A whimsical mix of cobblestone streets, historical sites and romantic architectural styles, Bath is a British city famed for its history and natural hot springs. It’s also the only destination in the UK where the entire city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Add in contemporary culture, numerous independent boutiques and an abundance of museums and galleries, and you have all the makings of a relaxing and picturesque city break. Immerse yourself in history dating back to Roman times, or enjoy the tranquillity of one of the city’s many spas and health centres.
For those with more time to spare, the famed World Heritage Site at Stonehenge is roughly an hour away by car, while the lions, zebras and monkeys at Longleat Safari Park can be reached in around 40 minutes.
Time to check in:
The Gainsborough Bath Spa is a stunning five-star luxury hotel with a unique twist. Built in a Regency architectural style, it centres around its own naturally-heated pools with direct access from several rooms — meaning you can run your bath with the mineral-rich thermal waters.
Alternatively, stay at the Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa and discover a five-star sanctuary in the middle of the city that pairs elegance with traditional character. Dating back to the Georgian period, the Grade I listed building features 45 immaculate rooms, as well as a stunning spa and tea room.
The Country Living Hotel in Bath opened in 2018 in one of the city’s oldest buildings and enjoys grand views over the city’s incredible architecture and the woodland beyond. The Apex City of Bath Hotel is the largest in the city, offering 177 contemporary bedrooms and a host of leisure facilities.
09:00 Hit the spa
Any weekend in Bath should start with a visit to the Thermae Bath Spa. Arrive early to beat the crowds and make your way to the open-air rooftop pool, where you can bathe in mineral-rich waters heated to 33.5° Celsius, all the while enjoying panoramic views of Bath.
11.30 Try the healing waters
Once you've dried off, it's a short walk to the Roman Baths, one of the city’s best-known historic attractions. You can no longer bathe in these waters, as they haven't been treated, but you can tour the site and learn about its fascinating history. Visit the Pump Rooms afterwards for a bite to eat, and to sample treated mineral-rich spa water, which is thought to have healing properties.
14:00 Get crafty
After lunch, try some glass-blowing at Bath Aqua Glass where you can watch a demonstration from the experts before trying to blow your very own glass bauble.
16:00 Fashion through the ages
Style your way through the Fashion Museum and its collection of historic clothing, including replica Georgian and Victorian outfits that visitors can try on. On the first Saturday of each month, the museum also runs a sketching class (free with museum entrance — sketchbooks and pencils included).
20:00 In for a laugh
Book a space on the Bizarre Bath Comedy Walk. This popular hour-and-a-half walking tour departs each evening at 8pm and offers a light-hearted, alternative look at the heritage city. Prepare for stunts, jokes, and lots of laughs.
10.00 City tour
After breakfast, jump on a 'hop-on, hop-off' City Sightseeing bus for a relaxing tour of the city's must-see attractions, including Bath Abbey, the Abbey Cemetery, and the architectural splendour of Bath’s Royal Crescent.
12.30 Bath baked delights
You'll have worked up an appetite, so stop for lunch at Sally Lunn's famed ‘eating house’, one of the oldest buildings in the city and home to the famous Bath Bun. It’s named after a French girl called Sally (real name, Solange) who worked in the bakery kitchen in the 1660s and created a soft, fluffy brioche-style bread that locals fell in love with. Today, the 'Sally Lunn Bun' — still made from the original recipe — can be enjoyed with a selection of sweet or savoury toppings.
14.30 Tea and talks
Pop into the Jane Austen Centre and learn all about Bath's most famous former resident. Enjoy the talks, displays and activities centred on the author’s celebrated works, then stop for a cup of tea at the Regency Tea Room, where staff serve you in period costume.
17:00 Bridging the gap
Wander along Pulteney Bridge, considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and one of just a handful with shops built into the design — there are worse places to browse for gifts than among these specialist shops and boutiques.
Head home, happy, refreshed and relaxed.
How to get to there:
Bath is in the county of Somerset, south west England. The city is approximately a 2.5 hour drive west of London, or 1.5 hours by train from London Paddington. The nearest airport is Bristol, which has direct links to 25 European countries; shuttle buses run from the airport to the centre of Bath.