SD › Bath Travel Guide
Updated: May 17, 2022
The 71 best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, craft beer, markets, neighborhoods, and things to do in Bath, UK.
1. Gainsborough Bath Spa • $$$$
Besides being the only hotel in the city with direct access to Bath’s thermal waters, the Gainsborough has it all: a central location, a stunning Romanesque spa with marble columns, a glass-roofed atrium and three thermal pools, and excellent on-site dining. Inside this 1820’s former hospital building, period-style furniture graces neo-Georgian guest rooms with marble bathrooms, head chef Dan Moon serves contemporary British fare in the stylish dining room, and service is exceptional. • +44 1225 358 888
2. Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa • $$$$
Housed inside two townhouses that comprise part of Bath’s showpiece Royal Crescent, this luxury hotel combines an 18th century exterior with sumptuous rooms – all individually styled and dotted with period-style prints and antiques. The tranquil garden with contemporary sculpture hides a state-of-the-art spa with vitality pool. Service is outstanding, and on-site dining includes indulgent afternoon tea, creative French-style fine dining, and a terrific cocktail bar. • +44 1225 823 333
3. No. 15 Great Pulteney • $$$
Three Georgian townhouses on Bath’s finest terraced street blend original features with witty, idiosyncratic touches, such as hand-blown glass lights, quirky art, and dollhouses. Split between the main building and the revamped coach house in the garden, the 40 guest rooms have vast windows, state-of-the-art Hypnos beds, and rain showers. An excellent basement spa, personalized service, on-site bar, and quality dining are some of the perks. • +44 1225 807 015
4. Bath Priory • $$$
In residential western Bath, this vine-covered stone mansion from the 1930s sits amid four acres of beautifully maintained gardens. The 33 individually designed bedrooms range from traditional country house style to more contemporary, with antiques, fireplaces, and a diverse art collection scattered throughout. Besides the L’Occitane spa and indoor and outdoor pools, perks include formal fine dining and terrific breakfasts. Central Bath is a 20-minute walk away. • +44 1225 331 922
5. Harington’s Hotel • $$
Spread over three interconnected Georgian townhouses on narrow, cobbled Queen Street, Harington’s is all about location. You’re as central as can be, just a few minutes’ stroll from the main attractions, with bars and dining right on your doorstep. The decor is whimsical, the 13 rooms are snug but well-furnished, and there’s an onsite bar and a whirlpool tub in the courtyard. Professional service; excellent breakfasts. • +44 1225 461 728
6. Roseate Villa • $$
Located less than a 10-minute walk from central Bath, this luxurious B&B overlooks tranquil Henrietta Park. The 21 rooms are thoroughly contemporary, with accent walls covered in boldly-patterned wallpaper and American-style shutters and blinds. Service is sweet and personalized, with check-in done over a cup of tea in the stylish breakfast room. Besides terrific home-cooked breakfasts, there’s an honesty bar. • +44 1225 466 329
7. Henrietta House • $$$
Handsome, four-story Georgian townhouse a short walking distance from Bath city center. The 21 individually-styled rooms are decked out with a mix of antique and reproduction furniture, as well as contemporary art, courtesy of the art collector owner. The managers provide excellent service – from offering info on the city to carrying your bags; the breakfasts are terrific and include pancakes with maple syrup and homemade granola. • +44 1225 632 632
8. Brindleys • $$
In a quiet residential area a short walk from the central Bath, this wisteria-draped boutique B&B has just six cheery rooms, decorated in a French country chic style. All rooms come with prints of rural France, check-patterned bedsteads, and power showers. Room 3 is the most spacious, with a bay window and armchairs. The personalized service is terrific, and the owners are a treasure trove of info on the city. Price includes a hearty cooked breakfast. • +44 1225 310 444
9. Queensbury • $$$
Right near Circus, Assembly Rooms, and the Royal Crescent, Queensbury consists of four interconnected Georgian houses, with thoroughly contemporary rooms behind its 18th century exterior. The individually styled rooms combine original features (marble fireplaces, sash windows) with brightly coloured rugs and a cream, gray, and brown palette. Service is attentive, and Bath’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is located in the basement. • +44 1225 447 928
10. Francis • $$$
Overlooking Queen Square, the Francis is spread across seven interconnecting Georgian townhouses. The decor is a contemporary take on the Regency style, and the hotel’s 98 rooms feature bold color schemes, as well as landscape paintings of Georgian Bath on the ceilings above many of the beds. Classic rooms are rather compact; it’s worth splurging on a Superior or Feature room. There’s a buzzy brasserie on-site, with numerous other dining options nearby. • +44 1225 424 105
