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5 Historical Things to Do in Bath
One of Bath’s key attractions is its rich history. Visitors flock to the city every year to take in the beautiful Georgian architecture and find out more about the city’s ancient Roman past. Though the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms are undoubtedly among the most popular historic attractions, there is much more to see in Bath for those wanting to explore the city’s past so we will start our 5 from here!
No historical tour of Bath is complete without a visit to Bath Abbey. The Abbey is a striking example of Victorian Gothic architecture and you can take in spectacular views of the city with a Tower Tour to the top of the Abbey.
For even more far-reaching views of Bath and the surrounding countryside you can climb up Beckford’s Tower, a neoclassical folly on the northern outskirts of the city.
Visitors who are less keen on heights can pay a visit to Sally Lunn’s historic eating house, the oldest house in Bath, and try a local delicacy, the Sally Lunn Bun.
Of course, Bath is best known for its Georgian history and there is plenty to see. No1 Royal Crescent is open to the public and is decorated as it would have been in the late 18th century and the Jane Austen Centre is a must for anyone wanting to find out more about Bath’s most famous resident.
5 Things for Families to Do in Bath
Bath is a very family friendly city and there is plenty to see and do on a day out with the kids. Most museums in the city offer activities for families and special events are organised during the school holidays. The Roman Baths are a key attraction for any visitor to the city but there is plenty on offer for children. Children can meet Roman costumed characters to find out more about life in Roman Britain and listen to a children’s audio tour. The Fashion Museum will delight any future fashionista and activity backpacks filled with puzzles and fashion related activities are available to loan during your visit. If you are a Bath resident you are able to enter these museums at a reduced rate.
The American Museum, located on Claverton Hill, offers Kids’ Trails through the exhibits and the opportunity to handle objects and dress up like a Pilgrim or a Pioneer.
Having visited the museums, families will probably need fresh air and can visit Royal Victoria Park – one of the biggest parks in the city centre – where there is plenty to do. The park has a children’s play area, a model boating pond and tennis courts. You can also play mini golf or take a walk through the Botanical Garden.
On sunny days a visit to the Bath Boating Station is ideal. You can hire rowing boats, canoes, kayaks and more from the Victorian boating station to explore the River Avon and see the wildlife that inhabit it. Alternatively travel along the canal on a narrowboat, available for hire from the city centre.
5 Things to Do in Bath For Free
A day out in Bath need not be a pricey one – there is a host of things to do for free or cheaply. For example, two of the most well-known and highly visited attractions in Bath are completely free to see. The Royal Crescent and The Circus are two striking examples of Georgian architecture and are arguably among the best in the United Kingdom.
The main city centre is only approximately a mile and half in diameter and is perfect for walking tours. There are so many places to see in Bath that you can choose to explore on your own, with a free audio tour or take a guided walking tour of the city. You can find the locations used in film and TV productions or walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen (the Jane Austen Centre charges admission fees). The city boasts a magnificent self guided Skyline Tour which takes in views of the city and surrounding area.
Some museums in the city will offer discounted entry for groups or families but there are several museums that have free entry. The Holburne Museum houses paintings and decorative arts built around Sir William Holburne’s collection of over 4,000 objects that was bequeathed to the city of Bath – entry is free although there may be a charge for temporary exhibits.
The Victoria Art Gallery is also free and its collection of paintings, sculptures and decorative art ranges from the 15th century to the present day. As with the Holburne, entry is free although due to funding cuts there may be a charge for temporary exhibitions.
A recently renovated Tucking Mill Viaduct has incorporated the Two Tunnels Greenway cycle path that runs from Linear Park and links into the Sustrans network. This is another pleasant walking area too.
5 Things for Couples to Do in Bath
With its classic architecture and countryside surroundings, Bath can be the perfect choice for a romantic getaway. Aside from the more general tourist attractions there are lots of things that couples can do on a day out or weekend away in Bath. The city is well-known for its thermal springs and has been a popular spa town destination for hundreds of years. Though you can no longer swim in the Roman Baths you can visit the nearby Thermae Spa – the Spa offers a variety of packages and has a rooftop pool that is heated with water from the hot springs below the city.
You can go and see a play or a production in the Theatre Royal, a theatre that is over 200 years old and puts on a wide variety of shows throughout the year.
If the weather is good you can have a picnic in Parade Gardens. These pleasure grounds are centrally located and look out over the weir and Pulteney Bridge. In the summer months concerts are held in the bandstand.
You can also take a tour of the city in a horse drawn carriage – a great way to celebrate a special occasion.
5 More Unusual Things to Do in Bath
Bath has many unusual attractions for you to investigate including Ghost Tours that will guide you around the city on foot taking in dark and mysterious places from the city’s history. Unless you are in a large party of more than 10 you can normally join the tour that evening.
Although not much to look at, the Hanging Tree is part of the city history. The tree is in the Abbey Green and is said to be the tree from which those who had to be hanged met their end.
Emails whizz around the world today in place of the hand written letter. Pay a visit to the Bath Postal Museum to see how things used to be communicated including examining the handwriting and reading about those who set up The Post Office. There are displays of mail-coaches, timetables, robberies and a history of the good old post box.
The centre of Bath is infamous and the racecourse is slightly less so. On the outskirts of the city and on the hill top of Lansdown it enjoys magnificent views of the city and beyond. Afternoon and evening meets are held from March to November including several Family meets. The venue hosts several other events throughout the year.
Initially a news theatre open from midday to show hourly programmes and newsreels, the Little Theatre Cinema is now an art house cinema with 2 screens since the original scenery store and lounge were converted.. Built in 1935 and retaining much of the charm of that time the cinema has modernised to include digital sound but features retained include the balcony.
5 Days Out from Bath
If you own a performance car you can book a track day at Castle Combe Circuit, and take your own vehicle onto the track to test it as it was designed to be driven. Even if you want to keep your car in the car park you can take to the track in one of their performance cars and enjoy the thrill of speed without the worry of speed cameras. The circuit hosts motorsport and speedway events throughout the year too.
Longleat House and Safari Park lies about 15 miles south east of the city and ensure a varied day out. The drive through safari park is home to the Lions of Longleat and many of the animals and keepers have starred in television programmes over recent years. The magnificent Elizabethan house stands in equally magnificent gardens and is considered one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public.
Travelling south you could combine a day out to the naturally stunning Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole. The Gorge offers visitors walks, rock climbing, pot holing & tours of the caves. Don’t forget to visit the cheese outlets to buy your genuine Cheddar Cheese. Travel on to Wookey Hole for more caves and enclosed visitors attractions. There is a resident witch here who you may like to meet?
All the international tourists to the city arrive or depart via Stonehenge, the Neolithic ring of standing stones. A new visitor centre opened in 2013 and houses ever changing temporary exhibitions, beware of the solstice timings as this is always a very busy time for visiting. This site is run by English Heritage. Slightly quieter that Stonehenge is the village of Avebury, home to three stone circles. There are plenty of opportunities to walk in the Wiltshire countryside and there is a museum displaying artefacts unearthed since the 1930s. This site is run by the National Trust.
Haynes Motor Museum near Sparkford offers the petrol head historian a good day. This museums displays the UK’s largest exhibition of over 400 cars and bikes housed in 12 halls. Always renovating new stock these displays change routinely.