If you’ve ever been to Bath on a Saturday or even worse on a Saturday when the rugby is on OR EVEN WORSE on a Saturday when the Christmas market is on, you’ll know that the city is absolutely heaving with tourists and traffic. The way NOT to do Bath is to spend two hours trying to park, another two hours queuing for the Roman Baths and then go home without having really seen a lot. Here are a few suggestions for “Doing Bath in a day”
Step one: Get the Park and Ride
The Park and Ride in Bath is really really good and will save you so much time. Bath is full of one way systems and is super congested, especially on the weekends. Regular buses run into the city and it’s just £2.60 on the weekends.
Step Two: Head straight to The Royal Crescent
This is a really good place to start because it’s at the top of town so you can get the invigorating uphill walk done at the beginning of the day. Also, most head there in the afternoon, so it is likely to be a bit emptier in the morning.
Step Three: Walk to the Circus
The Circus is right next to the crescent and the linking road between the two is full of art galleries and boutique stores so it’s a very sophisticated morning stroll.
Step Four: Colonna & Smalls
Bath has an incredible selection of coffee shops but this is got to be the best. It’s a short straight walk down from The Circus to Queen’s Square and Colonna & Small’s is on the top right corner. This is a must-do for anyone with an Instagram account. There’s also Hunter & Sons (originally Colonna & Hunter) on Milsom Street which serves craft beers as well as coffee. I brand this as the best date place in Bath – go for a coffee at about 4 and if it’s going well you can swiftly move onto the alcohol.
Step Five: Mr B’s Emporium or The Jane Austen Centre
Queen’s Square is close to a few of my favourite places in Bath. One is, of course, The Jane Austen Centre. I am big Austen fan so am probably biased but I genuinely thought it was great. The staff are super knowledgable about Austen and Regency life in general so if you want a quick dose of Bath history this is a good place to go.
The other place I definitely recommend going is Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (actual name). This was introduced to me by my great mate Joe (go on Joe). It’s hidden on a side street just off Queen’s Square and it’s definitely the cutest coolest bookshop ever. Firstly, you get free tea and coffee, what a winner, and secondly they run this thing called a “Reading Spa”. For £65 you get 1 hour of book-chat with a Mr B’s team member to discuss your reading likes/dislikes and to get introduced to lots of new books. Then you get some time to relax in the “Bibliotherapy room” with cake and tea AND THEN you get £45 to spend on books! Plus you leave with a party bag!
Step 6: Lunch with Ordoo
So at this point you’re basically in the centre of town and probably ready for lunch. This great app Ordoo has been growing in Bath and Bristol and it’s the quickest and easiest way to avoid to the queues. You can download from the Apple store and it allows you to order your lunch from many of the great cafes in Bath. My favourite lunch spot is The Whole Bagel (thanks to Ehoussoud for introducing me to this). They serve loads of great bagels, wraps, baguettes and salads which are suitable for many dietary requirements.
Whole Bagel has some seating for rainy days but if it’s sunny I recommend grabbing your lunch and heading to one of the great viewing spots in Bath. One of these is Alexandra Park but it’s quite a way from Bath and a big old walk. Alternatively get the U18 or the U1 from opposite the train station or next to the Abbey (heading to the University of Bath campus) – this takes you up Bathwick Hill and if you get off about 3/4s of the way up you can get into some of the fields that sit above the city. This is a great picnic spot and a nice walk down back to the city.
Step 7: The Roman Baths
So if you’ve walked down to the U18/U1 bus stop you would’ve had the opportunity to scout out the queues into the Roman Baths. After lunch it is hopefully a little shorter but if it is really long I’ll say (controversially) to give it a miss. I haven’t actually been (so don’t trust me completely) but I’ve heard from everyone who has been that it’s not spectacular and hence, with the queues, a bit of a waste of time. This area of town is generally really pretty however, with the Abbey and the Abbey square next to it, it’s a nice place to wander and take in the Bath architecture.
Other super fun Bath activities
If you’ve taken the day slowly this probably brings you to the end of the day, there are however many other great things to do that I’ll mention if you plan to take a longer break.
- The Bath Boating Station: Rent a punt or a rowing boat and enjoy time on the water. If you head upstream for a couple of miles you can dock up at The Old Mill and get lunch before rowing back. Alternatively, dock up on the other side and have a budget BBQ (an old Bath Snowsports tradition)
- Roller Disco at The Pavilion: I am absolutely gutted to have only discovered this last year. On Mondays and Thursdays at The Pavilion you can rent roller skates, get a drink at the bar and have the absolute time of your life.
- Crazy golf: I’ve spent an embarrassingly long amount of my life at this place – near the Royal Crescent, so a great spot, and this year they did A GLOW IN THE DARK VERSION for winter. Cracking night.
- Bath Escape Rooms: I did this with the super rad Bath Lifesaving Club (RIP). You get locked in a room and have to escape with various clues and problem solving games. It’s in the back of this jewellery/antique shop which sounds really dodgy but it was actually cool and the owner was a delight.
- Opium Bar: Fav bar in Bath (credit to David for intro). The majority of the night life in Bath is hidden under ground and Opium is the coolest example of this. It takes up six or seven caves underneath Pulteney Bridge and has some great cocktails and a quirky atmosphere. Smells like incense A LOT so maybe not great for asthmatics (if this is the case, walk up the river, up the next bridge’s stairs and to Opa, a great Greek bar)
- The Raven: The Best Pies in Bath (and probably the world). Thanks to Dowdall for reminding me of this bad boy. Recommend the classic Beef & Ale with Mash
Got totes emotional thinking of all the great memories I’ve had in this beautiful city. Shout out to all the people who have made it great xxx