10 Best Things to Do in Bath: Places to Visit (2023 Edition)
The ancient, picturesque, Roman city of Bath sits in the valley of the River Avon in Somerset, England.
Packed with historical monuments and architecture like Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, impressive scenery, countless museums and festivals, it’s one of the most iconic and visited cities in the country.
The history of Bath dates back thousands of years. Because of its unique location – being the only spot on the British Isles where natural hot springs bubble up to the surface, it was founded as a spa town by the Romans in 60 AD, then known as Aquae Sulis.
Traders and religious pilgrims used to bathe in the waters. Nowadays, tourists and spa lovers from all over the world flock to the city to seek out the natural healing properties of its waters.
Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage City with a population of less than 90,000, and the city welcomes over 4 million visitors every year. Being less than 100 miles west of London, its possible to make Bath part of a day trip from the capital, but spending a night or a weekend in Bath makes for a more flexible experience – giving you time to properly explore what this gorgeous city has to offer.
Here you’ll discover all sorts of fun and cool things to do in Bath, from unique spa experiences to shopping on an 18th Century bridge, there’s plenty of historical landmark sightseeing and stunning scenery, activities like mini golf, plus lots of festivals and events happening all year round.
Table of Contents
Bath Essentials Checklist:
- A good quality raincoat (it rains often in the UK)
- A decent pair of walking shoes (there’s a lot of walking in this city)
- A hoodie or warm sweater (to wear under your jacket, it can be cool or chilly here)
- A good quality compact camera (for taking great pics)
Bath Tourist Information
Air: The nearest airport is Cardiff International (CWL), 69 miles away from Bath. Click here for airport transfers to Bath.
Getting around BathThere are a number of excellent public transport options around the city, as well as an extensive road network with the M5 being the main motorway passing through the region.
Cycling: There are new and updated networks of cycle routes in the city center.
Bus: Buses are easy to use and run regularly from numerous stops. An adult trip costs £2 (cards are accepted).
Train: The main station is Bath Spa right in the heart of the city and has great transport links to the rest of the UK. You can get a train from London to Bath in just 2 hours!
Car: Bath’s roads are very easy and convenient to navigate. You can hire a rental car here.
For a complete guide on everything you need to pack for England, here’s my Ultimate Packing List for London and UK
Bath Attractions Map
Essential UK Travel Resources:
For more useful UK travel guide information, check out these articles:
✪ 71 Fun Facts about England
✪ Ultimate Packing List for the UK (+ Free Checklist)
✪ 24 Memorable Things to Do in Cardiff
✪ 28 Best Things to Do in the West Midlands
✪ How to Visit Stonehenge for Free
✪ The 20 Best Zoos in the UK
✪ Ultimate Guide to British Slang Words and Phrases
10 Best Things to Do in Bath: Places to Visit (2023 Edition)
A complete day in Bath itinerary guide of all the best highlights of this iconic city, including top attractions and the best free things to do in Bath England.
#1. Visit the Iconic Roman Baths
The most famous landmark in the city and among the most popular things to do in Bath UK, is of course the Roman Baths.
A walking tour takes you around the Great Bath on the upper and lower levels and allows you to get immersed in its history and learn how important the baths were to our Roman ancestors and the city’s former residents, many centuries ago.
How old are the Roman Baths?
A temple was constructed at the site between 50-60 AD during the first few decades of Roman Britain. Designed for public bathing, the Roman baths were used until the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th Century CE. The area around the natural springs was redeveloped many times during the Early and Late Middle Ages, and reconstruction on the Roman Building was completed in 1897.
- Opening times: 10am til 6pm every day (except 25th-26th Dec)
- Admission: Adult – £21 (weekdays), £23 (weekends. Child – £13.50 (weekdays), £15.50 (weekends)
- Book your Roman Baths tickets here:
#2. Climb to the Top of Bath Abbey
Another historic and important landmark in the heart of the city, the majestic Bath Abbey is among the most sought after things to do in Bath. Tracing its roots back to 757 AD, inside you’ll discover a wealth of decorated stained glass and floor stones as well as hundreds of wall memorials and vaulted ceilings.
Why not take the Bath Abbey Tower Tour to see an alternative, working side of this famous landmark. Navigating up 212 steps to the top, you’ll climb past the ringing chamber to the bell chamber and have the chance to sit behind the clock face. Once you reach the roof, you’ll be greeted with incredible views of the city and surrounding countryside.
- Opening times: 9am til 5:30pm
- Admission: Entry to the Abbey is free. Tower tours cost £8 per person.
#3. Visit the Fashion Museum
For fashion lovers and culture vultures – take a visit to Bath’s Fashion Museum, where you’ll learn the story of fashion over the last 300 years. From the Georgian era to the present, there’s creations by Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford on exhibit. The Fashion Museum has audio guides in 12 languages. Be sure to check out the Assembly Rooms during your visit.
