In 1987, Bath was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it the only UK city with that prestigious title. The honour was not surprising given that Bath is home to such a richly unique history and culture. Let’s see now our complete Bath itinerary, what you can do in a day in this lovely city.
We had the chance to spend 1 complete day in Bath last month. We arrived in the evening hours from Bristol and next day evening we travelled further to Cardiff. So we really didn’t have more time than 24 hours! And we can happily confirm that all below is possible to do in Bath in a day.
- 1 History of Bath
- 2 Things to do in Bath
- 3 Where to eat in Bath
- 4 Where to stay in Bath
- 5 How to get to Bath
- 6 Best experiences in Bath
History of Bath
Bath is the largest city in the county of Somerset, England. In 2019, the population was 101,106. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles west of London and 11 miles southeast of Bristol. The city besides being a World Heritage Site since 1987, was later added to the transnational World Heritage Site known as the “Great Spa Towns of Europe” in 2021.
The city became a spa 60 AD when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon. Although hot springs were known even before then. The Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era. Georgian architecture, crafted from Bath stone, includes the Royal Crescent, Circus, Pump Room and Assembly Rooms.
Things to do in Bath
Bath is not big, you can walk around all the main sightseeing points comfortably. The city is very clean, organised and seems to be really safe during the day.
Visit the City Centre
The best place to begin your tour of Bath is at the city’s centre and perhaps the most famous of its attractions — the Roman Baths. We can say, that Bath is an elegant and charming city full of traditional heritage, contemporary culture, and green spaces. Bath’s compact, visitor-friendly centre is packed with places to eat and drink, plus some of the finest independent fashion, book and map shops in Britain, making it the ideal city break.
The Roman Baths
Undoubtedly, the biggest attraction of the city is the Roman Baths. Originally, a temple was constructed on the site between 60-70AD in the first few decades of Roman Britain. Its presence led to the development of the small Roman urban settlement known as Aquae Sulis around the site. The Roman baths—designed for public bathing—were used until the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th Century AD. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the original Roman baths were in ruins a century later. The area around the natural springs was redeveloped several times during the Early and Late Middle Ages.
It is a major tourist attraction in the UK, and together with the Grand Pump Room, receives more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Visitors can tour the baths and museum but cannot enter the water.
Bath Abbey, the Parish Church of England
We can find the Abbey just right next to the Roman Baths, so it’s easy to visit it right after. The Bath Abbey is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country. There is no entrance fee, but they highly recommend to contribute with donations, and they even say it with how much. You can even donate by credit card. I would say if you contribute with something like 3-5 GBP, it’s more than fine, no one will actually ask you how much you paid.
They also have a section inside the church where they collect money for those in need during the war in Ukraine! You can donate, subscribe for help groups, and many other useful services to help.
The Pulteney Bridge
The Pulteney Bridge is the most famous bridge in Bath. It was completed by 1774, and connected the city with the land of the Pulteney family which it wished to develop. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it is highly unusual in that it has shops built across its full span on both sides.
Within 20 years of its construction, alterations were made that expanded the shops and changed the façades. By the end of the 18th century it had been damaged by floods, but was rebuilt to a similar design. In the 20th century several schemes were carried out to preserve the bridge and partially return it to its original appearance, enhancing its appeal as a tourist attraction. The bridge is now 45 metres long and 18 metres wide. Although there have been plans to pedestrianise the bridge, it is still used by buses and taxis.
The book stores
Bath has some very nice book stores. If you are a book lover, it’s really worth to deep dive in and visit some of the best ones. They have amazing selection of contemporary books and old editions too. And not to mention the atmosphere, indeed lovely experience.
1. Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights
First we went to Mr. B’s Emporium, actually it’s just started to rain, so it was the perfect place to wait the quick summer storm to pass. While checking their book selection, it turned out that they actually have the very recently published, brand new book from one of my favourite authors. And not only they have it, but I actually could buy a signed copy.
