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Bath , is a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, known for its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 11 miles (18 km) south-east of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage Site in 1987.
The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") c. AD 60 when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although hot springs were known even before then. Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre; the building was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era.Georgian architecture, crafted fromBath stone, includes the Royal Crescent, Circus, Pump Room and Assembly Rooms where Beau Nashpresided over the city's social life from 1705 until his death in 1761. Many of the streets and squares were laid out by John Wood, the Elder, and in the 18th century the city became fashionable and the population grew. Jane Austen lived in Bath in the early 19th century. Further building was undertaken in the 19th century and following the Bath Blitz in World War II.
The city has software, publishing and service-oriented industries. Theatres, museums, and other cultural and sporting venues have helped make it a major centre for tourism with more than one million staying visitors and 3.8 million day visitors to the city each year. There are several museums including the Museum of Bath Architecture, Victoria Art Gallery, Museum of East Asian Art, and the Holburne Museum. The city has two universities: the University of Bath and Bath Spa University, with Bath College providing further education. Sporting clubs includeBath Rugby and Bath City F.C. while TeamBath is the umbrella name for all of the University of Bath sports teams.
Bath became part of the county of Avon in 1974, and, following Avon's abolition in 1996, has been the principal centre of Bath and North East Somerset.
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone GMT (UTC0)|
• Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
|RELIGION :||Christian 71%, Others 29%|
|SEX RATIO :|
|ETHNIC :||94.5% White|
1.4% S. Asian
1.4% Mixed Race
1.7% Chinese or other
|AREA CODE :||01225|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :|
Bath is a historic Roman and Georgian spa city. It is a World Heritage Site, situated 100 miles west of London and 15 miles (25 km) south-east of the nearest big city,Bristol. Bath is famous for its hot springs, Roman period baths, Medieval heritage and stately Georgian architecture. Set in the rolling Somerset countryside on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, Bath (population 80,000+) offers a diverse range of attractions for its 4.8 million visitors each year: restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and nightclubs, along with interesting museums, and a wide range of guided tours.
The visits mainly fall into the categories of heritage tourism and cultural tourism, aided by the city's selection in 1987 as a World Heritage Site in recognition of its international cultural importance. All significant stages of the history of England are represented within the city, from the Roman Baths (including their significant Celtic presence), to Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent, to the more recent Thermae Bath Spa. The size of the tourist industry is reflected in the almost 300 places of accommodation – including more than 80 hotels, two of which have 'five-star' ratings, over 180 bed and breakfasts – many of which are located in Georgian buildings, and two campsites located on the western edge of the city. The city also has about 100 restaurants and a similar number of pubs and bars. Several companies offer open top bus tours around the city, as well as tours on foot and on the river. Since the opening of Thermae Bath Spa in 2006, the city has attempted to recapture its historical position as the only town or city in the United Kingdom offering visitors the opportunity to bathe in naturally heated spring waters.
In the 2010 Google Street View Best Streets Awards, the Royal Crescent took second place in the "Britain's Most Picturesque Street" award, first place being given to The Shambles in York. Milsom Street was also awarded "Britain's Best Fashion Street" in the 11,000-strong vote.
Iron Age and Roman
The hills in the locality such as Bathampton Down saw human activity from theMesolithic period. Several Bronze Ageround barrows were opened by John Skinner in the 18th century. Bathampton Camp may have been an Iron Age hill fort or stock enclosure. A long barrow site believed to be from the Beaker people was flattened to make way for RAF Charmy Down.
Archaeological evidence shows the site of the Roman baths' main spring may have been treated as a shrine by the Britons, and was dedicated to the goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva; the name Sulis continued to be used after the Roman invasion, appearing in the town's Roman name, Aquae Sulis (literally, "the waters of Sulis"). Messages to her scratched onto metal, known as curse tablets, have been recovered from the sacred spring by archaeologists. The tablets were written in Latin, and cursed people whom the writers felt had wronged them. For example, if a citizen had his clothes stolen at the baths, he might write a curse, naming the suspects, on a tablet to be read by the goddess.
A temple was constructed in 60–70 AD, and a bathing complex was built up over the next 300 years. Engineers drove oak piles into the mud to provide a stable foundation, and surrounded the spring with an irregular stone chamber lined with lead. In the 2nd century, the spring was enclosed within a wooden barrel-vaulted structure that housed the caldarium (hot bath), tepidarium (warm bath), and frigidarium (cold bath).
The town was later given defensive walls, probably in the 3rd century. After the failure of Roman authority in the first decade of the 5th century, the baths fell into disrepair and were eventually lost as a result of silting.
In March 2012 a hoard of 30,000 silver Roman coins, one of the largest discovered in Britain, was unearthed in an archaeological dig. The coins, believed to date from the 3rd century, were found about 150 m (450 ft) from the Roman baths.
Post-Roman and Medieval
Bath may have been the site of the Battle of Badon (c. 500 AD), in which King Arthur is said to have defeated the Anglo-Saxons. The town was captured by the West Saxons in 577 after the Battle of Deorham; the Anglo-Saxon poem The Ruin may describe the appearance of the Roman site about this time. A monastery was founded at an early date – reputedly by Saint David although more probably in 675 by Osric, King of the Hwicce, perhaps using the walled area as its precinct. Nennius, a 9th-century historian, mentions a "Hot Lake" in the land of the Hwicce along the River Severn, and adds "It is surrounded by a wall, made of brick and stone, and men may go there to bathe at any time, and every man can have the kind of bath he likes. If he wants, it will be a cold bath; and if he wants a hot bath, it will be hot".Bede described hot baths in the geographical introduction to the Ecclesiastical History in terms very similar to those of Nennius.King Offa of Mercia gained control of the monastery in 781 and rebuilt the church, which was dedicated to St. Peter.
