Hostelworld Guide for Bath

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Bath is an incredibly popular destination thanks to its stunning Georgian architecture, first-rate attractions and welcoming locals. The Roman Baths, which are the only natural hot springs in the UK, are visited by huge numbers of people each year who come to walk in the footsteps of the Ancient Romans who established the Baths almost 2,000 years ago. Other world-class sites in Bath include Bath Abbey, the Fashion Museum and the Jane Austen Centre. Then there's the city's gorgeous green parks including the expansive Royal Victory Park and Sydney Gardens. From sweet to spicy, Bath's cafés and restaurants serve up a wide variety of cuisine for you to enjoy. Night owls will love the relaxed pubs, cool clubs and chic cocktail dens to be found throughout the city. So whether you're looking to explore, party, or simply relax, Bath has it all.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By air: Bristol Airport is the closest airport to the city and is located about 20 miles from Bath. To get from here to Bath, you'll need to catch one of the shuttle buses outside the airport which will take you to Bristol Temple Meads Station. From there you'll be able to catch a train into Bath.

By train: If you're travelling by train to Bath, you'll arrive into Bath Spa train station in the city centre. Services from cities and towns throughout the UK including London arrive at this train station.

By bus: A number of coach companies including National Express operate bus services into and out of Bath, serving cities throughout the UK and Europe. If you're arriving in Bath by bus, chances are you'll be dropped off in the city centre at either North Parade or Orange Grove.

Getting Around

On foot: It's possible to walk from one side of Bath to the other in about half an hour so you'll have no problem getting to all the main attractions. The city centre is quite compact and many of the main shopping areas are pedestrianised, making it even easier to get around on foot.

By bus: Even though the city is easy to navigate on foot, it should be noted that a comprehensive network of buses runs around Bath and its outlying areas if you feel like giving your feet a rest. Most of these services are run by FirstGroup and the main bus station is on Dorchester Street beside Bath Spa train station.

By taxi: You'll find taxis operating throughout Bath, with a number of ranks dotted around the city centre.

 Bath facts

Name: Bath was originally called 'Aquae Sulis' by the Romans.

Location: The city is located on the River Avon in the south west region of England in the UK.

Population: Around 84,000 people live in Bath.

Area: Bath is quite compact and covers an approximate area of 29 square kilometres.

Bath has a temperate climate, which means it sees warm summers and relatively mild winters. January is generally the coldest month, when temperatures usually stay at an average of around 2ºC. It's hottest here during the summer months of July and August when the average daily temperature is approximately 21ºC. December and January see the most rainfall; however, the weather here can be quite changeable so it's a good idea to bring an umbrella to deal with the rain showers which are liable to occur at any time of year.

 Good to know...

Languages: English
Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)
Electricity: 220 Volts AC/50 Hz, 3-pin plug
Area code: +44 (England), 01225 (Bath)
Emergency codes: Ambulance 999/112, Fire 999/112, Police 999/112
Time zone: Greenwich Mean Time
Central Post Office: 25 New Bond Street
Main Tourist Office: Abbey Chambers, Abbey Churchyard


USA: +44 (0)20 7499 9000
Canada: +44 (0)20 7258 6600**
Australia: +44 (0)20 7379 4334**
New Zealand: +44 (0)20 7930 8422**
South Africa: +44 (0)20 7451 7299
Ireland: +44 (0)20 7235 2171
Germany: +44 (0)20 7824 1300
Spain: +44 (0)20 7235 5555
Italy: +44 (0)20 7312 2200
France: +44 (0)20 7073 1000

*All embassies located in London
**High Commissions located in London

Hostelworld Guide for Bath

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Jamie's Italian, 10 Milsom Place It's not often that you'll find prices as affordable as these at a celebrity-owned restaurant. Owned by TV-chef Jamie Oliver, Jamie's Italian serves up a wide variety of great value pasta dishes including meatballs and more. Open Mon-Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.

