Bath, England, is a beautiful city that has a rich history and offers a wealth of museums and galleries. Lucky for you, some of these cultural gems are completely free to visit.
Notable Free Museums in Bath
Victoria Art Gallery
Located in a stunning Victorian building, the Victoria Art Gallery boasts an impressive collection of over 1,500 artworks spanning over 200 years of British art history. You’ll find works by renowned artists like Turner, Gainsborough, and Klee. While you’ll have to pay to get into any temporary exhibits, the permanent collection is free.
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, or BRLSI for short, is a hidden gem in the heart of Bath city centre. It offers free access to its exhibitions on the natural sciences, geology, and archaeology, as well as its library containing rare books and manuscripts. Plus, the BRLSI regularly hosts talks and events that you might find interesting while visiting Bath city (though, you will have to pay for those).
When you’re in Bath, you can’t miss the famous Roman Baths. These ancient spas were built for relaxation and socializing by the Romans way back in the day. You’ll be amazed by the preserved architecture and the hot springs that still flow today.
Unfortunately, you can’t visit them for free.
What you can do is a get a good long look over the baths by taking a meal at The Pump Room. Their morning bakery and brunch is quite reasonably priced (cheaper than paying to enter the Baths). So, while you can’t see the baths for free exactly, you can tack it onto a meal, making the price tag a little less of a wallop.
Bath is known for its striking Georgian architecture, so take a moment to appreciate the city’s unique style. The Royal Crescent and The Circus are just a couple of must-see examples of this elegant design. The terraced houses curve gracefully around a central garden, showcasing the beauty of symmetry and balance.
The Royal Crescent: One of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, the Royal Crescent is a stunning semi-elliptical row of 30 Georgian townhouses set against a large green lawn. Designed by architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, its uniform, neoclassical façade represents the pinnacle of Georgian architecture in Bath. The crescent offers a beautiful vista of the city and is a testament to the architectural grandeur of its era.
The Circus: A masterpiece of Georgian architecture, The Circus is a circular space surrounded by large townhouses, forming a perfect circle with three entrances. Designed by John Wood the Elder and completed by his son, John Wood the Younger, in 1768, its unique shape and classical columns draw inspiration from the Roman Colosseum. The intricate friezes and emblems that adorn the facades make it a captivating site for architecture enthusiasts.
Basically, the Royal Crescent and The Circus are not museums, but they are museum-worthy attractions you can see in Bath for free.
Other Free Attractions and Experiences
Bath Skyline and Parks
Bath is not just about museums; it’s time to explore its beautiful outdoor spaces! The Bath Skyline is a popular 6-mile walk with spectacular views of the city. You’ll come across Royal Victoria Park along the way, perfect for picnics and leisurely strolls. Bring your camera and capture the stunning landscape and fantastic views!
For a more tranquil experience with lovely views, head to Alexandra Park. This hidden gem offers panoramic views of Bath and a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Sydney Gardens and The Circus
Get ready for a delightful walk at Sydney Gardens, Bath’s oldest park. You’ll find gorgeous gardens, historic features, and a taste of tranquility in the heart of the city. The park is a Listed Historic Landscape and you’re in luck—it’s open daily from dawn until dusk.
Modern Art Showcase
Bath isn’t only about history; it’s also a hotbed for modern art. Check out the numerous galleries highlighting some of the best contemporary artists in the region. Here, you’ll find a variety of bold, creative, and captivating artwork, embracing everything from paintings and sculpture to digital and multimedia pieces. These exhibitions not only showcase the evolving art landscape but also provide unique insights into the artists and their creative process.
Galleries are a great way to check out Bath’s thriving modern art scene.
Museum-Like Free Attractions In Bath
Sadly, most of Bath’s museums and major attractions are not free.
But here are three things that are free to see in Bath that have museum-like qualities:
Pulteney Bridge: One of only four bridges in the world to have shops across its full span on both sides, Pulteney Bridge was designed by Robert Adam and completed in 1774. You can walk across it, window-shop, and admire its unique construction, all while soaking in the views of the River Avon. It’s an architectural marvel.
Queen Square: Still in architecture, Queen Square is a prime example of Georgian town planning. Designed by the famed architect John Wood the Elder, it was the first of his “architectural trilogy” in Bath, followed by The Circus and The Royal Crescent. With its obelisk in the center and surrounded by historical Georgian homes, it’s a tranquil spot that captures the essence of 18th-century Bath.
Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum: One of the oldest houses in Bath, dating back to 1482, it’s home to the world-famous Sally Lunn Bun. In the basement, there’s a tiny museum showcasing the history of the building and the bun. There is a small admission fee (30p for adults), but that fee is waved if you indulge in a bun or a drink before you descend.
And, honestly, if you leave Bath without indulging in a Sally Lunn Bunn, it would be a shame anyway.