Bath, known as “The Queen of English Cities,” has attracted visitors for over 2,000 years with its impressive Roman Baths and mineral-rich hot springs. With charming honey-colored Georgian streets, iconic sites, cozy tearooms, and luxury spa experiences – it's a city that you'll have a hard time leaving.
I absolutely loved visiting Bath. It's a city that makes you feel like you've stepped into the romantic world of a Jane Austen novel. I didn't even have to spend a day in the city to know that it would become one of my favorite cities in the UK. It's so beautiful, elegant, relaxing, uplifting and, above all, romantic. I just can't wait to go back with my better half.
In this travel guide, I'll share my 48-hour itinerary and give you some ideas of things to do, where to eat, where to stay and how to make the most of a weekend in Bath.
Bath is located in Somerset, south-west England and is a UNESCO world heritage city, built for pleasure and relaxation. It has been a wellbeing destination since the Romans constructed their baths here in 70AD.
The picture-perfect streets are lined with honey-colored Georgian buildings, constructed with bath stone. The bath stone is what gives the whole city its golden glow. Bath is also packed with trendy eateries, many independent shops, museums, galleries, and spas.
It's ideal as a relaxing retreat, romantic getaway, and city break.
Bath is very accessible. It is only a 90-minute direct train ride from London Paddington station.
Tickets are from £15 one way in advance.
If you fly to Bristol, you can also get to Bath with a 12-minute train ride. Birmingham is just under 2 hours, and Manchester is about 3 hours and 30 minutes away.
A WEEKEND IN BATH – A Two Days Itinerary
Step into history at The Roman Baths, immerse yourself in Thermae Bath Spa's warm mineral-rich waters and meet the ‘Gin' Austen cocktail (named after one of Bath's most famous residents, Jane Austen).
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Arrival: Check into a Spa Hotel
As Bath is a spa resort, it's worth to spend a little extra and treat yourself to a stay in a luxury spa hotel.
A wonderful five-star option is the gorgeous Georgian hotel Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel. The hotel is set in beautiful gardens with fountains, ponds and perfectly trimmed bushes. It is located just on the edge of Bath, (though still within walking distance to the attractions).
Check-in is from 3.30pm, but you can leave your bags at the hotel before you head out to explore the city.
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Afternoon: Grab Lunch at Framptons
Before you start your adventure in Bath, you need to get some energy. A great lunch place is Framptons, which is one of Bath's newest gastropubs, serving seasonal, healthy and local food.
The interior is trendy, and the location in the historic Empire Grand Building on Grand Parade is the ideal place to have a lazy brunch, bite to eat or a leisurely drink.
Afternoon: Explore Bath by Foot
Alright, now to the exploring! The first day in Bath is all about getting a feel for this beautiful city. The good news is, Bath is perfectly compact and very walkable. All the main attractions and sights are packed tightly into the small center.
It is a pleasure to walk around Bath on the many majestic streets. There are things to see (and take photos of) everywhere.
Tips! You can also go on a bus tour with City Sightseeing Bath.
Here are some iconic sights in Bath you have to walk by:
Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon
The elegant Pulteney Bridge with its sweeping horseshoe-shaped weir is one of Bath's most famous photo spots. Pulteney Bridge is no ordinary bridge either, it's an inhabited bridge and is one of only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides.
It's a great place to shop for gifts and souvenirs.
Head to The Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bath. The unique building is very imposing with its row of 30 terraced houses – laid out in a sweeping crescent.
Walk Over to The Circus
Just up the road from the Royal Crescent is The Circus. This beautiful historic street of large townhouses is another place worth seeing in Bath. Fun to know is that many world-famous celebrities live in this neighborhood (former residents are, for example, Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage).
I've heard that hardly a day goes by in Bath without a celebrity being spotted in the street.
Another jewel in Bath's crown is Bath Abbey. This magnificent church has been a place of worship for more than 1200 years. The grand abbey is easily spotted as it towers above the city and can be seen from miles around.
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Afternoon: Enjoy an Ice Cream at Swoon Gelato
One of the best ice cream places in Bath (and maybe all of UK) is Swoon Gelato. They serve super creamy artisan gelato with intense and amazing flavors. The chefs dream up five new seasonal flavors every month so you will always have a reason to come back.
Some flavors this November are, for example, Carrot Cake Gelato, Blood Orange Sorbetto, and Mascarpone with Caramelised Fig Gelato. YUM!
They are open daily to 22.30, so you can head here when you crave an evening dessert too.
