Bath City Guide: Where to stay, eat & best things to do
How to spend 48 hours in Bath
A city break in Bath has been on my never-ending bucket list for some time now. It’s one of Britain’s must-visit destinations as its surrounded by beautiful countryside, honey-toned Georgian architecture and has a rich medieval heritage. In fact, it’s the only place in Britain with a well preserved natural hot spring.
There are so many reasons to love this picturesque county of Somerset which is claimed to be built on seven hills, especially as the entire City of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site meaning there are historical buildings and stories to be uncovered every step you take. What makes a day trip to Bath even better is that all attractions worth seeing are in walking distance so that you can easily experience everything Bath has to offer within 48 hours or less.
Whether you are planning a day trip or overnight stay to Bath, I’ve put together the ultimate Bath itinerary featuring one of the best places to stay in Bath if you crave five-star luxury, Bath’s top 21 sightseeing tourist attractions and one of Bath's top-rated vegan restaurants, which is an independent foodie place that's perfect if you seek instagrammable healthy food and interiors.
Where to stay in Bath
Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel 5*
To experience Bath like the Romans once did, we stayed at the lavish 5* Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel. It’s conveniently located within walking distance of all the best things to see and do in the city centre of Bath.
The hotel chain has restored this 19th century Georgian stately home with its 131 rooms, 7 acres of lush green gardens and a sweeping driveway. If you’re visiting by train or coach than the station is 1 mile away, otherwise, parking is available at £15 a day.
Located in the sophisticated former ballroom of this historic home is Vellore an award-winning restaurant. The hotel also has a spa equipped with an indoor pool, gym, outside hydro pool, whirlpool and Thermal Suite. Prices start from £179 a night for two in a Classic double room with breakfast included. For more photos read the full review on my luxury 5* hotel in Bath experience.
21 Best thing’s to do in Bath:
The first place we visited was Bath Abbey , it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions as well as The Roman Baths located next to it. The Anglican parish church and former Benedictine monastery dates back to 1572 and stands proud in the city centre with its stunning Medieval architecture and Gothic interior. Entry into Bath Abbey is free although donations are greatly appreciated, for a 50-minute tour of the tower a ticket is £8 for adults and £4 for children.
2. Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge was my favourite of all the picturesque sights I experienced in Bath, simply because of its sheer beauty and size and that it’s home to a variety of independent shops and leads to a row of connected townhouses. The arched bridge was built in 1774 by the Pulteney family and crosses the River Avon. If you follow the river, you’ll find Parade Gardens where you can capture a wider view of the Bridge in all it's glory.
An architectural highlight of Bath you have most likely heard about is the Circus located on Gay Street. This iconic street is home to large townhouses connected in a circular shape with three entrances and a rounded grass area with tall eerie trees taking centre stage. The Georgian architecture was completed in 1768 and took 14 years to build. The three entrances all lead to popular tourist attractions, for example, Gay street goes to Queen Square, Brock street leads to Royal Crescent and Bennett Street goes to Bath’s Fashion Museum and The Museum of East Asian Art.
4. Green Park Station
Green Park Station originally known as Bath Queen Square was once a railway station. Now it’s a flourishing market home to independent foodie places, shops, thrift stores, organic fruit & vegetable stalls, vintage furniture, antiques and craft wine sellers.
5. Jane Austen Centre
Within a short walk from the Circus on Gay Street, you’ll find the Jane Austen Centre . A small museum and regency tearoom celebrating the life and times of the famous writer, Jane Austen one of Bath’s most famous residents. The centre is open between 10 am – 4 pm and standard tickets are £12 for adults.
6. Sydney Gardens
Across the road from the entrance to Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel is the lush green Sydney Gardens, a 12-acre landscaped park built in 1795. It’s a lovely place to go for a stroll if you love outdoors and nature. You’ll see views of beautiful townhouses in the distance, monuments, a canal, a bridge and a railway. If you follow the footpath it leads you to the back of The Holburne Museum which is facing Great Pulteney Street where if you continue walking, you’ll find the Pulteney Bridge. Sydney Gardens would be a beautiful place to visit during the summer with a picnic.
7. Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent can be found by taking a short walk down Brock Street which is one of the entrances leaving the Circus. On the way to Royal Crescent, you’ll pass Regency-era streets lined with luxurious independent boutiques and vintage stores. The Royal Crescent is like the Circus with it being Georgian terraced houses except it’s shaped like a semi-circle and was built in 1774.
8. Great Pulteney Street
Above the arched Pulteney Bridge is Great Pulteney Street lined both sides with insta worthy independent retailers such as florists and cake shops and historical pubs leading to the Laura Place fountain (which is a water feature used as a roundabout) and a long row of beautiful Georgian stone terraced houses with The Holburne Museum at the bottom of it.
9. The Holburne Museum
Built-in 1882 The Holburne Museum is a Georgian building with a modern extension and café looking out to Sydney Gardens. To explore the Grade I listed building and its Victorian collection of art, silver and its regular exhibitions tickets are £12.50 for adults. Although it's free to enter on Wednesdays between 3-5pm.
