Bath is beautiful. Seriously. It was our second stop in a quick trip around the area in England.
Unlike Oxford or London, Bath doesn’t look typically English. Instead, it looks totally European. The buildings are massive, yellow stone with hints of Roman life everywhere and wobbly cobblestone roads.
First up was obvious, the Roman Baths. Here you’ll see one of the best examples of a Roman bath complex in Europe, other than visiting Pompeii. Tickets are about £15 pounds or you can get a saver ticket for £21 that allows you access to the Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery as well. There’s pretty much always a line, so get there early and expect the place to be fairly crowded.
The buildings, and baths, are absolutely beautiful. You’ll be given a free audio guide that acts as a personal tour guide while you move throughout the complex. You’ll even go underneath the modern streets of Bath to discover different rooms, pools, springs and baths. I was surprised at how much architecture and artifacts were preserved here.
Across the street, you’ll see the Bath Abbey where people have been worshipping for over a thousand years. My advice is to climb to the top for only £4. Our tour guides were lovely and part of the local congregation so they could give a real insight to the abbey. You’ll even see the inside of the clock face, the ropes that chime the bells and the massive bells themselves. From the roof, you’ll get some great views of the city in any direction you look.
Then it’s the climb down. The stairs can be very narrow and steep, so be aware and wear proper shoes! I got a little claustrophobic but survived.
Just a few blocks away you’ll see Pulteney Bridge which takes you over the River Avon. A lovely place to rest along the river and have a picnic, although you need to pay to enter the nearby park (actually) if you want to sit there. When you continue on past the bridge, you’ll get to the Holburne Museum at the end of the street.
Although it’s small (with free entry) and won’t take long to see it all, it houses artwork, pottery and small artifacts. Even the building and gardens are beautiful! Here we also had some tea and cakes to rest our tired feet.
If you’re interested in some unique architecture, the Circus and Royal Crescent will give you just that. A short walk from the Roman Baths area, the Circus is a group of houses built in a circle with all the doors facing in. Very cool! The Royal Crescent is similar, with all the houses built in a wide arc. Here you can also visit No. 1 Royal Crescent. For £10, you can see a house restored to reflect the 1776-1796, both inside and out.
We couldn’t leave Bath without visiting the Thermae Bath Spa. If you’re feeling luxurious, you can book special packages depending on what you’re interested in (the pools, treatments, massages, etc.) Instead, we did the Welcome Package. Since you can’t book it ahead of time, you’ll need to show up and wait in line (and wait and wait and wait if it’s busy).
For 2 hours we had access to the roof-top pool, indoor pool, relaxing area on the terrace, the restaurant and four different steam pods. The spa uses “naturally warm, mineral-rich waters” that smell and feel incredible. You’ll also get slippers, a towel, a robe and a special bracelet to use the lockers or buy food with. Spend tons of time on the roof-top pool. It’s my favourite and the views of the city are incredible!
But really, Bath is lovely to wander. The side streets are beautiful and there’s no shortage of cafes or pubs to visit. Until we meet again…
Next on the stop: Bristol and Stonehenge!