- Opening times: 9am til 5pm
- Admission: Adult – £9.50, Child – £7.25
#4. Explore the Shops on Pulteney Bridge
One of the best free things to do in Bath is take a stroll along the River Avon, leading you to stunning views of the 18th Century Pulteney Bridge – one of the most photographed landmarks in Bath. A masterpiece of classic Georgian architecture, the bridge was commissioned by landowner William Pulteney in his efforts to create a “new town”, including land across the river.
A great place for shopping in Bath is along the top of the bridge where tiny stores including chic cafes, charming flower shops, and more are neatly lined. Why not stop by a prime spot overlooking the river whilst enjoying a cup of tea inside.
- Opening times: Open 24 hours
- Admission: Free
#5. Experience the World of Jane Austen
A visit to the Jane Austen Centre takes you into the life of Britain’s favorite author and Bath’s most famous resident. Exhibitions and costumed characters tell the story of Austen’s time spent living here in Bath between 1801 and 1806, where she found inspiration for elements that would eventually be included in her most famous works: Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.
- Opening times: 10am til 5pm
- Admission: £12
- Book your Jane Austen Centre pass here:
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#6. Drink the Mineral Hot Springs
The hot springs in Bath aren’t just for bathing ya know. It’s said that drinking the mineral-rich waters is a healthy remedy for numerous ailments. Why not try some yourself at the elegant Georgian Pump Room Restaurant, where a glass of water from the spa fountain provides a unique accompaniment to a fine meal or an afternoon tea. The Pump Room is of the popular free things to do in Bath.
- Opening times: 10am til 5:45pm
- Admission: Free
➤ Did you know: Bath makes the perfect day trip from London? For more day trips from the capital, this Best day trips from London guide has you covered.
#7. Soak in the Hot Springs of Thermae Bath Spa
Who says you can’t enjoy the hot springs at Bath anymore? While the Roman Baths are out of bounds, you can still enjoy the same natural hot springs further up the road, at Thermae Bath Spa. A one-of-a-kind experience, this modern new complex brings the iconic spa into the 21st Century, offering wonderful treatments, bathing spaces for relaxing, and a spectacular roof-top pool with panoramic views of the city.
- Opening times: 10am til 8pm
- Admission: £35 for 2-hour session (Mon-Fri), £40 (Sat-Sun). Includes towel, robe and slippers. Additional hour costs £10
- Book your guided tour of Thermae Bath Spa here:
#8. Visit The Royal Crescent
As well as one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, The Royal Crescent is one of the most famous streets in England. This curved row of 30 uniform Georgian townhouses was constructed in the 1770s, and looks exactly as it did when it was first built 250 years ago.
Though most of the townhouses on the Royal Crescent are private homes, Number 1 Royal Crescent is now a museum, furnished with authentic decorations and period furniture and showing how Bath’s most fashionable Georgians lived during the 18th Century.
- Opening times: Open 24 hours
- Admission: Free
Read More: Learn all about How to Get up Close to Stonehenge for Free
#9. Countless Festivals and Events
Bath is packed with countless events that fill the calendar year – from carnival and comedy to food and drink, theatre, music and literature, there’s plenty of exciting events and festivals taking place throughout the city.
The flagship festival is Bath Festival – a multi-arts celebration of all things music and literature. Featuring over 120 events spread across ten days, the lineup includes rock, classical, and world music, culminating in the Fantastic Finale Weekend.
Here’s a complete list of events and festivals happening in Bath over the calendar year.
#10. Experience Bath Christmas Market
Looking for things to do in Bath in December? Look no further than the Bath Christmas market, considered one of the best Christmas markets in England. The squares and streets surrounding the Abbey become an enormous holiday festival packed with festive vibes.
Bath’s Christmas market is a wonderland featuring over 150 wooden chalets, most of them from the local area, meaning you’ll find uniquely handmade, artisan festive gifts and tasty seasonal treats, and of course steaming glasses of mulled wine.
As well as market stalls and food, there is musical entertainment in the streets and at the Abbey, and there’s also ice skating in Royal Victoria Park, amongst other festive activities around the town. Learn more about Bath Christmas Market on their official website.
Related post: Best Family Friendly Things to Do in Bath
Top 10 Cheap Eats and Budget Cafes in Bath
Check out the interactive map below to see the 10 best budget restaurants (red markers) and cafes (blue markers) in Bath:
Other Things to See & Do in Bath:
Try a bun at the oldest house in Bath – Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House is the oldest house in Bath, built in 1482! They have been serving tea and cakes to the public since 1680. Specializing in teacakes (and in particular, the bun – a massive warm tea cake served with sweet and savory fillings), Sally Lunn’s claim to be “one of the world’s most famous eating houses.”
Countless museums – Bath may be a small city but it’s also a treasure trove of museums and galleries. As well as the Fashion Museum, the Jane Austen Centre, and the Georgian Museum at 1 Royal Crescent, other notable places include the Victoria Art Gallery, for fans of classic and contemporary art, and there’s The Holburne Museum.
Mini Golf in Royal Victoria Park – a short walk from the Royal Crescent brings you to Royal Park, where you’ll find Victoria Falls Adventure Golf – one of the best things to do in Bath with kids.
