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Welcome to Bath


The Romans established the City of Bath in AD 43 and this city, awash with architecture, history and culture, has been welcoming visitors ever since. Many of Bath's great buildings date back from its renaissance in the 18th century when it again became a fashionable spa town and played host to royalty and the cream of aristocracy, who visited the city to 'take the waters'. Today visitors can walk around the old Roman Baths, enjoy the splendour of Bath Abbey or simply take in the breathtaking Georgian architecture of this beautiful city, which somehow managed to escape the ravages of industry and the Luftwaffe.

Jane Austen lived and based several of her books in Bath, and on Gay Street, near her home, visitors can find the Jane Austen Centre, which displays her life and times. For an authentic feel of life gone by, period decorations and furniture have been reinstated in No1 Royal Crescent, so that the house appears as it might have been as a fine 18th-century townhouse.

Bath is home to much older attractions than its Elizabethan charms, and is home to the famous ancient Roman baths, situated over the natural hot springs. Bath was a prosperous tourist destination as early as its Roman occupation, when the baths were built, and continued its reputation as a therapeutic health resort through the medieval period.

Though architecturally Bath is something of a period piece, it is also a very modern city; its restaurants and pavement cafés packed full of local businessmen and artisans, and its cinemas, pubs, and nightclubs keep them entertained each evening. Bath's answer to Camden Market is Walcot Street, where its bohemian street market takes places each weekend, and its parks and gardens are popular places to relax and enjoy pleasant weather.

The International Music Festival marks the beginning of summer and adds to Bath's lively, festive atmosphere; and its Theatre Royal is one of the country's leading provincial theatres, attracting big names and pre-West End runs.

Information & Facts


In common with the rest of southern England, the weather in Bath is changeable, especially during the summer months, when a cloudy, cool morning can turn into a hot, sunny afternoon. Generally summer days are fine and warm, but spring is the best time to travel to Bath, when the city's parks and gardens are in bloom and the weather is mild. Winters in Bath are cold and very wet. Snow is rare, but days tend to be frosty.

Getting Around

The compact city of Bath can easily be explored on foot or by bicycle. Different walking tours, including a ghost walk, are offered, and some are free. But the best way for visitors to see the city and its sights is on one of numerous bus tours, many of which are open-top and offer a hop-on, hop-off service with tickets valid for 24 hours. The city's bus network is also good and connects the city centre and its outskirts. A park-and-ride service is available. Taxis are unnecessary in the city centre as walking is often much faster, but they are easy to find at the railway station. There are also several car hire agencies.

Kids Attractions

For such a historical destination, Bath may not be the first place one thinks of when planning a family holiday with young kids, but there is more than meets the eye in the beautiful city of Bath for children on holiday to enjoy. A must is a visit to Longleat where everything a kid could wish for can be found from miniature railways to elephants and zebras, while outdoor activities for kids include visits to the Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park to discover exciting wild animals, the Cheddar Caves and Gorge to see how cavemen really survived, or take energetic kids on the Huntfun Bath Treasure Hunt where they'll love beating their parents to solve the clues! On days when the weather doesn't play along and outdoor activities with children are not an option, head to one of the many indoor playground dotted throughout the city such as Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, which features nine different indoor and outdoor playgrounds, or the Panda-Monium Indoor Play Centre which features, slides, swings and ropes and enough space for kids to run around.

English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.

The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks. Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.


The nightlife in Bath is always buzzing and with a wide range of bars, clubs, restaurants and live music venues, visitors looking for a good night out will have no problem finding somewhere to suit their tastes. Those looking for a quiet drink will enjoy the Garrick's Head next to the Theatre Royal where a few glasses of good wine and a delicious and intimate meal can be shared, while the Hare and Hounds pub on Lansdowne Road is the place to go for great views over the city of Bath. The Bell on Walcot Street is always a good start where locals and tourists meet to unwind and enjoy a pint to the sounds of live jazz, rock and reggae, while Moles Club on George Street is always jamming with local and international artists gracing its stage. Ye Old Farmhouse provides the best live jazz in town and is guaranteed to get your toe tapping to the sounds of trumpets and bass, snare drums and cymbals. The Lamb and Lion on Lower Borough Walls, is a where everyone heads to drink and shout at each other above the loud music before hitting the town and clubs such as Cadillacs on Walcot Street, which is always bustling and anyone who is up for a good party should head here, while Babylon on Kingston Road is the pace for serious clubbers, but prepare yourself for a fairly hedonistic night out.