Sally Lunn's, 4 North Parade Passage Located inside the oldest house in Bath, Sally Lunn's is an old-school teahouse and is home to the famous brioche-like Sally Lunn Bath bun. Try the cream tea and you'll get a Sally Lunn bun along with lashings of delicious jam and clotted cream. Open Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-9pm.

Same Same But Different, 7a Princes Buildings, Bartlett Street This is one of the best spots in Bath for relaxed dining in a funky atmosphere. It's busy throughout the day when people come to enjoy the breakfasts, salads, burgers, pasta and tempting desserts. Open Mon-Thurs 8am-6pm, Fri 8am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 10am-5pm.

 Authentic Asian cuisine

Thai by the Weir, 16 Argyle Street Delicious, authentic Thai food is what you'll find on offer at Thai by the Weir. There are a couple of levels where you can sit, including some outdoor tables with views of the river. From wok fried noodles to Malaysian fish curry, fans of Asian cuisine will love this friendly, affordable restaurant. Open daily noon-3pm & 5.30pm-11pm.

The Porter, 15 George Street You'll find bar food with a difference here at The Porter, a pub which serves up purely vegetarian and vegan dishes. From big breakfasts to delicious mushroom pies, the portions are really generous and the prices are right, plus it's a really lively spot with plenty of locals turning up to sample the meat-free fare. Food served daily 11am-9pm.

 Cocktail chic

Opium, The Vaults (underneath Grove Street), Spring Gardens Road An incredibly cool cocktail bar, Opium attracts a chic crowd of Bath locals. Along with the brightly-coloured brews on offer, you'll also be able to sample over thirty world beers and more throughout the bar's three uniquely decorated rooms. Open Tues-Sat 5pm-2am, closed Sundays and Mondays.

The Bell, 103 Walcot Street Attracting a mix of ages, The Bell hosts a wide variety of live music acts to compliment the wide variety of drinks available from the bar including nine real ales. A relaxed and friendly pub, The Bell also boasts a cool outdoor seating area in its courtyard. Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.

The Common Room, 2 Saville Row This cosy bar and club is popular with locals who come to drink and dance in the boho chic atmosphere. Spread out over two levels, it features window seats and comfy couches in the upstairs level and a dancefloor off the main bar area downstairs. Open Mon-Thurs 9pm-2am, Fri-Sat 8am-3am.

Adventure Café, 5 Princes Buildings, George Street Boasting a gorgeous garden area, the Adventure Café is a great spot to go for a relaxed drink during the day. Things get livelier in the evenings, with punters enjoying wines, beers, cocktails and funky music. Open Mon-Wed 8am-10pm, Thurs 8am-11pm, Fri-Sat 8am-midnight, Sun 10am-10.30pm.

Komedia, 22-23 Westgate Street Located inside the beautifully renovated Beau Nash Picture House, Komedia is one of the top performance venues in Bath. No matter what time of year you visit, there'll always be something going on at this spot including stand-up comedy, cabaret acts and live music. Open daily, check website for show times and ticket prices.

 Don't Miss

 Mark Your Calendar

Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay Street Dedicated to writer Jane Austen, this centre is filled with a plethora of interesting exhibits. Listen to the guides speak about Jane's life and check out the various exhibits including a selection of Regency era clothes. Open Nov-Mar Sun-Fri 11am-4.30pm & Sat 9.45am-5.30pm, Apr-Oct daily 9.45am-5.30pm; admission £6.95.

 Come on in, the water's lovely

Roman Baths, Abbey Church Yard Built around natural hot springs, the Baths are home to many intriguing Roman artefacts. And, of course, there's the Great Bath (pictured), which was first used for bathing around 2,000 years ago. Open daily Nov-Feb 9.30am-5.30pm, Mar-Jun & Sept-Oct 9am-6pm, Jul-Aug 9am-10pm; admission £11.50/12.25.

Bath Abbey, Abbey Church Yard Founded in 1499, the Abbey hosts a stunning collection of stained glass and art. Tours of the Abbey's 212-step high tower afford visitors with stunning views of the city from up at the top. Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 1pm-2.30pm & 4.30pm-5.30pm; admission free to Abbey, Tower tours £5.