11. Olive Tree • $$$
Surprisingly affordable, given that it’s Bath’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Olive Tree offers four tasting menus: 5 and 7-course, with vegan and vegetarian variations on the 7; beautifully presented dishes crafted from regionally sourced produce. Expect dishes like deer with cauliflower and bitter chocolate and brill with shrimp and salted lemon. Set lunches are a steal. Book ahead. • +44 1225 447 928
12. The Circus Restaurant • $$
This buzzy, informal, all-day café/restaurant specializes in affordable Modern British dishes, with the menu dictated by what’s fresh and available from all over the West Country. Crowd pleasers include venison burgers and haddock chowder; pop in outside of mealtimes for crumpets and tea. • +44 1225 466 020
13. Giggling Squid • $$
A contemporary Thai restaurant with a flower-covered gazebo in the dining hall. The chef/owner bases her recipes on the dishes that she grew up with, such as slow-cooked lamb massaman curry, spicy seafood pad cha stir-fry, and a superlative green curry. Thai tapas available throughout the day, including kid-friendly ones. • +44 1225 331 486
14. Clayton’s Kitchen • $$-$$$
With al fresco dining in the delightful outdoor passage, Clayton’s wouldn’t look out of place in Paris. The dishes (salmon done three ways, Gressingham duck with dauphinoise potatoes…) are fresh, seasonal and uncomplicated, but beautifully presented with flavors that are on-point. Lunch is a bargain and there’s an eclectic wine list to boot. • +44 1225 585 100
15. Noya’s Kitchen • $$
Run by Noya, who left Vietnam at a young age, this is a friendly, informal supper club and lunchtime restaurant that specializes in home-style Vietnamese cooking. In the evenings, share dishes such as beef pho or ginger chicken with other diners at a communal table, or tuck into summer rolls with a punchy dipping sauce and eggplant curry at lunchtime. Bookings recommended. • +44 1225 684 439
16. The Scallop Shell • $$
Unpretentious restaurant where the fish is the star. Sit at one of the plain wooden tables beneath the nautical paraphernalia and tuck into some of the best fish and chips of your life, with lightly battered, crispy catch-of-the-day. • +44 1225 420 928
17. The Gainsborough Brasserie • $$$$
Seasonal, creative Modern British fine dining at the Gainsborough Hotel & Spa. All dishes are created from sustainably-sourced ingredients and served in an elegant dining room. Expect dishes like saddle of lamb with salt-baked celeriac and monkfish with curried squash. Choose between a la carte, 3-course lunches, and the 5 and 7-course tasting menus. Smart casual. Reservations recommended. • +44 1225 355 336
18. Acorn • $$-$$$
This award-winning vegan restaurant will redefine the way you view plants once and for all. Choose from a 5 or 7-course tasting menu (with suggested wine pairings), opt for a menu of small plate classics (squash terrine, mushroom parfait with celeriac and hazelnut…), or go for a set 3-course lunch menu. Book ahead. • +44 1225 446 059
19. Sotto Sotto • $$$
Considered to be the best Italian restaurant in the city, Sotto Sotto serves sophisticated dishes such as grilled sea bass with sweet potato gnocchi and fettuccine with Gressingham duck inside a subtly-lit vaulted brick chamber. Excellent wine list and service. Book ahead. • +44 1225 330 236
20. Pump Room Restaurant • $$-$$$
This elegant Georgian dining room with chandeliers and Corinthian columns is attached to the Roman Baths. Come here for a light lunch or a proper afternoon tea, complete with cakes and dainty little sandwiches. This is also the only place in the city where you can drink the mineral-rich water straight from Bath’s famous hot springs. • +44 1225 444 477
21. Menu Gordon Jones • $$$
Cured salmon with Cornish spring roll and roasted suckling pig loin with artichokes are just two dishes that might appear on the surprise multi-course tasting menu of Scottish chef Gordon Jones, who attracts adventurous diners. Dress code is smart casual, with an indie soundtrack in the background. Advance reservations required. • +44 1225 480 871
22. Olé Tapas • $$
This tiny tapas bar is a firm favorite with local foodies. The dishes are all on-point and wonderfully authentic – from platters of jamon iberico bellota, chorizo, and Manchego and goat’s cheese with quince paste, to the paprika-dusted Galician-style octopus. Plenty of Spanish wines by the glass, too. • +44 1225 424 274
Shopping in Bath
Help yourself to complimentary tea or coffee as you browse one of the UK’s best independent bookshops, complete with rolling library ladders. The bookshop attracts year-round signings by authors and plays an important part in the annual Bath Literary Festival.