A day of shopping in the historic city of Bath is a fabulous experience for any shopaholic as the city's streets are lined with a fantastic selection of thousands of small independent shops, trendy boutiques, and larger retail outlets, providing plenty of unique shopping opportunities and something completely different to the rest of England.

Stroll across the Pulteney Bridge to enjoy looking through the store windows along Britain's only shop-lined bridge, where specialist stores can be perused and you can even stop off for a bite to eat at one of the cafés or restaurants that line the bridge. The newly-built Milsom Place is a fabulous shopping centre that stocks all the designer names such a sMaxMar and Cath Kidson can be found as well as everything from stylish clothing and accessories to jewellery and gifts can be found. Stall Street and Milsom Street in the Southgate shopping area are the places to go for main chain stores, as is Union Street close to Northgate Street, while Walcot Street shops are the place to go for jewellery.

Margaret's Buildings, near the Royal Crescent, is also a popular shopping area where many boutiques and designer outlets can be found. Green Park Station hosts the Bath Farmers market on Sundays where fresh local produce can be bought, while the Bath Flea Market also takes place on Walcot Street on Sundays where books, clothing, leather goods, antiques, hats and fine cheeses can be found. Great souvenirs in Bath include bottled Bath water, Bath monopoly sets and wonderful clocks and bowls made from Bath stone, which all make wonderful gifts. Most shops in Bath are open seven days a week from 9am to 5.30pm, but on Sundays most shops close a little earlier.


Not only is the city of a Bath a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is a highly popular city to visit for tourists, particularly during the summer months when the streets come alive with visitors, performers and other colourful people. Culture vultures will love this city as so much of England's history is reflected here, with everything from the Roman baths and Bath Abbey to the fashion museum and Royal Crescent, a residential road of 30 houses laid out in a crescent shape showcasing Georgian architecture - it's like taking a trip through time. Head to the Jane Austen Centre to discover all there is to know about Bath's most famous resident, stroll along the Pulteney Bridge and look in its shop windows; visit Sally Lunn's Refreshment House and Museum, the oldest house in town; or take a day trip to visit the nearby ancient ruins at Stonehenge. Visitors to Bath should make use of the Bath Visitor Card, which costs just £3, is valid for three weeks from the date of validation and can be picked up from the Bath Tourist Information Centre. The card affords visitors plenty of time to make their way around the city and also offers a wide range of discounts on food, drinks, shopping, attractions and sightseeing tours.

Local time in the United Kingdom is GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Located in the beautiful Avon Valley just 4.5 miles (7km) from central Bath, Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park is the perfect day out for families with children. Children can let loose in the adventure playground which features a junior assault course, a riverside trail, farm animals like Shetland ponies, llamas and wallabies, a boating pond and even a miniature railway. Younger kids will love the indoor play area where they can enjoy enormous slides and ball pits. Families should pack a picnic to enjoy on the riverbanks while the children enjoy the wide open space and exciting activities.

Berkeley (pronounced 'barkly') is a perfectly preserved 840-year-old castle with a keep, dungeon and splendid staterooms with the original tapestries, furniture and silver. It was most famously the scene of King Edward II's gruesome murder in 1327. It is believed that Edward was deposed by his French consort, Queen Isabella, and her paramour, the Earl of Mortimer. The castle also played an important role in the English Civil War (1642-1649). The oldest part of the castle was built in 1153 by Roger De Berkeley, a Norman knight, and has remained in the family ever since. The surrounding meadows, now the setting for pleasant Elizabethan-style gardens, were once flooded to make a formidable moat.

