What To Do On Your Weekend City Break In Bath

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Bath was recently ranked as one of the world’s top travel destinations by the National Geographic, and the reasons it’s such a popular tourist destination are certainly plentiful.

Firstly, the city boasts some of the finest Georgian architecture in the world. It’s also the only city in the country to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status. In fact, it’s one of the very few sites in the world where the whole city has been given this status. The city’s centrepiece, the ancient Roman Baths, is a masterpiece in historical preservation and it’s mineral-rich waters have drawn visitors for millennia. We could go on (in fact, we do if you scroll down)… 

It’s not only tourists who are drawn here. The city is a frequent winner in lists of the best places to live in the UK. As such, you might look into the best reasons to move to Bath and we wouldn’t blame you. However, if, for now, you’re just looking to visit the city, here are some of the best things to do on your weekend city break Bath.

Explore The Roman Baths

Step back in time and explore the Roman Baths, one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world, dating back to around 70 AD. Discover ancient steam rooms and plunge pools… Hey, you can even sip the water.

Yep, you can taste the waters of the mineral-rich hot springs that initially drew the Romans to Bath. While the taste may be an acquired one, it’s a unique experience that connects you to the thousands of people who have visited the springs for their supposed healing properties over the centuries.

Walking through the Roman Baths gives a sense of stepping back in time, with the steamy waters and ancient stonework creating an evocative atmosphere. Visitors can learn about the Roman way of life and how the baths played a crucial role in social and religious practices. The site includes a museum with artifacts found in the Baths, offering insights into the daily lives of the ancient Romans.

Inspired by the ancient baths, you can experience modern-day bathing at the nearby Thermae Bath Spa, which uses the same natural hot springs. This all leads us neatly to our next point…


Take A Dip In The Thermae Bath Spa

If you’re only planning to visit Bath once in your life, then you can’t come here and not bathe in the city’s naturally warm, mineral-rich waters, just as the Romans did over 2,000 years ago. Today this luxurious spa is the only place in the UK where where the spa water is pumped from a natural spring. 

This rejuvenating retreat in the centre of the city offers a range of spa treatments and experiences, including the Minerva Bath (named after the Roman goddess of wisdom and health,) which is the largest of the thermal baths. 

The pièce de résistance is the open-air rooftop pool, where you can relax in the bubbling waters while taking in breathtaking panoramic views of the city  and the rolling countryside.  A word of warning, the spa is very popular so best to book ahead. 

For a more intimate and exclusive experience, the Cross Bath is an open-air thermal bath that can be visited separately and booked for a group. It is an official sacred site where the Celts revered the goddess Sulis, synonymous with Minerva.


Indulge In A Cream Tea At The Pump Room 

If you’re after the quintessential, genteel Georgian experience, then taking afternoon tea at The Pump Room, a well-preserved historical site that dates back to the 18th century and is part of the Roman Baths complex, is a must.  

The Pump Room is an example of neoclassical architecture with its elegant columns and crystal chandelier. Here you can immerse yourself in the Georgian era’s grandeur and learn about the social history of Bath, all while enjoying a cup of tea and a scone. It’s a perfect break from a busy day of sightseeing, offering a chance to relax in a historic setting.

Indeed, The Pump Room captures the essence of a bygone era and the timeless tradition of British high tea in one sitting. Oh, and if you missed out on trying the spa water at The Roman Baths, you can try it here too! 


Swim In Britain’s Oldest Lido

Didn’t get a timeslot at the Thermae Spa? Worry not – you can still bathe in Bath at Britain’s oldest open-air swimming pool. Built back in 1815, the Cleveland Pools first opened as a river-fed pool. After years of neglect, this Georgian wonder reopened in 2023 following a £9.3 million restoration project. Taking a dip here is a chance to splash about in a piece of history. 


Enjoy A Show At The Theatre Royal 

The Theatre Royal Bath is one of the oldest and most beautiful theatres in Britain. Built in 1805, it has been an important venue for theatrical performances for over two centuries. Many shows are played here before they go onto the West-End. 

The theatre is known for its stunning Georgian architecture and the interior is equally impressive, with ornate decorations and plush seating. Enjoy a matinee performance of a classic play or a new production. 