24. Bath Aqua Glass
This glass-blowing workshop is open for demonstrations daily at 11am and 2pm, but you can usually peek in outside those hours as well to see the local craftspeople rolling, dipping, and blowing molten glass into striking designs. The attached shop sells an excellent array of gifts and has a second branch directly opposite to the Roman Baths entrance.
With marble columns and an impressive façade, Jolly’s is the oldest department store in the UK, beautifully restored to its 1820s splendor. Now owned and operated by House of Frasier, inside you’ll find fine homewares and luxury brands such as Chanel and Armani.
Right on Pulteney Bridge, and one for collectors, this specialist shop is particularly strong on antique maps of Great Britain and its various regions. Map aficionados will also find antique maps Venezuela, Western Australia, Sardinia, and much more. The oldest map here dates back to the 15th century.
27. Roman Baths Shop
Terrific gift shop inside the Roman Baths complex, with Roman and Bath-themed souvenirs, from Asterix books in Latin and books on the history of Roman Britain to small-batch spirits by Bath Botanical gin and hand-foraged preserves by Heavenly Hedgerows.
28. Katherine Fraser
Artisan weaver Katherine Fraser uses a tabletop loom to create scarves and other gift pieces in cotton, silk, and wool, with stunning geometric designs.
29. The Yellowshop
A local favorite for vintage clothing, Yellow Shop is a good place to rummage around for 1960s dresses, chunky sweaters, cowboy boots, and accessories.
30. Icarus Jewellery
The beautiful handmade silver jewelry pieces here are all designed by owner Dilek Köroğlu; bespoke designs can be agreed on by request.
Besides specializing in single malt whiskeys from Scotland and elsewhere, artisan gins, and the best of British craft beer, this shop also organizes whiskey tastings and gin and cocktail masterclasses.
32. Silver Bear Jewellery & Gifts
This independent shop is a local institution when it comes to contemporary silver jewelry, homewares, clothes, and gift items – many locally made.
Calf-length, knee-length and over-the-knee boots for ladies designed and sold here. Designs range from timeless classics to on-trend footwear.
All about British textiles, Clandar specializes in designing and making its own range of British tweed clothing, with the tweed sourced from historic British tweed mills. Scottish cashmere and British woolens also sold here.
35. The Raven
Located on the narrow, cobbled Queen Street, this congenial place is best for chats over a pint of ale, including their very own Raven Gold; The Raven’s been voted Bath’s best CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pub in years past. There are also excellent pies to choose from, ranging from classic meat to goat’s cheese and sweet potato.
36. The Star Inn
This cozy, traditional wood-paneled pub dates back to the 16th century. There are brews by Bath’s own Abbey Ales on tap (try the Bellringer), no music, and no game machines – just good conversation. On Thursday nights, the owners offer free nibbles to customers.
37. The Bell Inn
This no-frills, 18th-century pub is a beloved live music venue, with anything from blues, folk, and jazz to rock performed here on Sunday lunchtimes and Monday and Wednesday evenings. Vinyl DJ sets on weekends and Abbey Ales’ Bellringer on tap.
