Bath is a small town in the south of England that hides an archaeological and historical treasure in the form of Roman thermal baths. From my point of view, Bath is the perfect choice for a day trip from London or Bristol, as it is very well connected by train and bus. We took the opportunity to visit her when we made our weekend getaway to Bristol, and we couldn’t stop writing this post about the most important things to see in Bath, as we loved it.
What to visit in Bath in one day
The Roman Baths of Bath
Touristically, Bath is known for its Roman Baths. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, these are Roman baths with natural mineralised water from the rains, which filters through limestone aquifers located at great depths where the energy from the interior of the earth heats the water. Due to the high pressure, the water returns to the surface thanks to holes and fissures in the limestone, sprouting again in Roman swimming pools.
This archaeological site is one of the most famous in the UK and receives more than 1 million visitors every year.
I recommend that you plan your visit well, buying the access ticket on the website to avoid the queues that form every day at the entrance, in addition to enjoying a small discount for early sale. It took us approximately three hours to visit it all, as the excellent audio guide explains very well all the Roman remains that were found as well as the lifestyle of the locals who went to bathe in the hot springs.
After the visit, if you feel like it, you can go to eat or have a snack in the restaurant that the hot springs offer to the visitor. This is a very elegant place where you can enjoy an afternoon tea. We considered the possibility, but unfortunately the vegetarian options were not attractive, so we decided to go somewhere else.
Cosy Club, a glamorous restaurant in Bath
Very close to the entrance to the Roman baths, we found Cosy Club, a restaurant whose decoration fascinated us from the first minute. Their menu is very extensive and the prices are very competitive.
It is also a fantastic option for vegetarians as its menu contains many possibilities of main dishes as well as tapas and brunch, although it is not an exclusively vegan place.
After lunch we really wanted to go for a walk, so we set course for the Pulteney Bridge. Designed by Scottish architect Robert Adams, it was completed in 1773. This bridge is one of the five inhabited bridges in the world, as it has shops and buildings on its banks. It probably reminds you of the famous bridges of Florence and Venice, with that air of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, something that makes all sense since Robert was inspired by both bridges to design the one of Bath.
Our intention was to have a cup of coffee after lunch at one of the bridge premises, but unfortunately they were full of people who had the same idea as us, so we decided to change our destination and visit the famous Sally Lunn cafeteria and bakery, home of the traditional Bath Bunn.
Legend has it that in 1680, a woman named Sally began baking a kind of bun or bread that was bigger than usual and very rich. Using fresh eggs, butter from local farmers as well as some milk, he began serving this peculiar bread at breakfast houses and afternoon tea.
Before he knew it, his bread was very famous in Bath and the locals knew him as “Sally Lunn’s bun”. The recipe is still secret today, so we can only enjoy them at your Bath bakery.
In the basement you will find a small museum dedicated to Sally, where you can see the seventeenth century oven used for baking. There is also a shop where they sell the buns with a perfect packaging to give away.
Sally had created a lot of anticipation for me and when they brought the candy to my table, I realized that what was spectacular in the seventeenth century seemed to me to be a simple bread roll, similar to burgers made from sliced bread.
Georgian Architecture in The Circus
In 1754 the architect John Wood designed these houses organized in several curved segments in the shape of a key, a Masonic symbol of the time. Unfortunately he died before seeing the construction completed and it was his son (also named John Wood) who finished the job.
It is worth a walk through these streets to observe Georgian architecture and the symbols and emblems that decorate: nautical elements, snakes, etc..
John Wood (father) was a great admirer of the magical phenomenology of prehistory and was convinced that Bath had been the place of settlement for druids and shamans… so he designed The Circus with the same diameter as Stonehenge!
This abbey, which began as a monastery and later became a cathedral and an abbey, is one of my favourite churches in the UK.
The building is imposing on the outside and its gothic stained glass windows are impressive, but what fascinated me were its fan vaults. This design is typical of the late Gothic in the UK and other cathedrals also enjoy it, such as Winchester or Gloucester.
The visit is free of charge, something to keep in mind as there is a counter at the entrance that seems to charge for access, but it is actually a voluntary donation. We prefer to make the donation after seeing the building, so we went in without paying and they didn’t give us a problem.
Other places in Bath that we do not visit
You know that we give a lot of priority to the things we are interested in over those that appear on travel websites as essential. After all, we travel to enjoy, not to cross out items from an imaginary list. In Bath our objective was not different and we decided that we would not visit two or three things of the tourist itinerary, because it was not our scroll.
Thermae Bath Spa: For all those interested, in Bath there is a spa that can be visited to enjoy a bath. This is a swimming pool on the roof of a building, where you can relax and let the mineral waters envelop your body. Its price seemed quite high to me, 36 pounds per person from Monday to Friday, 40 if you go on the weekend. We decided not to visit this space because we didn’t have enough time, but if you stay more than a day in Bath, maybe it’s a good option.
Eating Fudge: at different points in the historic centre of the city you will see shops selling a kind of viscous sweet called fudge. It is a sweet sugar with milk that is boiled and stirred until its consistency becomes creamy. To be completely honest, I didn’t quite understand why it sells so fervently in Bath, as it is known that fudge was invented in the United States. In any case, it’s not a candy that I particularly enjoy, so we didn’t try it.
The Jane Austen Center: Very close to The Circus, you can find the center dedicated to the writer Jane Austen. I have to confess that she is not one of my favorite writers by any means, but the reason we don’t visit this museum is because it really isn’t up to the task. It is not their original house, nor do they have any dress or object that belonged to it. The price of the ticket is quite high considering that it does not offer an extensive visit, is rather an experiential center where you disguise and understand a little more about his work.