top of page
  • Writer's pictureBath Insider Tours

Things to do in Bath

If you are visiting Bath this year you may find the following list of things to see and do in Bath useful. It is a long list but it is by no means an exhaustive list - hopefully it will give you some ideas and inspiration! My website also gives you ideas on guided tours that you can do in and around Bath so do check that out as well.


I have categorised the list into: museums, activities (which are experiences and "active" things to do), food-related activities, art, theatre and the Bath Abbey. Where available I have included a link to the attraction's website - if the attraction is in green please click on it to be taken to their website. All links were correct at the time this blog was posted - if they change and you encounter difficulties do let me know. Likewise if you do an activity in Bath which is not on the list which you think is fantastic please let me know and I will share it :)


Museums


The Great Bath at the Roman Baths Museum by Bath Insider Tours

The Roman Baths Museum is arguably the most famous attraction in Bath. Here you can see the remains of the Roman religious spa that was built over the city's hot springs. Entrance tickets include a complimentary audio guide (and there is a channel specifically for children) so you don't need to pay for a guide to take you around the museum. Typically I recommend allowing at least one hour to visit the museum. There is a lot to see. Be sure to check out the Roman curses (!) and at the end of the museum where you hand back the audio guide there is a fountain in the corner of the room where you can drink the hot spring water! It may not be to everyone's taste - but drinking the water was a big ritual during the Georgian times!


TIP: As it is a famous attraction it does get busy with large coach groups during the day so it is best to visit either when it opens or at the end of the day. If you are staying in Bath between 20th July and 31st August the museum does late summer evenings (last entry at 9pm) so this is a great way to avoid the crowds plus they have a prosecco bar by the Great Bath!


Located on the beautiful Royal Crescent this museum offers visitors the chance to see what the interior of a wealthy house would have looked like during the Georgian times and an audio trail gives you an insight into what life was like at that time. In addition to the audio trail you can download a free app which can be used as a guide as you go around the house and there is a section on this guide for children. The museum also has a dressing room where you can dress up in Georgian costumes and pose for photos! Pre-booking is recommended. The museum is closed on Mondays.


Jane Austen is one of Bath's most famous past residents. At the Jane Austen Centre you will get an insight into her life in Bath. If you are keen to have a photo dressed up in Regency costumes they also have costumes that you can try on and a tea room.


Located a few doors up from the Jane Austen Centre is the country's first museum dedicated to Frankenstein (there is a connection between the author and Bath!) The museum talks about her life as well as showing how Frankenstein was portrayed in the movies and franchise. In the basement there is an optional room which brave children and adults can enter should they dare! There is a recommended minimum age of 12 for the museum.


This is one of Bath's lesser known museums. The Old Theatre Royal was Bath's first purpose-built theatre which then became a Catholic chapel and then a Masonic Lodge. It is a building with a lot of history and if you like getting off the beaten path then this could be one for you. Guided tours are offered on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday - please see the website for more details. The tour includes a visit to the in-house Edward Gayner Museum which has one of the finest collections of rare Masonic artefacts in the world!


Interested in astronomy? This small museum is located in the house that William Herschel lived in and where a number of important discoveries were made. The museum is dedicated to the achievements of the Herschels. The museum is closed on Mondays. On occasion they offer events e.g. solar observing with Bath Astronomers on the Spring Equinox - full details are listed on their website.


Another one of Bath's lesser known attractions - located on the edge of the city centre. Bath has not always been about tourism, education and well-being, this museum tells the stories of some of the city's past trades as well as the lives of the city's working people throughout the centuries. Workplaces have been authentically reconstructed including a Victorian soft-drinks making factory and ironmonger. The museum has free audio guides and offers free guided tours too.


Bath is renowned for its beautiful Georgian architecture - it is one of the reasons why the city is a UNESCO World Heritage City. This museum tells the story of how Bath was transformed from a small medieval city to a fashionable Georgian resort. The museum has been closed since Covid but is now re-opening its doors from the 30th March and will be open Wednesday to Saturday. This museum is suited for visitors interested in the architectural design of Bath.


This is possibly something you were not expecting to find in Bath! Set in a historic house on the edge of the city the museum has recreated rooms from different periods of America's history and different States - using original pieces that were shipped over to Bath. They also have a world-renowned folk art and quilt collection. The gardens are very picturesque - set in 125 acres and they have a cafe where you can grab a drink and some snacks to enjoy the panoramic views.


Activities:


The outdoor rooftop pool at the Thermae Bath Spa

You can't go in the waters at the Roman Baths Museum so if you are keen to experience the city's hot springs then you can do this at the Thermae Bath Spa. They have a large basement pool, steam rooms, infra-red solarium and the highlight for many: a small rooftop pool. You get a 2 hour session which includes complimentary towels and a robe (you need to bring your own swimwear). It is an adult-only spa so children under the age of 16 are not allowed - sorry kids (please see my tips below if you have children). A limited number of tickets are available for walk-ins so it is best to pre-book on their website. They also offer treatment packages.


TIP: This is a popular attraction - if possible avoid the weekends when it can get very busy. Due to its size it is best experienced outside of the peak times.

TIP 2: Do you have children? The Thermae Bath Spa also operate the small outdoor Cross Bath. This pool also uses the hot springs. On Tuesdays they offer 90 minute sessions in this pool. Children aged 12 or older can join these sessions provided they are accompanied by an adult. Pre-booking is essential.

TIP 3: If you would like a more exclusive experience - you can rent the Cross Bath for you and up to 10 people for 90 minutes. Again children aged between 12 and 15 are allowed to join adults for this. The hire includes champagne/juice and some savoury snacks. Price for an exclusive hire starts from £800.


If you enjoy swimming you may be interested to know that Bath has the oldest outdoor swimming pool in the country! Built in 1815 the lido has recently been restored and since last September it has been open again for swimming. There is also a small pool for kids. Pre-booking is recommended. The lido is not in the centre of Bath but it is walkable depending on your fitness and you could take a scenic walk along the canal to get to the lido.


Bath Skyline Walk - calling all walkers!

View of Bath by Bath Insider Tours

One of the great things about England is all the walking trails. There are numerous walks around Bath and the surrounding countryside. One of the most popular walk for tourists (and locals) is the Bath Skyline Walk which takes you up onto one of the hills surrounding the city centre - giving you great views (although not as good as the viewpoint on my Bath City Tour of course!) The trail is approx. 6 miles (around 10kms). There is also a shorter 3 mile (5km) circular walk called "Walk to the view at Bath Skyline". On both trails you will be ascending and descending a hill and you will be walking on trails across fields so please bear that in mind for your footwear. The scenery and views are great.


If you prefer a flatter route with some interesting history then you could do my self-guided audio trail. It is one of my favourite walks in the centre - avoiding the tourist crowds and taking in the picturesque canal. You can read more about this by clicking here.


Canal Boat Ride

The picturesque canal in Bath by Bath Insider Tours

Many tourists do not realise that we have a beautiful canal that joins the river in the city centre. The Kennet & Avon Canal was built in the early 1800s to connect Bath and Bristol to London with an inland water route.


You can do boat trips on the river but in my view the canal is much more scenic and picturesque. A local man runs private cruises on the canal using his electric boat, the Lady Lena. A number of my guests have done this and have thoroughly enjoyed it. If this of interest please contact me and I will send you his details. Please note that the boat in my picture is not his boat but one of the typical narrowboats that you can find on the canals in this country.


Are you creative and like making things? Bath Aqua Glass is an independent local business that specialises in making handmade fused glass jewellery, glassware decorations, tableware and art glass. They also offer glass-blowing demonstrations and activities such as making your own glass bauble, glass paperweight and stained glass courses. Pre-booking for these activities is essential. They also have a tiny cafe where you can watch the glass-blowers in action and a shop where you can purchase pieces they have made. Some guests interested in buying local souvenirs ask me what is made in Bath and so this is one of them. In addition to their workshop and cafe they have a shop by the Bath Abbey where you can buy their glass jewellery and gifts.


Other activities

There are numerous other activities in Bath including: adventure golf, escape rooms, hot air balloon rides (summer time), paddle-boarding, bicycle tours... and more!


Food-related activities


A chance to try some English wine from a vineyard not far from Bath and cheese from a company founded in North Wales! The small Cork and Truckle, located in the centre of Bath, offer a 45 minute tasting session in their cellar most afternoons. Adults only. Advance bookings recommended. One of my guests recently did this and enjoyed it!


This popular cooking school offers baking and cooking classes covering a range of different skills - suitable for complete beginners and the more experienced. They also have classes aimed specifically at children. Their signature course is their bread-making course but they also offer courses covering pastry, Viennoiserie, patisserie and more. Yesterday they had a course on making the perfect pie! You will need to check their calendar to see what courses they are offering whilst you are in Bath and pre-booking will be essential.


The popular Bath Distillery Gin Bar offers two experiences. One includes a tour of their distillery and the gin-making process followed by a tasting of their gin collection (90 minute tour, Saturdays only); the other is a Gin Cocktail Masterclass (90 minute experience, Saturdays only). Pre-booking essential.


Art


Located in a beautiful historic building, the museum's art collection centres around a collection that was bequeathed to the city by the Holburne family in the late 1800s. This included bronze sculptures, silver, porcelain and Dutch landscapes. More than 2,000 pieces have since been added to this including portrait miniatures, porcelain, embroideries and portraits by famous 18th Century artists. The museum also hosts regular exhibitions by modern artists.


Located in the city centre, the gallery displays oil paintings, prints, watercolours, ceramics, sculptures and glass from the 15th Century until today. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions. The Gallery is closed on Mondays.


Theatre


There are a number of theatres in Bath. The largest and most famous theatre is the New Theatre Royal. If you are interested in enjoying a show whilst you are in Bath check out their shows by clicking here.


Bath Abbey


The Bath Abbey by Bath Insider Tours

Last and by no-means least is the beautiful Bath Abbey which is certainly worth a visit whilst you are in Bath. Outside of services there is an entrance fee for visitors (unless the purpose of your visit is to pray). This fee helps them with the maintenance of the church. They offer free guided tours of the Abbey and they have a good Discovery Centre where you can learn more about the history of the Abbey and dress-up in costumes should you wish! The Abbey also offers Tower Tours which gives you the unique experience of being able to go onto the roof of the Abbey. You can read more about the tower tours here.


I hope the above gave you some inspiration for your time in Bath. Whatever you decide to do in Bath I wish you all a wonderful time :)

58 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page