There are many wonderful places to visit in the UK – either for a short mini-break or a longer more relaxing holiday. But one of my absolute favourites is Bath, a beautiful Georgian city in the South West of England, where you can combine some culture and education with the opportunity to really relax and chill out. If you do have the chance to go, here are some top things you should put on your list:
A fantastic museum housed on the site of the old Roman baths and providing a wealth of information on Roman life at the time. Take a walk around the baths and you’ll see how similar they were to modern day spas, with saunas, steam rooms, and plunge pools. They were also important hubs for socialising or holding meetings, as a place where ailments could be cured (the water apparently contains over 40 minerals) or where worships could be made. Make sure you see the King’s Bath, where bubbles form on the surface of 46 degree hot water and steam rises upwards. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to take a dip in these waters, although you can sample it before you leave the museum.
The city boasts the Thermae spa, consisting of the main New Royal Bath and The Cross Bath, right across the street (according to the information provided by the spa, the latter is an “official sacred site”.) The New Royal Bath, has spa baths and “wellness rooms”, including steam rooms, an ice chamber, an infrared room and a relaxation room. The icing on the cake is the rooftop heated bath where you can immerse yourself in wonderfully warm waters (around 33.5 degrees centigrade) whilst peering out over this UNESCO world heritage city. Go on a winter night like I did and you can see the steam rising off the water and the wonderful Bath Abbey lit up behind in the night sky. There’s nothing quite like it.
After a visit to the Roman Baths museum, you can walk through to the Pump Room for lunch. There’s a strong calming ambience to the room which oozes relaxation, with a piano player who tinkles away in the background. It’s great for either a full meal or a quick snack.
This impressive building stands grandly outside the Roman Baths and is definitely worth a visit with its magnificent stained glass windows and the huge bell at the far end as you walk in.
This is one of the not to be missed sites that Bath is famous for. A short stroll from the city centre and overlooking the Royal Victoria Park, it is cited on the Visit Bath website as “without doubt one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK”. Its sweeping arc is stunning and photographers will be itching to capture its Georgian splendour. At No 1 the Royal Crescent, there is now a museum that is presented as it would have been looked during the Georgian era.
It’s obvious when you visit Bath that it is very proud of its connection to the author, Jane Austen, who lived in the city for five years from the start of the 19th century. Visit The Jane Austen Centre to learn about its famous inhabitant, complete with a waxwork model of the author; you can even dress up in traditional costume if you want to get a feel for life at that time.
Another lasting legacy to Jane Austen can be found here, a few minutes from the city centre, where what I can only describe as a botanical book has been placed, with a quote from Northanger Abbey, “Oh who can ever tire of Bath?” in full view. It’s a beautiful spot and incredibly peaceful. The park runs alongside the River Avon, not far from its weir and is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon strolling.
A visit to Bath would not be complete with sampling the Bath Bun. One of the most famous tea rooms is Sally Lunn’s, where the Sally Lunn bun, (said to be the first Bath Bun), is a local delicacy. It’s also housed in one of Bath’s oldest buildings. It’s a popular place to visit, so much so, that you may have to queue for a table. However, there are other plenty of other tearooms nearby where you can also savour the bun’s delights (or a variety of this).
Bath has impressive selection of other museums so if you plan to visit, why not consider checking out the Museum of Bath Architecture, the Victoria Art Gallery, The Holburne Museum, the Fashion Museum Bath, and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy.