Georgian buildings rise up around you as you cross cobbled streets and feel like you have quite literally gone back in time. No matter where you look the buildings are exquisite and oozing history. Yes, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath is ALL you have hoped for!
I always knew Bath would be beautiful, after all people have been visiting for years and loving what’s on offer, but I was overwhelmed by the gorgeous, historic, yet accessible city that unfolded around my feet on a recent visit. I’m already planning to go back and can’t believe it took me so long to get there!
Being so close and easy to get to from the capital it’s also no wonder that so many tourists choose to visit the city on a break from London – it’s only a couple of hours away!
If you do plan to go to Bath, you’ll have a wonderful time, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.
Now let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in Bath, England for tourists:
Useful links for visiting Bath:
Where to Stay
Tours to Bath from London
Best things to do in Bath for Tourists
All of these sights are walkable and many are close together so can be done together.
Short on time? A walking tour like this one can help make the most of your time in Bath
1. Visit the Roman Baths
Ancient Romans who occupied England utilised the thermal spring waters here and built bath houses for them to enjoy. The city eventually sprung up around this central feature.
The Roman Baths are an extraordinary historical site that is an absolute must-visit for tourists in Bath, England.
When you go in the Roman Baths, you’re greeted by a blend of architectural marvels and well-preserved relics from the Victorian to way back in Roman times – possibly not what you’re expecting but it has been used lots over the years after the original Roman site fell into ruin.
You can see the Great Bath which you can see in the image above as well as walk around the terrace which is lined with statues. The sacred spring is where the water enters the site at a temperature of 46°C (114°F). It was originally not known how it happened so was attributed to the many Gods the Romans worshipped.
There’s so much to see here and the whole Roman site extends way beyond just the baths. The museum is excellent and can really help you get your head around the site and what it was used for. Don’t forget to pick up an audioguide in the reception area which will also help.
Ticket costs vary through the year. To give an idea of the costs, in high season it’s as follows (correct as at July 2023):
Adult – £28 weekend, £26 weekday
Child – £20.50 weekend, £18.50 weekday
2. Eat at the Pump Room
While checking out the Roman baths you’ll want to also take time to enjoy this wonderful restaurant that was frequented by many huge names in British History including Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. It was the social place to be seen!
The Pump Room restaurant serves afternoon tea as well as brunch or coffee and cakes. It’s a classic British experience and one with a tonne of history!
Don’t forget to try a sample of the spa water – it tastes a little weird but has loads of minerals that are said to be very good for you!
3. Bath Abbey
Right beside the roman baths is a rather newer but still incredibly old structure – Bath Abbey.
Unlike many similar holy buildings around Britain, including abbeys in Yorkshire, Bury St Edmunds and the Scottish Borders, Bath Abbey is still intact. It did suffer disrepair and ruin after the dissolution of the monasterys by King Henry VIII but was only left about 70 years before it began it’s repair. Since then it’s been in use and looks as if it has always been this magnificent!
I love the windows in these abbeys and there are a few to check out here too – One is the absolutely stunning King Edgar Window – a delight to take in! Edgar was crowned when it was a Saxon monastery in 973 AD – he was known as Edgar the Peaceful perhaps as there were no major Viking attacks or wars in his rule.
Another huge and glorious window I the Great East Window which depicts the life of Jesus in 56 scenes. This had to be repaired after damage sustained in WW2.
Tickets to visit the Bath Abbey are as follows (correct as at July 2023)
Children (5 -15) £3.50
You can also take a tour which gets you to see a lot more of the Abbey. they run Monday to Saturday.
4. The Royal Crescent
If architecture is your thing then you’ll be blown away by the stunning Royal Crescent in Bath. I mean, even if it isn’t your thing, and you just appreciate a pretty set of buildings like me, you’ll love it!
It dates back to 1767 so right in the Georgian period and it overlooks a park giving it space to breathe and for the 30 buildings in it a beautiful look out.
While it’s nice to explore and take a walk here, if you really wanted to stay in Georgian luxury then you might wish to take a look at the hotel right at the centre – the Royal Crescent Hotel. Perfect if you want a spa break too!
