- A staycation in collaboration with VisitBath.co.uk -
Bath, Somerset is without a doubt, remarkable. With an impressive Roman legacy and majestic Georgian architecture, it’s no wonder the entire city is a World Heritage Site! Not to mention it’s an ideal British city break from London known as a destination build for relaxation and wellbeing. Bath’s compact, visitor-friendly centre is overflowing with places to eat and drink, plus a great collection of museums, galleries and honey-coloured houses straight from a Jane Austen novel. With so many sites of the city to discover, we treated ourselves to an overnight stay at Bath Paradise House. And for our first time in Bath, VisitBath kindly had us covered with all the essentials things to see and experience, including the quintessential thermal baths.
The Roman Baths
It’s not a trip to Bath without visiting the place that gives the city its name. Located in the heart of the city centre, the Roman Baths is one of the finest spas of the ancient world. Romans came here to bathe and worship at the site of the natural thermal springs that still flows today, and while you can’t go for a dip there like they used to do more than 2000 years ago, you can still explore the place by walking on the original Roman pavements and see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva.
Complimentary audio guides come with the price of admission and are available in 12 languages. Costumed characters around the Great Bath show how Romans would have lived and worked and brings the site to life.
Upon stepping out of the Roman Bath you’ll see the Bath Abbey, a church where people have worshipped for centuries. Whether it’s to pray, admire the architecture, or join a Tower Tour which offers a behind-the scenes opportunity to see the bells, clock and stunning panoramic views of the city from the best vantage point, the Abbey is a must-see when in Bath.
I would highly recommend the Tower Tours that run every hour on Monday to Saturday. The one hour guided tour takes you up a spiralling 212 steps staircase to the roof top of the Abbey where you’ll learn about the history of the bells and see the hidden rooms that reveals the Abbey clock. If you love a great view this is your go-to place!
When it’s time for afternoon tea, take you taste buds back in time and try Bath’s local speciality - the Sally Lunn bun. Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, also known as Bath’s oldest house, is the only place where you can try the famous bun, served with a variety of sweet and savoury toppings.
In the evening we decided to take to the waters and discover a new side of Bath on a romantic boat trip with Pulteney Cruisers, leaving from the iconic Pulteney Bridge. It’s a one-hour ride up the River Avon to the village of Bathampton where we learnt about the history, architecture & points of interest on the Avon.
Thermae Bath Spa
The next morning, which was Rickie’s birthday, started early with a delicious home-cooked English breakfast at Paradise House and by 8:30AM we were headed off to the Thermae Bath Spa in the city centre, a 10-minutes walk from our hotel. This award-winning Natural Spa is a unique combination of 'old and new’ where historic spa buildings blend with the contemporary design of the New Royal Bath. I couldn’t ask for a better way to start the day!
We got to enjoy a Thermae Welcome package which gave us a 2-hour spa session with access to the Minerva Bath, the multi-sensory experience of the Wellness Suites, the open-air rooftop pool and a dining experience in Springs Café Restaurant. Of course we took the time to experience all the different places - and loved it! The healing properties of the natural thermal springs definitely made us feel great for days to come.
The Royal Crescent
After the spa, we were ready to explore! On the itinerary was among other things the beautiful Parade Gardens, The Circus, The Royal Crescent, Royal Victoria Park and visits to various museums, including Jane Austen Centre and No.1 Royal Crescent.
For dinner we went to Sotto Sotto, a Bath-famous Italian restaurant. We tried to reserve a table here one week in advance but was told it was already fully-booked for that day but we took the chance anyway and dropped in to see if they had any available walk-ins. Luckily for us a couple had cancelled their reservation just as we got there, and we managed to get a seat and enjoy their signature pastas afterall. After dinner we went for a stroll up Alexandra Park situated south of the city centre - a wonderful, tranquil green space with magnificent views over the city.
Overall, Bath is definitely a good choice for travellers that wants to experience a smaller, quainter city than London. It certainly was a perfect city escape and birthday experience! We had an amazing time here even though there is still much left to see, but thanks to VisitBath for being so accommodating and helping us make the most out of our short visit!