By the 9th century the old Roman street pattern was lost and Bath was a royal possession. King Alfred laid out the town afresh, leaving its south-eastern quadrant as the abbey precinct. In the Burghal Hidage, Bath is recorded as a burh (borough) and is described as having walls of 1,375 yards (1,257 m) and was allocated 1000 men for defence. During the reign of Edward the Elder coins were minted in Bath based on a design from the Winchester mint but with 'BAD' on the obverse relating to the Anglo-Saxon name for the town, Baðum, Baðan or Baðon, meaning "at the baths", and this was the source of the present name. Edgar of England was crowned king of England in Bath Abbey in 973.
William Rufus granted the city to a royal physician, John of Tours, who became Bishop of Wells and Abbot of Bath, following the sacking of the city during the Rebellion of 1088. It was papal policy for bishops to move to more urban seats, and John of Tours translated his own from Wells to Bath. The bishop planned and began a much larger church as his cathedral, to which was attached a priory, with the bishop's palace beside it. New baths were built around the three springs. Later bishops returned the episcopal seat to Wells while retaining the name Bath in the title, Bishop of Bath and Wells. St John's Hospital was founded around 1180 by Bishop Reginald Fitz Jocelin and is among the oldest almshouses in England. The 'hospital of the baths' was built beside the hot springs of the Cross Bath, for their health-giving properties and to provide shelter for the poor infirm.
Administrative systems fell within the hundreds. The Bath Hundred had various names including the Hundred of Le Buri. The Bath Foreign Hundred or Forinsecum covered the area outside the city and was later combined into the Bath Forum Hundred. Wealthy merchants had no status within the hundred courts and formed guilds to gain influence. They built the first guildhall probably in the 13th century. Around 1200 the first mayor was appointed.
By the 15th century, Bath's abbey church was dilapidated and Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, decided to rebuild it on a smaller scale in 1500. The new church was completed just a few years before Bath Priory was dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII. The abbey church became derelict before being restored as the city's parish church in the Elizabethan era, when the city experienced a revival as a spa. The baths were improved and the city began to attract the aristocracy. A Royal charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1590 confirmed city status.
During the English Civil War, the city was garrisoned for Charles I. Seven thousand pounds was spent on fortifications, but on the appearance of parliamentary forces the gates were thrown open and the city surrendered. It became a significant post for the New Model Army under William Waller. Bath was retaken by royalists following the Battle of Lansdowne fought on the northern outskirts of the city on 5 July 1643. Thomas Guidott, a student of chemistry and medicine at Wadham College, Oxford, set up a practice in the city in 1668. He was interested in the curative properties of the waters, and he wrote A discourse of Bathe, and the hot waters there. Also, Some Enquiries into the Nature of the water in 1676. It brought the health-giving properties of the hot mineral waters to the attention of the country, and the aristocracy arrived to partake in them.
Several areas of the city were developed in the Stuart period, and more building took place during Georgian times in response to the increasing number of visitors who required accommodation. Architects John Wood the Elder and his son laid out the new quarters in streets and squares, the identical façades of which gave an impression of palatial scale and classical decorum. Much of the creamy gold Bath stone, a type of limestone used for construction in the city, was obtained from the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines owned by Ralph Allen (1694–1764). Allen, to advertise the quality of his quarried limestone, commissioned the elder John Wood to build a country house on his Prior Park estate between the city and the mines. Allen was responsible for improving and expanding the postal service in western England, for which he held the contract for more than forty years. Although not fond of politics, Allen was a civic-minded man and a member of Bath Corporation for many years. He was elected mayor for a single term in 1742.
In the early 18th century, Bath acquired its first purpose-built theatre, the Old Orchard Street Theatre. It was rebuilt as the Theatre Royal, along with the Grand Pump Room attached to the Roman Baths and assembly rooms. Master of ceremonies Beau Nash, who presided over the city's social life from 1705 until his death in 1761, drew up a code of behaviour for public entertainments. Bath had become perhaps the most fashionable of the rapidly developing British spa towns, attracting many notable visitors such as the wealthy London bookseller Andrew Millar and his wife, who both made long visits.
The population of the city was 40,020 at the 1801 census, making it one of the largest cities in Britain. William Thomas Beckford bought a house in Lansdown Crescent in 1822, and subsequently two adjacent houses to form his residence. Having acquired all the land between his home and the top of Lansdown Hill, he created a garden more than 1⁄2mile (800 m) in length and built Beckford's Tower at the top.
Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia spent the four years in exile, from 1936 to 1940, at Fairfield House in Bath. During World War II, between the evening of 25 April and the early morning of 27 April 1942, Bath suffered three air raids in reprisal for RAF raids on the German cities of Lübeck and Rostock, part of the Luftwaffe campaign popularly known as the Baedeker Blitz. During the Bath Blitz, more than 400 people were killed, and more than 19,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. Houses in the Royal Crescent, Circus and Paragon were burnt out along with the Assembly Rooms. A 500-kilogram (1,100 lb) high explosive bomb landed on the east side of Queen Square, resulting in houses on the south side being damaged and the Francis Hotel losing 24 metres (79 ft) of its frontage. The buildings have all been restored although there are still signs of the bombing.
A postwar review of inadequate housing led to the clearance and redevelopment of areas of the city in a postwar style, often at variance with the local Georgian style. In the 1950s the nearby villages of Combe Down, Twerton and Weston were incorporated into the city to enable the development of housing, much of it council housing. In the 1970s and 1980s it was recognised conservation of historic buildings was inadequate, leading to more care and reuse of buildings and open spaces. In 1987 the city was selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, recognising its international cultural significance.
Since 2000, major developments have included the Thermae Bath Spa, the SouthGate shopping centre, the residential Western Riverside project on the Stothert & Pitt factory site, and the riverside Bath Quays office and business development.
