| |

How to Spend an Epic Weekend in Bath

“Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?” exclaims Catherine Morland, the heroine of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. If you’re reading this, you’ll know the honey-coloured, Georgian-terraced city was the home and inspiration of England’s greatest romance novelist. Its narrow, cobblestone alleyways feature in the books Persuasion and Northanger Abbey and several period drama TV shows, most notably the sensation Bridgerton. But beyond its literary connections, Bath in England is blessed with sweeping crescent formations and expansive parklands intersected by ancient monuments, Roman baths, thermal waters, historic eateries, afternoon tea traditions and manorial hotels. Put simply, spending a weekend in Bath offers quintessential English charm, and it’s little wonder that the entire city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site! If you’re intrigued, here’s how I spend weekends in Bath.

How to Spend a Weekend in Bath

Weekend in Bath: Day One

Start your weekend in Bath City at Mokoko Bakery, grabbing their renowned almond croissants and a cup of green tea. The bakery has seats and tables outside, adjacent to the richly decorated Bath Abbey. You should admire the west front, which has intricate stone carvings depicting angels climbing to heaven on two stone ladders. When ready, walk towards the abbey, stopping to photograph The Pump Room. Then, head to the abbey’s entrance and go inside to see its magnificent fan-vaulted ceiling, striking stained-glass windows, and honey-gold columns. Tickets are £7.50 per adult, and the abbey is open between 10:00 am and 5:30 pm. If you feel up to it, climb Bath Abbey’s tower steps (212 to be exact) to see the bell chamber and spectacular panoramic views of Bath and its surrounding countryside. 

After learning about how Bath Abbey has been a place of worship for over a thousand years, take your time to browse Bath City’s shops. One place you must visit is the Bath Guildhall Market, the oldest shopping venue in the city. Inside, around 20 colourful stallholders offer everything from savoury treats to secondhand books. My favourite is Skoobs Bookstore, offering a massive range from the latest bestsellers to classic novels and more. The book prices are less than half the retail price. Another great bookshop is Topping & Company, which has sliding ladders like the ones you see in Beauty and the Beast and ‘blind dates with a book’. The latter is a scheme that has you taking home a wrapped book, and the only thing you know about it is a written clue from the shop’s staff. 

Once you’ve finished shopping, head to the Jane Austen Centre. You should start on the top floor for some scones and tea. Then, tour the museum with a Regency-costumed guide who will give you a snapshot of Austen’s life and writing. You can dress up in Regency costumes (gowns and bonnets) and try writing with a quill pen and ink. Museum tickets are £15.75 per adult and open between 9:45 am – 5:30 pm. 

It’s a seven-minute walk from the Jane Austen Centre to The Circus, a complex of 33 houses divided into three semi-circular terraces. The architecture is exquisite, and Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage fans should come here to find their former homes. The Royal Crescent, the crown jewel in Bath’s architectural tapestry, is nearby. It is a uniformed sweep of Palladian mansions surveying the immaculate lawns of Victoria Park.

The Crescent was built between 1767 and 1775 by John Wood the Younger, and the 500-foot-long row of 30 buildings featured in the hit TV show Bridgerton. Visiting No 1 Royal Crescent is one of the best things to do in Bath as it’s been restored using 18th-century materials and turned into a museum. Here, you’ll get an insight into Georgian Bath and how the wealthy and servants used to live. Nearby is Alexandra Park,  named after Queen Alexandra in 1902 to commemorate Edward VII’s coronation. This park has 11 acres, featuring a playground, lakes and a large bowls court. 

End the first day of your weekend in Bath with an early meal at the Giggling Squid. Make sure to try their delicious vegetable spring rolls and Massaman curry. Then, head to the Roman Baths for a twilight viewing. Tickets cost £27, and Bath City’s Roman Baths are open between 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. This is Britain’s best-preserved Roman bath complex, dating to 70 AD and one of the best attractions in Bath. A remarkable amount of the structure remains intact, and as you explore, look out for the Sacred Spring, the Roman Bath House, and the Roman Temple, all of which provide an intimate picture of how Roman people washed, rested, and socialised.

The wonderful thing about visiting the Roman Baths at night is that they are awash with orange lanterns, and guides dress and act like Romans. It’s quite an evocative experience! The Roman Baths Museum explores the baths’ history on the same site. It’s filled with many artefacts, videos, and archaeological excavations. 

