Home to famous buns, the Theatre Royal Bath, ancient Roman Baths, and The Corridor, one of the oldest shopping arcades in Europe, the English city of Bath is a charming, compact city featuring a rich history and stunning landscape. In the heart of the city centre, you’ll find a variety of places to eat, drink, and shop. The independent shops in Bath are among the finest in Britain, making this the perfect spot for a city break.
Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, this historic city later became a significant centre for the wool industry during the Middle Ages. Under George III, the 18th century saw the city transform into a more sophisticated town. Along with the Roman baths came the neoclassical Palladian buildings. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a cultural hub, boasting a remarkable collection of museums, galleries, and year-round festivities, including theatre, music, and sports events. It’s also maintained it’s legacy as a spa town.
Navigating the Bath city centre is easy, thanks to its visitor-friendly layout and excellent rail, coach, and bus connections. You can also find helpful information and maps of Bath city at visitor information centers or online platforms, ensuring you make the most of your visit.
As you explore the cobbled streets of Bath city centre, you’ll not only immerse yourself in the history after getting just minutes into Bath but also enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and stunning honey-colored architecture. Bath is truly an ideal destination to experience the unique blend of beauty, culture, and heritage in the United Kingdom.
Historic Landmarks in Bath City Centre
If there’s one thing most people know about Bath city, it’s their famous Roman Baths! You can’t visit this spa town without hearing them mentioned. Steeped in history and culture, these well-preserved Roman remains are found around the hot springs at the heart of Bath city centre. They were once the center of the Roman town of Aquae Sulis, and are the perfect place to explore ancient architecture and soak up some history in the center of Bath.
Right next door to the Roman Baths, don’t miss Bath Abbey, a magnificent focal point in this UNESCO World Heritage site. With its stunning stained glass windows and awe-inspiring Gothic architecture, the Bath Abbey a must-visit for anyone exploring Bath City Centre.
From Bath Abbey, head over to Pulteney Bridge and soak up the view. This iconic bridge, with its shops and stunning Georgian architecture, spans the River Avon and its prime location offers you a gorgeous spot to take in the scenery (and perhaps enjoy a coffee or snack).
For more of Bath’s Georgian elegance, stop by the Pump Room, adjacent to the Roman Baths. Once a social hub for the elite, today the Pump Room stands as a testimony to the city’s spa culture, where visitors can still sample the famed thermal waters while enjoying the grandeur of its neoclassical design.
Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum
Or if you want to go all the way back to the medieval period, make your way to Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House. Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Bath, dating back to around 1482, Sally Lunn’s isn’t just a culinary treat with its world-famous buns, but also a journey through the city’s gastronomic history.
Just Beyond The City Centre
Barely beyond Bath’s City Centre, you’ll find two more must-sees in the city – the architectural delights of The Royal Crescent and The Circus.
Feast your eyes on this stunning example of Georgian architecture, designed by John Wood the Younger. This impressive row of 30 terraced houses forms a beautiful crescent shape, offering you an unforgettable view and a fantastic photo op.
Ready for more amazing architecture? Stroll down to The Circus, another Georgian masterpiece, also designed by the Wood family. This iconic circular street is surrounded by gorgeous townhouses, making it a prime spot to check out the architecture and history of Bath.
No. 1 Royal Crescent
While exploring the Royal Crescent, be sure to pop into No. 1 Royal Crescent. This historic house museum offers a fascinating glimpse into life during the Georgian era. Enjoy the meticulously restored rooms, filled with period furniture and decor that will transport you back in time.
Museums and Art Galleries
Bath city centre has a fabulous selection of museums and art galleries to explore. But these are the two you’ll almost certainly want to wedge into your schedule.
Jane Austen Centre
If you’re a fan of renowned author Jane Austen, the Jane Austen Centre is a must-see. This museum celebrates her life and works, with knowledgeable guides dressed in period costume to help you delve into the world of Austen’s life and books. Learn about her life in Bath and even get a chance to dress up in Regency-style clothing yourself. Don’t forget to grab a bite at the Regency Tearoom for an authentic experience.
Victoria Art Gallery
A gem for art lovers in the city centre is the Victoria Art Gallery. With its rich collection of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, there’s something for everyone here. The gallery boasts works from the 15th century to present day, so you can see the evolution of art over time. The best part? Admission to the permanent collection is free!
Parks and Gardens
Bath is not just about its stunning Georgian architecture; it also boasts a surprising amount of public green spaces. A couple of them are even right in the City Centre.