Along with the rest of South West England, Bath has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C (50.0 °F). Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest, with mean daily maxima of approximately 21 °C (69.8 °F). In winter, mean minimum temperatures of 1 or 2 °C (33.8 or 35.6 °F) are common. In the summer the Azores high pressure affects the south-west of England bringing fair weather; however, convective cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most of the rainfall in the south-west is caused by Atlantic depressions or by convection. Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground, leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around 700 mm (28 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.
Climate data for Bath
|Average high °C (°F)||7.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||1.9|
|Source: Met Office|
Bath is in the Avon Valley near the southern edge of the Cotswolds, a range of limestone hills designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The hills that surround and make up the city have a maximum altitude of 781 feet (238 metres) on the Lansdown plateau. Bath has an area of 11 square miles (28 square kilometres).
The floodplain of the Avon, on which the city centre is built, has an altitude of about 59 ft (18 m) above sea level. The river, once an unnavigable series of braided streams broken up by swamps and ponds, has been managed by weirs into a single channel. Periodic flooding, which shortened the life of many buildings in the lowest part of the city, was normal until major flood control works were completed in the 1970s. Kensington Meadows is an area of mixed woodland and open meadow next to the river which has been designated as a local nature reserve.
Water bubbling up from the ground as geothermal springs originates as rain on the Mendip Hills. The rain percolates through limestone aquifers to a depth of between 9,000 to 14,000 ft (2,700 to 4,300 m) where geothermal energy raises the water's temperature to between 64 and 96 °C (c. 147–205 °F). Under pressure, the heated water rises to the surface along fissures and faults in the limestone. Hot water at a temperature of 46 °C (115 °F) rises here at the rate of 1,170,000 litres (257,364 imp gal) daily, from a geological fault (the Pennyquick fault). In 1983, a new spa-water bore-hole was sunk, providing a clean and safe supply for drinking in the Pump Room. There is no universal definition to distinguish a hot spring from a geothermal spring although, by several definitions, the Bath springs can be considered the only hot springs in the UK. Three of the springs feed the thermal baths.
Bath once had an important manufacturing sector, particularly in crane manufacture, furniture manufacture, printing, brass foundries, quarries, dye works and Plasticine manufacture, as well as many mills. Significant Bath companies included Stothert & Pitt, Bath Cabinet Makers and Bath & Portland Stone.
Nowadays, manufacturing is in decline, but the city boasts strong software, publishing and service-oriented industries, being home to companies such as Future Publishing and London & Country mortgage brokers. The city's attraction to tourists has also led to a significant number of jobs in tourism-related industries. Important economic sectors in Bath include education and health (30,000 jobs), retail, tourism and leisure (14,000 jobs) and business and professional services (10,000 jobs). Major employers are the National Health Service, the city's two universities, and the Bath and North East Somerset Council, as well as the Ministry of Defence although a number of MOD offices formerly in Bath have recently moved to Bristol. Growing employment sectors include information and communication technologies and creative and cultural industries where Bath is one of the recognised national centres for publishing ,with the magazine and digital publisher Future Publishing employing around 650 people. Others include Buro Happold (400) and IPL Information Processing Limited (250). The city boasts over 400 retail shops, half of which are run by independent specialist retailers, and around 100 restaurants and cafes primarily supported by tourism.
Bath's landline area code is 1225. Dial 01225 from within the UK or +44 1225 from outside the UK.
To find out more about what to do and see, and where to stay in Bath, contact Bath Visitor Information Centre: 0906 7112000 (50p/min) or see: www.visitbath.co.uk
Bath Library (in the Podium Shopping Centre) offers Internet access at £3.60 an hour for non members.
There are a couple of small Internet cafés across the road from the train station. Many cafés and pubs offer free wireless internet access for your laptop, such as Wetherspoons or Bell Inn on Walcot Street where you can plug your laptop in free of charge. Many pubs also offer paid wireless internet, including the Saracen's Head and St. Christopher's Inn. Also try the Adventure Cafe on George Street.
Prices in Bath
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.95|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€14.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€28.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€53.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€6.80|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€4.40|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€4.35|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€9.50|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€2.60|
58 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
262 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
These smaller airports provide a much more sedate experience than the London ones. Check in queues are shorter, there are fewer people about, and it's much clearer where you have to go and what you have to do. Less stress and fewer delays than the London ones.
Bristol International Airport is situated 20 miles from Bath and boasts scheduled flights from many major European cities, including Amsterdam,Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris and Prague(but not London). By public there are three main options for reaching Bath.
- Catch the Flyer bus service from the airport to Bristol Temple Meads station, then the train from there to Bath; expect the journey to take about one hour, and longer between 4PM and 6PM when Bristol's roads are congested.
- Air Decker direct bus from the airport to Bath railway station. Every thirty minutes from early until late. Journey time is about 55 minutes.
- Taxi (about £40) and get to Bath in about 40 minutes.
Southampton Airport is under 2 hours from Bath by train,and connections are good. It is served mainly by the budget airline Flybe, flying mostly to European destinations.
The alternative is to use one of the London airports and travel on to Bath by train, car or bus. The most convenient are:
- Heathrow Airport is about two hours drive straight down the M4 (westbound) motorway. Alternatively the RailAir express bus service (running every 20 minutes) connects with the main London to Bath rail service at Reading rail station; expect the total journey to take slightly over two hours. Or take the train the entire way, hop on the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and then take a train from there to Bath Spa railway station, the journey takes a little under two hours. Alternatively the National Express coach company run direct buses from Heathrow to Bath bus station.
- Gatwick Airport is about three hours drive away via the M23 (northbound), M25 (clockwise) and M4 (westbound) motorways. Alternatively a half-hourly rail service from Gatwick connects with the main London to Bath rail service at Reading rail station; expect the total journey to take slightly over two hours.
- Stansted Airport is about three hours drive away via the M11 (southbound), M25 (anti-clockwise) and M4 (westbound) motorways. By train you will need to catch a Stanstead Express train to London Liverpool Street station, the tube to London Paddington station, then follow the directions below; expect the total journey to take around three and a half hours.
