Blogger and visual storyteller Sabrina shares her favourite spots in Bath to help you plan the perfect weekend getaway…
With honey-coloured sweeping crescents, gorgeous historic hotels and bustling squares, Bath is the perfect destination for an inspiring weekend break. There are more than enough reasons to visit all year round and since this Georgian beauty queen is only an hour and a half away from London, a weekend break in Bath should definitely be on your agenda for this year!
Where to stay for a weekend break in Bath?
There are so many amazing hotels in Bath that it makes it very hard to pick just one favourite. With this in mind, I’ve handpicked my top picks for each type of weekend, so whatever you’re planning I’ve got you covered!
Best hotel for a cheap weekend in Bath
Rated over 9 by previous guests, the Oldfields House is a cute Victorian-style bed and breakfast right in the centre of Bath and it’s the perfect choice if you are on a budget but still want to enjoy a great weekend.
This B&B is as charming as it is comfortable and cosy, with rooms offering all-modern amenities including flat-screen televisions with digital channels, complimentary WiFi and hairdryers. Oldfields House serves a large buffet breakfast each morning, putting you in the right shape to explore the city.
Best hotel for a romantic weekend break in Bath
The Royal Crescent is a 5-star luxury hotel set in the most iconic 18th century building of Bath, with the same name.
Each of the 45 guestrooms and suites are individually designed and feature original artist paintings while offering incredible views over Royal Victoria Garden. If you are planning a romantic weekend in Bath, rest assured that the The Royal Crescent Hotel’s on-site spa will add spark and emotions to your couple-life. Its award-winning Spa & Bath House was fully renovated in 2016 which means that this five-star haven is truly impressive and new. The Spa facilities include a 12-metre heated relaxation pool, a Vitality Pool where you can relax your aching muscles, a Himalayan Salt Infused Sauna that also helps your immune system and a Blossom Steam Inhalation Room where you can breath in eucalyptus and menthol aromas. To finish off your day go for a work up in the fully equipped Fitness Room with the latest Power Plate technology.
Best hotel for a spa break in Bath
If you are planning a relaxing weekend in Bath and spa-ing is your main objective, then book yourself at The Gainsborough where neo-classical columns, a Roman mosaic and a glass roof make the gorgeous Spa Village a destination in itself.
The centre includes three thermal pools, sauna, steam room and 11 treatment rooms offering a range of massages and Asian-influenced therapies. Guests are encouraged to take the traditional “Bath House Circuit” before their treatment, spending around an hour soaking in the three pools and having a sauna.
The only risk of staying at The Gainsborough? That you won’t leave the hotel at all, and miss out on the beauty of the city. You’d be justified though.
Best hotel in Bath for a dog-friendly weekend break
If leaving your furry friend at home isn’t an option, the 4-star Abbey Hotel is the pet-friendly hotel for you. This stunning property is also in one of the best locations of the Heritage City of Bath making it the ideal base whether you are visiting with children or pets. Each of the 60 bedrooms has been individually thought-through and designed. At the Abbey, you can also dine at the award-winning 3 AA Rosette Allium Brasserie. Not to be missed!
Best hotel in Bath with swimming pool
Soaking in a stunning swimming pool in Bath is your idea of weekend? Well, the MacDonald Bath is the hotel for you. Set among stunning gardens decorated with fountains, ponds and a terrace and only a 10-minute walk from Bath Abbey, this hotel features a sumptuous spa with a swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, candlelit treatment rooms as well as a fitness centre. An extra bonus is the gorgeous Vellore Restaurant set in the former ballroom which serves a modern and innovative British menu accompanied by an international wine list.
What to do in Bath on a weekend break?
The perfect city to explore by foot
I love walking everywhere, my feet are by far my favourite means of transportation, and being nicely compact in size, Bath really is the perfect city to explore on foot. But make sure you wear your comfy shoes; for a place so small, there is still a huge amount to explore!
The perfect companion for your meanderings is the free World Heritage site audio walking tour (which you can download on visit bath.co.uk) as it leads you to all the best spots and hidden gems of the city. Alternatively, the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides offer free guided two-hour walks. If on the other hand, you really don’t fancy walking, you can always jump on one of the sightseeing buses that will take you to all the major attractions in and beyond the city centre; just sit back and take in the sights!
Immerse yourself in Bath’s history and architecture
The historical centre lies at the Roman Baths, Britain’s finest ancient Roman ruins. The best time to visit the Roman Baths on weekends is soon after they open to avoid the queues. To make the most of your time there I’d suggest getting one of the free audio guides to learn all about the history!
