Visiting Bath in England is one of the most popular day trips for visitors to London. But despite its compact size, Bath packs in a lot.
We headed to Bath to explore the unexpected side of this town and to experience something a bit different. What we found is town that deserves more than just a bus trip for a few hours.
The Stuff You Gotta Do…
Bath is named after the Roman baths that bubble up in the heart of the city. In fact, without these hot springs the city probably wouldn’t exist. Visiting Bath without the Roman baths wouldn’t be complete, obviously.
The Bath complex was actually lost (kinda careless considering they’re quite big) for several centuries and rediscovered in around 1880. What you see now is a relatively modern construction built around the ancient Roman ruins.
If there is one thing that the coach tours do that you need to do too, this is it. The museum and history behind it is fascinating and even if you’re not that interested in history the complex is quite cool.
You can’t actually go in for a dip. But…
Thermae Bath Spa just around the corner is fed by the same waters that feed the Roman baths. It’s not cheap, with prices starting from £18 and going over the hundreds – but it is a fantastic experience. The rooftop vista across town is a proper indulgence and something that could really make a romantic trip that extra bit special.
But… We weren’t there to be romantic.
Food & Drink
The good thing about Bath is because it’s so small you have this smorgasbord of cuisines and restaurants you can experience without walking far.
One way to experience as much as you can is to sign up for a food tour with Savouring Bath. At £40, that might sound like a lot, but you’ll get to try delicious treats and delicacies from an assortment of shops and restaurants and get the inside story on the culinary scene in the city. Mike, the owner of Savouring Bath is passionate about both the city and the food scene and you’re sure to leave full of both food and knowledge. It’s a highly recommended experience.
If you’re more keen to sit and soak up the vibe over your dinner then one of the coolest in town is the Green Park Brasserie. Situated in the disused Green Park railway station, the brasserie is situated in the old booking office. The food is an excellent blend of modern British and European cuisine and is all very reasonably priced.
But one of the main reasons to head down here is to check out the livemusic (every weekend), soak up the vibe and drink a few local ciders. The station is also home to a regular farmers market every Saturday (the first of its kind in the UK) and an assortment of street food stalls.
Cider is the local drink of choice around these parts, with The Stable (1-3 Westgate Building) one of the best places to enjoy a few. We started our night off at The Apple Tree (8-10 North Parade) which also stocked a great selection of ciders.
If you prefer gin, we’d recommend The Canary Gin Bar (3 Queen Street) or Framptons (The Grand Parade) for their incredible array of the botanical spirit and great cocktail menus.
Now those bus tours normally arrive for visiting Bath, do the Roman Baths, take a picture of Pulteney Bridge and then leave. But they’re missing a trick!
It’s probably not the first thing you’d think of, but we went Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) with Original Wild. It was a great way to see the Pulteney Bridge from a different angle and a really sedate way to take in the river. Original Wild also offer kayaking and a whole array of different activities, but the SUP was great fun and very affordable too! At £18 per person, we got to enjoy an unexpected side to Bath and enjoy the company of Kyle, the boss, who clearly loves both the city and his job.
We missed out on the balloon tours unfortunately, but it’s a popular activity in the city. If you’ve got a spare £110 and you want to take in the spectacular view of the Somerset countryside then check out Bath Balloons.
If the English weather ruins your outdoor activity plans then there is also a glut of great art galleries to explore. The Holburne features classical and modern art in a beautiful building, with recent exhibitions featuring Rodin and Hockney.
You’ll also find The American Museum, which you might think is in an odd place. But this fascinating museum offers a great glimpse at the history and folk art of ‘Merica and has a lot to keep you enthralled.
Getting to Bath
The best way to reach Bath is to either go by train or bus from London (approx 2 hours), or fly to Bristol Airport and take the bus connection (1 hour).
If you’re looking for a cultural UK city break but you’re not too sure about London, visiting Bath will be a pleasant surprise for you! Read more about Bath at VisitBath.co.uk.
Oliver Lynch is a London based writer who travels to eat, do random things and try and speak the local lingo badly. You can read more of his adventures at www.gonetravelling.co.uk and www.globalplayboy.com.