By Rebecca Burns
Bath is a place that always leaves a favourable impression, and any amount of time spent here will leave you wanting to come back for more. Compact enough to walk around, this UNESCO World Heritage city is certainly a place where the car should be left behind, or parked up in one of the Park & Ride car parks. Whether it’s a weekend break or a mid-week treat, 48 hours in Bath is a guaranteed feast for all the senses. Try our suggested itinerary for the perfect whirlwind adventure!
Start the day with a walk through Bath Abbey in the centre of the city and marvel at its beautiful architecture and then pop into the Jane Austen Centre before refuelling at the world famous tea and eating house, Sally Lunn’s, on North Parade Passage. This was the place frequented by all Georgian society – keen to ‘see and be seen’.
Round the corner, you’ll find the city’s amazing, steaming Roman Baths. These fascinating baths, where 46ºc spring water gushes from the earth, are the very reason why Bath exists at all and the Roman remains of Aquae Sulis are on display for all to see.
Now, it’s time to pick one of the many unique eateries in the city for light lunch before visiting a gallery or museum. If fashion is your thing don’t miss a trip to the Fashion Museum on Bennett Street in the Assembly Rooms, where clothes dating back to the 16th century are on display. Alternatively check out the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath’s largest gallery. Rest your feet and wind down with afternoon tea at the Pump Room. This restaurant still has a small fountain where you can take a cup to sample the warm spa mineral water. It’s certainly a unique experience!
For a money-saving tip, look out for the special-price ‘combined ticket’ which allows a visit to The Roman Baths, lunch at the Pump Room and a two-hour trip to sample the delights of the state-of-the-art Thermae Bath Spa and its open-air rooftop pool. This has amazing views over the city and is the only place in the country where you can bathe in natural thermal water.
Finish the day with fine dining in one of Bath’s many restaurants before taking in a show at the Theatre Royal or a film at tiny, art deco, The Little Theatre Cinema.
This restaurant still has a small fountain where you can take a cup to sample the warm spa mineral water. It’s certainly a unique experience!
Start the second half of your trip with a walk along the Circus and the Royal Crescent. Snatch a fascinating glimpse of Georgian life at No.1 Royal Crescent – one of the city’s grandest addresses. This museum reopened to great success in the winter of 2013 and gives a real taste of what life was like for everyone from a servant to a Duchess. Stroll on through to Royal Victoria Park and the Botanical Gardens before returning back to the city centre for lunch.
Spend the afternoon wandering around the many shops and galleries in Bath. Union Street, Stall Street and Southgate are where you’ll find the usual high street stores. But what Bath is best for are the quirkier, more specialist shops centred around Quiet Street and Walcot Street. The Bartlett Street Antiques Centre is filled with everything imaginable from antique jewellery and 1920s jigsaws to grandfather clocks and china.
Foodies should head to Green Park Station, home to the oldest farmer’s market in Britain, held here once a week on Saturdays. Vintage-lovers can find the perfect dress or hat at Vintage to Vogue, just off Milsom Street, while on Bath’s New Bond Street, high-end fashion store Anthropologie has opened one of their few branches outside London in summer 2014.
Another unique shopping experience is a trip across the famous Pulteney Bridge. Stroll across to find even more wonderful boutiques and one-off shops to explore. Or, have a coffee at the café near to the bridge to look down on the river.
Finish your trip with a hearty meal before returning home. The Allium Brasserie is a great choice in The Abbey Hotel. And, if you’re there in December, look out for their fun ‘ski chalet’ extension, where you can warm up with a glass of Gluhwein.
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