10. Sally Lunn’s
Built-in 1483 Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum is Bath’s oldest house and is well known for its semi-sweet bread named the Sally Lunn Bun. Besides from being able to take home a branded printed box with a world-famous Sally Lunn bun in you can also enjoy an all-day menu here between 10am-10pm and admire its museum until 6 pm. To avoid disappointment, I would recommend making a reservation.
11. Guildhall Market
Right in the heart of Bath city centre is Guildhall Market located opposite Pulteney Bridge and a short walk from Bath Abbey. The historic shopping venue is open Monday to Saturday 8 am to 5.30pm and is home to a variety of market traders and cafes.
12. Victoria Art Gallery
On the corner near Great Pulteney Street is the Victoria Art Gallery . The public art museum and Grade II listed building opened in 1900 to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. It houses oil paintings from British and European artists dating from 1700 onwards.
13. Queen Square
Around the corner from Jane Austin Centre is Queen Square which is named as the first and most important element of the architectural sequence in Bath followed by the Circus and Royal Crescent. The square is made up of Grade I listed buildings, the south side had to be restored after the Blitz during World War II. In the centre of the square is an obelisk monument that was erected in 1738 as a tribute to Frederick, Prince of Wales.
14. The Roman Baths
In 1897 this public bathing site was once a place for the Romans to soak and socialise in a steaming lead-lined pool with the heated water coming from the Sacred Spring. Now, this historical building is Bath’s main tourist attraction with tickets to view The Roman Baths ranging from £14.40 to £19.80 depending on the time and day you visit. A 10% discount is available when you book online in advance.
Due to the water being unsafe, you can’t bathe at The Roman Baths. But if you fancy a soak like Caesar you can visit the Thermae Bath Spa building nearby where they have a natural thermal pool on the rooftop with spectacular infinity views overlooking the city. This is somewhere I really want to go when I next visit Bath!
15. The Pump Room
At The Roman Baths, you’ll find The Pump Room restaurant where you can experience Bath’s most elegant dining experience in a stunning room with a high featured ceiling, large glistening chandeliers, oil paintings displayed in gold frames, red draped curtains and arched window views looking out to the Roman baths. The restaurant serves modern-British cuisine for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea every day.
16. Parade Gardens
For a perfect viewpoint of Pulteney Bridge go to Parade Gardens which can be found within a short walk from the back of Bath Abbey. Parade Gardens features river Avon views, honey-toned archways and plenty of monuments including one of a pig and a bronze angel of peace to honour King Edward VII's.
17. New Theatre Royal
The New Theatre Royal is claimed to be one of the most significant pieces of Georgian theatre architecture that exists today. The Grade II* listed building was built in 1805 and holds just 900 people. During daily opera, ballet and pantomime performances, guests can admire the lavish red and gold theatre lit by a statement chandelier.
18. St Michael's Church
St Michael's is a 19th-century church surrounded by premium coffee shops and delis. However, if you fancy visiting this community-focused church which is free to enter, they sell very reasonably priced hot food and drink such as quality coffee, panni’s and soup. From looking at the outside exterior the interior inside may not be what you’d expect.
19. Milsom Street & Union Street
When you're done with sightseeing in Bath visit Milsom Street and Union Street for some retail therapy at the variety of independent, designer and high-street shops. You’ll also find plenty of artisan cafes, fast food chains and restaurants as well as a few market traders, pop-up food trucks and buskers.
20. Saw Close
Located within what was the old medieval city wall of Bath. Saw Close is a space for locals and tourists to gather and enjoy the surrounding pubs, restaurants, shops, fruit & veg traders and cafes. It’s also where you’ll find the New Theatre Royal, a Thai restaurant named the Giggling Squid and a new hotel & casino complex.
21. Royal Mineral Water Hospital
The Roman Baths was a place for wealthy people to soak in hot mineral water to help relieve them of ill-health. When the word got out about how the water was healing Rheumatic Diseases poor people began to flock to Bath and began begging on the streets. With Bath no longer being desirable to the rich and powerful, in 1742 the Royal Mineral Water Hospital was built to treat the poor and remove them from the streets. Today its still a working hospital, however, their small museum can be viewed on Monday and Wednesday between 2-4pm or on Friday between 10-11.30am.
bEST VEGAN FOOD IN BATH
Beyond the Kale
While exploring Green Park Station we came across Beyond the Kale, a cute little vegan café with a delicious menu consisting of Instagrammable worthy food such as superfood breakfast bowls, smoothies, BBQ Jackfruit wraps, beetroot & black bean burgers, rainbow salads, gluten-free pancakes and avocado breakfast options.
The café is warm and cosy with a heart-healthy menu, it’s just what we needed to relax and unwind away from the rain after hours of walking around. We ordered the home-made falafel wraps with hummus, tahini and sweet-chilli (£6.50) with a side of spicy roast potatoes (£3.50). The food was gorgeous, flavoursome, filling and well-priced. Next time I visit Bath, I will be heading straight there to try out the rest of the menu.
So, there you go the ultimate city guide to Bath with so much more to be experienced in one of Britain's most historic towns. To see more photos of the trip visit my Facebook album or to watch videos see my Instagram stories .
Disclaimer: Laterooms provided the hotel stay and train travel to Bath. Food paid for by me. All photos and words are my own.