Bath City Guide
Read our free Bath city guide for all travel and tourist information you will you need. This includes Bath sightseeing places and tips plus much much more. Bath travel guide from Hostels.com.
- How big is Bath?
- Bath is quite a compact city and covers an area of around 29 square kilometres.
- How many people inhabit the city?
- Approximately 84,000 people live in Bath.
- What are the language and the currency?
- The currency used in Bath is the pound sterling (GBP) and the people here speak English.
Things to see in Bath
- What is Bath’s top attraction?
- Both the top attraction in Bath and one of the top attractions in all of the UK, the Roman Baths attract huge numbers of visitors from all over the world each year. These baths were originally built by the Ancient Romans almost 2,000 years ago. On a visit here you’ll be able to stroll around the stunning Great Bath, see a huge collection of Roman artefacts and even hear costumed characters talking about what life was like back in Roman times.
- Any other attractions I should check out?
- Just across from the Roman Baths you’ll find the imposing Bath Abbey, a huge cathedral which was founded in 1499. After admiring the flying buttresses outside, head inside to check out the stained glass windows, art works and ornately decorated ceiling. For stunning views of the city, take one of the guided tours of the Abbey’s 212-step high tower.
Over on Gay Street, you’ll be able to visit the Jane Austen Centre which celebrates the life and times of Jane Austen, the author of classic novels like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Emma’. This centre is filled with interesting exhibits covering Jane’s time in Bath.
If you’re into fashion, you’ll definitely want to check out the Fashion Museum inside the Assembly Rooms on Bennett Street. Historic dresses from the Georgian era, corsets, modern fashions and plenty more are on display inside this interesting museum.
Anyone with an interest in stargazing should definitely check out The Herschel Museum of Astronomy on New King Street. It was in this house that William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781 using a telescope he’d built himself. At the museum you’ll see the workshop area where Herschel built his telescopes, along with plenty of other interesting displays.
- I’m trying to stick to a budget. Is there anywhere I can visit for free?
- Definitely! One of hallmarks of Bath is the striking Georgian architecture you’ll see throughout the city. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Royal Crescent and the Circus. The Circus, designed by John Wood the Elder, and the Royal Crescent, designed by John Wood the Younger, are prime real estate today and really are spectacular examples of Georgian buildings.
If you want to take a free walking tour of the city, make your way down to the Pump Room at the Roman Baths for one of the tours given by the Mayor’s Guides. Join one of these tours (which depart from Sunday to Friday at 10.30am and 2pm, and on Saturdays at 10.30am) and you’ll see some of the city’s top attractions while listening to plenty of entertaining stories about the history of the city.
Just off Pulteney Bridge you’ll find the Victoria Art Gallery which is completely free to visit. Opened in 1900, this gallery is home to a huge collection encompassing paintings, sculptures, glass, watches, porcelain and more.
Bath is also home to a number of beautiful parks which can be visited for free and are perfect for a stroll. The Royal Victoria Park, which opened back in 1830, covers 57 acres and is filled with colourful flowers, an aviary, a boating pond, a bandstand and more. Then there’s Sydney Gardens which is Bath’s oldest park and which is located behind the Holborne Museum on Great Pulteney Street. On a stroll through this park, you might even be walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen who visited the park while she lived in Bath.
- Say I want to hit the shops. Where should I go?
- Shopaholics will definitely want to check out SouthGate, a shopping centre with a difference. Instead of have all the stores under one roof, this shopping centre consists of a collection of Georgian-style and pedestrianised streets. Some of the stores you’ll find here include H&M, Calvin Klein, New Look, Apple, Game and Quiksilver.
Another of the city’s top shopping centres is Milsom Place. This is the place to go if you’re looking for a more high end shopping experience. Inside this complex you’ll find everything from cool accessories to high fashions at stores like Hobbs, Phase Eight and Ted Baker.
For something a bit different, check out Bath’s historic Guildhall Market which is home to around 20 different traders. Second hand books, vintage costume jewellery, bags and more can all be purchased from the numerous stalls operating here. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, make sure to check out the Bath Humbug Shop which boasts a huge selection of old-school pick-n-mix sweets.
