Welcome to my latest Travel post! As you can imagine I have not been anywhere lately and have no upcoming plans in the next few months but that does not mean we can not travel virtually together! Nearly seven years ago I shared a throwback travel post about Bath, England and today I am posting an update city guide. In late October I went on a romantic weekend away with Mark to Bath and we fit a lot into our few days in the historic city. Looking back on my first post recounting my visit more than 10 years ago I was a university student at the time and funds were tight. As such, there were a few things I wanted to do but opted out of because of the cost and this I was able to afford them time which was great. Here are my recommendations of what to do in Bath:
Walk the Royal Crescent Despite the name the Royal Crescent is actually just a street – but a very pretty one. It was built in the 1760’s and consists of 30 houses in a half moon shape. All of the houses overlook a central green and any one would be a gorgeous place to reside. One block away you can find the Circus, a similar gathering of large, historic townhouses but as you can imagine from the name, they are in a full circle or ring formation. You saw a bit of the Crescent in this outfit post a few months ago and it may also look familiar as this street was used in many Bridgerton scenes. I recommend a visit as it is a less than a 15-minute walk from the city center, free, and a must in any guide to Bath!
Visit Bath Abbey and take a Tower Tour This late Medieval church is more than 1,500 years old and it makes sense why during our visit, it was under repair. Only a certain number of visitors were allowed in the massive house of worship at a time and the Victorian Gothic interior was as pretty as I remembered. On my first visit to Bath one of my favorite things was the Bath Abbey Tower Tour but unfortunately in the Fall the tower was closed due to COVID (too hard to accomplish social distancing). If you can, definitely book the tower, but even so make sure to pop in!
And for a few throwback photos of the Abbey and tower tour from my University days:
Book a Session at the Thermae Spa Since the water in the historic Roman Baths was found poisonous people have not been allowed in for more than a century but there is a hot spring you can use. After much research and reading other versions of this guide to Bath we booked tickets to the Thermae Spa and chose one of the packages. With the Thermae Revive package we had an hour in the spa, a one hour massage, and then another hour to enjoy the spa. Mark and I both opted for the bamboo massage (the closest thing to a sports massage) and enjoyed our time there. I had planned our trip timed with the late Fall sunset but it was an incredibly overcast day and instead of a vivid pinks and oranges we watched it go from grey to dark in the warm bath.
Hike to the Sham Castle – Anything with the word castle in it and you know I am usually all ears. When I learned there was a castle a 30-minute walk/hike from town I added it to our itinerary paying little attention to the name. When we arrived at Sham Castle I certainly had a good laugh – it is not a castle whatsoever but a “folly” basically a two story wall that is the front of a small castle and nothing else. I then learned it was built in the 1760’s by one of Bath’s socialites Ralph Allen to improve his view of the hills. And if you look closely in the second photo you can actually golfers as it is on the side of a hole on the Bath Golf Club – certainly a fake castle but a lovely walk!
Eat Buns at Sally Lunn’s – It is not jus the spas and churches in bath that are old, my guide to Bath would not be complete without mentioning food! I would definitely recommend a visit to Bath’s oldest eating house, Sally Lunn Bun. This tearoom is hundreds of years old and still incredibly popular serving up their famous Sally Lunn Bun from morning til night. We ducked in mid-afternoon to avoid a rain storm and found the all-day menu had an overwhelming amount of options. I ended up getting a traditional Sally Lunn bun – a large teacake similar to a sweet brioche bread – with the Cinnamon Butter topping. The half portion was more than enough and I enjoyed it with my tea while Mark got the gluten free scones. Definitely a great spot for an afternoon pick-me-up!
Admire the Pulteney Bridge I love a good covered bridge and this one is a gorgeous way to cross the River Avon. It is lined with shops on both sides similar to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, though the best way to take it in is from theParade Gardens just a few blocks Southeast. The shot below and the one at the top of this post may be one of the most iconic views in Bath, along with the Royal Crescent.
Explore the Prior Park Landscape Gardens If you need an idea for a half day activity I would recommend a visit to the Prior Park Landscape Garden. This 18th century estate was once owned by poet Alexander Pope but is now managed by the National Trust. Despite the popularity and vast size of park there is no parking lot so to get there you can walk the nearly two miles from the city center (though beware, it is mostly all uphill) or take the city bus. Even with the rain Mark and I enjoyed our visit, particularly the Palladian Bridge which I shared on Instagram here.
Have you ever been to Bath?