Roman Charm: Where to Stay in Bath
Follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen and discover where to stay in Bath
So, you want to take a trip to Bath? Leave it to us. We’ve compiled a list of the best districts in which to stay in this hilly city. You’ll marvel at the Roman Baths, inspect the Roman and Georgian architecture and follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen, who called the Somerset city her home in the early 1800s. It was part of the fashionable 19th-century society back then, when aristocrats and famous faces came for the hot springs and baths. As the wealthiest people in your household, you and your partner are also of the bourgeoisie, and should be welcomed to Bath like the royalty you are. Disclaimer: that might not happen, but here at Plum Guide, we've gone above and beyond to ensure that your trip is fit for royalty nonetheless. Here is our expert recommendations on where to stay in Bath.
The city centre
When it comes to where to stay in Bath, you couldn't do much better than staying in the heart of the city, where you’ll find some of the city's major attractions. Of course, you must pay a visit to the Roman Baths, which are surprisingly well-preserved. Explore the exhibits in the museum, featuring artefacts from the bathhouses of 2,000 years ago. Head next door, enter the Grand Pump Room, and drink the water pumped into the building from the city’s hot springs. Trust us, it's probably fine. The edifice itself, which has a garish yellow façade, is a historic treat, dating back to the 18th century. ‘Nearly as old as you, mum/dad,’ we hear your kids giggle. Go home, kids.
Bath Abbey, the Pulteney Bridge and the Theatre Royal are among the other main highlights in this central hub. Check in at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum, which is said to be the oldest house in the city, dating back to 1483. It has a tearoom where you can try the Sally Lunn Bun (semi-sweet bread).
A little further north (as its name suggests) lies the North Central district. Try to find a place to stay on the western bank of the River Avon. Make your way around the area, stopping in at the Museum of Bath at Work. It gives you an insight into the industrial techniques and developments in the area over the centuries. Isn't it great learning about work on your holiday? Or is that just us?
Attend an event at the majestic Bath Assembly Rooms - surely you got an invitation to an elegant gala held within? Learn about old costumes and period dress in the Fashion Museum Bath, and find out about one of England’s greatest ever writers in the Jane Austen Centre. (Clue: it's Jane Austen). When all is said and done, relax with a book on a bench in the Queen Square and grab a drink at one of the adjacent bars, such as the Hall & Woodhouse or the Ole Tapas.
As if the city centre wasn’t quiet enough, you’ll be able to hear your own heartbeat in Lower Weston. This tranquil and secluded spot is in the midst of greenery, with the Royal Victoria Park flanking its eastern side. Wander up and down the bucolic hills and watch your kids zoom down the slides and clamber over the climbing frames of the play area. Enter the Botanical Gardens and sit by the pond to watch the ducks. Watch those at play in the skate park - don’t even think about joining in - and admire the imposing frontage of the Temple of Minerva. That’s more appropriate at your age: commenting on the architectural features of an edifice. You’re not Bart Simpson anymore. Admire the impressive monuments and the sweeping arch of terraced houses in the Royal Crescent. In winter, try not to embarrass yourself too much on the Bath on Ice skating rink, and the same advice goes for the adjacent Victoria Falls Adventure Golf.
Yup, we can keep going further and further from any remnant of city life. Perhaps you can avoid any kind of human interaction on your holiday. Surrounding Bath is a fine countryside, where life runs at a slower pace. Here, you’ll find the Prior Park Landscape Garden, the Combe Down Tunnel and the Midford Brook.
Wait, Bristol is an entire ‘nother city, right? Yes, good geography. But, it’s just a 30-minute drive north-west from Bath, so you could easily travel between the two cities on your holiday. You could also stay at one of the areas right between them, such as Brislington and Hanham. We really should have called this article 'where to stay in Bath ...and beyond'.