Bath is one of the UK’s most famous tourist destinations – the entire city has been named as a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Roman Baths are among the best attractions in the country.
Its fascinating history spans centuries – while most of the buildings you’ll see are from the 1800s, the Roman Baths were, of course, constructed way back in Roman times, and the Abbey has Medieval and Tudor influences. You can see the past of so many different eras throughout this city.
I actually spent a year living in Bath as a young professional – I had a job in an office in Frome, and it was a much shorter commute from Bath than Bristol, where I had lived for four years previously (now I have actually moved back to Bristol!).
As I’m sure you can imagine, living in the city is very different to just spending 2 days in Bath – full blog post on that coming soon! However, I managed to see Bath pretty well during that year. It’s a small city, and you only need one weekend in Bath to see the highlights.
So, drawing on my semi-local knowledge, I’ve compiled this 2 days in Bath itinerary for your trip to the city.
Hope you enjoy it!
How to get to Bath
I’ve written a full post on how to get to Bath, so check that out for full directions.
If you’re driving, you’ll either enter Bath from Junction 18 of the M4 (where it is fully signposted) or by navigating through country roads from further south (you’ll need your SatNav for this one).
If you’re taking the train, you’ll arrive at Bath Spa Railway Station. You might need to change at Bristol Temple Meads, but these trains run frequently. The National Rail website will show you which route to take!
Bath Spa is pretty central, so if you’re staying in the centre you should be walking distance. There are also taxis outside.
If you are taking a coach to Bath, you’ll be dropped off very near to the station as well.
Where to stay in Bath
Bath isn’t like Bristol, with its many neighbourhoods – most of the hotels are in the centre, which is where I highly recommend you stay. There are, however, a range of hotels for all budgets in this area.
Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel is the only hotel in the country that can access natural thermal waters. It makes the most of this, with a spa village – perfect for if the Thermae Bath Spa just isn’t quite enough for you! Also enjoy a restaurant and bar on-site, as well as luxurious rooms. Click here for rates and to reserve your stay.
If you’re after somewhere a bit quirkier, The Bird is located in one of the city’s townhouses and has funky rooms that are styled uniquely. From small double rooms to lavish hot tub accommodation options, there’s something for everybody at The Bird! Click here for more information.
Z Hotel is a great budget option. The hotel is no-frills, but it has clean and modern rooms and is the perfect place to rest your head at night – and with all the sights of Bath at your doorstep, that might be all that you need! Click here to read more.
If you are looking for a hostel, check out St Christopher’s Inn. With a bar on site, a social area, and various size dorm options as well as private rooms, this central hostel is ideal for backpackers. Click here to read more and book.
Bath Itinerary Day One
Breakfast in Bath
Start your 2 days in Bath with a delicious brunch. Good Day Cafe serves up delicious fry ups, with plenty of veggie and vegan options. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s a lovely setting and will fuel you up for the day ahead.
There have been three churches on the historic site of Bath Abbey; first it was a Saxon Convent, then a Norman Monastery, and now it stands as Bath Abbey.
It was the coronation site of Edgar, the first King of all of England, in 973. There is a plaque on the church. The Abbey fell into disrepair, but started to be reconstructed when Bishop Oliver Cromwell had a dream that he should be the one to rebuild the Abbey.
It was ultimately closed during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, but reconstructed again under Elizabeth I.
You can enter Bath Abbey for free, but a Tower Tour is another great way to learn about the inner workings of the Abbey. Tours leave from 10am-4pm every hour on the hour, or every half hour on Saturdays. Click here for more information.
Bath’s namesake is the Roman Baths, and the fact that the only hot springs in the country are in the city parameters. The Romans liked this too – they built one of their most complex bathhouses in their empire here.
You can look at the beautifully preserved Roman Baths here, and go through the museum to learn about Roman history in Bath.
Afternoon Tea at the Pump Room
Right next door to the Roman Baths is the Pump Room. Here, you can enjoy a full, very British-style afternoon tea. You’ll be graced with different teas, cakes, and sandwiches.
There are plenty of vegetarian options (limited vegan choices though), and the atmosphere is lovely. It’s a historic place, with beautiful period decor and pianos playing lovely music.
You can also try the healing spa water, which is meant to cure any ailments – it does have a slight metallic tang though!
Thermae Bath Spa
Thermae Bath Spa is one of the best spas in the country. With a heated swimming pool on the rooftop, an indoor pool, various scented steam rooms, and an abundance of treatment rooms. It’s the only spa in the UK that’s heated by natural springs, so it’s a must-do in the city!
Dinner in Bath
As well as all of the standard chain restaurants, there are lots of other fun restaurants in Bath. Some of my favourites, from my year spent living here, are:
- Yak Yeti Yak is a Nepalese restaurant serving delicious Asian specialities, including traditional momos. You can even dine on the floor, Nepal style!
- The Chequers serves up traditional pub food.
- Oak Restaurant is a fancy vegetarian restaurant with delicious set meals.
- Sotto Sotto is an independent Italian restaurant serving delicious homemade pasta and tantalizing Italian wine.
- The Oven dishes up delicious artisanal pizzas.
