Photo credit Zac Farmer and Tim Wildsmith

Best of Bath Tips

Bath is known as the oldest tourist destination in Britain and is famous for both its Roman baths and its typical Georgian architecture, and being just 100 miles from London makes it a relatively easy destination for visitors to reach. This compilation of the top things to do in Bath includes the sights dating right back to ancient times, but also has plenty of highlights for Jane Austen fans too!

Landmarks in Bath

Any holiday in Bath isn't complete without a visit the Roman baths. They’re on the site of the only hot springs in England and date back two thousand years, and touring the baths includes checking some underground tunnels along with incredible archaeological finds – and you can even taste the water!

Just behind the Roman baths, you can’t miss seeing Bath Abbey, a thousand-year-old church which is particularly famous because the first King of England was crowned here. You can see this and the baths by following one of the free walking tours which Heather found.

The other sights which pop up most commonly on Bath postcards and tourist paraphernalia are the Georgian-style buildings that cover the city. It’s easy enough just to stroll through the main streets and admire the architecture.

Museums in Bath

The Assembly Rooms and Museum of Costume is a must-visit attraction on a trip to Bath. When Bath was in its heyday in the 1800s, fashionable society gathered in the Assembly rooms of Bath to dance, drink tea and socialise and be immortalised in the novels of Jane Austen. You can find the Assembly rooms on the north side of Bath, near the Royal Crescent and The Circus, where you can see some of the grandest Georgian houses of the city.

There’s the Ballroom which is also used for concerts and weddings, so not always open, the Tea Room and the Octagon and Card rooms, which now houses the café. The rooms are beautiful with enormous chandeliers, although you have to imagine the bustle and excitement by candlelight of those who came to see and be seen. You don’t need to pay to take a look at these rooms, although they are sometimes closed for functions.

Downstairs is the Museum of Fashion in Bath, which is also a fun place to pass an afternoon. You can find ball gowns that were worn on royal occasions and coronations as well as those from the regency period in the 1800s. There are even some corsets and crinoline to try on, if you fancy seeing how a Victorian lady dressed.

After your visit, try some tea and cakes in the café which anyone can visit – you don’t have to be visiting the museum. The drinks and cakes were reasonably priced compared to many places in Bath and I’d recommend it as a pleasant alternative to the Pump rooms which has become a popular but expensive tourist haunt for afternoon tea or lunch in Bath.

Jane Austen attractions in Bath

Jane Austen may have only lived in Bath for five years, but her legacy to this city has lasted centuries. Whether you’re a true Jane Austen fan or just have some acquaintance with her work (or the films and TV series derived from it), you’ll definitely encounter some Jane Austen-related attraction while in Bath. Keen fans can take the Jane Austen Walking Tour which includes stops at locations featured in her novels and their film adaptations, with knowledgeable guides throwing in Jane Austen trivia with every step.

You can also visit the Jane Austen Centre, a mock-up of her home which even includes some of her manuscripts and personal articles. They run a documentary film inside and it’s also very nearby the actual house where Jane Austen lived while in Bath.

And finally, if you remember the Pump Room featured frequently in Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey”, then you can also visit the Pump Room today. These days it is a rather expensive place for a snack but it does make you feel a little bit closer to Jane Austen and her fascinating characters!

More tips for visiting Bath

If you time your visit for Christmas time, then you can take in the Bath Christmas Markets which are held in the main square outside Bath Abbey (and spread further through the city centre as well), with all the features of a European Christmas market like mulled wine, local foods and handmade gifts.

Picture of Europe a la Carte

Posted by Europe a la Carte
on 20th April 2011 and
updated on 29th March 2021

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