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Bath for WeekendsThings to do during a short trip to the city of Bath
If you’re only planning on visiting the city for a short period of time, make sure you squeeze these sights onto your busy agenda because they can’t be missed. Get well acquainted with your camera so you’re ready to snap pictures of Bath’s authentic surroundings when you’re travelling to and around each site.
Queen Square, the Circus and the Royal Crescent
Bath’s famous Queen Square is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the World Heritage city. Gently imposing historic Georgian architecture, the beautiful setting can be found in the heart of Bath and dates back to the 18th century when it was built by John Wood the Elder between 1728 and 1736. Featured within the Square is the obelisk which is arguably its main focal point and carries an inscription by Alexander Pope. Built in 1738 by Beau Nash in honour of a visit by Frederick, Prince of Wales, the obelisk used to have a needle point however, after being struck by lightning in the 1830s, it’s now blunted.
Famously, Jane Austen stayed in the south side of Queens Square at number 13 on one of her many visits in May 1799. Today, the Square is used as a place for tourists and locals to retreat to on a sunny day for a stroll or a picnic; the Bath Boules tournament also takes place here annually. Throughout the year, you can also find a variety of vibrant artisan and European markets going on so make sure you check the dates before you travel!
The Square is a key part of the formal grouping with the Circus and the Royal Crescent – two of Bath’s other most famous sites. No visit to Bath would be complete without a walk around the Royal Crescent, a beautifully symmetric row of up to 30 elegant three storey terrace houses designed by John Wood the Younger in 1774. If you fancy living in one of the houses, it would set you back a couple million so needless to say, it’s remarkable just to be able to walk amongst them. The Circus, which began being built in 1754, is only a two minute walk from the Royal Crescent and features more gorgeous Georgian architecture in the form of three separate terraces of grand townhouses. It spans the exact same diameter as Stonehenge since apparently John Wood (the Elder) took measurements and replicated it for the Circus – 318 feet. In 2006 architectural historian Dan Cruikshank placed the Circus in his top five British buildings, and very few would argue with him.
Bath Christmas Market
I love Bath any time of year but the Christmas Market is special. It takes over the whole of the old town and meanders through the streets and squares. Go at night, it's so beautiful and atmospheric.
Usually occurring around the end of November until the middle of December, Bath Christmas Market is the perfect way to spend a frosty winter’s evening in the city. Walk through over 200 twinkling chalets which decorate the picturesque Georgian streets; feast your eyes on delicate handmade trinkets and your taste buds on a delicious variety of food and drink. You will find a chalet for everything here, from those simply after a gin and tonic to stalls offering visitors the chance to explore the history of their surnames. There’s no wonder it’s grown to be the UK’s favourite Christmas Market according to Vogue and The Telegraph.
Each year, the market grows bigger and better than ever thanks to the variety of individual stallholders who make the event so special and unique. New stalls are also added annually, so it’s definitely worth visiting more than once in your lifetime. Impressively, in 2017, over 80% of the stallholders came from Bath and the South West and a grand total of 99% of all products on offer were either handmade by the stallholders, created in Britain or abroad with Fairtrade certification. As a result, guests can feel self-satisfied knowing they are supporting a range of wonderful small business owners.
Get into the Christmas spirit with a mulled wine, eggnog or pot of churros and soak in the friendly atmosphere and aromas of festive food as you make your way through the hustle and bustle of merry crowds. You’ll never be far from entertainment here either - enjoy the musical sounds of school choirs, pianists, buskers and live bands wherever you go. The opening ceremony is one not to be missed, get the opportunity to meet the Snow Queen and watch unique performances featuring incredibly exciting special effects. Another favourite amongst visitors is a trip to Snowflake the Elf - the market’s resident children’s festive storyteller who, when around, is sure to keep little ones entertained during the Christmas period.
Bath Skyline Walk
Make time in your busy itinerary to embark on the Bath Skyline Walk and experience amazing Georgian history before your very eyes.
Discover a highly unique perspective of Bath by taking part in an expedition which spans six miles of hidden valleys, delicate flowers and tranquil beech woodlands. Indulge in scenic views across the extensive city and pass a stunning 18th century landscape garden, equipped with eccentric follies and peaceful surroundings, on your journey. These tranquil settings allowed the men and women of Georgian England to escape the demands of high society life by instead taking pleasure in a gentle country stroll – and you can follow in their footsteps.
It’s a great idea to bring a container with you if you’re exploring the trail during August as that’s the perfect time to go blackberry picking. It’s certainly also a must to bring your camera so you can snap stunning scenic pictures along the way of the wildlife and the glorious Prior Park gardens which feature one of only four of the world’s Palladian bridges. Look out for Sham Castle, a Disney-style building located towards the end of the park, commissioned in the 18th century by entrepreneur Ralph Allen who wanted to improve the view from his house.
Planning on taking part in the Bath Skyline Walk? Find a useful step by step guide of where to go here.
Thermae Bath Spa
Located not far from the Roman Baths, Thermae Bath Spa is a great setting for a day of rejuvenation and relaxation when you’re visiting the city. It crowns itself proudly as the only place in Britain where you can dip in the mineral-rich waters just as the Romans and Celts did over 2,000 years ago. Bathe in the natural thermal waters at the award-winning spa either day or night in the indoor Minerva Bath or on the rooftop in the open-air pool which boasts stunning views that go on for miles. A combination of old and new features are cleverly blended with contemporary design to create the outstanding complex we know today. Choose from over 40 spa treatments and packages to help you unwind in the Wellness Suite before heading over to the Springs Café and Restaurant for a refreshing food refuel.
A variety of spa treatments are available here from traditional massages, facials and Hot Stone therapies to Watsu which is a signature treatment involving being gently stretched, guided and massaged in the historic Hot Bath’s thermal waters. Don’t forget to head over to The Cross Bath, a separate building that features its own open-air thermal bath to provide visitors an alternative to traditional spa facilities in the New Royal Bath. Find an extensive array of spa, health and beauty products as well as spa gift vouchers inside the Thermae Bath Spa shop onsite if you wish to take home a small souvenir.
What an amazing place. My wife treated ourselves to the spa and we were not disappointed. The hot pools were so relaxing and the Georgian Spa treatment was out of this world!