With its reclaimed furniture and tree-fringed patio with plenty of tables, this gastropub is a local favorite for freshly prepared roast dinners and other quality pub grub. A nearby playground makes it popular with families.
Bath Cocktail, Wine, and Whiskey Bars
39. Dark Horse
This sultry basement bar is all dark shades, crimson, subdued lighting, and intimate nooks. The cocktails are the city’s best, with seasonal ingredients such as saffron syrup made in-house, and many original creations. Go for a Sea of Storms or an upmarket take on the classic pina colada. Book ahead for weekends.
This cozy wine bar lined with legions of wine bottles has an excellent selection of tipples from all over the world, though it’s particularly strong on French, Italian, and Spanish wines. The more central branch has a full menu of bistro dishes, while the Walcot St hideaway specializes in small-plate versions of the same.
A must-visit for fans of all things juniper-based, the cozy, subtly-lit Canary stocks over 230 types of gin. Apart from killer G&Ts, there’s a long list of gin-based cocktails. Masterclasses are available to teach you how to blend your own gin.
This chic cellar and lounge serves award-winning cocktails and tipples by the glass from an extensive list of bubbly and wine to a well-heeled clientele. The bar food is particularly good here, coming from Clayton’s Kitchen next door.
43. Sub 13
This place wears many hats: it simultaneously has a champagne terrace, a terrific cocktail bar serving a good mix of classic and original cocktails, and a basement used for regular club nights, pulsing to hot beats until 3am on weekends.
44. Opium Bar
A discreet doorway tucked away under Grove St, almost under the underpass, leads you into a snug warren of rooms, themed from Renaissance through to Victoriana. Opium is locally legendary for its cocktails (if they don’t have what you want, they can whip up one to your specifications), but there are plenty of international beers as well.
45. The Hideout
Whiskeys from around the world are the specialty at this snug sub-basement bar hidden beneath a medieval stone arch, from Glennfidich single malts to Japanese whiskey blends. Have your whiskey neat, on the rocks, or as one of the many creative cocktails; or opt for a Crab Smasher – a lethal gin and whiskey concoction. Classic cocktails also.
Craft Beer in Bath
Right in the heart of Bath, these guys offer tours of their microbrewery at noon and 6pm daily, and you can try a selection of their IPAs, stouts, porters, and APAs in the cozy bar/dining area. Decent pub menu, including vegetarian/vegan options.
West of the city center, easily reachable by bus or if you have your own wheels, this craft beer brewery is renowned for its playfully named IPAs, DIPAs, stouts, and pale ales. The tap room is open on Fridays and Saturdays and you can buy gift packs of Inspector Remorse, Live Wire, It’s Raining Chairs and other brews at the shop from Monday to Saturday.
Just off Pulteney Bridge, this is both a bottle shop that stocks over 500 bottled brews from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, and the UK, and a lively craft beer bar with four rotating beers on tap by breweies like Electric Bear, Double Barrelled, and Cloudwater.
49. Brewed Boy
Originally from Frome, Brewed Boy has now opened a pint-sized taphouse in Bath and it’s been an instant hit with local beer lovers. There’s a great range of rotating craft beers and ciders, knowledgeable staff who’ll give you free tasters to help you make up your mind, and a chilled-out atmosphere.
Bath Coffeeshops and Tea Rooms
50. Sally Lunn’s
Pop into this locally revered tea shop for a classic afternoon tea, complete with tiny cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Alternatively, go for a Bath cream tea, which includes Sally’s famous toasted buns, smothered in cinnamon butter with clotted cream on the side.
Bath’s best coffee shop is a must for bean aficionados. There are three guest espresso varieties on offer, as well as a rotating roster of single origin filter coffees sourced worldwide. The friendly staff is happy to chat about their craft.
52. Mokoko Coffee
Carefully selected coffees sourced from as far afield as Rwanda, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, and Tanzania, prepared in numerous ways. Also tarts, croissants, and muffins made from scratch. Two branches in Bath: one near the Roman Baths and the other near the train station.
Pint-sized, cozy coffee shop that specializes exclusively in single origin coffees from Colombia. An array of cakes tempt those with a sweet tooth.
