I'm so excited to share this travel guide to Bath! You may not have heard of this historical little city in England; I'd only just learned about it a couple years ago when my parents visited and loved it. The entire city is a world heritage site due to its historical significance. The hot springs that the city is based around drew the Romans in, and they built baths here and worshipped the Goddess Minerva. After the Romans left, royalty and the wealthy of England started to come visit as they heard about the healing properties of the hot springs. The city has a fascinating history, not to mention it is extremely beautiful! Seriously, just picture the quintessential charming English town in the countryside and that's basically what beautiful Bath looks like. Bath is the perfect three day weekend trip from London and it's absolutely worth a visit to this gorgeous place!
- Traveling to Bath. If you're traveling to Bath from London, it's the perfect opportunity to hit up one or two sights on the way there. At the very least Stonehenge is on the way, and it's worth booking a tour that stops there going into Bath. It is a man-made world wonder, after all! I also wanted to see Windsor Castle so I booked a tour with EvanEvans that went from London > Windsor Castle > Stonehenge > Bath. The tour actually goes back to London at the end of the day, but I just hopped off with my luggage and stayed in Bath. If you want to just head straight to Bath from London, it's an easy two hour train ride, and if you're flying in Bristol airport is the nearest airport, just an hour away.
- Check-in. Bed & Breakfasts are the way to go in beautiful Bath. I stayed at a B&B run by a lovely woman named Ann. Her home is incredibly central—I was able to walk to all of the sights that you'll find in this travel guide! She has three rooms available; two doubles (here and here) and one single, each with their own ensuite bathroom. The single room was perfect for me since I was traveling by myself this weekend. By the way, Bath is the perfect trip for a solo female traveler—it's safe, quaint, people are friendly, and there's lots of sight seeing to be done. Although its beauty also makes it a very romantic spot perfect for couples too, and I was of course missing Omied and wishing he was there! But since Omied hadn't made it to the UK quite yet, I ventured out solo to Bath, and found the B&B situation at Ann's to be perfect. Her place is very comfortable and sweetly decorated, and staying at a B&B was fun because you get to meet other travelers over breakfast. Ann whips up a delicious continental breakfast every morning, complete with her homemade pastries, jams and insanely delicious lemon curd. I can't recommend this spot enough if you're planning a trip to Bath! Her cute little dachshund Crumpet will greet you every time you get in.
- Mayor Walking Tour. The city of Bath offers free walking tours that are perfect for getting acquainted with Bath. Start your trip off with one of these tours. They're quite in depth and last two hours, but they're super interesting and they will help you get a lay of the land. I loved hearing about the rich history of the city, especially the "historical gossip," and the who's who of the time. You'll hit many of the top sights in this tour, including The Circus and The Royal Crescent.
- Roman Baths. Your tour will end near the Roman Baths, so head inside to see this historical site that you've just heard so much about. The audio guide is a bit cheesy, but it does have some interesting info so don't forget to pick one up. As you descend deeper into the baths, be sure to peek your head into any random little rooms and nooks. Some of them might not look like much, but one of them that I almost missed had the steps leading up to the temple where the Romans would worship the Goddess Minerva. So cool. Also, don't miss the opportunity at the end of the tour after you drop off your audio guide to taste the spa water—it was rainwater 10,000 years ago and has been absorbing minerals in the earth since then, bubbling up now as hot spring water. It tastes disgusting but at least you can say you tried it!
- Dinner at Chez Dominique. Make reservations ahead of time for this classic little French spot. I had the steak frites and a glass of wine (table for one, treat yo self!) and really enjoyed it.
- Bath Abbey. Head to the beautiful Abbey to check out the inside. Join one of the somewhat sporadically scheduled tours so that you can go up the 200-something stairs and take in beautiful views of the city.
- Fashion Museum. Ok, I loved this museum! The audioguide was super interesting and it was fun to see trends in fashion emerge and develop, starting with pieces from the 1600's. I also found it fun and interesting to see that everything old is new again—some things that were trendy in the 1700's are popular now, like dropwaist dresses and statement sleeves.
- Same, Same but Different. Grab lunch at this yummy Mediterranean spot. If it's nice weather, dine al fresco at their sidewalk seating.
- Pulteney Bridge and Park. The view of the bridge and park was probably my favorite in Bath. If you plucked a little town out of a snow globe and enlarged it to life size, I think you'd be met with this view. It's so picturesque! Head over to the park (maybe with a pastry and coffee from Colonna & Small's) and just soak up the views.
- One Royal Crescent. After your nice break at the park, walk back over to The Royal Crescent and visit the original Georgian house there, at One Royal Crescent. They have it set up and decorated inside as it would have looked like back in the 1800's. But the really interesting part is listening to the guides in each room. They're super knowledgable and will tell you about all the gossip behind the people in the paintings, what would go on in each room, etc. My favorite was the ladies waiting room, and hearing about how the women did their big hair do's with wireframes, extra hair (both human and animal), waxed with animal grease and set for a month at a time. Peep the hair scratcher in that room...because as you can imagine your head gets itchy after not washing it for a month.
- The Oven. Known for the best pizza in town and nominated as one of the best restaurants in Bath, The Oven is a great spot for a casual dinner.
- Thermae Spa. Have yourself a relaxing spa day at Britain's only natural thermal spa. You can splurge on a massage or beauty treatment, or just pay for two hours entrance and relax in their indoor spa, steam room, or outdoor rooftop spa. My favorite was the rooftop spa because I loved taking in the beautiful views! Try to get there right when they open at 9am, or 10 at the latest to avoid the crowds and a long wait. When I left around noon the line to get in was out the door and around the corner!
- The Pump Room. Treat yourself to afternoon tea at The Pump Room. Definitely book reservations as far in advance as you can, as they fill up fast for weekend tea.
- Canal Boat Ride. Hop on a boat ride along the beautiful canal and see Bath from a different perspective.
- Bizarre Bath. Join a Bizarre Bath tour for a comical walk around the city. This one only runs for half of the year so unfortunately I wasn't able to do the walk myself, but I've heard it's hilarious.
- Dinner at Yak Yeti Yak. Have a Nepalese dinner at Yak Yeti Yak, another top restaurant in Bath.
- The Real Italian Ice Cream. Head to The Real Italian Ice Cream for a sweet treat, whether it's gelato or a warm crepe.
- Garrick's Head Pub. Enjoy a nightcap at the pub Garrick's Head, which has historical significance because Beau Nash, known as "the mayor of Bath," lived there in the 17th century.
Ok, that's the 411 on Bath! It's kind of a hidden gem because I feel like a lot of people in the States haven't heard of it. But it's such a fun place to visit and easy to include in your UK itinerary. I loved it and I hope I get the chance to come back some day, this time with Omied!