Located in the heart of Bath, Queen Square is a quintessential Georgian gem. Designed by the eminent architect John Wood the Elder in the early 18th century, whose work you’ll also see in The Royal Crescent and The Circus, this urban park is both an architectural marvel and a lush green haven for residents and visitors alike. Surrounded by elegant townhouses and graced by a striking obelisk at its centre, Queen Square is a perfect spot for a restful pause, an al fresco lunch, or a moment of contemplation amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.
Just a stone’s throw away from Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge, Parade Gardens offer a serene riverside retreat in the very centre of Bath. These ornamental gardens are not only known for their beautiful floral displays but also provide unrivaled views of the iconic Pulteney Weir. With meticulously manicured lawns, lovely flower beds, and plenty of benches, Parade Gardens is an ideal locale for relaxation. Whether you’re seeking solace by the riverside, a picturesque backdrop for photography, or simply a breath of fresh air amidst your city explorations, Parade Gardens promises a refreshing respite.
Royal Victoria Park
A short stroll from the Bath city centre, Royal Victoria Park is the closes “big park” to the neighborhood. Spanning 57 acres of gorgeous green parkland and inaugurated by the young Princess Victoria in the early 19th century, this park has been a favorite hangout spot for both locals and tourists ever since. It was initially an arboretum and still houses beautiful botanic gardens as well as the impressive Great Dell Aerial Walkway, which offers some fantastic views. Enjoy a leisurely walk though this excellent location, admire the scenery, or simply relax on a park bench and bask in the lush landscape.
Food and Drink
Bath City Centre boasts a diverse food scene, with a mix of delightful cafés and innovative restaurants. Here are the places to grab a bite.
Cafés and Restaurants
If you’re looking for a historic and unique dining experience in between visits to the area hot springs, don’t miss Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, renowned for its famous Sally Lunn Bun. They also offer an à la carte menu in the evening.
Feeling fancy? Treat yourself to a Michelin-starred dining experience at The Olive Tree at The Queensberry Hotel. These pioneering chefs promise an unforgettable meal.
Ready for a drink to wind down after a day of exploring the city and living your best Bath spa town life? Bath has got you covered with its eclectic bar scene.
Step into Circo Bar, an intimate cellar bar and lounge with plush Chesterfield sofas, armchairs, and even a bed. The expert mixologists here are known for crafting award-winning cocktails and the back bar selection is extensive. So, feel free to indulge in a creative beverage or two.
If craft beer and Asian cuisine is more your style, head over to The Grapes, an unusual pub in the UK for its focus on sake.
Shopping in Bath
Bath city centre is a shopper’s dream! With a mix of well-known high street brands and unique independent shops, you’ll find everything you need for a fantastic shopping experience. Of course, you can shop anywhere, so here are the places that make shopping in Bath special.
Pulteney Bridge is not just an architectural marvel, it’s also a distinctive shopping destination. Built in 1774, it’s one of the few bridges in the world to have shops integrated into its design, allowing visitors to shop while enjoying views of the River Avon below. This melding of form and function creates a unique experience, where the charm of history meets the allure of retail.
Bath Guildhall Market
Bath Guildhall Market is the city’s oldest shopping venue, boasting a history that spans over 800 years. Located in the heart of Bath, this bustling market offers an array of independent traders and artisans. From fresh produce to crafts, antiques, and quintessential Bath delicacies, the Guildhall Market captures the city’s essence in a shopping experience that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity. It’s a must-visit for those looking to immerse themselves in Bath’s rich commercial heritage while hunting for unique finds.
When it comes to accommodations in Bath City Centre, you’re spoiled for choice. From luxurious boutique hotels with wonderful staff and plentiful hotel amenities to cozy B&Bs with friendly staff, you’ll find the perfect spot to rest your head whether you’re a tourist or a parent visiting a college-age child attending Bath Spa University. And all within easy walking distance of the railway station. However do note that many hotels do not have air conditioning.
If you’re looking for a touch of luxury from your Bath hotel stay, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is an excellent choice in a prime location. Known for their friendly staff, this 5-star Bath hotel has a long list of amenities and hotel facilities to meet your needs. This hotel boasts elegantly decorated rooms, a fine dining restaurant, and an exceptional spa with attentive hotel staff where you can truly relax after a day of exploring.
For superbly modern rooms and top-notch amenities and hotel facilities consider staying at the Apex City of Bath Hotel.
For boutique hotel enthusiasts, Abbey Hotel Bath offers a lovely mix of historic charm and contemporary design as soon as you step through the hotel entrance.
Bath City Centre has accommodations for every taste and budget, so you’re sure to find the ideal place to stay while you explore this beautiful city.