Fashion Museum, Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street Dedicated followers of fashion will love Bath's Fashion Museum. Inside you'll find a large collection of garments including historic dresses from the Georgian era along with more contemporary styles. Open daily Nov-Feb 10.30am-5pm, Mar-Oct 10.30am-5pm; admission £7.

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy, 19 New King Street William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in this house in 1781 using a telescope he'd built himself. On a visit to the museum you'll be able to see his workshop area and lots more. Open Mon-Tues & Thurs-Fri 1pm-5pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm, closed Wednesdays; admission £4.50.

February-March - Bath LitFest One of the top literary events in the UK, Bath's LitFest features a plethora of writers from Bath and beyond. A different theme is explored each day through readings, themed walks and more.

April - Bath Comedy Festival Each year on April Fool's Day the Bath Comedy Festival begins, unleashing a rib-tickling selection of events including everything from stand-up to mime.

May - Bath International Dance Festival Taking place over three days in May, this festival is a celebration of dance. Local, national and international performers take part in a varied selection of events.

May-June - Bath International Music Festival The Bath International Music Festival first took place back in 1948. Today it features a huge selection of performers playing everything from chamber music to contemporary jazz.

July-August - The Roman Baths by Torchlight During the months of July and August, you can visit the Roman Baths at night. Once darkness falls, the torches are lit and you can follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans as you explore the Baths.

September - Jane Austen Festival This popular event celebrates the life and works of much-loved novelist Jane Austen. Throughout the festival, you can go on walking tours, hear live music and see people dressed up in 18th century finery.

September-October - Bath Festival of Children's Literature A recently new addition to Bath's festival schedule, this event runs for 10-days. Over the course of the festival, many famous names in children's literature take part.

October - Bath Bach Festival On the go for over 30 years, the Bath Bach Festival features a wide variety of musical performances.

November - Bath Film Festival Bath Film Festival has been running for around 20 years and is a must for any film fans heading to Bath in November. During the festival, a wide variety of movies are screened throughout the city.

November-December - Bath Christmas Market More than 120 wooden stalls are set up during Bath's hugely popular Christmas market. A great place to buy some gifts, this market sells everything from handmade jewellery to delicious local foods.

Hostelworld Guide for Bath

 Did you know?

 Retail Therapy

BATH is home to over 5,000 listed buildings.

THE CITY has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

THE UK'S ONLY natural hot springs can be found in Bath. Each day, a quarter of a million gallons of water flow from these springs at a temperature of 46.5 degrees Celsius.

WHEN THE ROMANS began to develop Bath in 43 AD, they wanted it to be a city for recreation and, as a result, they built a settlement around the hot springs. You can learn all about the lives of these Roman settlers (and the locals who lived in Bath when they arrived) from the chatty costumed characters who appear inside the Roman Baths each and every day.

 Walking with Jane

JANE AUSTEN lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806 and two of her six published novels, 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Persuasion', are set in Bath. Jane's parents, who were married in Bath, retired to the city and lived at 4 Sydney Place, near Sydney Gardens. After the death of her father, Jane lodged at 25 Gay Street. These are just a couple of the sites related to Jane Austen scattered around the city, many of which you can still visit today.

BATH'S PULTENEY BRIDGE is one of only two historic bridges in the world - the other being Florence's Ponte Vecchio - which have in-built shops.

THE FIRST RECORDED post using a Penny Black, the world's first adhesive postage stamp, was sent from Bath in May, 1840. For more fun facts about all things postal, make sure to check out Bath Postal Museum on Northgate Street.

SouthGate, SouthGate Place SouthGate, a shopping centre with a difference, isn't contained inside one building. Instead it's a collection of Georgian-style, pedestrianised streets. Popular with shoppers of all ages, some of the stores you'll find here include H&M, Calvin Klein, New Look and Quiksilver. Open Mon-Wed & Sat 9am-6pm, Thurs 9am-8pm, Sun 11am-5pm.

