So You’re Moving To Bath…
A stunning city steeped in history, you’ll never be short of things to do and places to see living in Bath. If you’ve just arrived or are thinking about making the move, here’s a quick list of everything you need to know about Bath’s wonderful culture and heritage.
A Brief History of Bath
Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, Bath first emerged during the 1st century AD, with its natural hot springs adored by the locals of the era. During the Middle Ages, the city became an important centre for the wool industry, but by the 18th century under the rule of King George I, II, and III, Bath had found its place as an elegant spot in which to enjoy art and literature. The Neo-classical aesthetic of the city sits in stunning harmony with the Georgian architecture and grandiose buildings, combined with the stunning natural landscape to make Bath one of the most gorgeous spots to inhabit.
Getting Around Bath
Bath is very easy to travel around, with a railway network and stations located right in the heart of the city, as well as a whole host of buses travelling to and from different regions. Cycling is also a great way to get around in Bath, and the city’s compact size also makes it a handy area for accessing on foot, giving every journey an opportunity to soak in the beautiful sights.
Where to Eat & Drink in Bath
Bath has quickly gained notoriety as one of the country’s hottest spots for dining and drinking, with quaint, cosy pubs and delicious cafes and restaurants dotted all over the city.
If you’re looking for a quintessentially English bite to eat, Bath has a wide selection of spots to visit for afternoon tea. Once the heart of the social scene in Georgian times, the Pump Room sits across from the Roman Baths, and is perfect for indulging in some scones, sandwiches, and a cup of tea after a day combing through the shops. Or, for an even more historical experience, Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House is the oldest of its kind in Bath, home of the famous Sally Lunn bun, a local delicacy. If you visit, be sure to go downstairs to the kitchen museum, in which Sally used to bake.
With Bath’s many wonderful restaurants, you’ll be spoiled for choice whatever your preference or budget, with places such as The Olive Tree offering a Michelin-star Mediterranean menu for a luxurious experience, or street food vendor Chai Walla giving a taste of India from their cosy counter and colourful chalkboard menu.
Tucked away on Queen Street, the Canary Gin Bar is one of Bath’s top places to go for a quality gin and tonic, with friendly mixologists behind the bar offering tailor-made suggestions based on your unique taste. With a snug atmosphere, dimly lit tables, and stripped floors, the bar uses gin from Bath’s own distillery, made using eleven of the world’s finest botanicals, from kaffir lime leaf to English coriander.
Bath is also home to some amazing cocktail bars such as the Hideout, hidden away in the historical lanes of the city, offering upscale whiskey and delicious, hand-crafted cocktails created by the bar’s wonderful mixologists. There is also Walcot House’s Bread & Jam, a five star dive bar located within the depths of the high-class restaurant, open late with live music and an endless list of wonderful cocktails to try.
There are also countless proper English pubs to choose from, from the bohemian Bell Inn run by friendly locals, to the smallest pub in Bath, the tiny Coeur de Lion, offering real ale and traditional pub food.
Sights to See in Bath
Possibly the most notable of Bath’s many stunning attractions is the Roman Baths, the grand historical baths from which the city takes its name, with natural hot springs which were once used to bathe the Roman elite. The Roman Baths can be enjoyed either on your own or as part of the Sunrise Tour, during which an expert guides you around the 2000 years of history the baths have to offer – the preserved Roman Baths complex, the original Roman pavements, and the ruins of the temple of Sulis Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom and justice. The Roman Baths Museum, located directly next to the complex, even includes a gilt bronze head of the goddess, among other Roman artefacts.
The city is also home to other stunning sites of historical architecture, such as the Royal Crescent, a row of 30 terraced houses layed out in a sweeping curve overlooking the Royal Victoria Park, constructed in beautiful Georgian style. There is also the famous Pulteney Bridge, which stands over the River Avon. Completed in 1774, the bridge originally connected Bath with the land of the Pulteney family, and was designed by Robert Adam in Palladian style.
Bath is also wonderful for a long walk or trek through nature, such as Victoria Park, the Bath Skyline, Alexandra Park, the River Avon Trail, the Gravel Walk, and Cheddar Gorge.
Things to Do In Bath
Bath is home to some of the most stunning museums and sights of historical interest that England has to offer. The unique Museum of East Asian Art is the UK’s only museum dedicated to the arts from this region, based in a restored Georgian building with a collection of over 2000 objects from more than 7000 years of history from China, Japan, Korea, and South East Asia. There is also the Holburne Museum located across Pulteney Bridge, with a wide collection of fine art and Renaissance treasures. The museum’s own Garden Cafe opens out onto the historic Sydney Gardens, a wonderful place to relax after exploring the museum.
Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein on Gay Street covers four floors of award-winning, immersive, multi-sensory attractions, following Shelley’s life and works. In 1816, Shelley wrote the famous science fiction novel while living in Bath, and today, visitors can enjoy a small screening room, a Frankenstein-themed escape room, and a horror walkthrough experience in the basement of the museum, as well as an 8ft animatronic creature, showing an authentic reproduction of the monster Shelley described in her writing.
If you’re searching for some retail therapy, Bath is well known for its bustling shopping areas. The central streets of the city and the Southgate area offer a thriving route of famous brands, while the Walcot Artisan Quarter Shopping Area and West Bath Shopping have a colourful collection of independent markets and stalls to explore.
Of course, no trip to Bath is complete without taking a trip to the stunning Roman Baths, and although you can’t swim in the waters, the Thermae Bath Spa gives you the chance to bathe in Bath’s naturally warm, mineral-rich waters that the Romans once did over 2000 years ago. The historic building offers a unique spa experience, with a multi-sensory Wellness Suite and an open-air Rooftop Pool with stunning views over the skyline of the city.
Main Residential Areas of Bath
Wherever you reside, Bath will be a wonderful place to live, but these are some key areas that locals like to inhabit:
- The Centre. All of the attractions, shops, and restaurants right on your doorstep.
- Oldfield Park. Not too far from the centre, home to many student houses with a wide selection of lovely places to shop, eat, and drink.
- Bear Flat. Home of the Bear Hotel with its famous rooftop polar bear, with wonderful views of Alexandra Park and Bath’s Two Tunnels.
- Walcot. Boutique shops, small pubs overflowing with character, and stunning honey-coloured Georgian houses.
- Widcombe. Just across the River Avon, with a bustling High Street providing a wide selection of independent shops and eateries.
Other favoured spots to live in Bath include Batheaston, Bathampton, Claverton, Combe Down, Odd Down, Lansdown, Larkhall, Weston, and Newbridge.