A contender for England's most beautiful small city, Bath was established by the Romans sometime after 60AD. Then a town revolving around England's only natural hot springs, Bath today is a town where mineral-rich waters remain much the same as the Romans left them thousands of years ago. Inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987, Bath offers many unique experiences on top of its iconic attractions. The city's stunning Georgian architecture, great shopping and surrounding Cotswolds countryside make it a perfect place to take a quiet reprieve.
Though one of England's smaller cities, there are still countless things to see and do in Bath. Just a block from the original Roman Baths you'll find the state-of-the-art Thermae Bath Spa complex. Opened in 2006, today it's Bath's leading location to pamper yourself with natural hot spring therapies. Nearby you'll also find Bath Abbey, a 500 year old church where the first Governor of New South Wales and founder of Sydney, Arthur Philip, has his burial and memorial. Some other architectural marvels include Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, while the Jane Austen Centre is a must-do for lovers of literature.
Being located in one of England's richest farming areas definitely does Bath's food scene no harm. From traditional pubs to white table-clothed fine diners, Bath is home to a mouth-watering selection of restaurants. Being a university town means you'll also find plenty of cheap eats scattered across town too. For something special, some of Bath's dining highlights include Blackstones Restaurant, an ethnically inspired restaurant on Queen Street serving seasonal food, as well as Moon and Sixpence, a non-pretentious pub with an exceptional kitchen. For something low-key but high on yum factor, Fishworks Seafood Cafe is home to the popular Brixham squid with garlic, lemon and parsley.
Where to Stay
A comfortable hotel in Bath isn't hard to come by, but the stylish Queensberry Hotel is certainly among the best of the best. Putting the 'B' in 'B&B', Bath is also a city that's brimming with frilly Bed and Breakfasts – if you're seeking something more homely, you're definitely in luck! One hotel that gives you the best of both worlds is Harington's Hotel, an affordable 13-roomed hotel where prices include a cooked-to-order breakfast. When deciding where to stay in Bath, keep in minds that most places, especially B&Bs, insist on a two-night stay on weekends when the city is at its busiest.
Bath is a city renowned for shopping and, while it may not rival London for variety, it's sure hard to beat for a city of its size. Independent shops are what Bath does best – between Milsom and George Streets you'll find a whole trove of unique items to squeeze into your suitcase. The city's “Artisan Quarter” located around Walcot Street is another popular shopping destination, while Margaret's Building near Victoria Park is home to an eclectic range of boutiques. Worth seeking out is the Bath Sweet Shop, which has a long history of pleasing sweet-tooths with more than 300 varieties of lollies.
Bath Like a Local
Bath's locals are particularly proud of their long theatre history. Built in 1805, the Theatre Royal Bath is one the city's great cultural icons and also happens to be one of the oldest and most important British theatre outside of London. Housing everything from plays to operas and dance performances in its Main House, recent years have seen the opening of a new space called the Ustinov Studio. The Studio plays host to more avant-garde performances if you are in the mood for something with a contemporary edge. Don't bother eating before you go – to mingle with the locals, head to the theatre's Vaults Restaurant for a pre-show dinner or matinee lunch.