Drinks in Bath
Bath isn’t like Bristol when it comes to nightlife – while there are so many amazing pubs in Bristol, Bath’s is a little thin on the ground. I didn’t drink much while I lived in Bath, so I don’t have as many expert recommendations as I do from when I was a student in Bristol, but here are some places to check out if you need a nightcap:
- The Bath Brew House has a microbrewery on site and specialises in delicious craft ales.
- The Canary Gin Bar serves up Britain’s favourite spirit, in various forms.
- The Raven is a traditional old-school pub in Bath city centre.
- The Pig and Fiddle serves beer in a quirky bar with sports memorabilia all over the walls.
- The Hare and Hounds isn’t in Bath centre, it’s a very steep walk up Lansdown Road or a short drive from the centre, but it’s got a lovely pub garden and beautiful views over the city.
Bath Itinerary Day 2
If you’re nearby, grab a delicious coffee from Colonna & Smalls near Queens Square to start your day off!
This 18th century landscaped garden is one of Bath’s many quaint parks, perfect for an afternoon stroll. It also has a unique Palladian Bridge (one of only four in the world) which is a type of architecture that was influenced by Andrea Palladio.
Bath Skyline Walk
Start your Sunday by a beautiful walk where you can look over Bath city centre. The Bath skyline walk is a 5km loop over the top of the park. Here are the full directions for the Bath skyline walk.
Sally Lunn Tea Room
Sally Lunn was a French refugee who started working in the kitchen that is still on-site in the Sally Lunn Tea Room today. She created a brioche-style roll, similar to that which is found in France today. This quickly became the nationally-famous Bath bun, which tourists flocked to the tearoom for.
Nowadays, you can still try out this famous culinary marvel, as well as various breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner dishes.
Check out Bath’s Pulteney Bridge, designed in 1769 due to William Johnstone Pulteney, who wanted to create a rival city to Bath on the other side of the Weir – this obviously didn’t work very well, which was a shame considering the 10,000 price tag (a few million in today’s money)!
It’s also the only bridge in the country that’s covered by shops, and one of only three in all of Europe!
Cruise along the Avon
Cruises leave the area around the Weir and chug along the Avon to the village of Bathampton, before turning back to their original starting place.
Bath’s oldest park, Sydney Gardens was constructed as a Georgian pleasure garden and was frequented by Jane Austen – she actually lived just opposite at 4 Sydney Place! Also worth visiting is the Holborne Museum, which exhibits lots of decorative arts of William Holborne.
A short detour away is the quirky Walcot Street. Home to lots of Bath’s independent businesses, this is a lovely street to stroll down and window shop.
Museums in Bath
On your walk to the Circus, you will go past some of the best Museums in Bath. Visit whichever take your fancy the most!
Jane Austen Museum
The Jane Austen Museum is located by Queen Square, a short walk from The Circus. The famous author lived in Bath from 1801-1806, and although she didn’t love the city, the city loves her, and therefore there’s an entire museum dedicated to her life here. It talks about how Bath influenced her and her writing, as well as the general life and times of the author.
The Fashion Museum
The Fashion Museum discusses British fashion from Elizabethan times to the present day. If you’re interested in the history of fashion and how fashion has evolved with the changing times, this museum is a must-visit.
The Museum of East Asian Art
The Museum of East Asian Art is the only museum in the country that is just focused on art and culture in East and South East Asia. It explores the history of these regions through their art and historical artefacts.
Next, take a walk and see some of Bath’s 18th century crescents and other buildings. First up is The Circus. Inspired by Rome’s Colosseum, The Circus is a perfect circle and has 33 houses that all face the centre. Sadly, The Circus didn’t finish until 1768, 14 years after John Wood the Elder passed away.
Royal Georgian House Museum
Walk from the Circus to The Crescent (it’s a less than five minute walk). This was built by the same constructors that built The Circus. It’s one of the quintessential Bath crescents that the city is now famous for.
Most of the crescent is now a hotel, but number 1 has been remade to represent a house in the years 1776-1796.
Once you’ve seen the crescent, have a stroll around Victoria Park. Named after Queen Victoria, who visited Bath when she was nine years old, this is one of Bath’s best green spaces.
At the end of Victoria Park is the Bath Botanical gardens, which are free to enter and explore. Built in 1887, the Botanical Gardens encompass nine acres and feature trees, a rock garden and pool, a Roman temple replica, and a herb garden.
Dinner and Drinks
Bath isn’t a huge place, so I would recommend trying out another restaurant from the recommended list above – or anywhere else that takes your fancy!
Day trips from Bath
If you’ve got extra time while you’re staying in Bath, here are some day trip ideas.
- Bristol, which is just 13 miles away – check out my Bristol itinerary and things to do in Bristol guide for some ideas of what to do here!
- Cheddar Gorge and the Mendip Hills
- Lacock, home to a mystical Abbey and Harry Potter filming locations
- Bradford on Avon, a lovely town in the southern part of the Cotswolds
- Glastonbury, a town famed for the weird and wonderful, and nearby Wells, the smallest city in England.
I hope this weekend in Bath itinerary has proved helpful for your trip! Let me know if you have any questions, I spent a year living in Bath so I should be able to help! 🙂