10 Things to See and Do in Bath, UK

1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

Bath (aptly named after its Latin name Aquae Sulis, meaning ‘the waters of Sulis’) is a city in located in Somerset, England located 97 miles (156 km) west of London. With a population of almost 89,000 people, it became part of Avon in 1974. The city is well-known for its hot springs and became a spa around 60 AD when the Romans built the baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon. The city became a World Heritage Site in 1987. Though the baths themselves are a major attraction in the city, the theaters, museums, sports venues and cultural attractions have made it a popular tourist attraction with millions of visitors each year. The city features almost 300 different places to stay including hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites and has about 100 restaurants and about the same number of public houses and bars. The city caters to tourists, so it is a great place to experience while traveling abroad.

10. Bath Escape Room

The Bath Escape Room is for the adventurous type. In it you’ll find yourself looking for clues against the clock to reveal the combination of a lock that opens a chest that hides another clue that offers hints on how to read the next that leads to another mystery within another mystery and so on. The clues are in no particular order, so you also have to figure out how all the clues fit into your puzzle to help you escape. The adventure lasts about 60 minutes and requires all the people in the room to work together to solve the mystery.There is also an event called Detective Tours where you spend time traveling all over Bath looking for clues, tracing tracks and detecting crimes at the sites of famous landmarks. Each site is another puzzle to solve and you keep collecting all the clues until eventually you piece it all together to solve the crime. This game takes 2 – 3 hours to complete and offers you the chance to see all the sights while have a blast solving puzzles. What could be more fun than flexing your brain solving an imaginary crime while seeing the sights?

Lock and key

9. Roman Baths

The Roman Baths complex is a well-preserved public bathing site. Located below the current street level, there are four main features to the baths: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum; holding finds from Roman Bath. Above street level, the buildings date back to the 19th century. The baths are a major tourist attraction welcoming over a million visitors each year. In 2005, it was featured on the TV program Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the West Country.The baths offer more than just a natural hot bath to soak though. It’s a great place to take the entire family with its many programs and features. You will be greeted by costumed characters like a Roman soldier and armorer, or Flavia and Apulia – the Roman lady and slave girl or maybe some stone masons or other characters from ancient times. You can also attend a lecture on the Beau Street Hoard: Money bags from Roman Bath. It’s both educational and fun for everyone.

Roman Baths

8. Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey, commonly known as Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a former Benedictine monastery founded in the 7th century and is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country. The church seats 1,200 and is in the shape of a Christian cross. It is still an active place of worship with a congregation of hundreds and visitors in the thousands each year. It is used for religious services, secular civic ceremonies, concerts and lectures. It features a choir that performs in the abbey and elsewhere in the church and is home to a heritage museum in the vaults. The abbey has been noted for its fan vaulting and contains war memorials for the locals and monuments to several people of notoriety in the form of wall and floor plaques and commemorative stained glass. The church has two organs and a peal of ten bells and the front features sculpted angels climbing to heaven on two stone ladders. It is a beautiful building, and a wonderful place to attend a religious service if you please while traveling.

Bath Abbey

7. Bath Aqua Theatre of Glass

The Bath Aqua Theatre of Glass is a museum and arts center which showcases glassblowers’ skills and stained glass artists in demonstrations. There are also historic stained glass exhibits featured here that have appeared on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. In 2009, there was a stained glass window discovered deep in the vaults of Bath Abbey valued between £10,000 – 15,000.Glassblowing and stained glass artistry are ancient skills not easily mastered. You can watch as the masters add Copper Oxide to molten glass to create a magnificent aquamarine color. If you feel a little adventurous, you can even take a “Glassblowing Taster Course” which teaches you the basics of glassmaking and allows you to blow your own paperweight with the assistance of a professional glassblower. It’s a great hands-on experience and the great part is that you get to take home your own creation. Classes are a maximum of four, so be sure to make arrangements beforehand so you won’t be disappointed.

Glass blowing

6. Fashion Museum

The Fashion Museum in Bath, previously known as the Museum of Costume is housed in the Assembly Rooms. In 1963, the collection was started by Doris Langley Moore, who gave her collection to the city of Bath. It focused on fashionable dress for men, women and children from the late 16th century to present and has over 30,000 items in the collection. About 130,000 people visit the museum every year and consist of a mix of tourists, fashion specialists, students and locals.You can take a walk through the galleries to view the fashions on over 165 dressed figures, then dress up in some of the Victorian replica fashions to see how the fashions suit your tastes whether young or old. Take some photos of your fashionistas in front of a Victorian street backdrop for some great souvenirs. One of the amazing fashion features are the many intricately laced gloves from Shakespearean times. The workmanship will amaze. You can also learn about some of the names in fashion both past and present. It’s a great adventure for anyone with an interest in fashion and its evolution over the last few centuries.