Situated 14 miles (23km) from central Bath, children will love spending a fun-packed day at the Bristol Zoo and garden where over 450 species of animals can be found. Most of the exhibits are undercover, making this the perfect destination for family outings, come rain or shine. Kids will be amazed by Gorilla Island or Seal and Penguin Coast where an underwater viewing area makes things a little more exciting. There is also Monkey World, a reptile house, aquariums, exotic birds and an adventure playground for children to let of any excess steam. The zoo also features a café, gift shop and picnic areas.

The fascinating story of Georgian Bath is encapsulated in the only museum in the city about the city. The Building of Bath Museum is the natural place to start a sightseeing expedition. It is housed in the Gothic Countess of Huntingdon's Methodist Chapel, built in 1765 and renovated in 1984 by the Bath Preservation Trust. Inside visitors are treated to a unique exhibition, which describes how Bath developed from a small provincial spa to the most fashionable resort in Georgian England. Using models, maps, paintings, reconstructions, live crafting demonstrations and hands-on exhibits, including a touch-screen computer, a visit to the museum is an informative and entertaining experience.

Bath's comprehensive fashion museum brings alive the story of fashion over the last 400 years, from the late 16th century to the present day. The huge collection is fetchingly displayed on hundreds of dummies, providing a chronological journey through changing styles over the centuries. Visitors can listen to an audio tour or take a conducted guided tour through the ages.

Distinguished astronomer William Herschel used a telescope he built himself in this delightful Georgian townhouse to discover the planet Uranus in 1781, securing his place in history as one of the greatest astronomers of all time. His observations, and telescope constructions, doubled the known size of the solar system in his time. Visitors to the museum can view his workshop, the original kitchen, and the music room in the Herschel house, where William lived with his sister, Caroline, at the end of the 18th century.

Bath's best-known resident, Elizabethan novelist Jane Austen, is celebrated in this permanent exhibition which showcases her life and work. Bath was her home between 1801 and 1806 and her love and knowledge of the city is reflected in her novels Northanger Abbeyand Persuasion,which are set in Georgian Bath.

Longleat is regarded as the best example of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public. The magnificence of the House itself is matched by the splendour of its surroundings; a spectacular mixture of landscaped parkland, lakes and formal gardens. In 1949 Longleat became the first stately home in England to open its doors to the public and a few years later opened the first safari park outside Africa - visitors can drive through eight enclosures where a wide range of animals can be seen, including: elephant, rhino, giraffe, monkeys, lions and tigers. Longleat has become one of the UK's most popular family tourist attractions - try not to lose your kids in the world's longest maze, made up of more than 16,000 English Yews; take the little ones for a ride on the miniature railway; or to meet some of the animals at Animal Adventure and let the kids loose in the Adventure Castle.

The Romans were the first to capitalise on the only natural hot springs in Britain, but it is believed that they were a local attraction long before the building of Rome. These ancient baths were once considered the finest in the Roman Empire, but in the middle ages fell into disrepair. It was not until a visit by the ailing Prince George in 1702 that the baths once again became a popular healing destination. Over the course of the city's redevelopment in the late 18th century the Roman ruins were rediscovered and restored. Today visitors can see the seven ancient baths and view the Georgian splendour of the Pump House where the musty mineral waters can be sampled by the strong of stomach. The magnificent centrepiece is the Great Bath. Lined with lead and filled with hot spa water, it once stood in an enormous barrel-vaulted hall that rose to a height of 131ft (40m). For many Roman visitors this may have been the largest building they had ever entered in their life.

A popular tourist attraction in the village of Wookey Hole in Somerset, just 20 miles (32km) from Bath, Wookey Hole Caves is an intermingling of pagan and Christian legends where a river flows out of the underworld. Children who visit the caves will be utterly thrilled by the mysteries of man and how early cavemen, who inhabited these eerie caves, lived. Many legends exist about a witch who inhabited the caves during the dark ages whose frozen image can still be seen in the cavern known as the Witches Kitchen, but this is not where to adventure ends. When your tour of the caves is done, kids can enjoy over 20 life-size dinosaurs in the Prehistoric Valley, relax with fairies, dragons and elves in the Fairy Garden, or visit the Monster Mill where a mirror maze, cave museum and penny arcade will provide plenty of fun. Wookey Hole is a great excursion for the whole family.

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