Nestled in the Great British countryside in the pretty county of Somerset, the city of Bath is one of the most visited in the UK, attracting on average 3.8 million visitors each year. The city is brimming with tourist attractions and plenty of interesting things to do and is perhaps most famous for its Roman heritage, being the only place in the UK where you can bathe in the thermal water from the natural hot springs that remain beneath the city.
The city became a Spa in around 60 AD with the Latin name Aquæ Sulis (“the waters of Sulis”) when the Romans built the baths in the valley of the River Avon, and the whole city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the only place in the UK to have this title. As it’s quite a small city, pretty much everything can be seen in a day, so here’s my guide to the top things to see and do in beautiful Bath!
With history dating back to the 7th century, Bath Abbey is one of the oldest Church buildings in the UK with striking Perpendicular Gothic architecture and fantastic fan vaulted ceilings. It was rebuilt in both the 12th and 16th centuries and then restored fully in the 1860’s. Nowadays the Abbey is stunning from every angle and attracts hundreds of visitors each day. The Abbey offers a fantastic tour where visitors can climb the 212 steps up to the top of the tower for spectactular 360 degree panoramic views of the city. You’ll visit the bell chamber, sit behind the origional clock face and stand on top of the vaulted ceilings to really get a feel for the history that is encased in this grand building.
Similar to the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Pulteney Bridge is one of only 4 of the world’s most historic bridges that shops build into it on either side. Completed in 1774 and crossing the River Avon, Putney Bridge was designed to connect the centre of Bath with the Georgian town of Bathwick and has been labelled as a Grade 1 listed building. Built in a palladian style, the bridge boasts old fashioned shops and a narrow street in between both sides runs between the shops. Nowadays the bridge is accessed by pedestrians and motor traffic and is in itself a major tourist attraction. The bridge is perhaps best viewed from the city’s Parade Gardens, offering fantastic views of the bridge in all its glory, and the impressive crescent weir of the River Avon bellow.
One of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, the Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses in the shape of a sweeping crescent and is one of the country’s best examples of fine Georgian architecture. The Grade I listed buildings remains much the same as it was when it was first built back in 1767, apart from a few minor changes, and still overlooks the impressive gardens of the Royal Victoria Park. Today the landmark is home to a 5 star luxury hotel and the majority of the other houses owned are either privately or by housing association. Alongside the Royal Crescent, The Circus is a similar sweeping circular shape of Georgian terraced houses with pretty gardens in the middle. Impressive from every angle, the architecture is exquisite and consisted of Grade I listed town houses.
PC: Rob Slade Photography
Located in the heart of the city, this award-winning natural spa offers visitors the chance to bathe in the UK’s only naturally warm mineral waters, just as the Romas did over 2000 years ago! split into three sections, the Spa houses an indoor thermal pool with lazy river and jacuzzi, a chamber of four different aromatic steam rooms and a rooftop thermal pool with stunning views of the city skyline. Guest can make use of the complimentary slippers, robe and towel and relax and booking in specialist treatments for the ultimate luxurious experience, but the Spa itself offers enough to feel fully refreshed and recharged after your visit. The Spa does get buys, particularly on weekends, so it is advised to go during the week if possible, and late morning seems to be a quiet time of day and perhaps one of the best times to visit.
Constructed in 70AD, the Roman Baths were built as grand bathing complex upon natural hot springs and are one of the best preserved Roman remains in the entire world/ Visitors can see the main attraction that lies below street level, the Great Bath. and follow in the footsteps on the Romans as they walked the ancient paths and bathed in the plunge pools over 2000 years ago. With over a million litres of steaming 46°C spring waters filling the bathing site every day, the Baths are a natural wonder and perhaps the city’s most popular tourist attraction. Visitors can use their own audio guides and explore the baths at their own pace, with the fantastic museum making up the rest of the attraction.
HIDDEN GEM: The Cross Bath, in the heart of the city!
An attraction that isn’t as well known to tourists is the Cross Bath, a fantastic private spa in the heart of the city, just next to the Thermae Spa and part of the same building, although it is not attached. Visitors can enjoy an intimate spa session with private changing facilities providing a quiet alternative to the busy facilities offered at the Thermae Spa. Guests can either visit the Cross Bath individually, or the entire complex can be hired out by a maximum of 12 people at a time for the ultimate exclusive spa day. The spa’s catering team can also provide nibbles and champagne for a luxurious treat and an occasion to remember. The Cross Bath is recognised as an official sacred site and is a real hidden gem at the heart of the city.
You can find out more about the Cross Bath: here!
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