Read: 7 itinerary ideas for a UK city break focused on the theatre


The Royal Crescent & No. 1 Royal Crescent

No visit to Bath is complete without seeing the iconic Royal Crescent. This sweeping curve of 30 terraced houses is one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK. Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is a quintessential example of the Palladian style that was popular during the period.

At the eastern end of the Crescent is No. 1 Royal Crescent, a historic house museum that has been restored and decorated to show what life was like for the wealthy and their servants in 18th-century Bath.


Walk The Bath Skyline

The Bath Skyline walk (a six mile journey) offers stunning panoramic views of the city of Bath and the surrounding countryside. It’s an excellent way to see the city from a different perspective and take in its Georgian architecture and appreciate the city’s historical context. Along the walk, there are various attractions such as the Sham Castle, an 18th-century folly, and the American Museum & Gardens.


Walk Along The Avon Canal 

The Kennet and Avon Canal walk from Bath to Bathampton is another great way to see more of city. Starting from Pulteney Bridge (which is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops across its full span on both sides) you can follow the canal bath towards Sydney Bridge (one of the last remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in the UK).

Stop off at the George Inn, a waterside pub before turning back, or carry on past the Dundas Aqueduct, all before stopping off at another pub, The Freshford Inn. 

Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride

A hot air balloon ride provides a bird’s-eye view of honey-coloured Bath. From up high, you can take in the city’s famous sites, such as the aforementioned Royal Crescent, The Circus, and Pulteney Bridge, which are considered masterpieces of Georgian design. Fly Away Ballooning and Virgin Balloon Flights both offer flights from Royal Victoria Park which travel across the city and surrounding countryside. 


Have A Picnic In Parade Gardens

Parade Gardens in Bath offers a picturesque retreat in the middle of the city with manicured lawns and vibrant flower beds overlooking the River Avon. Visitors can bask in the historical ambiance, with stunning views of Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey, making it an ideal spot for a tranquil picnic.

The gardens provide a serene escape from the city bustle, inviting guests to relax amidst the Georgian elegance. Get your picnic bits from The Guildhall Market, which is right next to Parade Gardens. The delicatessen here sells lots of locally made products


Have A Bath Bun Or A Sally Lunn Bunn 

Speaking of locally made products, you can’t come to Bath and not have one of its buns. The fine folk of Georgian Bath seem to have been baking for as long as they have been bathing, and Bath is synonymous with two types of bun, the Bath Bun and the Sally Lunn Bunn.

The Bath Bun is a sweet enriched yeast dough bun, highly glazed and lightly spiced with nibs of sugar and currants on top, and a little surprise in the middle; a lurking lump of sugar. With a recipe dating back to 1679, this one is still available today at The Bath Bun Tea Shoppe.

Not to be confused with the Bath Bun, you should also try the world-famous Sally Lunn Bun at one of the oldest houses in Bath, now a charming tea room.


Climb Bath Abbey’s Tower

You can’t miss the Bath Abbey, right next to the Roman Baths. It’s a stunning example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture if ever there was one. Climbing the tower of Bath Abbey offers a unique opportunity to experience breathtaking views of the historic city and its surrounding countryside.

As you ascend the 212 steps, you are treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the Abbey’s ringing chamber and bell chamber. When you reach the top, a panoramic vista unfolds – a reward worth the climb. The journey also provides a closer appreciation of the Abbey’s intricate Gothic architecture. 

Visit Jane Austen Centre

Bath’s Jane Austen Centre is a must-visit for literature enthusiasts and Austen fans. It offers a captivating glimpse into the Regency era and the life of one of England’s most beloved authors.

Visitors can immerse themselves in Austen’s world, exploring the exhibits that detail her time in Bath and the influence it had on her writing. The Centre’s period costumes, knowledgeable guides, and engaging presentations make it a delightful and educational experience, celebrating Austen’s enduring legacy.

Enjoy The Landscaped Gardens at The Holburne Museum 

The Holburne Museum in Bath is a gem for art lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Housed in a grand, historic building, it showcases a rich collection ranging from Renaissance treasures to masterpieces by Gainsborough. Visitors can immerse themselves in the elegant atmosphere of bygone eras and enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens.

Anyway, if all that sightseeing making you hungry, here’s our roundup of the best restaurants in Bath. Be warned; there are some real crackers in there!

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