"...for a fine Sunday in Bath empties every house of its inhabitants, and all the world appears on such an occasion to walk about and tell their acquaintance what a charming day it is. ..."
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, 1798
A World Heritage Site, Bath lies on the River Avon surrounded by hills. An elegant city constructed from local limestone, Bath owes its prominence to its Sacred Spring which has attracted visitors, pilgrims and seekers of cures for centuries.
Bath boasts the only natural mineral spring in the UK which yields a constant supply of some 1,200, 000 litres of water heated to 46 degrees Celsius. Before the Romans ever arrived in Britain, this wonderful source was already a site of worship but it was the Latin conquerors who engraved Bath's spot on the map. They dedicated a temple here to Sulis and built one of their important social centres, the Roman Baths. Including a hot bath, two pools and a laconium or sauna this huge architectural masterpiece was built between the 1st and 4th centuries. At the departure of the Romans, the Roman Baths were neglected and eventually lost until they were rediscovered in 1755.
Nevertheless, Bath continued to be an important site. The Saxons built a church here and the Normans constructed a magnificent Abbey. Rebuilt in the 15th century, Bath Abbey seemed a project doomed to failure. First, its progenitor, Bishop Oliver King, died before its completion and without his support both funds and enthusiasm were lacking. Finally complete, Bath Abbey enjoyed a mere six years of services before it was stripped and left to rot during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. However, by the 1570's the city of Bath was on the brink of a renaissance due to its revival as spa resort and Bath Abbey was saved, rebuilt and dedicated in 1609.
Bath's reputation for reviving the spirit and wondrous cures continued to grow and by the 18th century had become a most fashionable place 'to take the waters' and hob nose with other prominent members of society. It was at this time that John Wood, Ralph Allen and a famous dandy, Richard Beau Nash ensured that Bath's popularity would be no passing trend. The ambitious three wanted Bath to rank amongst Europe's most beautiful cities. They were inspired to create a city which would assimilate great architecture with the surrounding landscape thereby providing an enlightened and enlightening environment for all visitors who came to Bath. Their legacy is a Palladian styled city where grand public buildings such as the Assembly Rooms and the Pump Rooms blend harmoniously with the grandiose design of Queen Square and the Royal Circus . Also worth visiting is Pulteney Bridge, a Neo-Classical bridge over the River Avon, lined with shops.
A place of culture and history, Bath boasts plenty of museums. First time visitors will enjoy No.1 Royal Crescent, a grand 18th century town house with period furniture and the American Museum in Britain with 15th furnished period rooms and the history of people's lives in the New World. Fashionistas will delight in the Museum of Costume while art-lovers will want to return to the Holburne Museum of Art and the Victorian Gallery. For literary enthusiasts there's the Jane Austen centre detailing Austen's stay in Bath and how the city provided inspiration for Persuasion and Northanger Abbey . Alternatively, there's Sally Lunn's House and Museum, a curiosity piece where you'll able to take a load off and enjoy that Bath speciality, the Sally Lun Bun.
Bath can easily be seen with the help of good guide book and a stroll around the city but there are plenty of tours available such as the hilarious Bizarre Bath Tour and the thrilling Ghost Walks of Bath. If you're pressed for time, the Bath City Sightseeing Tour will take you to all the main attractions complemented by a multi-lingual commentary. After all the sightseeing, Bath's greatest relaxing attractions are the Victorian Boating Station where you can hire a traditional skiff and punt your way down the Avon and the Bath Thermae Spa, a modern complex catering for all your pampering needs.
Bath boasts over 140 historic buildings and terraces, heaps of museums and other sights. Fortunately for the visitor, many of these can be seen in a day trip. However, if you can afford the time, it's worth sticking around to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the live entertainment provided by the street performers and entertainers.
Bath : Sightseeing and Attractions
|Thermae Bath Spa|
The only natural thermal spa in Britain, the Thermae Bath Spa has brought back to life a Bath tradition that dates back to the Romans. This newly built centre offers state-of-the-art spa facilities, thermal treatments such as Vichy Shower and Watsu, massage, reflexology as well as many other health and beauty treatments ? just what you need to pamper yourself after all that hard work sightseeing!
Address: Thermae Bath Spa, The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 1SJ Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1225 33 1234
|Victoria Art Gallery|
Situated in the centre of Bath, the Victoria Art Gallery is a free attraction housed in a building designed by John McKean Brydon, a Scottish Architect. The collection features oil paintings by artists who worked in the surrounding area such as Gainsborough, Turner and Sickert. As well as artwork from the 15th to the 20th centuries, you'll see sculptures and a Decorative Art Collection, Bristol Glass, Ceramics, Caricatures, Miniatures, Patchboxes, Worcester Porcelain and English Delftware.
Admission: Free entry
Address: The Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA2 4AT Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1225 477232
Built in the Perpendicular style just before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Bath Abbey has been dubbed the last great Gothic church. Known for its stained glass windows, fan vaulting and silver collection in the Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults... more
Address: Bath Abbey Offices, 13 Kingston Buildings, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 1LT Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1225 422462
|Theatre Royal Bath|
In 1768, Bath was the first city outside of London to be granted a royal patent for a theatre. .. more
Address: Theatre Royal, Sawclose, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 1ET Street Map
Contact: PH 01225 448844
|No.1 Royal Crescent|
A grand townhouse, No.1 Royal Crescent is generally deemed to be one of finest extant examples of British 18th century architecture. Built in the Palladian style, No.1 has original fittings and period architecture. .. more
Admission: £5 Adults £2.50 Children
Address: No.1 Royal Crescent, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 2LR Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0)1225 428 126
|Holburne Museum of Art|
The Holburne Museum of Art is housed in the 18th century building of the Sydney Hotel. An eviable location, set in the park of Sydney Gardens, this museum will delight art lovers. Visitors may expect to see works by Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs and Turner as well as a collection of sculpture, silver, porcelain and furniture.