5. Bridgerton Sights
Before leaving the Royal Crescent, if you’re a fan of Bridgerton you’ll want to take note of number one – it’s on the right hand side of the crescent – as this is actually the Featherington residence in the show!
In Bridgerton, ‘The Ton’ is actually supposed to be London but if you need a regency styled place to film then actually Bath fits much better! There are a number of Bridgerton filming locations in Bath to explore which I loved doing when I was there!
Get a guided Bridgerton sights tour! Don’t miss a thing!
6. Visit the Jane Austen Centre
One of the most famous residents of Bath when it was in it’s glorious heyday was Jane Austen who lived there for 5 years from 1801 to 1806. Honestly, when I walked round the streets in Bath I felt like I was IN her novels! (I’m a bit of a Jane Austen fan!)
If you want to learn more about the woman and what Bath might have inspired her in her writing then the Jane Austen Centre is for you. It’s a museum with all sorts of interesting stories and things on show including items for you to dress up in and feel like you’re in Regency Britain!
If you’re hoping to take in an afternoon tea in Bath then you can do so here and really enjoy that perfect Regency past time.
7. See where Jane Austen actually lived
Fans of Jane Austen might also want to see the actual building where she lived when in Bath – it’s not as you might think the same building where the Jane Austen centre is.
This one is a little bit more of a walk than the rest of the sights, but you’ll want to go past the Pulteney Bridge and head towards Sydney Gardens and The Holburne Museum.
Jane would often go for walks in Sydney Gardens as her house was directly opposite of Sydney Place. It’s currently an AirBNB so you can’t visit inside but you’ll know it from the plaque outside.
8. Explore the Mary Shelley House of Frankenstein
Another literary great enjoyed the city of Bath and that was Mary Shelley. She lived in Bath when she wrote her classic novel Frankenstein.
She actually lived close to the Roman baths (and you can see a Blue Plaque dedicated to her across from The Pump Room) but a little closer to the Royal Crescent is an attraction that will delight any fans of hers – the House of Frankenstein.
It’s an immersive experience rather than just a museum and definitely not for the faint hearted!
9. Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House
On one of the side streets just off from the Abbey is one of the oldest houses in Bath and definitely somewhere to visit for a different and historic food item.
Sally Lunn’s has a long history – the namesake came here from France and begun working at the then bakery where they began making a bun that was similar to a French brioche. The Sally Lunn Bun was born!
It’s now famous for being a food distinctly from Bath and has been eaten here since she was there in the 1600s! Jane Austen even was a fan of them and wrote about how she had eaten them a lot!
You can visit and try them for yourself too!
10. Pulteney Bridge and the River Avon
Not far from the centre of the town and the Abbey is the River Avon with the Pulteney Bridge over it. It’s a really beautiful example of a bridge with shops as part of the architecture.
We enjoyed taking some lunch to the nearby Parade Gardens which allowed some great views of the bridge and the river. The water flows over a weir making it an interesting spectacle and definitely worthy of some pictures.
11. BONUS – Go for a Spa
Finally, and adding on to my top 10 things to do in Bath – why not go for an actual spa in the city where it’s famous!
There are a few different places where you can enjoy spa treatments and the thermal spring water of the area. Some accept day guests so you can just turn up too!
Thermae Spa is the main one in the centre of the city. It’s modern and refreshing even though it has it’s roots in the Roman bath waters. There’s a rooftop pool as well for the ultimate in luxury!
🏴 England Travel FAQ 🏴
Do I need insurance for traveling to England?
YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!
Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.
Do I need a car for visiting England?
YES – If you’re wanting to explore England fully then a car is worthwhile. It will get you to all the small villages, countryside sights and all on your own timetable
I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices in England
How to book accommodation in England?
For hotels I recommend Booking.com
For apartments and cottages check out VRBO
Will my phone work in England?
Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.
If you need a SIM for use in the UK I recommend GiffGaff which you can get and set up before traveling.
What’s the best guidebook for England?
I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Where to get flights for England
Skyscanner is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to England.
Do I need a visa for England?
Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting England as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.