The entire city of Bath has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Very few cities in the world are capable of boasting such status, and there are no others in Britain. So, as you can imagine, there are heaps of Bath tourist attractions for you to see during your stay. Some, such as The Roman Baths, need little in the way of introduction. However, we’ll also tell you about some of Bath’s lesser-known locations that we think are definitely worth visiting, such as Prior Park Landscape Garden.
Attractions in Bath
Bath is jam-packed with historic buildings and attractions, each offering excellent photo opportunities and providing unique perspectives into the city’s rich history. Here, we’ll try to take you on a tour of some of the must-see historic buildings in Bath.
Naturally, we can’t start anywhere other than The Roman Baths. As some of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world, they’re without doubt one of the city’s major tourist attractions, with more than a million visitors each and every year. Visit for yourself and take a moment to think that the site has been used for public bathing ever since 70 AD. You are literally living as the Romans did. Don’t worry though, you won’t be bathing in the same water; more than a million litres of steaming spring water flows through the baths every single day.
Next stop on our tour is only around the corner. It’s the incredible Bath Abbey, which has survived more than a millennium of wars, conflict, ruin and restoration, and now stands resplendent in the heart of the city, ready and waiting for you to visit. One of our top tips for anyone visiting Bath is the fascinating Bath Abbey Tower Tour; the views of the city from the top of the tower can’t be beaten.
Over the road from the abbey, follow us as we make our way to the Guildhall. It’s an imposing Grade I-listed building dating from 1775, which houses a variety of decadently decorated rooms with 18th-century chandeliers, original royal paintings and furnishings fit for a king, or queen. It’s an important building in Bath, sharing its space with the Victoria Art Gallery and the covered market.
Make your way around the corner and you’ll find yourself face-to-face with Pulteney Bridge. It’s one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, and one of just four with shops built into both sides. When it was completed in 1770 and opened to the public, it was an absolute revelation of Palladian design. It remains one of the most visited attractions in the city; a sublime example of Georgian architecture, and you’ll find the best views from the nearby Parade Gardens.
Equally as iconic in Bath is The Royal Crescent, a 500 foot-long row of 30 terraced houses designed by esteemed architect John Wood, the Younger. Built between 1767 and 1774, The Royal Crescent has been lavished with praise and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Georgian neoclassical architecture in the whole of Britain. If you want to find out more about its history, No. 1 Royal Crescent has been converted into a heritage museum.
Moving on, if you walk towards The Circus, nearby you’ll find the Bath Assembly Rooms. They’re another one of John Wood, the Younger’s crowning achievements; a lavish set of rooms designed to host balls and concerts for the Bath aristocracy during the 18th century. Nowadays, they are owned by the National Trust, and are open to the public should you want to peek inside. It is also the home of the world-famous Fashion Museum, a cherished institution of Bath culture.
If you’re looking for green spaces; somewhere to relax and unwind when the sun’s out, Bath has a whole host of parks boasting colourful displays of flowers, benches on which to relax and lush green grass. Royal Victoria Park is the first we’ll recommend. It’s 57 acres of beautiful parkland near The Royal Crescent. It boasts some of the best botanic gardens in the West Country, the Pavilion Café, hot air balloons, an 18-hole mini golf course, skatepark and an obelisk to commemorate Queen Victoria, who officially opened the park in 1830 when she was just eleven years old.
A favourite of Jane Austen, the Sydney Gardens are the last surviving 18th-century pleasure gardens in the UK. You’ll find them hidden behind the Holburne Museum. Alternatively, in the shadow of Bath Abbey and downriver from Pulteney Bridge, you can visit Parade Gardens. They’re the most popular in the city thanks to their prime location. Plus, in the summer months, don’t be surprised if you’re serenaded with live music from the bandstand.
The last of the city parks we’ll mention is Alexandra Park, which looms large over Bath, sitting at the top of Beechen Cliff. It’s not the easiest park to get to; it requires walking up a steep flight of steps nicknamed ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, but we think the journey’s worth it once you get to the top. On a clear, sunny day, you could sit there for hours, soaking up the panoramic views of the city.
Finally, south of the city is where you’ll find the Prior Park Landscape Garden. Owned by the National Trust, the estate’s gardens were designed by famous poet and author of The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope, and ‘England’s greatest gardener’, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The finished grounds wowed visitors and came to embody the quintessential ‘English garden’ style, which became popular in continental Europe. Along with the serpentine lake and the gothic temple, one of the iconic features of the Prior Park Landscape Garden is the Palladian Bridge, one of just four in the world. If you only pay a visit to one of Bath’s parks, then make sure it’s this one; we feel safe in saying it offers some of the finest gardens in the country.
Video guide to Bath attractions
If you’re into your horse racing, take a look at our overview of Bath Racecourse. You can read about its 23 race days, the biggest and best being the Bath Cup Festival, which takes place towards the end of the race season in September.
The Recreation Ground, on the east bank of the River Avon, is where Bath Rugby Club play their home games. Or you can go west to Twerton Park to see Bath City Football Club.