If you are a book lover, you cannot miss this place. As they describe on their website: “Mr B’s is a beautiful, energetic and innovative bookshop on John Street in the heart of Bath. It’s a bright labyrinthine space where book-related chatter and advice seems ever-present and you never know what you might encounter next, from claw-foot bath book displays to toilets illustrated by Chris Riddell. We opened our shop in 2006 and it has twice been named the UK’s best independent bookshop.”
Waterstones Bath is the largest bookshop in the city. Since opening in the 1980s it has become a treasure for Bathonians and visitors alike. The shop is located in the centre of historic Bath and boasts the largest range of books in the city, with more than 55,000 titles spread over 3 floors. It’s an ideal venue for book events. Be prepared, you can spend a lot of time here while looking for the your next read.
The Jane Austin Centre
At the Jane Austen Centre, visitors can learn about everything from the food, the fashion and the society during Jane Austen’s time. There are a variety of exhibitions about her writing and what Bath was like over 200 years ago. You can wander the museum at your own pace but there are plenty of well-informed staff members who would be delighted to answer any questions.
The English novelist called Bath home from 1801 through 1806 when her father moved their family there. Apparently, she wasn’t all that happy about it initially, having felt on previous visits that Bath was a frivolous place overly concerned with socializing. Her feelings changed over time, of course, but it is easy to understand why the city gave her that first impression. When she lived there, Bath was in its heyday of being a prestigious spa resort and social centre — offering countless balls and assemblies for those who could afford it.
The Royal Crescent
Originally called “The Crescent,” this Georgian architectural marvel gained its “royal” title in the late 1700s. When Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, visited the property and briefly stayed there. It probably also looked like a building fit for royalty, what with its 114 Ionic columns. Today’s visitors will see 30 identical luxury townhouses that were built for the elite aristocracy of Bath. Over the years, their interiors have been refurbished and repurposed but their Palladian facades have remained unchanged.
If the scenery is familiar to you, it’s no surprise, as many scenes of the famous Netflix series, the Bridgerton were shot here.
Where to eat in Bath
The Lamb & Lion
The Lamb & Lion is a lovely pub with a local feel set in Bath city centre. With the added bonus of a large beer garden. You can enjoy a wide variety of food that is served all day every day at very reasonable prices. With a large screen and numerous plasma’s around the pub, it is a great place to watch any sporting event or maybe treat the family to a Sunday roast, they cater for all.
The oldest pub in Bath – Saracens Head
The history of the Saracens Head
The Saracens Head in Bath is a charming traditional pub at the heart of the Roman town of Bath. Their menu is in the best tradition of British pub food. The pub also claims to be the oldest in Bath, dating back to 1713. It was a previous coaching inn. The pub name is an historic one in England. It originates with the Greeks with Romans, referring to the nomads of the Arabian Desert as a ‘Saracen’. It was also a Moslem name during the Crusades. Some noble English families, who took part, tended to include a Saracen’s head as part of their coat of arms.
Of course we couldn’t choose anything else as the most typical pub food in the oldest pub of the city: Fish & chips. The pictures talk for themselves, it was simply delicious!
The corner of Charles Dickens
Victorian author Charles Dickens wrote here often when he was working at Bath in 1835. In honour, as their most famous customer they dedicated his most beloved corner in the pub to Charles Dickens. You can find here many books from him to read, anecdotes on the wall and stories about his writings.
Where to stay in Bath
Accommodation in the UK is never cheap. So if you look around among the options you will notice that the prices are high. So, it’s better to book in advance and also keep in mind our recommendation as a more budget-friendly alternative, right in the city center: The Z Hotel
The rooms are clean, the bed is comfortable and the crew is lovely. So if you are looking for a space right in the city center, don’t miss out on this place!
How to get to Bath
The nearest airport to Bath is Bristol (BRS) Airport which is 15.2 miles away. It’s worth to book your transfer to Bath in advance, but alternatively you can always purchase bus tickets from the driver directly upon arrival.
Other nearby airports include:
- Birmingham (BHX), 79.6 miles
- London Heathrow (LHR), 83 miles
- London Luton (LTN) 92.6 miles
- London Gatwick (LGW) 96.9 miles
Best experiences in Bath
As you can see above, Bath is full of activities. If you happen to have more time in this charming city, feel free to choose from the below partner programs.
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