shows a glimpse into life in Regency times. From fashion, food to society, it explores everything that could have inspired Austen’s timeless novels.
Set in a classically decorated Georgian townhouse, the center has an authentic period atmosphere. A tour with the in-house costumed guides takes you on a journey through Jane Austen’s life. Feel like you have travelled back to Regency times as you dress up in costumes like bonnets, top hats, shawls, and fans, taste local delicacies, and write with quill pen and ink. You can even have your picture taken with the world-famous Jane Austen waxwork. The waxwork creates a lifelike portrayal of what Jane Austen would have looked like.
The centre also shows how the city of Bath impacted Jane Austen’s life and writing. End your tour with a cute homemade tea cake or a light lunch at the famous Regency Tea Room that has been awarded TripAdvisor’s ‘Award of Excellence’.
11. Tyntesfield – a spectacular Victorian Gothic revival house with gardens and parkland
Situated near Wraxall, North Somerset, Tyntesfield is a Victorian Gothic Revival house and estate with an extensive formal garden and parkland. Originally a small Georgian family house, Tyntesfield was transformed into an opulent Gothic Revival masterpiece. The site is designed with intricate detailing and its architecture reflects Anglo-Catholic beliefs of the resident Gibbs family.
The 540 acres of gardens comprises terraces of exotic flowering plants, rolling fields, an empty lake, champion trees and tranquil woodlands, and a productive kitchen garden. Each season at Tyntesfield’s garden estate has something uniquely beautiful to offer. The woodland is home to several walking trails to spot bluebells, spring fungi, and other rare plants. There is also a play area, plant shop, bookshop, 2 cafes on-site and the Cow Barn shop sells local artisan products and classic National Trust lines. A beautiful spot to explore in Bath!
12. Bath Priory – an elegant hotel set in a grand 1835 Georgian manor
Nestled close to Bath’s city center, is a lovely tranquil getaway hotel called the Bath Priory. This peaceful, upscale country-house hotel hosts a gorgeous garden, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a high-end L’OCCITANE spa, an award-winning restaurant, and luxurious rooms. The hotel’s 33 rooms are individually designed with immense detail and elegant traditional-style decor. Views from the room include the hotel’s gorgeously manicured garden and luxuriously spacious terraces.
Bath Priory is situated in a honey-colored Georgian-style stone house that enhances its traditional style and adds to its tranquil atmosphere. On its wall, you’ll commonly find proprietors Andrew and Christina Brownsword’s admirable private art collections.
13. Pulteney Bridge – one of the most photographed examples of Georgian architecture in the city
Pulteney Bridge situated on River Avon is an exceptional Palladian style designed by Robert Adam. This Palladian style, one of only four bridges in the world, is lined with small shops across its full span on both sides.
This historic bridge is named after Frances Pulteney, wife of William Johnstone Pulteney, an influential man in Georgian Bath. William Pulteney wanted to build a new town to rival the west side of the city and he started with a ‘new bridge’ that would be spectacular in design. The bridge’s classical Georgian architecture is truly unrivalled with pediments, pilasters, and tiny leaded domes on both sides. Made famous in the movie Les Misérables in 2012, the bridge is best viewed from Parade Gardens and the crescent weir.
One of the most photographed sites in Bath and arguably one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic bridges, Pulteney Bridge is definitely a must-visit attraction.
14. Guildhall Indoor Market – a popular market historic market
This is a charming indoor market that is definitely worth a visit when you’re wandering around the city. It’s actually the oldest shopping venue in the city (the market actually dates back to 1284) and is set in a beautiful 19th-century historic building.
It houses an eclectic collection of stalls including specialty teas, artisan food products, craft stalls, books and even pet stalls. Locals also come here to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
15. Dyrham Park – a spectacular late 17th-century mansion, garden and parkland
Set in a deer park, 8 miles from the city of Bath, The National Trust’s Dyrham Park comprises a 17th-century baroque mansion and formal garden in historic parkland. The recently restored country house is attached to an orangery, stable block, and parish church. There is currently extensive work in the garden to create a 21st-century garden with a reflection of the past.
The park offers unparalleled views of the elegant mansion against the stunning surrounding scenery. The park includes an Old Lodge natural play area, walking trails, outdoor theatre. While there are plenty of outdoor activities, the park is known for wildlife spotting, especially the herd of 200 wild fallow deer that roams the estate. Dyrham Park’s Teagarden offers the perfect spot on a sunny summer day. Though its stylishly decorated indoor section, with locally sourced seasonal dishes, is just as enjoyable in the winters!
Where to stay in Bath – Church Cottage
We stayed just outside the centre of Bath in a small and very pretty traditional village of Corston which is close to the River Avon. Church Cottage was a gorgeous traditionally decorated 18th-century cottage with a beautiful conservatory and surrounded by an idyllic cottage garden which for me epitomized Bath’s wonderful quintessential Englishness. The property is available through Booking.com and can accommodate up to six guests. Dogs are also welcome for an extra fee.
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Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa’d in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her cat and ukulele amid the misty valleys and rolling hills of beautiful South Wales.