Lives in London, England
Since May 2009
Travel writer/blogger and flashpacker. Visit me at https://www.followingtherivera.com/ to see the latest in boutique and luxury hotel travel
Historic Sites, History Museums
Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites
Bridges, Flea & Street Markets
Points of Interest & Landmarks
History Museums, Speciality Museums
Boat Tours, Boat Hire
Bodies of Water
Points of Interest & Landmarks
A good caffeine fix to kick start your time in Bath, and conveniently located between both bus and train stations. Great lattes, freshly made sweet and savory bites, and friendly staff makes Jika Jika a great first stop.
An absolute must for anyone visiting Bath. A historic and iconic landmark of Bath's history, revelers are taken six meters below street level to see sights such as the Sacred Spring and the Roman Temple. The baths are undoubtedly one of the city's most popular attractions, and lines build up very quickly. In short, the earlier you arrive, the better. The costumed characters add a nice touch to the tour, particularly for families traveling with children.
It is impossible to visit Bath without encountering one of the city's grandest landmarks. A fine example of Gothic architecture, the Abbey is not merely a church, it also serves as a signpost back to the city centre, should you ever get lost. The interior of the Abbey is far more striking than the pictures suggest, and for those feeling particularly fit, the 212 stairs to the top of the Tower should hit the spot. Needless to say, the views of Bath from the Tower are well worth the sweat beads. The many benches dotted around the Abbey also provide ample opportunity for one of my favourite pastimes: people watching.
There is surely nothing more satisfying than a sugar rush after burning off a few hundred calories checking out the city's sights. The San Francisco Fudge Factory sells a fine range of handmade, gluten free, creamy fudge, in a wide variety of flavours. I am particularly partial to the salted caramel fudge and the cocoa dusted chili truffles.
A short hop, skip and a jump away from Bath Abbey is the very pretty Parade Gardens. A lovely patch of circular green, the gardens add to the tranquility typically associated with Bath. Those lucky to visit in summer can inspect the sights from street level, or enter the park itself.
Another hard to miss feature in Bath, the Palladian style bridge crosses over the River Avon, adding a hint of Venetian charm to the city. Shops and cafes are situated along this Grade I listed structure, and views from the bridge offer a different perspective.
Carry on walking from Pulteney Bridge and you will find yourself on Bath's widest street. With both sides lined with the Georgian style homes atypical of the city, Great Pulteney Street not only makes for a pleasant walk, but it also leads to another place of interest, the Holburne Museum.
Nestled in the Sydney Pleasure Gardens, the Holburne Museum is definitely worth a visit. Bath's first public museum, entry is free (though donations are welcome) and exhibitions range from classic to contemporary. I was fortunate to be there to see several pieces from the Caneletto exhibition being transported inside the building!
Begin day two with a visit to one of Bath's most famous attractions: Royal Crescent. Though No. 1 Royal Crescent is a museum, the main attraction is the crescent-shaped formation of Georgian style houses found on this row. This particular Grade I listed building offer views of nearby Victoria Park, and while some of the other houses here are residential, no. 16 is home to the Royal Crescent Hotel.
A short walk from the Royal Crescent lies another Bath treasure, The Circus. A circular architectural display of Georgian townhouses, the attraction is a wondrous sight and a particular treat for anyone interested in history, design, and the architecture of John Wood the Elder.
Spend an afternoon cruising along the peaceful Kennet & Avon Canal on a traditional narrowboat. Various options for boat hire include full day, half day, and even overnight trips. The boats accommodate 1 to 12 people, and is great value for those wanting to explore the Kennet & Avon Canal and its surrounding countryside. I would recommend bringing a picnic lunch to ensure full stomachs and happy faces; alternatively, Bath Narrowboats can provide a gourmet hamper (if ordered in advance.)
The Kennet & Avon Canal is a waterway that covers some of the country's most scenic areas. With many bike paths situated along the canal, cycling is a popular way to explore Bath and its surrounding areas. Despite the unpredictable English weather, I'd still recommend spring/summer to cycle the route.
A trip to Bath would not be complete without a visit to Sally Lunn's Historic Eating House. Accept no imitations, as no Bath bun compares to those served here. The Bath Cream Tea is still my favorite: Half a Sally Lunn's bun topped with homemade cinnamon butter and served with plenty of clotted cream. Oh, and house tea is included too. There are no words nor pictures that do it justice, you must try it for yourself!
It would be a crime to visit Bath, and not sample the very experience that the city takes its historic name from! With many hotels in the city offering spa facilities, the Thermae Bath Spa has gained a popular following, and after my own visit, it is easy to see why. Beautifully maintained historic surroundings, friendly and accommodating staff, and wonderful spa facilities places the Thermae Bath Spa high on my list. Its ethos centres around inclusiveness, meaning that everyone is welcome; it's great value for money, and there are also a range of spa treatments available to book. I myself will be returning soon to try a Watsu massage - a form of Shiatsu massage that takes place in the natural thermal waters of the Hot Bath. The star of the show however, is undeniably the rooftop pool, an experience made even more memorable if you're lucky to experience some sunshine while bathing!
Another coffee I hear you say? Yes! But this is no ordinary coffee. Founded by two-time UK Barista Champion, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, this minimalist gem serves specialty blends, with selections changing on a weekly basis. Choose from three espressos or a filter coffee at the Brew Bar - passionate about coffee, this is one cafe that is sure to satisfy even the snobbiest of coffee snobs!
Situated just off George Street, Bartlett Street offers far more than the Antique Centre. A little off the beaten track, Bartlett Street also has several great independent stores tucked away along its stretch, selling clothes and household goods.
If high-end shopping is your thing, Milsom Street is just the place for you. Boutique shopping, pop-up shops, and designer brands can be found on this street, as well as Jolly's department store (part of popular UK chain House of Fraser), which features all the usual goods expected from a large store.