Admission: £5.50 Adults
Address: Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA2 4DB Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1225 466669
|The Jane Austen Centre|
An ideal attraction for all Jane Austen enthusiasts, the Jane Austen Centre is suitably housed in a Georgian building on Gay Street, the same street on which Austen herself lived in 1805. Austen not only lived in Bath but preserved its 19th century essence in her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion . She has given us the snobbery, the platitudes, the gossip of life in Bath at the time but the Bath that she once knew remains little changed for today's visitor. The Georgian Architecture has peen preserved and the Circus, the Queen Square and even the Pump Room are much the same as they were when Austen lived here between 1801 and 1806. The Jane Austen Centre recreates Austen's experience of Bath and how her intimate knowledge of the city wove itself into her much-loved works. On your visit, you'll also see film costumes, a Georgian shop front and formal Georgian garden and an audio-visual show.
Address: The Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay Street, Queens Square, Bath,
Postcode: BA1 2NT Street Map
Contact: PH 01225 443000
|Museum of Costume|
A must for anyone interested in fashion, the Museum of Costume in Bath will overwhelm your senses with fashionable dress and accessories dating from the 1780's. On your tour, you'll see some 200 dressed figures, various accessories, fashion in Jane Austen's time and the wonderful Lady Ottoline's Morrell Collection, (one of the members of the Bloomsbury Group).
Address: Museum of Costume, Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 2QH Street Map
Contact: PH +44 (0) 1225 477173
|Bath Assembly Rooms|
These magnificent Assembly Rooms were built by John Wood the Younger. Opened in 1771, the rooms were purpose designed for 18th century gatherings called 'assemblies'. At a typical assembly guests danced, played cards, listened to music, drank tea and more importantly hobnosed with other members of high society in Bath at the time. On your visit, you'll see the Ball Room where balls such as those featured in Jane Austen's novels were once held twice weekly and catered for a thousand guests. You'll also see the Tea Room and the Octagonal Room. The Museum of Costume is housed in the same building. The Assembly Rooms in Bath are open from 11am and close at 5pm from November to February and at 6pm from March to October.
Address: Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 2QH Street Map
Contact: PH 01225 477752
|The American Museum in Britain|
Housed in a mansion built in 1820, the American Museum in Britain features fifteen lavishly furnished period rooms. On your visit, you'll get an insight into American lifestyles from the time of the first settlers to the American Civil War. The Exhibition Gallery hosts changing exhibitions and a Map Room with a fine collection of historical maps from the Dallas Pratt Collection. A new gallery in the basement displaying an American Heritage Exhibition is due to open in April 2007. The American Museum in Britain also features a special Christmas at Claverton exhibition ? visit their website for further details.
Address: The American Museum in Britain, Claverton Manor, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA2 7BD Street Map
Contact: PH 01225 460503
|Bath Postal Museum|
The Bath Postal Museum takes a look at the changing face of post from 2000B.C. to the present. On your tour, you'll find out more about the main people who developed the Post Office, see rare and unusual artefacts and learn more about the history of Post Office Uniforms and British Post Boxes.
Admission: £3.50 Adults £1.50 Children
Address: Bath Postal Museum, 27 Northgate Street, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 1AJ Street Map
Contact: PH 01225 460333
|Sally Lunn's Museum|
Sally Lunn's Museum is not only the oldest house in Bath (1482) but also the house in which Sally Lunn lived. The museum lies in the cellar where you'll see its Roman and Medieval foundations, its original kitchen with a faggot oven, Georgian range and antique baking utensils. A trip to Sally Lunn's Museum will tell you more about the mysterious origins of Sally Lunn ? was she really a French Huguenot who emigrated to England and if so, where did she get such and English name? Of course, your trip will be incomplete unless you stop and savour their delicious Sally Lunn buns ? a Bath speciality.
Address: Sally Lunns House, 4 North Parade Passage, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 1NX Street Map
Contact: PH 01225 461 634
  
|Bizarre Bath Tour|
A tour with a difference, the Bizarre Bath tour takes you on a ninety minute leisurely stroll of Bath, pointing out the ridiculous, the irrelevant and the downright hysterical aspects of the city. The tour combines improvisation with the more eccentric aspects of Bath leaving you with an impression of the city you're not likely to forget. Bizarre Bath leaves the Huntsman Inn everyday at 8pm from April to 1st October - no pre-booking is required.
Admission: £7 Adults
Address: The Huntsman Inn, North Parade Passage, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA1 1CJ Street Map
Contact: PH (01225) 335124
|Ghost Walks of Bath|
A walking tour of Bath which will send shivers down your spine. Ghost Walks of Bath have been running ever since 1974 when they were first established by a local psychic and historian. As you walk about these Georgian streets, you'll step back in time revisiting the horrors and misdeeds of yesteryear. The meeting point for Ghost Walks of Bath at Garricks Head public house on Barton Street. Tours run from Monday to Saturday between April and 31st October and on Fridays only between November and March.
Admission: £6 Adults £5 Children
Address: Ghost Walks of Bath, 98 Lower Oldfield Park, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA2 3HS Street Map
Contact: PH 01225 350512
|Bath Boating Station|
The Bath Boating Station is an original Victorian Boating Station. On your visit, you'll see a collection of traditional wooden skiffs, get free punting lessons and take a traditional boat down this beautiful stretch of river to Bathampton and its old toll bridge. Accommodation is also available.
Admission: £6 Adults £3 Children
Address: Bath Boating Station, Forester Road, Bath, Somerset
Postcode: BA2 6QE Street Map
Contact: PH (01225) 466407