Less than two hours by train from London, Bath is a wonderful choice for a weekend away. This historic city is bursting with charming shops, delicious eateries, ancient sites and fun activities… In fact, a weekend almost certainly won’t be long enough to discover everything on offer in this lovely British city!
If you’re looking for ideas for things to do during your cottage break in Bath, we’ve put together a handful of ideas…
After arriving in your holiday cottage on the Friday night, use Saturday to explore the highlights of Bath.
Our first recommended stop; Bath’s famous Roman Baths. For over 2,000 years, people have visited the city in order to take advantage of the natural springs which bubble up from the nearby Mendip hills. Constructed in approximately 70AD, these well-preserved Roman Baths are a fantastic example of how the romans used the million litres of warm spring water which still fills the site every day. Today the site contains some of the best-preserved Roman remains anywhere in the world.
The Baths combine their extensive ruins with an interactive museum, giving you a real insight into how the site must have felt all those thousands of years ago. If you pick up an audio guide, you can learn all about the baths as you walk the ancient pavements and chambers (children’s audio guides are also available). Visitors aren’t permitted to bathe in the waters any more, but you can try a sip of the supposedly curative water in the Pump Room, the Bath’s charming restaurant.
Step out of the door of the Baths and you’ll find yourself outside Bath Abbey, a 1,200-year-old building with spectacular stained-glass windows, elegant columns and magnificent fan vaulting. Step inside and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and sheer beauty of this wonderful place of worship. Highlights include over 600 memorials, the King Edgar Window and the Birde’s Chantry Chapel. (Please note that the North Aisle and part of the Nave will be closed until the middle of 2020 for restoration work.)
For those hoping to get behind the scenes at the Abbey, Tower Tours take place every day apart from Sunday. These popular tours must be booked on the day and allow visitors to visit the bell and ringing chambers, explore behind the clock face and stand on top of the famous vaulted ceiling… not to mention enjoy some unmatched views of the city!
Royal Crescent, a 15-minute walk from the Abbey, is one of the region’s most iconic streets. The sweeping crescent of thirty houses is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the country, and looks out onto a perfect lawn on the edge of Royal Victoria Park. It’s a popular spot to stop and snap a few photos, while Number 1 Royal Crescent has been transformed into an interesting little museum about Georgian Life.
Why not finish off the day with something a little bit different? Take to the water and try paddle boarding or kayaking down the River Avon. Providing you with an otherwise unseen view of the city, all led and explained by an expert guide, it’s a surprisingly peaceful way to discover this otherwise bustling city! Original Wild offer both paddle boarding and kayaking throughout the year.
Sunday is a day to explore the finer details of the city. The best way to do this is to just pick a street and start strolling, but we have a few highlights that are definitely worth seeking out!
Firstly, pay a visit to Pulteney Bridge; a historic bridge and another example of Georgian architecture. Designed in 1769, it’s one of only four bridges in the world with shops spanning the entirety of both sides. It has a reputation for being one of the most romantic bridges in the world. Browse the many independent shops and cafes – The Bridge Coffee Shop serves some lovely cream teas – and see what you can find hidden away among the many nooks and crannies.
Speaking of shopping, no visit to Bath is complete without a flying visit to one of the city’s many independent bookshops. Bath has had a deep literacy connection for centuries; the city was home to Jane Austen and a favourite holiday haunt of Charles Dickens. Today the city still holds the written word close to its heart, and book-loving visitors will find plenty of opportunities to peruse shelves of both historic and modern volumes. Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, on John Street, is one of our particular favourites and has twice been named the UK’s best Independent Bookshop.
After your busy morning, refuel with one of Bath’s famous afternoon teas. There are plenty to choose from throughout the city, but for something different why not try The Regency Tea Room? Based in the Jane Austen Centre, this uniquely romantic tea room combines the historic feel of Jane Austen’s novels with a delicious selection of treats. The staff are dressed in full historical costume, making the whole experience a real step into the past… not to mention, there’s a fabulous selection of teas and treats on offer!
5 minutes’ walk from The Regency Tea Room, you can finish your evening with a visit to Thermae Bath Spa. Much like the Romans 2,000 years ago, this spa uses the cities warm natural springs to create a place of peace and tranquillity. This modern spa is today’s equivalent to the Roman Baths we explored previously, combining two natural thermal springs with a collection of other facilities, including steam rooms and an infrared sauna.
The whole of the spa has a friendly, yet peaceful feel, and there’s plenty to keep you busy for hours. However, the highlight for many is the open-air rooftop pool, which provides spectacular views of the city. Book yourself in for a twilight experience and you can recline in the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters and admire the Abbey as it gets lit up for the night. The Spa offers over 40 different packages and treatments, perfect for treating yourself to some pampering at the end of your weekend.
With so much to see and do right on your doorstep, it’s no wonder that so many people are choosing to book a holiday cottage in Bath. With the rest of the beautiful Cotswolds within easy reach, you can enjoy a break that combines breathtaking countryside with bustling city life… it really is the best of both worlds!
Book a holiday cottage in Bath today.