Weekend in Bath: Day Two

Day two of your weekend in Bath starts with a leisurely walk across Pulteney Bridge, which spans the River Avon. This is one of the most photographed areas in Bath, and more impressively, it is one of only four bridges in the world with shops across its entire length. From here, you can go down a series of steps and walk along the river, watching the boat tours start up for the day. You’ll eventually come across the Parade Gardens, a two-and-a-half acre garden with phenomenal views of Pulteney Bridge and the weir. The flower displays here are of traditional carpet and sculptural bedding; during the summer, you’ll find an annual 3D floral feature. 

The next thing to do in Bath is to visit the National Trust’s Prior Park Landscape Garden. Buses run regularly from the city centre. You can catch the number 2 bus from stop BK on Dorchester Street. The bus runs every 30 minutes and will stop outside Prior Park’s entrance gate.  The park is set within a sweeping valley and offers some of the best views of Bath. On the grounds, you find a Palladian Bridge (one of only four worldwide), matured wildflowers and a diverse range of wildlife. There’s also a ruined thatched cottage, an ice house and the footprint of a Gothic temple. Tickets are £11 per adult, and the gardens are open between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Once you’re done exploring, catch the bus for lunch at Noya’s Kitchen. I highly recommend trying An’s Vietnamese Chicken Curry, served with lemongrass and garlic chicken, spring onions, sesame seeds, fresh coriander and jasmine rice.

After lunch, head to The Holburne Museum and The Sydney Pleasure Gardens. The Holburne Museum was once a Georgian villa-style hotel but now houses a treasure trove of 18th-century artworks by Sir William Holburne. There are decorative arts and paintings from the 19th century to look at, too, and many eagle-eyed Bridgerton fans will notice the facade of The Holburne Museum, which is the home of Lady Danbury. Entry is £12.50 per adult, and the museum is open daily between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Behind the museum is The Sydney Pleasure Gardens, which Jane Austen used to visit and write about to her sister Cassandra. The gardens were designed by architect Harcourt Masters in 1795. It became known as ‘pleasure gardens’ because the elite and fashionable people gravitated here for public breakfasts, fireworks, orchestras, and entertainment. Today, it is the oldest park in the city, and while you walk, you can enjoy vibrant shrubberies, tennis courts, immaculate lawns and the Kennet and Avon Canal. You can also follow Jane Austen’s footsteps with this digital map. The gardens are free to enter.

End the second day of your weekend in Bath by dining at Hall and Woodhouse. If there is a play on, head to the Grand Theatre Royal Bath for an evening of entertainment and culture.

Weekend in Bath: Day Three (Optional Extra Day)

If you can make your weekend in Bath a three-day adventure, I’d highly recommend exploring The Assembly Rooms (free to visit) for the third day. These rooms were the epicentre of Georgian social life, where the elite could go and be seen. It was also the place where women could hunt for eligible husbands. Inside, you’ll see two-tiered crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, which are the original that Austen would have waltzed beneath. The magnificent ballroom, Great Octagon and Tea Room are also a must-visit. Afterwards, grab a quick bite to eat at Sally Lunn’s House before heading to The Thermae Bath Spa (must pre-book via email). Finish your weekend in Bath by drifting into oblivion with a massage, or feel your skin rejuvenating in the steam room, salt room, sauna and more. There’s also no better way to enjoy the city’s skyline than by soaking in the spa’s open-air thermal pool, and as you do, feel proud to continue a tradition set by the Romans. 

Planning a weekend in bath: Useful information

How to get to bath

Bath is located in Somerset, southwest England. It is easily accessible by regular buses and trains from most UK cities. 

By Train: Bath Spa Railway Station is situated in Bath’s city centre and is well connected to many cities in the UK. If you’re coming from Wales, hop on a direct train from Cardiff. If you’re coming from London, a direct train from London Paddington will take you to Bath. I book all my train tickets on Trainline, which makes it easy to compare train times, prices and journey lengths.

By Bus: The National Express frequently has coaches arriving in Bath from London and other cities in the UK.

By Car: The best way to travel to Bath is by car, allowing you to explore beyond the city. Depending on traffic, it takes around two hours to drive from South Wales and around two and a half hours from London. 