In terms of streets, be sure to check out Union Street, Stall Street, Old Bond Street and New Bond Street. Union Street and Stall Street lead into each other in the centre of the city, and are lined with stores such as HMV, WHSmith, Dune, Disney and Monsoon. Old and New Bond Streets are also home to plenty of well-known high street names including the likes of Gap, Office, Body Shop, Warehouse, Habitat and many, many more.
Going out in Bath
- Where are most of the bars found?
- As with the restaurants, Bath’s bars aren’t really concentrated in any one area. Instead, they’re spread out throughout the city.
- Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
- It’s generally a good idea to carry some ID with you when you go out at night as you may be asked for it.
- Where would you recommend?
- For colourful cocktails served up in a chic atmosphere, check out Opium, which is located in the vaults underneath Grove Street. Even though this place is a bit off the beaten track, it does bring in a good crowd of locals who come to enjoy the drinks, atmosphere and unique interior. Spread out over three rooms, everything you can see in the bar is for sale except for the boar’s head at the bar. Along with the cocktails, this bar also serves up over thirty world beers and plenty more.
If it’s a nice day and you want to sit outside with your drink, head to either The Bell or the Adventure Café. The Bell serves up a huge variety of real ales plus plenty of other alcoholic tipples and has its own courtyard where people sit out to enjoy their drinks. At the Adventure Café you can sit out in the garden area and soak up the atmosphere while enjoying some wine, a beer or even a coffee.
The Common Room is both bar and club and is spread out over two levels. It’s a popular spot for both drinking and dancing with a dancefloor downstairs and comfy couches upstairs.
- Anything to do that doesn’t involve alcohol?
- For something a little bit different, check out what’s going on at Komedia, which is one of the top venues in town for live entertainment. Located in the renovated Beau Nash Picture House, Komedia hosts stand up comedy shows, cabaret acts, live music and more.
Eating Out in Bath
- Is it expensive to eat out in Bath?
- It doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and cafés offering reasonably priced food throughout the city, along with great value daily specials and more.
- Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
- As Bath is quite small, there isn’t one specific area to go to for the best restaurants. Instead, you’ll find plenty of places to eat spread around throughout the city.
- Any places you’d recommend?
- There are! For delicious Italian cuisine, check out Jamie’s Italian at Milsom Place. Even though it’s owned by TV celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, this restaurant serves up very affordable dishes including everything from meatballs to ravioli. You’ll find some great value daily specials here too, plus some incredibly tempting desserts.
Thai by the Weir on Argyle Street serves up a great variety of authentic Asian cuisine. The menu offers plenty of reasonably priced noodle and rice dishes to choose from including Malaysian fish curry. A friendly and bright spot, this is somewhere you should definitely check out for a delicious lunch or dinner.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, or if you’re just in the mood to give meat a break for the night, head to The Porter. This pub is located on George Street and exclusively serves veggie food. Some of the dishes on the menu include mushroom pie, nachos and veggie burgers. The food is really affordable and the atmosphere is very lively, thanks to the locals and visitors who frequent this busy spot.
For a delicious breakfast, make sure you check out Same Same But Different on Bartlett Street. This café is one of the city’s coolest eateries and is the perfect choice for a hearty meal, especially if you’ve been out the night before! Dishes are made using locally sourced ingredients and are all very reasonably priced.
- Anything else I need to know?
- One thing you should definitely add to your culinary itinerary during your stay in Bath is a trip to Sally Lunn’s. This old-school teahouse is home to the brioche-like Sally Lunn Bath bun. This can be eaten sweet or savoury, but one of the best ways to enjoy one of these delicious buns is piled high with jam and clotted cream.
Transport in Bath
- What’s the main form of public transport in Bath?
- A comprehensive network of buses runs across the city, with many of these services originating from the main Bus Station is on Dorchester Street beside Bath Spa train station.
- Will I need to use public transport at all?
- Actually, probably not. It’s entirely possible to walk from one side of the city to another in about half an hour so you’ll have absolutely no problem getting to all the main attractions, shopping areas, bars and restaurants on foot. However, if you do fancy giving your feet a bit of a rest, you can hop on one of the buses mentioned above.
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