- London Luton Airport is about a three hour train ride. The Thameslink rail connects the airport to central London where you can catch a train to Bath Spa.
Bath Spa is a Victorian station on the Great Western Railway designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The station is located in the city centre. It has regular inter-city and regional train services from Bristol, London, Reading,Salisbury, Southampton, Weymouth and Swindon. From London, you should travel from London Paddington station, trains run approx every 30 minutes, journey time about 1 hour 30 minutes. Train times (from any location) can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK. There is a taxi rank outside the station, and the bus station is adjacent. The station is staffed from 06:00-20:30 however the ticket office will only sell advance tickets between 08:00 and 18:00 (ignore the times on the national rail website they are wrong) There are no luggage lockers in the station; Bath Backpacker's Hostel in Pierrepont Street, which is just a few hundred feet from the station, will look after left luggage for the day for £3.00.
Oldfield Park is a stop in a residential suburb a mile or so from Bath Spa in the Bristol direction. Don't leap off the train here with all your luggage thinking you're in the middle of town!
Bath's bus station is close to the railway station and buses to most destinations outside the city leave and arrive at this location.
Get off the M4 at Junction 18, follow signs for about 10 miles. Use the Park-and-Ride facilities!
It is very easy to get lost in Bath, as a lot of it is one-way and there's a traffic system that prevents you driving from one side of the city to the other. You have to go out on an unofficial ring road and re-enter the city. Furthermore, the high population density, the lack of a city bypass and the low capacity of the old narrow streets means that congestion is often horrendous. In particular, on Saturdays the car parks will all be full, and the roads will be blocked by people queueing to get into these car parks, a problem made worse since the opening of the new Southgate car park. At peak times, it can be quicker to walk from the edge of Bath to town, rather than driving and finding somewhere to park. The short answer - don't drive in Bath.
Parking in central Bath is better than it used to be as there's a big new underground multi story under the Southgate Shopping Centre. Most of the smaller long stay car parks will be full by 8:30AM during the working week so you have to get in early. Major central multi-storey car parks are based underneath the Southgate Shopping Centre, Walcot Street, Manvers Street (near the train stations) and Charlotte Street (off Queens Square). Average 2010 rates are around £3 an hour - or the more prohibitive pay and display in central bath at £1.30p per 30 minutes in the most convenient street locations. Many parking bays are "residents parking only" so check before leaving your car. Traffic wardens are very efficient so don't even think of parking on a yellow line or going over your time limit. On Sundays and between 7PM and 8AM other days most parking is free, however check machines for exact details.
The best way to drive into town is to use the park and ride facilities when travelling into Bath for the day. You can park for free and then take a bus for £2.20 per adult return (round-trip, discounts exist) right into the city. The only downside to this is that the last bus leaves at 8:30PM, so you can't use this service if you're staying in Bath late.
Transportation - Get Around
Most locations in Bath are easily walkable from the city centre and stations. Bath's roads can be quite congested and driving is not particularly to be recommended for local journeys, but is probably the best way of seeing the surrounding region.
Some of Bath's shopping streets feel like pedestrian only areas - but aren't. Have a quick look round before you follow everyone else out into the road and, if you're driving, expect pedestrians to walk out in front of you.
By public bus
Typically for British public transport, public buses are at best adequate. A popular 'Park and Ride' bus system operates from a ring of car parks around the outskirts of the city (Newbridge, Lansdown, Claverton Down and Odd Down). They will take you to the city centre, or to a number of the cities schools. Note that Bath's buses are often quite expensive, compared with other cities. If you are going to be taking more than 1 return journey or 1 single journey in a day, it is recommended to ask the driver for a day pass instead which gives unlimited travel on that bus company's buses in Bath. This costs around £3.70 per day. Note that there are several bus companies operating, such as WessexConnect and FareSaver, but the most useful for tourists will be buses operated by First.
By tourist bus
Tour buses complete an enjoyable circuit of main attractions - these can be picked up en route or at the main bay at 'Bog Island' (for the Skyline tour) or next to the fountain near Bath Abbey (for the city centre tour). When you see something you like just hop off at the next stop, have a look round, and hop back on the next one that comes along. Attractions en route include the historic Royal Crescent, The Circus - and some tour bus companies include a route up the winding Ralph Allen Drive past the impressive Prior Park Gardens. Tickets cost £11.50 for both the 40 minute Skyline tour and the 45 minute City Centre, hop-on, hop-off service.
There are taxi ranks outside the train station and the Abbey, and Kingsmead square. Taxi firms are well advertised locally. The drivers know the city well and will entertain you with (often cranky) stories.
- BEST RATED -
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The 2010 Southgate Shopping Centre is constructed in a mock Georgian style and features a selection of mid-to-upper range clothing chains plus some pretty good places to eat. It is opposite the railway and bus station but offers little of interest for the tourist as it provides predominantly mainstream retailers available in many high streets in Britain. This was a historic area up until the 1960s when it was demolished due to persistent flooding problems.
Boutique shopping can be found in the North part of the centre, notable for its art and antique showrooms. Head up Milsom Street to George Street and beyond. Bath claims to have one of the highest percentages of independent shops in any British high-street. You will enjoy wandering around but you're unlikely to buy much. There are no "must have" souveniers to buy in Bath.
Walcot street to the North East of the centre has been designated the "artisan quarter" by the Council and has a number of independent stores.
- Scarlet Vintage, 5 Queen St (off Milsom St,next to The Raven), . 1030-1730. Great vintage clothing store selling a selection of vintage clothing, handbags, scarves etc. Also some designer resale pieces from more recent years.
