Are you planning a sightseeing trip to Bath? Maybe a long weekend over the summer holidays? If you’re after some inside tips on the best Bath sightseeing landmarks and activities, look no further. Home to some of the most stunning and iconic Georgian architecture, Bath is a must for anyone visiting the UK or planning a cultural weekend away in Somerset.
World heritage site
The City of Bath has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage List (as a cultural site) since 1987. Joining the likes of The Taj Mahal, The Pyramids of Giza, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Wall of China, our wonderful city is in great company.
Being part of the World Heritage site makes Bath a ‘place of outstanding universal value to the whole of humanity’, and some of the cultural and historic landmarks that have contributed to Bath’s listing include (amongst others):
- the Roman Remains and hot springs (see the Roman Baths);
- its 18th Century Architecture (see The Royal Crescent or the Bath Assembly Rooms);
- and the characteristic landscape setting (see the Prior Park Landscape Garden).
So here’s our list of top things to do in Bath.
1. The Roman Baths
Attracting over one million visitors every year, The Roman Baths are one of the most-visited heritage attractions in the UK. They include the extremely well-preserved archaeological remains of the Roman temple of the Goddess Sulis Minerva and one of the greatest religious thermae (i.e. spas) of the ancient world.
Did you know that the thermal springs rise in the site and baths still flow with natural hot water? Also, inside the complex, you can walk on the original Roman pavements and see the ruins of the temple! A truly incredible experience.
2. The Royal Crescent
The dominant style of architecture in central Bath is Georgian – a style that was popular between 1714 and 1830. And the iconic Royal Crescent is probably one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK. Designed between 1767 and 1744 by John Wood the Younger, it’s a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent. And unsurprisingly, it’s a Grade I listed building!
3. The Bath Assembly Rooms
Also designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769 (and also a Grade I listed building owned by the National Trust), the Bath Assembly Rooms are a set of elegant rooms originally built for balls, concerts, and gambling. The building opened to the public in 1771, and the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens would often be seen spending their evenings there with the nobility of the time.
Today, the Bath Assembly Rooms are open to the public and home to the Fashion Museum. Just head over to the ground floor, and you can’t miss it.
4. The Jane Austen Centre
Not everyone knows that Jane Austen, the famous author of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, spent some time in Bath towards the end of the 18th century and then again between 1801 and 1806. It’s no coincidence that two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were set in Bath.
So if you’re in town, the Jane Austen Centre is a must-see. A permanent exhibition, it tells the story of the famous author’s time in Bath, exploring, in particular, how living in Bath impacted Jane Austen and her writing.
5. Prior Park Landscape Garden
Designed by the poet Alexander Pope and the famous landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the Prior Park Landscape Garden is part of the National Trust. It’s an intimate (yet magnificent) eighteen-century landscaped garden. And it offers the most stunning views of Bath! Not to mention that it also features a natural play area, which is perfect for day trips with children in tow.
6. Bath Abbey
One of the largest examples of Gothic architecture in the West of England (and another example of Grade I listed building) is Bath Abbey. A famous Anglican parish church and former Benedictine monastery, Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century.
Today, it’s an active place of worship. But with seats for 1,200 people, it’s also renowned for its concerts and lectures. The war memorials, sculptures, plaques, commemorative stained glass, and the heritage museum in the vaults are definitely worth a visit.
7. Take a walking tour
If you’re short of time, taking a city tour of Bath can be a great option to spend a few hours. If you opt for a self-guided walking tour, we recommend you check your itinerary in advance to make the most of it. Otherwise, you can always book with one of the available operators. An organised walking tour is a great plan if you want to make sure you don’t miss the many historical and cultural landmarks this beautiful city has to offer!
8. Have an afternoon tea at our stunning Brigit’s Bakery
And once you’ve taken in all the sights, why not treat yourself to an indulgent and relaxing Afternoon Tea experience at our Brigit’s Bakery? Walk along Pulteney Bridge and you can’t miss it. With its fabulous terrace overlooking the River Avon, the Brigit’s Bakery is the perfect place to stop by for breakfast, brunch, a quick lunch, or our Afternoon Tea with a French twist.
Come on a sunny day, and you can sip your tea outdoors on the terrace. And if it’s still a bit chilly, worry not! You’ll be able to enjoy the spectacular views from inside the bakery, thanks to its elegant arched windows. And if you want to find out more about our beautiful venue, check out our post: B Bakery’s Tea Room in Bath.
9. Take a river cruise
If you want to experience the city from a different perspective, why not take a boat tour? Our Lady Lena is available for private hire for groups of up to 10 people. You get to cruise down the Kennet and Avon Canals while taking in some of Bath’s best culture, landmark, and history. All from the comfort of our Victorian electric launch and while enjoying our fabulous B Bakery Afternoon Tea on board, served with an array of homemade sandwiches and delicious cakes, scones, and pastries (and maybe even a glass of bubbly!).
We kindly ask our guests to book at least two weeks in advance, so if you’re planning a trip with family or friends don’t delay! For more information and bookings, fill in our online booking form or contact us on 0122 596 2288.
10. Have a B Bakery picnic
No time to stop? Then why not take Brigit’s Bakery with you while you’re on the move and exploring the sights? Our beautifully-packaged Afternoon Tea Picnic contains everything you need for a delicious afternoon tea for one and is available to pick up from Brigit’s Bakery in Pulteney Bridge with as little as 24 hours notice. Filled with a selection of delicious cakes, sandwiches, and scones, the picnic also includes freshly-squeezed orange juice and your choice of tea, coffee, or infusion.
To order your Afternoon Tea Picnic, please fill out our form, and we will contact you for payment. Alternatively, call us at 0122 596 2288.
So there you have it – our top tips for sightseeing in Bath. Do you have any more to add?