Strolling along the River Avon in Bath
The UK has some great places for a city break, perfect for a weekend away with friends or a Romantic 2-night getaway, and Bath is one of the best places for a weekend city break in England. If you’ve not visited Bath yet, then get it on your list! This small historic city is the perfect place to spend a weekend away.
There are so many great things to see and do in Bath, from historic Roman baths to modern spas, lots of shopping and dining options, as well as some great walks. If you're looking to plan the perfect weekend city break in Bath, then check out my top things to do in Bath to add to your itinerary!
Another one of my favourite places for a city break in the UK is Edinburgh. Check out my blog post on What to do in Edinburgh - the Ultimate weekend guide.
Best things to do for a weekend break in Bath
1. Visit Bath's most famous attraction - The historic Roman Baths
The Roman baths are what Bath is most known for and a weekend break in Bath would not be complete without a visit to its most popular tourist attraction!
What started out as a small temple, built on the site between 60-70CE in the first few decades of Roman Britain, led to the development of the small Roman urban settlement known as Aquae Sulis. As the settlement was built on natural hot springs, many believed that the water had healing properties and the pools were a popular bathing and socialising spot for the Romans.
Now a World Heritage Site, the baths have been painstakingly restored and house the remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world. The natural hot water still rises through the springs on the site, but unfortunately, the pools have been out of action for bathers for many years now!
The Roman Baths are one of the best things to do in Bath, so as you can imagine, it does get busy and you will need to pre-book your tickets in advance, but they are definitely worth visiting.
The Great Bath at the Roman Baths - you definitely wouldn't want to swim here anymore!
2. Relax at Thermae Spa - One of Bath's most popular spas
If a visit to the Roman Baths has left you wanting a dip in the hot springs, then book into the Thermae Day Spa. You can book in for a Thermae Aqua which is a two-hour session and includes access to the New Royal Bath – sat on the rooftop with views over Bath city and also the Minerva spa pool. Or, if you're in Bath for a romantic weekend away, then why not treat yourself to a spa package for even more indulgence.
3. Visit Bath Abbey, in the heart of Bath
Sat in the heart of the city, next to the Roman Baths, the Bath Abbey is a working church and holds daily services, but if you want to view inside, you can visit outside of the service times – there is no fee to enter the abbey but a donation is welcomed. Admire the vaulted carved ceiling and the stained glass windows as you walk around the inside of the building. The Abbey is definitely one of the most impressive buildings in Bath and it looks even more spectacular at night when it is lit up.
Bath Abbey at night
4. Stroll around the Royal Crescent and Circus - Bath's most famous landmark
The Georgian houses in Bath's Royal Crescent and Circus date back to the late 1700s and are a masterpiece of architecture. Start at the Circus then make your way towards the Royal Crescent, a semi-circle of Grade 1 terrace houses overlooking a sweeping lawn and the Royal Victoria Gardens. The Royal Crescent is one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture anywhere in the UK and is one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks. A stroll around this beautiful area should definitely be on your Bath itinerary!
The Royal Crescent, one of Bath's most iconic landmarks
5. See Bath's impressive Pulteney Bridge
Built over the River Avon, the Pulteney Bridge is often likened to Ponte Vecchio in Florence due to the shops and restaurants built into the bridge. However – having visited Florence before, I am here to tell you that it really is nothing like the original Ponte Vecchio, which is much more impressive! (Sorry, Bath!)
Nonetheless, Pulteney bridge is impressive in its own right – it is best viewed from the crescent weir and parade gardens, which is a lovely place to sit and enjoy the atmosphere, particularly in the summer months. Or, if you prefer, grab a window seat in the Bridge Coffee shop and enjoy a cuppa and cake whilst overlooking the river!
Another great Bath landmark - the Pulteney Bridge
6. Admire views over Bath with the Bath Skyline walk
If you fancy getting some fresh air, head out of the city and uphill to the Bath Skyline walk. The 6-mile circular walk is well signposted and takes you through forests and meadows, with great views over Bath at the beginning and end of the walk. The walk to the start of the trail is quite steep so take advantage of the views when you reach the top as you’ll need a quick break!
This is one of the best things to do in Bath in the warmer months when you can take a picnic with you and enjoy the sunshine. If you're in Bath for 2 or 3 nights, I would definitely recommend walking the Bath skyline.
If you love walks with stunning views, make sure to check out my post on how to walk the beautiful South West Coastal path in North Devon!
Heading back down into Bath after finishing the Bath Skyline walk
7. Relax in one of Bath's many cafes
One of the best things to do in Bath is to immerse yourself in the lively cafe and bar scene. There are so many great cafes to enjoy a hot drink and a cake during the day - one of the best cafes I visited was Mrs Potts Chocolate house – I would highly recommend the Malteser hot chocolates!
Another of Bath's most popular cafes is Sally Lunn's Historic Eating House. The cafe and tearoom is home to the famous Sally Lunn Bun (which is a semi-sweet bread). The building that houses the tearoom also claims the title of being Britain's oldest house (built in 1483).
Indulgence at Mrs. Potts Chocolate house in Bath!
8. Immerse yourself in Bath's lively nightlife
The nightlife in Bath is really vibrant, with a wide range of places to enjoy an evening out, from cosy traditional pubs to trendy cocktail bars and budget bites to fine dining restaurants.
In the centre of the city, you'll also find Bath's Theatre Royal, as well as comedy venue, the 'Komedia Bath'.
9. Explore the area surrounding Bath
If you’re visiting Bath for a long weekend and have 3 or 4 days in the city, head up to The Cotswolds or down into Somerset, for Cheddar Gorge and Glastonbury. If you don't have your own car, I would highly recommend hiring one for one or two days so that you can really explore the area in your own time.
If you are heading into the Cotswolds, make sure you check out my post on the Best Places to visit in the Cotswolds, including Castle Coombe, which has earned itself the unofficial title of ‘England’s prettiest village’ and is regularly featured in films and TV shows.
The pretty village of Castle Coombe in The Cotswolds is not far from Bath
So there you have it - my top things to see and do in Bath for the perfect weekend break! I loved Bath instantly - the combination of the old historic buildings with the vibrant atmosphere of the cafes, bars and restaurants is exactly what I look for in a city break and I hope this post helps you to plan your itinerary for your weekend away in Bath.
Is Bath an expensive place to visit?
Like any city, there are some restaurants, bars, and cafes that are more expensive than others, but Bath does have a wide range of options so if you are on a budget then you will be just fine. My top recommendation for finding affordable accommodation in Bath is to stay at an independent guest house, or rent an apartment or studio instead of staying at a chain hotel. You get much more space for your money, plus parking is often free. I would also recommend staying on the other side of the River Avon, just outside of the main city centre, where accommodation is slightly cheaper.
Bath is such a pretty city that you can enjoy a lot of the scenery and architecture for free, which is great if you are on a budget. The things that start to make it more expensive are the attractions, such as the Roman Baths and if you wanted to visit a spa, so it really depends what things you want to see and do whilst you are in Bath.
What's the best way to get to Bath?
Bath is well connected and has a large train station and bus station next to each other in the south of the city centre, along the River Avon. So, even if you don't have your own car, you can easily get to Bath on public transport.
If you do have your own car, try and find accommodation with free parking as parking in and around the city in the main car parks can be expensive, especially if you are staying in Bath for a few days.
Getting around Bath is best done on foot as large parts of the city centre are pedestrianised, but if this is not possible for you, then there are several public buses as well as the Bath hop-on, hop-off bus, which will take you around the city to the main tourist spots.
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