Photo by: Fashion Museum Bath
Photo by: Fashion Museum Bath

5. Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal located in Bath is over 200 years old and features a seating capacity of 900. It is supplemented by two smaller and more recent studio theaters after the 2010 major refurbishment. The present main entrance to the Theatre Royal in Sawclose was built in 1720 and was the first home of Beau Nash. The theater itself was erected in 1805 replacing the Old Orchard Street Theatre which was also known as Theatre Royal.Legend has it that the theater is being haunted by The Grey Lady, an actress from some centuries ago. It is widely reported that she watched productions from the Grey Lady Box and leaves the distinct smell of Jasmine. Others have actually reported not only the aroma of Jasmine but have seen The Grey Lady herself in recent years. In 1997, the Ustinov Studio was built at the rear of the building and named after Peter Ustinov. In 2005, another theater – the egg theater was opened behind the Theatre Royal and was specifically geared toward children’s performances. This is a great way to experience some live theater either just with adults or include the kids in some of the fun.

Photo by: Theatre Royal Bath
Photo by: Theatre Royal Bath

4. Royal Victoria Park

Opened in 1830 by 11 year old Princess Victoria, Royal Victoria Park was the first park to carry her name. There is an obelisk located in the park that is dedicated to her as well. The park is 57 acres (231,000 m²) and includes a skateboard ramp, tennis court, bowling alley, putting green, a 12 and 18 hole golf course, boating pond, children’s playground, 9-acre (36,000 m²) botanical garden and hosts many open-air concerts. The Botanical Gardens, formed in 1887 features one of the most beautiful collections of plants on limestone in the West Country. In the summer months, Victoria Park is the perfect atmosphere for a picnic either in front of the curving Royal Crescent or for a more intimate setting, you can wander further into the park and watch the hot air balloons set up before taking off to float over the city. The playground is a great, safe place for children to burn off some energy with the zip wire, pyramid climbing frame and other equipment. You can go with your sweetheart and/or your little ones over to the pond to feed the ducks and cool down in the heat.

1000 Words / Shutterstock.com
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

3. Jane Austen Centre

If you are a Jane Austen fan, this museum is the perfect place to view the story of her Bath experience and the effect that both visiting and living in the city had on her life and her writing. The Jane Austen Centre, located at 40 Gay Street in Bath, features a permanent exhibition originally created with guidance from members of the Jane Austen Society and other authorities on Jane Austen, Louise Ross and Maggie Lane.This is both an educational and exciting place to visit with the waxwork of Jane Austen, knowledgeable staff, film starring Adrian Lukis, costumes and more. Jane’s story from 1801 to 1806 is expressed in every exhibit in the collection demonstrating the effect of living in Bath on Jane personally, as well as on her writing. The museum has recently added a section where visitors have the opportunity to dress up using Regency dresses, coats, bonnets, top hats, shawls and other clothing and accessories appropriate for the times. It’s great fun for old and young alike and the photos would make a great souvenir of your visit.

Photo by: Jane Austen Centre
Photo by: Jane Austen Centre

2. Holburne Museum

Located in Sydney Pleasure Gardens in Bath, the Holburne Museum is the city’s first public art gallery. It is home to exhibits built around the collections of Sir William Holburne and feature artists such as Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs, Ramsay and Zoffany. The museum also offers many programs which include temporary exhibits, music performances, creative workshops, family events, talks and lectures. It also features a gift shop and cafe that opens into the gardens.Sir William Holburne’s collection was quite eclectic making this a very diverse and interesting collection. It includes Chinese armorial porcelain, silver, portraits, Italian maiolica and bronzes, portrait miniatures, books, furniture, Roman glass, coins, enamels, snuff boxes and many, many more. In 1882, a collection of over 4,000 items was bequeathed to the people of Bath and another 2,500 further objects have been acquired since that time. Be sure to check ahead before you go to the museum so you don’t miss out on one of the programs you may be interested in participating in since they are currently changing. For some culture and an interesting piece of Bath’s history, this museum is definitely worth a visit for all ages.

antb / Shutterstock.com
antb / Shutterstock.com

1. Thermae Bath Spa

You can’t in good conscience, visit Bath without checking out at least one of the spas located in the city. The Thermae Bath Spa is the only naturally hot mineral-rich spring waters in Britain. It is a combination of the historic natural spa as well as a contemporary building located in the city of Bath. The main building is enclosed in a glass envelope, contains two thermal baths, an open-air rooftop pool, a large steam room and 20 spa treatment rooms. There are a variety of spa package options available to suit your budget and/or your needs. They offer a combination of spa sessions, treatments and even a meal if it suits your fancy. Spa treatments consist of Watsu, Aromatherapy massage or Hot Stones therapy. You can get weekend packages specifically designed for one or two people. This is the perfect romantic and relaxing adult getaway. Whether you go with a loved one or just on your own, you can’t find a better way to unwind and loosen up all those tense muscles….great for the body and soul.

Photo by: Thermae Bath Spa
Photo by: Thermae Bath Spa

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