Bath is one of my favorite cities in England, it is small, pleasant, iconic, and beautiful. Just far enough from London to be off the beaten path, yet close enough to make a day trip of it.
A map of listed attractions is available here.
The Roman Baths
Kind of the reason you came here right? Yes, and the baths do not disappoint. Dating from the 9th century BC, Celts, Roman, and English have been using the baths for thousands of years. While still beautiful and Romanesque, most of the above ground structures were redesigned and built during the 1800’s. Do. Not. Drink. The. Water.
The Bath Abbey is another excellent example of Victorian Gothic architecture and the undisputed centerpiece of the city. Known officially as The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, most of the Abbey was constructed in 1616, with the pinnacles and flying buttresses added in the 1830’s by George Manners. Very much a working church, the Bath Abbey does not charge an entrance fee but asks for a small donation to help fund the daily operations and maintenance.
One of the loveliest things about travel in England is taking the train, its fast, efficient, and affords you the opportunity to view the beautiful British countryside. The train from London leaves from Paddington Station (PAD), it is a beautiful 1 ½ hour ride to Bath Spa (BTH). You will want to buy your ticket in advance if possible as rates for regular fair vary between £23 to over £139 depending on advance ticketing and time of travel.
The Man in Seat 61 has some great advice for train travel in Britain.
The Bath station is located on the south side of town, when you leave the station just walk north, you can easily reach the Abbey and the Roman Baths in less than 10 minutes.
Free Guided Walking Tours
Pictured here is the unusual architecture of the roof of the Empire Hotel, one of the many local historical oddities that make this town so interesting. The free walking tours are yet another reason why this is such a lovely town. Volunteers from The Mayor of Bath Honarary Guides host free walking tours of the major attractions, history, and cultural sites of Bath. About two hours long the tours meet just outside the Roman Baths in the Bath Abbey yard at 10:30am and 2:00pm (Except Saturday). Look for the “Free Walking Tours” sign.
Don’t let anybody fool you into thinking this is something more than a circle of buildings, because that is what it is, albeit a really neat circle of buildings. The circus has three entrances and incorporates Doric Greek, Roman, and Corinthian columns into the architecture of the three levels.
Parade Gardens Park
Shrowded in mystery, this lovely little park was built sometime between 1452 and 2015. Right in the center of town, the well manicured lawn of the Parade Gardens Park will get you some great pictures of the Abbey, the Pulteney Bridge, and the weir (that waterfall thing in the river). They do however charge a small entrance fee of £1.50.
I love you England and your delicious pies. Here is what you want to do, in the morning go to the Cornish Bakehouse (On Union Passage, just north of the Baths), get a delicious pie and a coffee and go eat it on a bench outside the Abbey. If you get there early enough there won’t be a crowd and you can watch the buskers dividing up the best locations.
Who doesn’t love a good busking (not this guy)?
Wandering Around and Getting Lost
What better way to spend an afternoon getting lost in a town where all the streets look like this!