Bath is an ancient, picturesque Roman city situated in the valley of the River Avon in Somerset, England.
Packed with historical monuments and architecture like Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, gorgeous scenery, numerous museums and festivals, it’s one of the most famous 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, 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.
Here’s a guide of the top 10 things and activities that every traveller MUST see and do when visiting Bath.
COVID-19: Entry Requirements for tourists:
Tourists wishing to travel to the UK face entry requirements upon arrival, please check your country of residence’s guidelines for travel.
- US citizens – view the latest travel information from the Department of State here:
Table of Contents
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click and/or make a purchase, I receive a commission. Don’t worry, this is at no extra cost to you. 🙂 Thank you for your support!
Bath Essentials Checklist:
- A good quality raincoat (it tends to rain 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)
Travel Guide: 10 Best Things To See & Do In Bath, England (2022 Edition)
#1. Visit the Iconic Roman Baths
The most famous landmark in the city 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 is the majestic Bath Abbey, which traces 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 Georgia 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
A stroll along the River Avon will lead 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. Along the top of the bridge are tiny stores including chic cafes, charming flower shops, and more. 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 favourite 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 tickets here:
#6. Drink the Mineral Hot Springs
The hot springs n Bath aren’t just for bathing. 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.
- Opening times: 10am til 5:45pm
- Admission: Free
#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 Thermae Bath Spa tickets here:
Bath Day Tours and Activities
If you prefer a guided tour of Bath and further out, Get Your Guide is a reputable agency that provides some excellent day trips, walking / driver tours, and more.
#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 thy did when they were 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
#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.
Click here for a complete list of events and festivals happening in Bath over the calendar year.
#10. Experience Bath Christmas Market
The Christmas market in Bath is 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.
Other Worthy Recommendations in Bath:
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 – perfect for kids, families and couples alike.
Try a Bun at the Oldest House in Bath
Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House is the oldest house in Bath, built way back in 1482, they have been open and serving tea and cakes to the public since 1680. Specialising in teacakes (and in particular, the bun – a massive warm tea cake served with sweet and savoury fillings), Sally Lunn’s claim to be “one of the world’s most famous eating houses.”
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 Holbourne Museum.
Top 10 Cheap Eats and Budget Cafes in Bath
Check out the interactive maps below to see the 10 best budget restaurants and cafes in Bath:
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, like a day trip or an overnight stay / weekend break.
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!
What should I do in Bath for a day?
- See the iconic, perfectly preserved Great Bath at the Roman Baths in the heart of the city.
- Wander the cute and charming shops and cafes on Pulteney Bridge.
- Witness stunning panoramic views of the city and countryside from the top of Bath Abbey.
- Learn about Bath’s rich history in one of the many museums.
- Eat a bun at the oldest house in Bath
- Take a stroll down The Royal Crescent
- Play mini golf at the Royal Victoria Park
- Relax in a rooftop spa pool, and enjoy a pampering session at the Thermae Bath Spa.
- Book tickets to a play or a show.
- Eat and drink your way through the city’s food markets and festivals
Is Bath Worth Visiting?
Bath is one of the most scenic and stunning towns you’ll find in England. Famous for its ancient Roman Baths (of which the city is named), it’s also home to Bath Abbey, The Royal Crescent, and the picturesque Pulteney Bridge. The city is just half an hour from Bristol and 90 minutes away from London. Drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, Bath is definitely worthy of a visit, making an excellent day trip or weekend break from the capital, and can be coupled with visits to nearby landmarks such as Stonehenge and the Cheddar Gorge.
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 is 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.
Planning on staying in Bath?
Click here for a list of excellent accommodation options at Booking.com
Book Your Trip to England: Budget Tips & Tricks
I use Booking to find fantastic cheap stays with free cancellation options.
Travel insurance will protect you from theft, injury, illness, and cancellations. A safety net in case anything goes wrong, I never leave without it. World Nomads is my favourite agent for total peace of mind.
Head over to my Travel Tools page for all my best travel tips & advice and everything you need for your trip.
Bath Travel Guides
For more in-depth reading about India, you can get your hands on a copy of these bestsellers below:
- Lonely Planet Pocket Bath, Bristol and the Southwest (Travel Guide) Amazon US | Amazon (UK)
- Bath City Guide (Pitkin City Guides) Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)
Travelling 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:
More UK Posts
- Check out my British Slang Words and Phrases post here:
- And here’s my Guide to Brummie Slang Words & Phrases
UK Facts & Knowledge Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading 10 Best Things To Do In Bath, and feel inspired to visit one day.
Let me know what you thought in the comments, thank you!