For its size, Bath has an excellent choice of eateries for any budget and taste. Mainstream restaurant chains are present as well as many independents. Within the city centre there are Italian, French, Thai, Nepali, Indian, Spanish, Turkish, Japanese and fusion restaurants. There are also specialist fish, steak, and gourmet restaurants. Most pubs sell food at lunchtime and in the evening. The list below is far from exhaustive:
- Sally Lunn's Refreshment House & Museum, 4 North Parade Passage, . Taste the original Sally Lunn Bun, not to be confused with the more famous Bath Bun, a small round bun containing sugar and currants. Good lunch time fare - and very popular so you may have to queue at peak times.
- King William Pub & Dining Rooms, London Rd, . Small, award-winning gastropub, the mussels are highly recommended.
- Hudson Bar & Grill, 14 London St, . Great steak and seafood in stylish surroundings.
- Jazz Cafe, Kingsmead Square, . Excellent food and great for people watching, due to its position overlooking the square. Very popular with locals and visitors alike, so it can be difficult to get a table at weekends. Also does fantastic breakfast.
- Boston Tea Party, Kingsmead Square, . Bustling little cafe with great sandwiches and what is possibly the best coffee in Bath. It can be difficult to get somewhere to sit.
- The Priory Hotel, Weston Road, , e-mail:[email protected]. Top notch food, along with top-tier prices.
- The Moon & Sixpence, 6a Broad Street, , e-mail:[email protected]. Open from 11AM daily, lunch 12PM-2:15PM, dinner 5:30PM–10:30PM. Attractive restaurant off Milsom Street.
- Yak Yeti Yak, 12 Pierrepont St, . Open 12:00-14:30 daily for lunch, dinner M-Sa 17:00-22:30 (closes at 22:00 on Sunday). A unique family-run Nepalese restaurant in an ornately decked out basement. Reasonably priced and delicious. In keeping with the atmosphere the service can be rather laid back (or some have said, inconsistent). They offer an extensive vegetarian/vegan selection. Book in advance for a Friday or Saturday dinner.
- Firehouse Rotisserie, 2 John St, . Open M-Sa for lunch 12PM-2:30PM and dinner 6PM-11PM. Creative Californian restaurant, again off Milsom Street. Service can be somewhat aloof and pretentious - nice but expensive nosh.
- Raphael, Upper Borough Walls, . Open M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 12PM-10:30PM. Reinvented as a classy nouveau French restaurant. Situated near Theatre Royal.
- Browns, Orange Grove (over the road from Bath Abbey), . One of a (usually but not always!) reliable chain of middle-market restaurants with branches in many of the most attractive towns in southern England including Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, and Windsor.
- Strada, Sawclose (next to the Theatre Royal), .Once the home of Richard 'Beau' Nash, who was one of the main influences on Bath's evolution in the first half of the eighteenth century from a dirty, bawdy, uncivil and decidedly un-smart provincial town into the hugely fashionable and (relatively) polite spa resort reminiscent of Georgian Bath. Italian food.
- Jamie's Italian, 10 Milsom Pl, . Nice atmosphere. Italian food.
Bath is well served in this department. Generally all of them are good and two are exceptional:
- Rajpoot Tandoori, 4 Argyle Street, . Located centrally in an incredible cellar just next to Pulteney Bridge. Breathtaking food and service. Quite expensive but more than worth a visit as it is one of the top Indian restaurants in the country.
- The Eastern Eye, . 8A Quiet Street, City centre restaurant set in a huge Georgian room. Excellent food and service. Highly recommended. Book ahead unless you're going very early evening. Note: Service charge (tip) is included in the bill.
- Bombay Nights, . Lower Bristol Road, Excellent food and service. A ten minute walk from the city center and in a less impressive area of town but the food is exquisite. Book ahead.
- Sukothai, 90a Walcot St, . Authentic Thai food in pleasant surroundings and at a reasonable price.
- Mai Thai, 6 Pierrepont St, . Excellent quality Thai Food and good service. Conveniently situated close to the station. It often busy so booking is essential at weekends and recommended at other times.
- One Fish, Two Fish (North Parade). Cosy cellar restaurant- class act.
- Fish n' Chips (Upper Boro Walls). If you want somewhere cheap to eat during the current economic crisis this is it; great fish n' chips for not much money (less than £2). There's no seating inside, just a counter, so you can stand there or take it with you. It's just west of Union Street, on the right side of Upper Boro Walls.
Snacks & treats
- Fudge Kitchen, 10 Abbey Churchyard, . Some of the best fudge you'll eat, and a discount for school children. Watch the different fudge flavours being made and then try a piece before you buy. You certainly won't regret going in there. The shop also caters for special occasions like weddings and offers a range of gifts.
- Ben's Cookies (Union Passage). Popular with young locals, not exactly cheap but definitely worth it for a wide selection of melt-in-the-mouth cookies.
- Thayer's Ice Cream, York Street. Overlooking the south side of the Abbey (look out for the giant ice cream cone). Famous in the local area for its selection of traditional ice cream, with some more unusual flavours too. Can get extremely busy on a hot summer's day so expect to queue. For real ice cream lovers, the six-scoop 'Belly Buster' is highly recommended.
Head to Kingsmead Square for burgers, kebabs etc. The following are a cut above the post-pub takeaways and are highly recommended:
- Schwartz Brothers Burgers. Absolutely the best in town. Excellent veggie burgers. Highly recommended. Take away only- eat on the benches in Kingsmead Square. They also have an outlet in Walcot Street.
- Sea Foods Fish and Chip Shop. M-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 12PM-8PM.Has been serving traditional fish and chips for over 50 years. Eat in or take-away- seats 60.
- Mr. D's. A small McDonald's-like burger stand, whose burgers and shakes are quite like how they used to taste in the 60s.
- La Baguette. A popular sandwich shop on Stall Street, a minute walk from the Abbey. Sandwiches are handmade using crunchy baguettes usually for cheaper than a convenience store sandwich. The tiny shop can often be identified by the queue trailing out of the door.