Explore Bath Abbey and admire its gorgeous vaulted ceiling and the stunning stained-glass windows. Walk down the nave and admire the architecture of this place of worship. If you are feeling energetic, climb the 212 steps to get sweeping views of the entire city and the surrounding hills.
The Circus and Royal Crescent are among the best sights in Bath (and we might add in England) and you cannot miss them. The first is a circle of luxurious townhouses built in 1750s by architect John Wood the Elder and based on the Coliseum in Rome. Follow the steps of John Wood by heading to the Royal Crescent, his son’s masterpiece. This is an equally gorgeous semi-ellipse of thirty identical stone townhouses overlooking Royal Victoria Park. Position yourself from one end and walk along the sinuous curve of the gorgeous flats. One of Bath’s most elegant hotels, The Royal Crescent, is housed in two of these Georgian town houses and offers an impressive afternoon tea (book ahead, especially at weekends).
At No. 1 Royal Crescent, you can immerse yourself in what a house would have looked like during the period 1776-1796. The museum is a perfect reconstruction of what the decorations, furniture and objects would have looked like, allowing you to step back in time for an hour or two.
Another architectural masterpiece and important piece of Bath history is the Assembly Rooms. Beautifully restored after having been bombed in 1942, the Assembly Rooms were the centre of the Georgian society, a place where people came for entertainment during Jane Austen’s time. Also, don’t miss the Fashion Museum, which is on the lower ground floor.
Indulge in a spa weekend break
If it was good enough for the Romans, it’s good enough for us! A spa day is exactly what you need after a long day of exploring and there are plenty of options for rest and relaxation, including plenty of dreamy hotels offering spa treatments. My personal favourites are The Gainsborough Bath Spa, The Bath Priory Hotel and Spa and The Gainsborough Bath Spa. Enjoy!
Discovery Bath’s literary past
If you are an Austen fan, you should be sure to book your stay at the Jane Austen room at the Bailbrook House Hotel and, as Jane did, spend some time in the beautiful Sydney Gardens. No Jane Austen pilgrimage to Bath is complete without visiting the Jane Austen Centre, which expertly guides you through Jane’s time in Bath and the profound effect that it had on her writing.
A shopping weekend in Bath
What kind of weekend away is complete without a little bit of shopping? Well, shops in Bath are a real treat and if you’re looking for a change from your typical high-street brands, Bath is perfect. Start from Guildhall Market: Bath’s oldest shopping venue set in a magnificent 19th century building. Then stroll across the Palladian-style Pulteney Bridge, which, like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, is filled with small shops perched the whole way along.
Where to eat in Bath
With all of this sightseeing and walking, you’ll soon work up an appetite; luckily there is no shortage of great spots to refuel. Here is my ultimate shortlist of the best places to grab a quick coffee, indulge in a cosy dinner or enjoy a glass of vino.
An afternoon tea at The Pump Room by the Roman Baths is a mandatory stop in Bath even if you are there for just a few hours. It gets very busy at weekends and during summer so make sure to book in advance.
The Fine Cheese Brasserie is the perfect place if you love cheese but also charcuteries and bread. The shop also has an area used a restaurant that serves delicious sandwiches, salads and soups.
Mokoko Cafe, right on Abbey Square is the perfect place to pick an espresso before climbing up the tower. There is a wonderful seating area upstairs with lovely interiors, large tables and vintage furniture, AKA house furniture goals!!
Clayton’s Kitchen occupies the ground floor of a handsome Georgian townhouse and serves great gastropub-style British/Mediterranean food in a Scandinavian atmosphere. If you are up for a drink, you can head down to the basement where Circo, a stylish cocktail bar, serves drinks until late.
Barton Wine Bar is a cosy wine bar that serves exceptional wines and small dishes like hummus, olives and homemade breadsticks. Perfect if you are looking for a romantic spot to take your date or to start the evening with a lovely vino and some dope tunes in the background.
Finish off your evening at Bath’s best cocktail bar, Sub 13: stylish underground venue with great music.
Have I missed any of your favourite spots in Bath? Let us know in the comments!
Sabrina Andrea Sachs – traveller, writer, photographer, adventurer and
storyteller. Sabrina runs the successful Another Life is Possible blog, sharing stories of travels, dreams, love, minimalism, coffee and books.