How to get around bath City

The best way to spend a weekend in Bath is to explore on foot. Most Bath City attractions are within walking distance, and if there’s something a little further afield, like Prior Park, there are plenty of local buses for you to hop on. 

the best time to visit bath

Winter is usually quiet and wet, but it is great for photographers wanting atmospheric shots of the Georgian streets. Visitors to the Thermae Bath Spa are also more likely to get the facilities to themselves, as are those visiting historic sites like the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Winter also brings the Bath Christmas Market to the city, where around 200 wooden stalls sell artisan products. Spring is delightful and the best time to do the Bath Skyline Walk, take a boat down the river and enjoy the many festivals, including the Bath Literature Festival. The weather will be in the low to mid-teens with a chance of sunshine.

Summer is Bath’s busiest time, and the weather is usually hot and sunny. This time of year brings tourists, and hotel prices skyrocket. Autumn is my favourite time of the year to have a weekend in Bath. Prices are lower, fewer tourists, the weather is still pretty good, and the city is alive with the Jane Austen Festival. There’s an almost 100% chance you’ll see people walking around in Regency costumes – long dresses, bonnets, top hats and more!

Places to stay in bath

There are many places to stay in Bath; some are for adults only, while others cater to families or those travelling with pets. My top three are Hotel Indigo Bath, Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel and Russell House Suites. The Hotel Indigo Bath is one of the best affordable luxury hotels in Bath, England, offering refined elegance in a Grade I-listed building in the city centre. This accommodation has 154 bedrooms, all fitted with Hypnos beds, luxury Egyptian cotton linen, spa-inspired bathrooms and coffee and tea-making facilities. There’s a gym and two restaurants to try – Brasserie Beau and The Elder.

The Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel is the best place to stay for a Regency-esque experience. The historic property boasts seven acres of landscaped gardens, a fabulous spa, and an award-winning restaurant with outstanding and attentive service. They also serve afternoon tea on the terrace or in the Drawing Room, including sandwiches, homemade scones, and irresistible cakes. 

The Russell House Suites is a terrace property within the city centre for those looking for independence. The apartment has two spacious bedrooms, a private patio, and one bathroom with a walk-in rainfall shower. The kitchen is fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The living room has a flat-screen TV with streaming services so that you can enjoy a quiet night in. 

Places to eat in Bath, England

There are so many places to eat in Bath that sometimes it feels like travelling around the globe in one compact city. From Vietnamese restaurants to Cornish Pasty bakeries and Indian curry houses to elegant afternoon tea set-ups, you’re spoilt for choice. My favourites cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they’re great for families, a girl’s night out, or a quiet solo date with a good book.

Breakfast in Bath

For breakfast, head to the large Marks and Spencer, pick up a fresh mango and passion fruit smoothie, and pair it with the best almond croissant in the world from Mokoko bakery. It’s no exaggeration to say these croissants are the best because they’re gigantic, with a crispy shell and a gooey almond paste filling.  Mokoko is located next door to Bath Abbey and is an independent bakery that makes everything fresh on-site with local ingredients. Their coffee reflects the seasons, showcasing what is grown and harvested in the country at different times of the year.

Lunch in Bath

There are many places to eat lunch in Bath, and my top recommendation is the Jane Austen Centre Cafe. Here, you can taste Regency food, sample Tea with Mr Darcy or devour Mrs Bennet’s Cake of the Day. The Pump Room is where high society once went to “take the waters”, which they believed would cure all illnesses. You can sample this water with 43 minerals, try afternoon tea or devour the Bath Buns! Nearby is Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, serving historic dishes like trencher meals. Trencher was a type of bread used before plates were invented. Unlike plates, the trencher is eaten as part of the meal. Lastly, Hall and Woodhouse is a dog-friendly pub, restaurant and cafe with a vintage-inspired interior and a superb Sunday roast. 

Dinner in Bath

There are many Bath city centre restaurants, and my favourites are the Giggling Squid and Noya’s Kitchen. The Giggling Squid specialises in vibrant Thai cuisine and is known for its flavorful curries, aromatic spices, and playful dining atmosphere. On the other hand, Noya’s Kitchen provides an intimate, home-style Vietnamese dining experience. It is renowned for authentic pho, fresh summer rolls, and the warm hospitality of its owner, Noya.

Final Thoughts on Spending a Weekend in Bath

There you have it, my guide to spending a weekend break in Bath. I might be biased, considering Bath is my favourite city in the UK, but I think you’ll have an epic time following my mini three-day itinerary. I bet, like me, you’ll want to keep coming back.

Have you been to Bath? If so, what’s your favourite thing to do there?

If you’re heading to England, check out my other guides to Stratford-upon-Avon, Falmouth in Cornwall, The Cotswolds, and Oxford

Similar Posts