- The Whole Bagel, Upper Borough Walls (just off the High Street). An excellent place to get a quick lunchtime snack. They have a large variety of bagels which are 'freshly baked everyday' filled with fresh local ingredients.
- Mission Burrito, 4 New St. 10AM-10PM. Based on a Californian franchise, it offers much more flavour than the usual foreign attempts at Mexican. £4-£6.
- Bath Buns are buttery buns with large bits of sugar and raisins on top and can be bought at any bakers.
- Sally Lunn's Buns are bigger, with no sugar and raisins, and can be enjoyed at Sally Lunn's Refreshment House with sweet or savoury fillings
- Bath Oliver Biscuits are available worldwide from supermarkets and deli's.
Coffe & Drink
You can drink the hot Bath mineral water in the Pump Rooms in the Abbey Churchyard. It costs about 50p and is served from a fountain in the restaurant area. The experience is unforgettable: it has a unique taste due to the minerals that the Romans believed had health benefits for the drinker. This is an unmissable experience!
Sights & Landmarks
- Roman Baths, Stall St, BA1 1LZ, . 09:30-17:30 (Nov-Feb), 09-18:00 (Mar-Jun,Sep-Oct), 09-22:00 (Jul-Aug). Built by the Romans around 2000 years ago, and later rediscovered by the Victorians, the Roman Baths are the must-see tourist attraction in Bath. The baths are fuelled by England's only mineral hot springs, outputting over a million litres of hot water each day. You can wander the rooms that made up the baths, including the large open air 'Great Bath', see Roman, medieval, and Georgian architecture, and learn about the history of Bath Spa. The Baths are superbly maintained and the exhibits are filled with eye-popping archaeology. Make sure you get a taste of the "bath" water from the pump in the Georgian Pump Room restaurant. £14/adult, £11.75/seniors, £8.80/child.
Come out of the Roman Baths and you will see:
- Bath Abbey. M 09:30-18:00, T-Sa 09-18:00, Su 13-14:30/16:30-17:30.the last Gothic church in England, started in 1499 and built on the ruins of the former Norman cathedral, this impressively large church (of small cathedral proportions) is located next to the Roman Baths. A place of Australian pilgrimage: Arthur Philip, first Governor of New South Wales and founder of the city of Sydney has his burial and memorial within the Abbey. A wonderful view of Bath can be had with a trip up the Abbey tower (tours hourly, £6/adult, £3/child). free.
Come out of the main Abbey door, turn right and follow the pavement round the corner past the statue of "The Lady With The Pitcher". Pass some bookshops and a shop selling Bath Aqua Glass and cross the road to the entrance to Parade Gardens. Then follow the road to the left to see:
- Pulteney Bridge & Pulteney Weir. Was designed by Robert Adam completed in 1773. It is one of only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides and overlooks the impressive Pulteney Weir. Tourist trips by boat leave from the Weir during summer months.
Cross Pulteney Bridge to see:
- Great Pulteney Street. Quintessential Georgian street on the other side of Pulteney Bridge. Film location for 2005's 'Vanity Fair' (the Reese Witherspoon version). Made for casual strolling past the Laura Place fountain, down to the Holborne Museum, around Sydney Gardens, then back up Great Pulteney Street. Below Great Pulteney Street is the Recreation Ground, home of the Bath rugby union club.
Go back in the direction of the Parade Gardens to catch a Hop On Hop Off Tourist bus to take you to:
- Royal Crescent, 1 Royal Crescent, BA1 2LS. A magnificent semi-elliptical crescent of houses designed by John Wood and completed in 1774. This was the first of Bath's eight crescents, and its shape remains unique. You can visit one of the houses which has been redecorated to resemble what it would have been like at the end of the 18th century. But you don't need to go in to admire the exterior and its view over Bath. There is also a large semi-circular lawn out the front owned by the Royal Crescent residents. It is separated from Victoria Park by a ha-ha.
- Bath's other Crescents. Georgian architecture at its best can be seen at Bath's handful of crescent shaped, residential streets, offering superb views over the city. The Royal Crescent is the most famous, but Camden Crescent offers the best views, Cavendish Crescent is the most petite. Lansdown Crescent and Widcombe Crescent are also fine examples.
- Sion Hill. Wealthy neighbourhood in the upper part of the city that makes for a pleasant stroll. Attractive Bath stone buildings.
- Sally Lunn's Refreshment House & Museum. Oldest House in Bath
- Walcot Street. Bath's 'Camden Town' bohemia with "bargain" antiques and weekend markets.
- American Museum in Britain. closed Dec 15 - Mar 16. Adult £6.50.
- Beckford's Tower & Museum, , e-mail:[email protected]. Sa-Su 10:30-17, Mar-Oct. A small tower with an interesting history and museum. £4/adult, £3/concessions, £1.50/child, £9/family.
- Other attractions include Solsbury Hill, the Kennet and Avon Canal, River Avon, and St. Catherine's Court (unsure if you can visit, but you can stay there for £6500/weekend!) [www].
Bath's parks are ideal for a summer picnic although local by-laws prevent the drinking of alcohol outdoors. Topless bathing used to be frowned upon but is becoming the norm as the regenerating city becomes more cosmopolitan. The Council maintains all parks to a high standard.
- Parade Gardens. In the heart of town overlooking the river, this is where the locals come to laze away the afternoon. Small entrance charge for visitors but free to residents. This park normally has a topical floral display and has a bandstand for music in the summer months.
- Victoria Park. Bath's largest park in front of the Royal Crescent. Ideal for ball games or feeding the ducks. Entrance is free. The Botanical Gardens in the north-western corner of the park make for a pleasant wander.
- Sydney Gardens. A free park where Jane Austen used to visit.
