Bath
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Bath

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Bath is not only Britain's most beautiful city with its honey-coloured Georgian architecutre, but also a city filled with 2,000-year-old history and a diverse culture.

Our Editorial team's advice

Nestled in the Somerset hills, Bath is a sweet little bubble of sophistication that lacks the usual grime found in British cities. The city feels like it's stuck in a time capsule but has fought its own as a prime English city to explore. Bath thrives due to its unrivalled architectural beauty and natural Roman hot springs.

Bath was founded by the Romans in 43 AD, and was built up around the only natural hot springs in the UK. Today, the town is still renowned for its spas, although there is also a wealth of other sights and activities.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bath is one of the most architecturally rich cities in the UK. Georgian terraces, museums, exhibitions, canals, bridges and quaint cafés...there's not much you won't see from strolling around the city, which doesn't take longer than a few hours. Bombings of the city during the Second World War left Bath looking fairly sad, however the city has since undergone a major renovation to restore the city back to its former glory.

Bath has a quintessential English feel, which is reflected in its collection of classical museums and sites, such as the Jane Austen Centre, the Georgian Garden and the Victoria Museum. There are plenty of tearooms to please all, as well as a scattering of award winning restaurants.

Bath is also just half an hour's drive away from its large, busy and diverse neighbour, Bristol.

To see

Make sure to visit the Royal Crescent, a stunning crescent of terraced houses which you might recognise from various films and costume dramas. Today the prince's former residence is occupied by a museum, suitably named Number One Royal Crescent.

The Circus is another impressive example of Georgian architecture. Drawing inspiration from the Roman Colosseum, the facade of the terraced houses faces inward to the central gardens. Bath is home to Britain's one and only 'Perfect View' - a row of Georgian cottages over-looking the city. Stroll up Camden Road on a clear day to enjoy this picture perfect panorama.

Bath has a reputable Arts College and regularly hosts student shows and touring exhibitions. The Bath Fashion Museum has an impressive collection of garments on show, some of which date back over 400 years.

To do

Anyone passing through Bath must visit the Roman baths, as this is the only place in the UK where you'll be able to experience natural hot springs! The baths have been beautifully preserved and the ruins take you right back to another era. Children will enjoy meeting the costumed actors who tell tales of their lives 2000 years ago. Alternatively, relax in the Pump Room café, which often provides live music by The Trio.

If you have the cash to spare, why not take to the skies and see Bath from your very own hot air balloon? Bath Balloons runs hot air balloon tours from Royal Victoria Park (£99-140). Flight is dependent on weather, however, which means you'll be lucky to make it off the ground, so have a 'plan B' at the ready just in case, like the Jane Austen Centre.

The Jane Austen Centre is a popular museum for fans of the queen of British literature, the Museum offers an insight into the author's life during her time spent in Bath, and houses a Regency tea room and gift shop.

Another must-visit is the American Museum on Claverton Down, just outside the cityn which has some beautiful views of Bath and its surroundings; the museum is usually pleasantly uncrowded and relaxed.

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  • +  The picturesque architecture.

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To think about

Visit the city in summertime to see it at its best. As well as lessening the chances of being caught in showers , you'll be able to take advantage of Bath's many festivals which take place around this time of year. Bath is also beautiful in the autumn, when you can catch The Jane Austen Festival in full swing.

Bath Spa train station is easily accessible from London, with direct trains leaving from London Paddington twice an hour (1h30), but services along the south coast (ie Brighton/Southampton) are slow and stop frequently.

To avoid

In an interview with the Telegraph, former British Conservative Party politician Ann Widdecomb jokes about avoiding Bath's pavements (!) as they are too crowded. Thanks for the great advice, Ann, but we may just risk it.

To try

Unsurprisingly, seeing as Bath is the West Country's Capital of Class, the city has a lot to offer in the sphere of gastro dining, and is home to many Michelin starred restaurants. Bath lends itself to long leisurely brunches and afternoon teas. Go to Sally Lunn's Restaurant and Museum to try out the famous Sally Lunn bun - a brioche style speciality served sweet or savoury, NOT to be confused with the Bath Bun unless you want to be the object of local tutting. The Bath bun is more widely available and less exclusive: strictly sweet with a sugary surprise in the middle.

To bring back

Bath has a wide selection of special merchandise. Don't forget to bring back some bottled Bath water: an absolute must when passing through the region and could make a great gift. For something a little more exciting pick up some Darcy memorabilia at the Jane Austen Museum. Impress locals with your bun knowledge and bring back a selection of Bath Buns and Sally Lunn Buns.