An annoying thing about growing up is the lack of time you suddenly have to catch up with friends – especially when they no longer live in the building across from you at university, but instead half way across the country. Until last month it had been over a year since seeing one of my closest friends, Beth. We last met up in April 2017 when I blogged about our weekend trip to Lacock, Wiltshire where we visited Hogwarts and the cutest little village. So during our trip to Bath we decided to make a pact; that every year before the start of summer we will spend a weekend together somewhere in Europe. It just so happens though that this year’s trip tied in perfectly with my 25 before 25 bucket list – catch up with an old friend, tick!
What to do in Bath
This was my third trip to Bath and each time I visit it feels like I’m exploring the city for the first time. There’s so many things to do in this beautiful place that I don’t think I could get bored of even the touristy things very easily. My personal ‘must do’s’ however (asides shopping) include:
- Thermae Bath Spa
- The Roman Baths
- Bath Abbey
- The Jane Austen Centre
- Sally Lunn’s
- Stroll from The Circus to Royal Crescent
- No.1 Royal Crescent
Thermae Bath Spa
I actually didn’t visit the spa on this visit as we were tight on time (I talk about this in the vlog) but I did on my first two visits and definitely recommend it, especially if you’re on a romantic getaway. Thermae Bath Spa is located in the heart of the city and features Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters.
I’d recommend buying the ‘Thermae Welcome’ package for £36 (£40 on weekends) that includes two-hours access of the spa facilities plus use of a towel, robe and slippers. Begin in the Minerva Bath, the largest of the thermal baths that features a massage jet, whirlpool and lazy river. Then move onto the multi-sensory Wellness Suite, which resembles a ‘fire and ice’ experience, before making your way to my favourite spot – the open-air rooftop pool. This spectacular pool offers views over the city and surrounding hills. It’s honestly the most peaceful experience, and super romantic.
The Roman Baths
You could easily and happily lose a few hours at The Roman Baths. During your visit you’ll begin your self-guided audio tour on the terrace, which overlooks the Great Bath. The first thing that’ll catch your eye here are the grand Victorian statues of Roman emperors and governors of Britain. Then step inside and underground as it’s time to ‘meet the Romans’ and learn more about the temple, baths and people who used to live here.
Proceed through what was once the Temple courtyard, where Roman’s gathered to pray to the goddess Sulis Minerva, before heading outside to the much anticipated Great Bath pictured above. During our own visit, myself and Beth ended up chatting away to two actors for a good while at this section which ended up being a right laugh. So if you’re ever at The Roman Baths make sure you say hi to them. You won’t regret it.
Bath Abbey is one of the most visited places in the South West of England. This beautiful cathedral should definitely be on your to-do list when visiting Bath, even if you just admire it from the outside. Alternatively tickets can be purchased for a guided tour that takes you behind the scenes, as well as up 212 steps to the top of the Tower.
The Jane Austen Centre
I absolutely adore visiting The Jane Austen Centre when I’m in Bath. I’ve been a huge fan of Austen’s novels (or should I say film adaptions) ever since I can remember. Luckily my friend shares this same admiration so we ended up prioritising our final morning in the city to visiting this museum. The Jane Austen Centre shares details of the young author’s life and upbringing, whilst making references to the time she spent in Bath where she wrote Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. There’s also an opportunity to dress up in the period clothing, as well as a tea room if you get peckish. Just make sure you stop by the gift shop on your way out; we’re speaking Mr Darcy galore.
Despite having visited Bath on three occasions I’ve still not quite made it inside Sally Lunn’s, however it’s top on the tourist board. This tea room is in fact the oldest house in Bath (1482) and is said to of been the workplace and refuge of Solange Luyon, who came to the city in 1680 after escaping persecution in France. Sally soon began baking her infamous brioche bun that to this day holds legendary status around the world.
Stroll from The Circus to Royal Crescent
The Circus homes three curved segments of Grade I listed townhouses, however what I familiarise it with the most is a scene in one of Jane Austen’s film adaptions. Similarly the Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses – both designed by the same architect in the 1700s. What I like about these ‘attractions’ though, asides Austen’s cameo, is the walk between them that captures your gaze and entices you into another era. Truly beautiful.
No.1 Royal Crescent
No.1 Royal Crescent was the very first house to be built on this road. Over the years it has had several occupants, however it was wealthy landowner, Mr Henry Sanford, who lived there first from 1776 until his death in 1796. No.1 Royal Crescent now serves as a museum and has been decorated and furnished to replicate this era, and provide visitors with a glimpse into what life may have been like for Bath’s fashionable residents – both upstairs and downstairs.
I never knew this museum existed until this very visit to Bath, but I’m glad we stumbled upon it as it was fascinating to explore. Little tip as well: If you add gift aid to your ticket (which costs UK tax payers no extra) you get free admittance for a year.
If you haven’t already, please check out my vlog in Bath. I very rarely vlog anymore these days and didn’t actually plan to on this occasion either – it kind of just happened.