Museums & Galleries
- No.1 Royal Crescent, 1 Royal Crescent, BA1 2LS, . M 12-17:30, T-Su 10:30-17:30, mid-Feb until mid-Dec. Visitors can now see this grand Georgian town house redecorated and furnished to show how it might have appeared in the late 18th century.£8.50/adults, £3.50/child, £6.50/seniors, £6.50/students.
- The small Building of Bath Museum, in the Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel on the Paragon. One of the most fascinating museums in Bath. It gives an excellent history of the development of the Georgian city, illustrated with cut-away wooden models which give a better insight than any book into the construction and structure of Georgian houses and their furnishings. It also houses a unique collection of 18th century builder's tools. No queues, off the tourist track - but only 7 minutes walk from the Roman Baths and set in a wonderful Georgian area of the city.
- Museum of Costume, Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, BA1 2QH (Adjacent to the Royal Crescent and Circus), , e-mail: [email protected]. A world-class collection of contemporary and historical dress.
- Holburne Museum of Arts, Great Pulteney Street. Displays the treasures collected by Sir William Holburne: superb English and continental silver, porcelain, maiolica, glass and Renaissance bronzes. The Picture Gallery contains works by Turner, Guardi, Stubbs and others plus portraits of Bath society by Thomas Gainsborough.
- Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay St, . The, Queens Square. This museum is very popular and a fascinating testament to Jane Austen's lasting appeal. As a museum it is somewhat disappointing as it is in a house where Jane never lived and contains no items with any connection to her (unless you count items from recent films).
- Hershel Museum of Astronomy, 19 New King St, BA1 2BL, . (Adult £5 concessions available). An excellent museum if you are interested in the history of science and astronomy music and culture at the time when Bath was at the height of fashion; it is also a perfectly restored Georgian townhouse of the type lived in by people of 'the middling sort' and the Georgian garden is delightful. William Herschel lived here with his sister Caroline, and it was here that he discovered the planet Uranus using what was then the world's most powerful telescope that he had made himself in his workshop. The museum now has a new gallery for temporary exhibitions.
- The Museum of East Asian Art. A fascinating selection of ceramics, jades, bronzes, and other art from China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.
- The Museum of Bath at Work. Housed in an eighteenth century Real Tennis Court, the Museum traces the development of Bath a retailing and manufacturing centre. If you want to see a side of Bath that's not in the guidebooks, like victorian factories, this museum is well worth a visit.
- Sally Lunn's Refreshment House & Museum. City centre shrine to the original Bath Bun - claims to be the Oldest House in Bath, and it very nearly is - the simple but enjoyable museum in cellars is free if guests take refreshment - see below under eat.
Things to do
There are numerous guided tours, walking tours, and audio tours of the city available. Options range for historical tours to ghost tours to pub crawls; you will find leaflets for these in most hotels, bars, and restaurants.
The 'Mayor of Bath Honorary Guide tour' is fantastic for a free pleasant two hour walk around the famous Georgian city of Bath with the Mayor of Bath's Corps of Honorary Guides. This has been going since the 1930s, and visits many famous historic and architectural places within the city, delivered by enthusiastic Bathonians. Every day of the week, see [www] for more information.
Bath also makes a great base for day trips to the surrounding countryside. There are also tours that go to Stonehenge and places like Avebury, the village of Lacock, Castlecombe, and other surrounding villages throughout the Cotswolds. Just go to Tourist Information next to the Abbey for brochures or to book a tour.
- Theatre Royal. The historic Theatre Royal in the Sawclose, near the city centre, opened in 1805. It offers a rich programme of drama and other entertainment throughout the year, ranging from traditional pantomime at Christmas to Ayckbourn, folk singers, opera and Shakespeare. Programmes in the past few years have included a summer season mounted by the distinguished director Peter Hall. In addition to the main house, the Theatre Royal has two smaller performance spaces- the Ustinov Studio and a (very) new theatre for children, the Egg- and three restaurants, The Vaults, the 1805 Rooms and the Egg Café.
Bath Rugby Club - Professional Rugby Union club playing in the top league of English Rugby, the Aviva Premiership. Bath also participate annually in a secondary competition, the Anglo-Welsh Cup, and regularly compete in the Heineken Cup against other top clubs from across Europe. Atmospheric city-centre ground on the banks of the River Avon right by Pultney Bridge. Games roughly every other weekend from October–May. Ticket prices for games run between £15-35 depending on seating/standing location. If you're visiting on a weekend, watching a match is very much recommended.
The Odeon - is the biggest and newest cinema for the biggest and newest films. It opened in 2006.
The Little Theatre - shows arthouse and foreign films alongside the newest releases in an intimate environment.
Bath Film festival - runs from late October to mid November.
Not many of these I'm afraid. Bath hasn't really got a suitable venue. Bands sometimes play at the Pavilion, or the Rugby Ground but it's a poor show from the city that once held The Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. Some major classical events are held in Victoria Park but they're far from frequent. Jazz music every Thursday and other live music occasionally at St James' Wine Vaults in the north of town near the Royal Crescent. The Bell Inn on Walcot Street has live music on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Sunday lunchtime, always free and busy.
The city is pretty good for local and up-and-coming bands, though.
- Moles. live music club
Bath Golf Club - Excellent, free draining hilltop course. Not overly long but a good challenge for the mid-handicapper. Always in great condition. Located at Sham Castle, near Bath University.
Tracey Park Golf Club - Appealing 27 hole parkland course between Bath and Wick (Bristol). The Crown course is superior to the Cromwell course, which has some newish holes. Nice clubhouse.
Lansdown Golf Club - Narrow fairways are a feature of this hilltop course next to Bath racecourse: can get windy.
Entry Hill - Municipal, nine-hole learners course. Not bad now that the trees have grown up. Superb views over Bath.