Elegant, traditional tearooms going strong since 1852, with an in-house pianist and a choice of hearty breakfasts – from Full English to eggs benedict. Clotted Cream Tea (tea with homemade scones, clotted cream and jam) and High Tea (tea, scones, cakes and sandwiches) served by waitresses in period costume.
Independent coffee shop serving specialty coffees roasted by local artisan roastery Square Root Coffee. Available snacks include cakes, sandwiches, and sausage rolls; mums with babies welcome.
Things to Do in Bath
56. The Roman Baths
Some of the most impressive Roman remains in Britain. Known to the Romans as Aquae Sulis, this largely intact Roman baths complex dates back to 70AD and is fed by mineral-rich hot springs. Visitor highlights include the Great Bath (a lead-lined spa pool, fringed with statues), the temple courtyard where visitors would’ve made offerings 2000 years ago, and the on-site museum with its wealth of mosaics, Roman coins, and statuary.
57. Thermae Bath Spa
Hot spring-fed bathing and spa complex. While it’s not possible to bathe in the Roman baths, you can enjoy the same mineral-rich waters (a natural 46 degrees Celsius) as the Romans did 2000 years ago at this state-of-the-art spa. Soak in the basement pool and hot tub, treat yourself to an array of massages and facials, or head up to the open-air rooftop pool for a swim against the backdrop of the city’s rooftops.
58. Climb the Abbey Tower
For breathtaking views of Bath’s rooftops and the surrounding countryside, it’s well worth taking the Abbey Tower Tour. You begin by climbing the spiral staircase to the bell-ringing chamber, where you learn about the history of the Abbey bells and the skills required to ring them. You also get to peek inside a hidden room with the delicate mechanism of the Abbey clock before walking on the top of the great vaulted ceiling of the church and scaling the rest of the 212 steps up the tower. Tours last around an hour, are run by young, friendly guides and are suitable for families with children.
59. Visit the Victoria Art Gallery
Bath’s second most visited museum displays works from over 2000 artists inside a stately 19th-century building. These range from portraits by renowned artists like Thomas Gainsborough and Johann Zoffany and city landscapes by Walter Sickert and John Nash to amateur works by up-and-coming local painters. There are free tours on select Wednesdays, from the behind the scenes Art Store tour to a Collection Highlights tour.
60. Visit the Herschel Museum of Astronomy
Astronomy buffs shouldn’t miss a visit to the house-museum of William Herschel. A German musician with a passion for the stars, he moved to Bath in 1757 with his astronomer wife Caroline, and in 1781 discovered Uranus from the garden of this very home, using a telescope that he himself had built. You can see its replica in the lobby, watch a film about Herschel’s life in the basement, and wander through the rooms of the house, little changed since the 1800s.
Fashion through the ages and stunning 18th-century ballrooms. This excellent museum covers fashion from the 17th to the late 20th centuries. Marvel at gowns, dresses, breeches, gloves, and wigs, and don’t miss the special exhibit devoted to the fashions of the Royal Family. In the same building, the Assembly Rooms with frescoed ceilings and original chandeliers used to host the 18th century equivalent of the Kardashians and Paris Hiltons.
62. The Circus
Striking Georgian architecture. Comprising three stately townhouses curved around a circular green space, the Circus was inspired by Rome’s Colosseum and built in 1768 to the specifications of architect John Wood the Elder. Each elegant, golden stone building is divided into eleven mansions; past residents have included painter Thomas Gainsborough, actor Nicolas Cage, and Clive of India.
Museum dedicated to Bath’s most famous former resident. Classic British novelist Jane Austen, particularly renowned for Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806 and set two of her novels here: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both based on her observations of Regency society. There are hands-on exhibits, snippets from Austen’s letters, and costumed guides, all dressed as characters from her novels. Go in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Some of Bath’s most spectacular Georgian architecture. Designed by architect John Wood the Younger and built in the 1770s, this sweeping crescent of 30 four-story mansions overlooks an idyllic park. You can visit the restored Georgian mansion at No. 1 – the former home of Henry Sandford. It’s fascinating to peek inside rooms filled with original furnishings: four-poster beds and wig-stretchers in the bedrooms, an elegant dining set in the grand dining room, plus a basement scullery and kitchen.