General Information about Bath
- Area: 29km squared
- Weather: lowest: 2C (winter), highest: 22C (summer)
- Population: 101,106
- Founded: 1st Century AD
- International Airport: Bristol Airport (BRS)
- Famous Residents: William Pitt (The Younger), John Cleese, Nicholas Cage, Ricky Gervais
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Don’t forget to book travel insurance
It goes without saying really that when you travel the world, travel insurance is super important.
I never always bothered though. For years I travelled without insurance as I thought, “what could happen?”
Well, I once got my bag stolen in Vietnam and I had an electric shock in a hostel bathroom in Mexico. What if you’re hiking up a mountain and your appendix suddenly bursts, leaving you in excruciating pain and requiring emergency treatment? Anything could happen.
I use SafetyWing for comprehensive cover and convenience at great prices on all my travels, and I never set out without it.
When to visit Bath
Bath is bursting with exciting things to do throughout the year, regardless of the weather. In the spring the gardens are in full bloom and city parks are full, while the summer brings warmer temperatures and plenty of outdoor events and activities.
In May there is the 9-day Bath Festival, a celebration of books and music, plus the Bath Fringe Festival. The popular Jane Austen Festival in mid-September yearly, while throughout the fall and the festive season, the city is packed with food and drink festivals to keep you lively, busy and bursting full!
Where to Stay in Bath:
- Bathen House Boutique Hotel (Deluxe King Room) – $$$ – Exceptional 9.4
- Dukes Bath (Superior Double Room) – $$ – Superb 9.3
- The Queensberry Hotel (Double Room) – $$ – Superb 9.1
- Nikolay’s House (Double Room) – $ – Superb 9.0
You can also use the widget below to find some great accommodation options on the Booking site:
Looking for something more authentic? You can find great deals on vacation homes at Vrbo – use the widget below to search and book a rental place:
How do you spend a day in Bath?
To spend a day in Bath, start by taking a bus from London to Bath, which is an economical option that takes about 3 hours. Once in Bath, visit the iconic Roman Baths, explore the charming city center, admire the stunning Bath Abbey, and don’t forget to indulge in a relaxing soak at the Bath Thermae Spa, which uses the same natural thermal spring discovered by the ancient Romans.
Is Bath UK worth visiting?
Bath in the UK is definitely worth visiting. It offers a rich history with must-see attractions like the Roman Baths, a well-preserved Roman bath complex dating back to 70 AD. The city’s stunning Georgian architecture, picturesque streets, and Bath Abbey add to its charm and beauty.
What to do in Bath for an afternoon?
In Bath, you can explore the iconic Roman Baths and learn about the city’s fascinating history. Take a stroll through the charming streets lined with Georgian architecture, visit the magnificent Bath Abbey, and indulge in a relaxing spa experience at Thermae Bath Spa. Enjoy a delightful afternoon filled with culture, history, and relaxation.
What is there to do in Bath for free?
Enjoy a free Bath Ales taster session
Check out the historic Roman and Georgian architecture around the city
Take in the stunning views of Pulteney Bridge
Visit the Holburne Museum
Observe the majestic Bath Abbey
See The Royal Crescent, one of the most famous landmarks in Bath
Stroll around the Royal Victoria Park
Walk along the canals
What’s Bath famous for?
Bath is an historic Roman and Georgian spa city. This UNESCO World Heritage City is located 90 miles west of London and 15 miles southeast of the nearest major city, Bristol. A unique and charming city, Bath is famous for its natural hot springs, Roman era baths, Medieval heritage, and stately Georgian architecture.
Is one day enough for Bath?
While one day in Bath allows you to see the main attractions like the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, and the Royal Crescent, it’s worth noting that the city has much to offer. To truly experience the charm and beauty of Bath, consider staying for at least a couple of days.
Are the Roman Baths worth seeing?
The Roman Baths in Bath are definitely worth seeing. They are one of the best-preserved ancient Roman bathing complexes in the world and provide a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the Roman Empire. The beautifully preserved architecture and the thermal spring make it a must-visit attraction.
Book Your Trip: Top Tips
🏨 Accommodation: I recommend booking.com
✈️ Flights: for the cheapest flights, I use Skyscanner
🚗 Rental Car: I always rely on Discover Cars
🛡️ Travel Insurance: for reliable and trusted cover, I use SafetyWing
🗺️ For all my best travel tips & advice, head over to my Travel Tools
So that’s it – the Top 10 Must-See Spots in Bath.
This a beautiful little city that I highly recommend for anyone – especially as an addition to London and Bristol, like a day trip or an overnight stay/weekend break. Thank you for reading this guide, and I hope it inspires you o visit Bath one day!
Traveling to the UK soon?
- For free PDF maps of London walking tours, public transport, landmarks and accessibility, read: London Maps: Tourism & Travel Guides
- Click here to read my post: Top 10 Things to Do in Birmingham, UK
- Learn how to visit the iconic Stonehenge for free here:
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