17 Bath attractions to visit in 2017
- Credit: sub
World famous for its wonderful architecture, iconic sights and fascinating history, there’s plenty to see and do in the wonderful city of Bath throughout the year, says Rachael Sharpe
A must for fashionistas is Bath Fashion Museum, housed in the magnificent Assembly Rooms and holding a world-class collection of contemporary and historic dress. A highlight of your visit will be the ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’ exhibition celebrating fashion from the 1600s to the present day.
Expect to see 100 star objects drawn from the Fashion Museum’s world-class collection which give you an instant insight into the era-defining outfits and headline pieces that have shaped our wardrobes over the past 400 years. Don’t miss the opportunity to view the Assembly Rooms too – free to look around when not in use.
Originally built for William Pulteney by Robert Adam, the bridge was an attempt to connect central Bath to land on the other bank of the River Avon and in turn make Pulteney’s fortune.
Despite its practical history, Pulteney Bridge is one of the most romantic and beautiful bridges in the world and one of only a handful of historic bridges to be built with shops into it. See it in all its majesty from Parade Gardens park by the crescent weir and if you’re in the city in the evening be sure to look at it all lit up.
Alexandra Park is one of the city’s most tranquil green spaces. If you look to the south from the city centre you’ll see a wooded hillside above the river and there on the summit sits Alexandra Park. If you want some peace and quiet, this is the place to go – the bird’s eye views over the city are nothing short of spectacular.
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Children are well catered for with a playground and you can play a game of boules if that takes your fancy. Don’t miss the annual ‘Picnic in the Park’ (Sunday July 2).
Enjoy Britain’s only natural thermal mineral-rich waters, just as the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago with a trip to Thermae Bath Spa. The spa combines the historic spa buildings of the Hot and Cross Baths with the contemporary design of the New Royal Bath to great effect.
Once you’ve soothed body and mind in the spa, don’t miss the visitor centre which depicts the colourful history, culture and traditions that grew around Britain’s most famous spa town.
The Sally Lunn Bun is an authentic regional speciality known the world over, making one of Bath’s oldest buildings, Sally Lunn’s, one of the world’s most famous tea and eating houses. Everyone should visit and enjoy a bun at least once.
Don’t miss the kitchen museum, which shows the actual kitchen used by the legendary young Huguenot baker Sally Lunn in Georgian Bath to create the first Bath bun.
Author Jane Austen paid two long visits to Bath towards the end of the 18th century and made the city her home from 1801 to 1806. At the centre you’ll meet costumed ‘character’ guides, and enjoy being shown Bath’s fascinating history and its associations with Jane Austen.
Don’t miss the waxwork of Jane – it took two years and was made with the assistance of an internationally-renowned sculptor, an FBI-trained forensic artist and a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning costume designer.
Ever wondered what it was like to live in Bath’s most famous Crescent back in the 1700’s? Visit No.1 Royal Crescent and find out.
This museum has been decorated and furnished just as it might have been during the period 1776-1796. The rooms, which include Parlour, Scullery and Gentleman’s Retreat, feature historic furniture, pictures and objects that reveal what life was like for Bath’s fashionable residents.
Royal Victoria Park
Just a few minutes from Bath city centre is Royal Victoria Park, which spans 57 acres of green parkland. Hugely popular with residents and visitors, the park has a plethora of attractions including a well-used bandstand, bowling greens, crazy golf, skateboard park, tennis courts, children’s play area, wild meadows, duck ponds and flower gardens.
Don’t miss the wonderful botanical gardens and the view from the Great Dell Aerial Walkway. Be sure to see the Obelisk dedicated to Queen Victoria too – she opened the park in 1830.
Situated at 19 New King Street, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy was once the home of William and Caroline Herschel, where William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in March 1781 and so doubled the size of the known universe. Amazingly, Herschel was a self-taught amateur astronomer, who built his own telescopes at home.
The museum is both fascinating and accessible, featuring exhibits and artifacts belonging to the Herschels and an astronomy trail for children.
New on the Bath entertainment scene is Bath Escape – a live, interactive escape game. Gather up your friends and race against the clock, trying to solve clues to reveal the combination of a lock that opens a chest that hides another clue that contain hints on how to read the next that leads to another mystery within another mystery within another mystery.
60 minutes of fun that’s like nothing else – are you smart enough?
This fascinating museum celebrates Bath’s industrial and commercial heritage and is a great way to spend an afternoon. Covering an entire floor of the museum is the reconstructed engineering and soft drinks factory of Victorian businessman J. B. Bowler – you can walk through the workshops and offices and see a complete soft drinks and bottling plant.
Other highlights include a reconstructed Bath Stone mine, complete with dripping water, reconstructed workshops of a Bath cabinet maker and a singular example of a six-stroke double acting gas engine made by local inventor Samuel Griffin plus a unique self-winding clock of 1866 built in the city. You certainly won’t be bored.
One of Bath’s most precious sites and indeed one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe. Visit and see the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world.
The city’s unique thermal springs rise in the site itself and the Baths still flow with natural hot water. Make sure you try the natural spa water before you leave.
A new addition to Bath’s spa offerings is LUSH SPA, situated on the bottom floor of LUSH on the High Street. This is a sanctuary of peace, wellness and your own personal journey. A range of treatments are available, all set to engage your senses and help you find peace.
We recommend ‘Tales of Bath’, a mythical, detoxifying 75-minute bath treatment where you are massaged, bathe in private, soothed with mineral water and the most fabulous bath bomb you’ll ever see, with wonderful music that helps tell a tale to take you on an enchanting journey. Everyone needs some ‘me time’ now and then.
Did you know that pilgrims and visitors have flocked to Bath Abbey for hundreds of years?
Some go to enjoy exceptional music, others for prayer and others to appreciate the magnificent architecture and rich history.
Beckford’s Tower is a 120-foot neo-classical tower that enjoys superb, uninterrupted panoramic views of the countryside, once you’ve climbed the beautiful spiral staircase to the restored Belvedere. It was designed by Henry Edmund Goodridge in 1825 and completed in 1827 for William Beckford (1760-1844), one of the nation’s most accomplished and interesting characters, as a study retreat and to house Beckford’s precious collection of art and rare books.
The tower is a great piece of architecture and is now a museum featuring furniture originally made for the tower, alongside paintings, prints and objects illustrating William Beckford’s life as a writer, collector and patron of the arts.
This intimate 18th-century National Trust garden is beyond beautiful and well worth a visit – whatever the season, you get wonderful views over Bath city. The gardens offer a wonderful walk but it’s equally a good place to simply take in the view and have a peaceful picnic.
Explore the woodland paths and look out for the plentiful wildlife. Be sure to wander across the famous Palladian Bridge – one of just four in the world.
You’ll find Old Theatre Royal on Orchard Street, which is quiet, cobbled and unassuming. Despite number 12 looking anonymous from the outside, the inside holds a wonderfully rich 265-year history.
Bath’s Old Theatre Royal was the first Theatre Royal outside of London, then a Catholic Chapel where bishops were ordained. Since 1865 it’s been the home of one of England’s oldest provincial Masonic Lodges too. You’ll be amazed.
We recommend finishing off your visit at one of Bath’s cocktail bars!