From Roman baths to a rooftop spa, explore the grand surroundings and sample all this Georgian city has to offer
What to see, where to eat, what to do and where to stay on a short break in Bath
Emerging into Bath’s compact city centre is like standing in a crucible of history. There’s a European feel to this small city, laid out by the Romans around its natural hot springs, and later expanded into the booming spa town of the 18th century. Now a World Heritage site, it has reclaimed that Georgian buzz, and its historic sandstone streets draw shoppers, diners and revellers from around the world. Here’s what to do with 48 hours in Bath…
What to do
A trip to the famed Roman Baths reveals where it all began. Beneath the city streets, walk on 2000-year-old pavements and marvel at the sophisticated plumbing that serviced the naturally hot mineral springs. Then why not soak away your exertions at the nearby (modern) Thermae Bath Spa while admiring the city views?
Where to eat
Many of Bath’s best spots are tucked down alleys or up among the rooftops. For the former, head to Milsom Place, which offers chains such as Côte Brasserie and Carluccio’s. For the latter, head for the roof terrace at Hall & Woodhouse.
Where to stay
£: The Thief offers rustic simplicity in a Georgian coaching inn near Victoria Park, with six stylish rooms and a great wine bar. From £79.
££: Harington’s City Hotel is a chic boutique hotel in the heart of the city offering 13 individually designed rooms and a courtyard hot tub (bookable by the hour). From £115.
What to do
Any visit to Bath has to include its architectural icons – the Circus and Royal Crescent. Start at the Assembly Rooms (where Jane Austen danced) and visit the Fashion Museum in its cellar, a fascinating collection of centuries-old costumes. Take in The Circus before heading along Brock St to No1 Royal Crescent, a carefully restored townhouse that reveals how a well-to-do family would have lived in the late 1700s. Finally, stroll into Victoria Park to the Botanic Gardens and relax amid its ponds and follies on warmer days.
Where to eat
Go Italian at Rosarios Café and deli, tucked away down another of those alleyways opposite the Guildhall – or join last night’s revellers with a morning-after gourmet feast at Bill’s on Cheap St.
For the best fish and chips in town, head to the Scallop Shell on Monmouth Place. Next to the Royal Crescent, the sunny courtyard at the Marlborough Tavern is perfect on a fine day (it does a fine roast on Sundays, too).
Bath is a centre of higher education, so why not pick up some new skills yourself?
Or learn a new craft at The Makery – you can have a go at anything from printmaking to furniture restoration.