7 of the best things to do in Bath this bank holiday
- Credit: Original Wild
While you might be planning a trip to the beach over the August bank holiday, why not also consider a day trip to Somerset’s most famous heritage city? CATHERINE COURTENAY reveals more
New this year is the programme of Summer Sundays taking place across the city centre. Look out for pop-up street performers from Jane Austen dancers to samba bands, free face painting, balloon artists and family-friendly art workshops at 15 Cheap Street.
On the last Sunday of August, Parade Gardens overlooking Pulteney Weir will turn into an English summer fete with market stalls and fun for all the family.
Shop 'til you drop
SouthGate shopping centre has been transformed into a rainbow of colour with walkways of overhead colourful bunting. Don’t miss the multi-coloured canopy made from 3,675 individual ribbon strips, which follows the centre’s iconic Umbrella Street and Wisteria Walkway installations in previous years, providing the perfect photo opportunity and brightening up shoppers’ days.
From fashion and jewellery to books and food, Bath is brimming with boutique shops, so plan time to wander around the side streets and explore all the independent stores.
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Rest and relax
The 360-degree view from the rooftop pool of Thermae Bath Spa is one way to enjoy the city's skyline. Book a session in advance to relax in the hot mineral waters of the spa while watching the sunset over the city.
The Soul Spa around the corner offers meditation and has recently launched Saturday night Sensory Lounge events. Enjoy a multi-sensory sound journey in a soothing lounge with a sound frequency meditation and lo-fi music produced live by a DJ.
The River Avon runs right through the city centre – take a boat trip from Pulteney Weir down to Bathampton with Pulteney Cruises or enjoy a glass of Prosecco while gently cruising down the river on Bath Adventures’ boat.
Book a paddleboarding session with Original Wild or while away a few hours at the Boater pub on the edge of Pulteney Weir, which has one of the largest beer gardens in the city.
Along with the world’s first visitor attraction dedicated to Mary Shelley and her monster – Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein – which opened earlier in the summer, there are many new exhibitions to enjoy.
A series of rare behind-the-scenes photographs of the world’s most iconic rock stars and actors during the 1970s are on display at The American Museum & Gardens in Bath. Shooting Stars runs until October 31 and features a collection of 63 intimate natural portraits and lifestyle shots taken in America and the UK by 70s model, actress and ‘It Girl’, Carinthia West.
A new free exhibition called Monuments, Empire and Slavery at Bath Abbey reveals the links between some of the people commemorated on the Abbey’s ledger stones and wall tablets and the British Empire. Research so far has found more than 200 connections to colonies including the West Indies and India from the 1700s and 1800s. The exhibition tells the stories of three different men within the context of 18th century Bath society and the transatlantic slave trade.
Shoephoria! at Fashion Museum Bath continues and No. 1 Royal Crescent is now open with a brand-new immersive experience.
Music to your ears
Music lovers are invited to explore the stories of Bath’s iconic music scenes through the new location-based digital museum project Everything is Music.
The project invites artists, prominent characters, labels, clubs, venues, record stores and festivals that form the fabric of Bath’s musical landscape – past and present – to explain why particular locations are important to them. These stories are then told through photographs, video, audio, podcasts, music and experiences, at location-based pins in Bath.
Bath’s food scene continues to grow with some new arrivals in the city. For a taste of Sri Lanka try out the Coconut Tree in Broad Street serving Sri Lankan street food packed with island flavours, or for a little of something French, Bar Breton in Barton Street offers small plates, wine and Breton cider inspired by the owners' trips to Brittany.
Grab some sushi with Yo Sushi’s new shop in Brunel Square, while the newly-opened Berdoulat interior design store in Margaret’s Buildings sees Rye Bakery Frome take up residence with an in-store café.