65. Pulteney Bridge
Quintessential Bath landmark. Spanning River Avon since the late 18th century, this elegant stone bridge is lined with shops and is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks.
66. Bath Boat Trips
Bath is surrounded by beautiful waterways, and taking to the River Avon on a sunny day is a really fun thing to do. You can choose between outings on the John Rennie, Bath’s only floating restaurant, and hour-long excursions with Pulteney Cruisers, departing from Pulteney Bridge. Alternatively, you can charter one of two electric craft with Bath Electric Boats or even hire a canal narrowboat for the day for yourself and your friends, and enjoy steering it yourself.
Bath Food and Flea Markets
This covered market is the oldest shopping venue in the city. Twenty stalls and shops sell regional cheeses, leather goods, traditional British sweets, design-led jewelry, specialty teas and coffees, and second-hand books. There’s also an espresso bar and a café serving all-day English breakfasts and sandwiches.
The longest-running farmers’ market in the UK is held in front of the Green Park Station on Saturdays from 9am to 1:30pm, with a lively community of traders coming from within a 40-mile radius of Bath. Come here for the best of fresh produce, handmade chocolates, cheeses, pies, charcuterie and more.
Just to the west of the city center, this revamped former train station is home to numerous shops and stalls, specializing in everything from chili sauce and craft wine to vinyl records, curios and oddities, vegan soaps, and hand-poured scented candles.
70. Central Bath
Bath’s compact historic center, easily explored on foot and home to the city’s main attractions: the Roman baths and the Bath Abbey. There’s a good concentration of accommodations for all budgets here, including Bath’s top hotel. The narrow streets, many of them pedestrianized, are lined with numerous bars, cafes, and restaurants, as well as independent shops and boutiques. Adjacent to the train station and a short walk from the Royal Crescent.
Best stuff: Gainsborough Spa Hotel • No. 15 Great Pulteney • Harington’s • Francis • Roman Baths • Bath Abbey • Thermae Bath Spa • Victoria Art Gallery • Bath City Boat Trips • Herschel Museum of Astronomy • The Gainsborough Brasserie (splurge-worthy fine dining) • Sotto Sotto (sophisticated Italian dishes, great wine list) • Acorn (award-winning vegetarian and vegan cuisine; tasting menus) • The Scallop Shell (excellent fish and chips in casual surroundings) • Pump Room Restaurant (afternoon tea in an elegant Georgian setting) • Eight (eight seasonally changing dishes) • Giggling Squid (authentic, imaginative Thai food) • Dark Horse (sultry basement cocktail bar) • The Canary Gin Bar (over 230 gins to choose from) • The Hideout (cosy whisky bar) • The Raven (real ales and tasty pies) • Sally Lunn’s (cream teas and bunns with cinnamon butter) • Colonna and Small’s (some of Bath’s best coffee).
Just north of the historic center, northwest Bath is distinguished by its beautiful Georgian architecture and its literary links. Besides the grand sweep of the Royal Crescent, the wide, tree-lined streets here interlink with narrow lanes and are home to some of the city’s best midrange and high-end hotels, as well as some award-winning restaurants, small art galleries, and on-trend cafes.
Best Stuff: Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa • Bath Priory • Queensbury • No. 1 Royal Crescent • Jane Austen Centre • Fashion Museum & Bath Assembly Rooms • The Circus (round green space surrounded by Bath’s curved stone townhouses) • Museum of Bath Architecture • Georgian Garden • Olive Tree (Bath’s only Michelin-starred restaurant) • Marlborough Tavern (gastropub serving seasonal local produce) • Clayton’s Kitchen (imaginative seasonal cuisine, excellent set lunch) • The Circus Restaurant (Modern European dishes, seasonally changing menu) • The Chequers (classic pub food, fine wine and Bath ales) • Hudson Steakhouse (prime ages steaks in a converted Victorian pub) • Corkage (numerous wines by the glass, small tasting plates) • The Bell Inn (legendary live music venue with award-winning ales) • The Star Inn (cosy 16th century pub with Bath’s Abbey Ales on tap).
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