Bath is a world-famous city in South West England. Renowned for its ancient Roman history, Georgian buildings, and Medieval cathedral, Bath is undoubtedly one of the most famous places to visit in the UK. But is all the hype worth it? Is Bath worth visiting? I lived there for a year, so I think I’ve adequately assessed this question and found an answer!
Is Bath Worth Visiting?
Bath is a quintessentially British city, with historic architecture, plenty of stories from its residents over the years, and an enormous Medieval cathedral right in the centre. There are the Roman Baths, which are an epic museum and preserved bathhouse, and the modern Thermae Bath Spa which makes for a lovely pampering activity.
Bearing all this in mind, yes, Bath is worth visiting. There are dozens of things to do here – click here for my full list. If you’re a foreign tourist, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another city that feels oh so British, and if you are a local Brit, you’ll still find a certain magic in the streets of Bath that you just don’t get anywhere else…
However, I have some advice for you. Because nothing’s ever straight forward, is it?
Visiting Bath in the summer holidays is a no-no
Bath is a tiny city. You can comfortably stroll from one end to the other in about 20 minutes, and the population hovers around 80,000. But in the summer holidays, it’s tourist central. As a local, I often went down to the centre some days, just to turn around and go back to my flat because it was so rammed.
Christmas is fairly busy, especially at weekends
It’s also jam-packed (although it can be especially magical) during Christmas. The Bath Christmas Market is known as one of the UK’s best, and with the backdrop of Bath’s signature buildings, you’ll feel like you’re stepping straight out of a Christmas novel. However, while it is a lovely time to visit, I’d recommend going in the week if you can. The weekends are, again, just so busy.
You don’t need long in Bath
Look, Bath is great, but you really only need two days tops here. I’m writing a Bath itinerary that will help you see it all, but you can easily cover the museums, Abbey, baths, and a couple of restaurants in 48 hours. If you aren’t too fussed about seeing all of the museums, you could even do it in a day.
Consider staying in Bristol
I would actually recommend spending longer in Bristol, a much bigger yet less touristy city. I’ve lived in Bristol for four years and recently moved back here, and it deserves much more tourism than it gets – check out all of the best things to do in Bristol here. Plus, it’s a lot more comfortable than heaving Bath in the summer. And, we all know what fewer tourists means… lower prices!
Bristol is actually only 11 minutes on the train from Bath, so even if you are doing two day trips into Bath it’s ridiculously easy to reach. Drive time is 40 minutes.
The nightlife in Bath isn’t great
Maybe I was biased, as I had just moved from Bristol, but the nightlife in Bath really wasn’t my 22 year old self’s cup of gin. Bath does have two universities and a significant student population, but if you have outgrown student nightlife, you might find yourself feeling a bit underwhelmed.
But don’t fret – as I mentioned, Bristol is 11 minutes away on the train, and has literally every kind of nightlife you could imagine. Raves until 6am? You got it. Classy rooftop drinks? Yep. Street festivals? For sure.
How to visit Bath
If you do have your heart set on exploring Bath in the day, wandering down the deserted streets lined with Georgian houses at night and waking up to see the city at dawn, before the tourists (and Bristol day trippers) get there, then absolutely go for it!
Bath is the kind of place where you’ll have a chilled weekend away. Not much partying, but you can have a soak in Bath spa and enjoy a nice restaurant with a few glasses of wine before staying at some of the best hotels in Bath (and although they are pricey, there are a few).
If you want to treat yourself and stay a night or two in this magical city, then it is definitely worth it. Just keep in mind everything that I’ve said in this post, and you’ll have a great time!