Wreathed in golden honey coloured stone that captures the light just perfectly (especially at sunset!), Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, a truth acknowledged by UNESCO when they bestowed the entire city with World Heritage Status, making Bath the only city in Britain with that particular honour.
Bath has been welcoming visitors since long before UNESCO swept in to confirm its historical importance. Founded by the Romans, the city played host to weary travellers and tourists looking to 'take the healing waters' that gave the city its name. These days you can still visit the evocative and atmospheric Roman Baths, while if you feel the need to take the waters yourself, there are a number of thermal spas in Bath.
It was during the Regency period that Bath became the city you would recognise today. It became even more popular with visitors than during the Roman era (although perhaps not as popular as it is now), and was at the very heart of the social calendar for any keen socialite. This is when the buildings, built out of local golden coloured Bath stone were erected, with the Palladian mansions and the stunning Royal Crescent dating from that period.
From the point of the proverbial tourist’s requirements, Bath is adorned with some very good B&B’s and guest houses, and out of season you’ll find some very good deals that include a full English breakfast and several with half-board lodgings at incredible rates, so search this page to reveal these bargains!
Another keen visitor and observer of local society was, of course, Jane Austen and many a Janeite has made the pilgrimage to Bath that Austen immortalised in her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. If you fancy learning more, you can visit the Jane Austen Museum, which offers insights into her life and career, as well as many of the settings found in her books. One such backdrop is the famous Assembly Rooms, which were once the centre of Regency life in Bath and are now run by the National Trust. Once described as 'the most noble and elegant' of any such rooms in the kingdom, visitors are offered the chance to dress up like real Regency ladies or gentlemen. If that doesn't satisfy your desire for authentic surroundings, then head over to the Pump Rooms for a spot of afternoon tea.
There is history around every corner in Bath, from the abbey which was the site of the coronation of the first King of all England, Edgar in 773, to the beautiful Pulteney Bridge which crosses the River Avon. Built in 1774, it is most notable for the shops that line either side of it - allowing you to indulge in a little retail therapy even as you cross the bridge. And at Number 1 Royal Crescent you can take a tour of an iconic Regency townhouse, decorated and maintained just as it would have been in the 18th century.
The real pleasure of Bath can be found in simply wandering its streets, sampling its many cafes, restaurants and pubs, taking a bite out of the local cuisine and swigging some local cider. Needless to say, there is plenty to see and do here, and more than enough to keep you busy for a few days.