20 attractions you need to visit on a trip to Bath
PUBLISHED: 16:41 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:41 11 June 2018
Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath is a remarkable city, home to some of the finest architectural sights in Europe and more museums per square mile than any other city in the UK
Bath’s museums, galleries and attractions are all within easy walking distance of one another.
Delve deeper into the city’s exceptional past and you will discover remarkable and unexpected stories.
Take a journey through the city’s history, from Roman settlement through the Georgian era and on to the modern day.
Discover Bath’s rich links to science and innovation and glimpse into the lives of some of Bath’s most famous residents including Jane Austen, William Herschel and William Thomas Beckford.
Here are a few of the places we think you should visit on your trip to the city of Bath:
Walk on ancient pavements as the Romans did 2,000 years ago at The Roman Baths, one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe. Follow an audio guide around the extensive remains and explore the interactive museum to learn more about Roman life in Bath.
Housed in the grand Assembly Rooms, the Fashion Museum showcases a world-class collection of historic and contemporary dress. Marvel at the fine collection of Georgian gowns, take a look at the Dress of the Year, and don’t miss the chance to dress up in Georgian and Victorian dresses, hats and bonnets.
Take a walk through 500 years of European art at the Victoria Art Gallery where you can admire still life, portraits and landscapes spanning hundreds of years. The charming collection of pottery dogs and Georgian glasses are sure to delight and contemporary works of art are available to purchase from the lower galleries.
With its magnificent stained glass windows, columns of Bath Stone and some of the finest fan vaulting in the world, Bath Abbey is a fascinating place to visit. Take your time to explore the Abbey and you will experience its tranquil and uplifting atmosphere whilst uncovering centuries of history. Top tip: Take a Bath Abbey Tower Tour to go behind the scenes and see spectacular views of Bath. See the website for tour times and prices.
Bathe in Bath’s naturally warm, mineral-rich waters. Relax in the open-air rooftop pool whilst soaking up the stunning views over Bath, float along the lazy river in the Minerva Bath and spend time in the Wellness Suite for the full, feel-good experience.
Learn more about the life and works of Jane Austen, one of Bath’s most famous residents. Immerse yourself in a Jane Austen novel by dressing up in Regency costume, have a go at writing with a quill and meet Jane Austen herself by taking a closer look at a lifelike waxwork of the famous author.
Discover the finest collection of Americana outside of the United States at the American Museum. Let the interactive exhibition lead you through a series of period rooms depicting American culture from its earliest settlers to the 20th century. Don’t miss the outstanding quilt collection or incredible view over the Limpley Stoke valley.
Take a peek behind the façade of the iconic Royal Crescent to immerse yourself in Georgian life, both above and below stairs. Explore the elegant rooms where historic furnishings reveal what life was like for Bath’s fashionable residents before heading below ground to the kitchen, servants’ hall and scullery.
Go behind the scenes of the 18th century townhouse where Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. As you look around the Herschels’ workshop, music room and garden you will find out more about how brother and sister, William and Caroline, dedicated their lives to music and astronomy.
Climb the spiral staircase of this 19th century folly for stunning views of Bath and the surrounding countryside. Built by William Beckford as a study retreat and used to house his art collection and library (one of the greatest collections of books and art in Georgian England), this 120ft neo-classical tower is the only surviving example of his architectural achievements.
Visit the Countess of Huntingdon’s chapel to discover the rich architectural history of Bath. Learn more about how this provincial town was transformed during the Georgian era, find out how Bath’s famous townhouses were constructed and take a closer look at the fully detailed Bath model to see how the city has grown.
Housed in an 18th century real tennis court, the Museum of Bath at Work celebrates 2,000 years of Bath’s working heritage; from Roman tourism to Victorian engineering and modern high technology. Highlights include a reconstructed Victorian soft drinks factory, Bath Stone mine, ironmongers and cabinet maker’s workshop.
Uncover Bath’s role in the development of the modern postal system by finding out about influential figures such as Ralph Allen and John Palmer. Examine models and collectibles, play interactive games and perforate your own sheet of stamps.
Set within a sweeping valley, this magnificent 18th century landscape garden offers stunning views over the city of Bath. As you stroll through the garden discover original and reconstructed follies before walking across the beautiful Palladian bridge, one of only four in the world.
This six-mile route takes you through ancient woodland, over an Iron Age hillfort and alongside abandoned limestone quarries. Take a moment to stop by the Sham Castle for a beautiful vista of Bath.
The fascinating pieces of fine and decorative art that fill this magnificent building vary from Renaissance treasures to masterpieces by Gainsborough.
There is plenty to catch the eye, from Sir William Holburne’s collection of Golden-Age Dutch works to the silver and china laid out as though for a banquet below the sparkling crystal chandelier of the ballroom.
Visit the only museum in the UK solely dedicated the arts and cultures of East and South East Asia. The impressive collection of 2,000 objects represents more than 7,000 years of artistry and craftsmanship and includes jades, ceramics, lacquerware, and some of the finest bamboo and wood carvings in Europe.
Join a guided tour of Bath’s original Theatre Royal to discover the building’s intriguing history. Experience the ambience of a Masonic Hall, stand on the stage where the finest tragic actress of the 18th century performed, visit the chapel where Bishop Baines would prepare his fiery sermons, and enter the vaults where French nobility were once buried.
Through photographs, medical instruments and documents dating back as far as the 1750s discover the role that Bath’s thermal waters have played in its medical provision throughout the centuries.
Download a free audio walking tour to enhance your exploration of Bath. Follow the tour to take in the historical highlights of the city, such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, and stop off at Bath’s captivating museums along the way.
To make the most of your visit to Bath take advantage of the offers available.
Head to visitbath.co.uk/shop for a selection of inspiring packages, including the popular Spas Ancient and Modern Package, which includes entry to The Roman Baths, lunch or afternoon tea at the Pump Room and a two-hour spa session at Thermae Bath Spa (£84.50). Bath for Everyone combines the Spas Ancient and Modern Package with a visit to No.1 Royal Crescent (£95.20).
You can buy a Saver Ticket to visit The Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery at a reduced rate and 24-hour Combination Tickets are available for No.1 Royal Crescent, Museum of Bath Architecture and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy (this includes free entry to Beckford’s Tower at weekends and Bank Holidays).
Many of Bath’s museums offer diverse event programmes throughout the year.
Try your hand at an embroidery workshop at the Fashion Museum, visit a temporary exhibition at The Victoria Art Gallery, immerse yourself in a lunchtime concert at The Holburne Museum or join an informative talk or lecture at the Museum of Bath Architecture.
During July and August visit The Roman Baths by torchlight for a truly atmospheric experience.
And there is fun for the whole family at Bath’s museums. Follow intriguing trails, borrow family activity bags and join crafting activities.