 Marketplace magic

Bath Guildhall Market, High Street Home to around 20 different traders, Bath's historic Guildhall Market is a great place to go if you're looking for something a bit different. Amongst the numerous stalls operating here you'll find vintage costume jewellery, second hand books, fancy dress accessories, handbags and plenty more. Open daily 9am-5pm/5.30pm.

Milsom Place, Milsom Street If you're looking for a more high-end shopping experience, head for this relatively new shopping complex which boasts a number of boutiques. Everything from high fashion to funky accessories can be purchased here at shops such as Hobbs, Phase Eight and Ted Baker. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-4pm.

Union Street and Stall Street A couple of the best streets for shopping in Bath, Union Street and Stall Street lead into each other in the centre of the city. HMV, WHSmith and Monsoon are just some of the shops you'll find here, with Union Street also boasting an eclectic collection of stalls. These stalls sell a wide variety of items including some beautiful jewellery.

Old and New Bond Streets On a stroll down Old Bond Street and New Bond Street you'll encounter a wide variety of shops whether you're looking for clothing, interiors, shoes or cosmetics. Especially busy at weekends, stores here include Gap, Office, Body Shop, Warehouse and Habitat.

 Bath for Free

 A Day in Bath...

Visit the Victoria Art Gallery This art gallery, which you'll find just off Pulteney Bridge, is a great spot for a wander. First opened in 1900, the gallery boasts a huge collection of paintings dating from the 15th century to the present day, along with an array of beautiful glass and porcelain pieces. Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 1.30pm-5pm, closed Mondays.

Wander around Royal Victoria Park Opened back in 1830, Royal Victoria Park covers 57 acres. Not only is it home to an array of colourfully arranged flowers, this park also boasts an aviary, boating pond, playground and bandstand. It's also home to Bath's Botanical Gardens.

Take a free walking tour with the Mayor's Guides One of the best ways to see Bath is by showing up outside the Pump Room at the Roman Baths and tagging along with one of the Mayor's Guides as they take you on a free walking tour of the city. As well as getting to see many of Bath's top attractions, you'll also get to hear plenty of entertaining stories about the history of the city. Tours depart Sun-Fri at 10.30am & 2pm, Sat at 10.30am.

 Roll up, roll up

Check out the Circus and the Royal Crescent Striking architecture is the hallmark of both the Royal Crescent and the Circus, the most stunning examples of the Georgian architecture you'll see in Bath. The Circus (pictured) was designed by John Wood the Elder, while the Royal Crescent, which is comprised of 30 houses, was designed by John Wood the Younger. Both locations are spectacular illustrations of this architectural style.

Stroll through Sydney Gardens You'll find Sydney Gardens, Bath's oldest park, behind the Holburne Museum on Great Pulteney Street. Here you'll see colourful flowerbeds, open green spaces and tall trees galore. Open daily from dawn until dusk.

Start the day with a delicious breakfast at Same Same But Different on Bartlett Street, one of Bath's coolest cafés.

From here, it's a short walk to The Circus and The Royal Crescent where you'll see some stunning examples of Georgian architecture.

Visit the Fashion Museum before heading down along Gay Street and stopping off at the Jane Austen Centre.

Walk the short distance to Milsom Place, which is home lots of boutiques as well as Jamie's Italian, a great choice for lunch.

Stroll along Old Bond Street onto Union Street, checking out the huge selection of well-known stores.

After a bit of shopping, make your way to Sally Lunn's for some afternoon tea consisting of a Sally Lunn bun with jam and clotted cream (pictured below).

bun pic

Spend some time exploring the stunning interior of Bath Abbey before making your way across to the world-famous Roman Baths.

Enjoy delicious and authentic Thai cuisine at Thai by the Weir, a popular eatery on Argyle Street.

After dinner, make your way up along Walcot Street to The Bell where you'll be able to sample nine different real ales.

Finish the night off in one of Bath's chic late night bars or clubs such as Opium and The Common Room.

Hostelworld Guide for Bath