Evening: Drinks and Dinner at No.15 Great Pulteney
For a meal of the ordinary, have a dinner or Instagrammable afternoon tea at the beautiful boutique hotel No.15 Great Pulteney. Even though the food is laid-back, the interior and drinks are anything but. The place is filled with visual treats, and the cocktails can make your jaw drop.
In the reception, you are greeted by a large oil painting made by a local student and an eye-catching “Lost Earrings Chandelier” displaying nearly 500 donated lone earrings.
Eat a relaxed dinner by one of the see-through tables filled with antique jewelry. Flick through the deck of specially-created playing cards to choose your cocktail. Though be warned, there are some wild cards in the mix!
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09.00: Relax at Thermae Bath Spa
When in Bath, you do, of course, need to visit the city's crown jewel. The award-winning natural spa Thermae Bath Spa. This is the only place in Britain where you can bathe in naturally warm, mineral-rich waters, just as the Celts and Romans did over 2 000 years ago.
Put on swimwear, robe, and slippers and enjoy a 2-hour spa session. You can relax in the indoor Minerva Bath and enjoy the multi-sensory Wellness Suite. On the rooftop is the not-to-be-missed open-air rooftop pool with spectacular views over the City of Bath and it's surrounding hills.
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Head to the spa when it opens at 9 am, or, if you prefer a sunset soak, finish your day with an evening dip as you watch the sun set over the city.
- You are usually not allowed to take photos at Thermae Bath Spa (we got special permission for the rooftop pool), but that also means that you can appreciate this experience fully. Enjoy life without cameras and cell phones!
- Saturdays & Sundays are the busiest days at the Spa. If you want a quieter experience, visit on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
- Children under 16 are not permitted in the New Royal Bath.
Morning: Visit The Roman Baths
Another thing you can't miss to do in Bath is visiting The Roman Baths. It is the most famous attraction in the city.
The baths were used for public bathing about 70-400 AD, but they gradually fell into disuse as it was buried under mud and rubble. It was not rediscovered until the late 18th century. Being forgotten in history for centuries contributed to making The Roman Baths one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world.
The sacred site also includes the remains of the Temple of Aquae Sulis and a museum of artifacts found at the site.
If you feel like it, you can try a sip of the hot mineral spring water in the Pump Room's fountain (though I've heard that it tastes awful – on the other hand, the water has long been believed to have healing powers!).
Tips! If you are in Bath between 16 June and 31 August, you can visit The Roman Baths at night and explore the sights by flickering torchlight.
Afternoon: Enjoy Vegan Lunch at Acorn Restaurant
If you crave vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free food, you will love Acorn Restaurant.
It is an award-winning, and Michelin recommended restaurant that serves innovative vegan and vegetarian food within one of Bath's oldest buildings.
The restaurant is sweet and intimate, and the dishes are full of colors and flavors.
Afternoon: Treat Yo' Self To San Francisco Fudge Factory
For a very Instagram-friendly (and addictive) dessert, head to San Francisco Fudge Factory. It's the cutest little family-run shop selling handmade fudge, chocolate, and confectionery. Their products are made in their store in Bath right in front of your eyes – with only natural ingredients.
There are over 30 yummy flavors to choose from; some of the most popular are vanilla Belgian chocolate chunk and salted caramel.
You can also pop in for a caramel apple and fluffy marshmallows on sticks.
Afternoon: Free Time in Bath
Free time is always appreciated in any itinerary! There are many things to do in Bath, so now that you've gotten a feel for the city – do what you are in the mood for. Go shopping at South Gate, explore the city some more, visit a museum, or enjoy a spa treatment at the hotel. You decide! ♥
Evening: Canary Gin Bar & Distillery
Tucked down a quiet, cobbled street in the heart of the city is The Canary Gin Bar, home of the Bath Gin Company and the cocktails of “Gin” Austen.
Here you can pop in for a cocktail (or three) and find the ultimate Gin experience. There are, after all, 200 gins to choose from behind the desk. The Canary Gin Bar & Distillery is set over three floors, from the basement distillery, the main bar on the ground floor, and the specialist Martini bar upstairs.
After experiencing some of the best of Bath for two full days, the hotel bed can sound pretty inviting right about now. Or you may just be ready to extend your trip another day.
Bonus tips! Visit a Festival in Bath
It's always a good idea to see if something is going on in the city when you plan your trip. Bath has a packed calendar of events and festivals throughout the year.
One of the most-known festivals is The Bath Festival. It's a multi-arts festival giving you the perfect excuse for a longer stay in the city.
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I visited Bath on a press trip organized by Visit Bath and Visit Britain.
As always, all the opinions are my own.