Visitors to Bath wanting to enjoy a summer afternoon watching cricket have some lovely grounds that welcome spectators for Saturday and Sunday fixtures:
Bath Cricket Club - Nestled in the 'bowl' beside the River Avon, the Bath Cricket Club has an imperious setting. The church on South Parade offers a picture perfect background. Located on North Parade, five minutes walk from the train station. Bath Cricket Club are one of the stronger regional league sides.
Lansdown Cricket Club - Former early 1970s home of Viv Richards, Lansdown Cricket Club is an equally attractive ground at the upper end of Bath. Located at Combe Park, next to the Royal United Hospital (near Weston village). Bus number 14 runs to Weston from Bath town centre).
Football generally plays 2nd fiddle to Rugby Union in Bath, although there are one non-league club in the city:
Bath City Football Club - City play in the fine surroundings of Twerton Park, a traditional 'English Style' football ground and well worth a visit. They have just been promoted to the Conference, the 5th tier of English football. Average gate is around 800 and rising. Typical ticket prices are around £10 per adult and £4 per child.
Bath is a small city surrounded by lovely countryside. The National Trust's Bath Skyline Walk provides excellent views of the city - or you can simply wander along the canal for 40 minutes to The George Inn at Bathampton for good food in a delightful setting.
Bath is a small city surrounded by lovely countryside for a horse ride.
- Wellow Trekking Centre, Little Horse Croft Farm, Ford Rd, Wellow(15 minute drive out of town), . This is one of the best experiences you can have as the countryside and horses are wonderful, they have 50+ horses so can cater for all ages. Prices are extremely reasonable.
Bath is the only place in Britain where you can bathe in hot natural waters. You can't leap into the Roman Baths but you can pamper yourself at the Thermae Bath Spa across the road. The "Thermae Bath Spa" is a modern spa in the heart of Bath one block over from the original Roman Baths. It is a four story day spa, that uses the "healing waters" to sooth and relax. The waters are filtered but remain warm in the indoor and outdoor roof pool. A great way to spend an afternoon or evening relaxing in the warm waters looking out over the city architecture. They offer everything from massages to a "kraken stove" steam bath but just spending a couple of hours soaking in the indoor pool, steam baths and roof deck outdoor pool is great fun.
Read a detective novel set in Bath
Two authors have written a series of detective novels set in the city: Christopher Lee's started with "The Killing of Sally Keemer" and Peter Lovesey's first was "The Last Detective". You can buy them in Waterstone's bookshop at the top of Milsom Street.
Bath, has a huge array of pubs and bars to choose from, ranging from the very traditional pubs serving real ale to the typical trendy bars:
The most notable pubs
- The Porter, 15A George St. Very popular pub with fantastic vegetarian food. Open later than many of the pubs in Bath, with DJs at the weekends.
- The Salamander, 3 John St. A tithe house of Bath Ales.
- The Raven, 7 Queen St (a short crawl from The Salamander).Friendly pub with a good selection of real ales. Famous for its hearty pies n' mash and for having a good selection of less traditional board games (ask at the upstairs bar).
- The Old Green Tree, 12 Green St.Very small, characterful old pub. Squeeze through the door, elbow your way to the bar and order some real ale or cider.
- The Bell, 103 Walcot St. The heartbeat of Bath's bohemian quarter. With a superb array of real ale, regular live music and a great atmosphere. There is a large pub garden at the rear.
- The Star Inn, 23 The Vineyards (on the Paragon). A tithe house for Abbey Ales. The same now as it was 100 years ago. The small rooms, wooden benches, and old coin games offer a genuine atmosphere. This very much a locals pub, but a very friendly one... just try not to let yourself get hustled at the games!
- The Rising Sun, 3-4 Grove St. Just across the river from the centre, this pub's only stand-out feature is the traditional skittles alley at the back of the pub.
Other notable pubs
- Pig and Fiddle, 2 Saracen St (off Broad Street). A large popular pub, with a less traditional approach and clientèle (mainly students) than those listed above. Space to enjoy your pint outdoors, which is well heated on cold nights.
- The Crystal Palace, 10-11 Abbey Green. Notable for having an outdoor area, which is rare in Bath, and good food too.
- Gascoyne Place, 1 Saw Close. Serves food and has a wide selection of quality European and UK Beers. Has live Jazz on Sunday Evenings.
- Saracen's Head, 42 Broad St. Bath's oldest pub can be found in Broad Street. Legend/misconception has it that Charles Dickens stayed here. A large commercial pub, with little atmosphere compared with Baths other pubs.
- The Boater, 9 Argyll St. A large beer garden by the river, which is popular with university students as soon as the sun comes out. Nice in the summer evenings.
- The Ram, 20 Claverton Buildings. Offers a handful of local ales and ciders. Just to the south of the centre of Bath on Widcombe highstreet, a short walk from the train station.
- Raincheck Bar (former Beau Bar), 34 Monmouth St. Decent alternative to the Garricks Head for a pre/post theatre drink. Located around the corner from the Theatre Royal.
- Lambrettas (Parade Park). Scooter-themed pub along North Parade (near train station and Parade Gardens).
- RSVP, George St (opposite Revolution). Overpriced Bar with huge, intimidating steroid junkie bouncers. Popular with large parties before they head off to a local nightclub.
- Revolution, George Street. Two-floor vodka bar with live DJ sets on weekends; very busy, magnet for fashion victims and dolly birds.
- Grappa Bar. A bit of class on the road towards Lansdown. Intimate, metro-style bar - quite romantic.
- The Trinity. Friendly, 'real' pub situated in the city centre. Welcoming and inexpensive.
Country pubs near Bath
There are many great pubs in the countryside around Bath. The following have been selected based on a real sense of history and/or a great place to sit outside in the summer months:
- Cross Guns at Avoncliffe. Good food and grassy terraces leading down to the river - and overlooked by an aqueduct. Superb in the summer. You can get a train as there is a small station just two minutes walk away, get a taxi or take a very scenic walk along the River Avon (about 8 miles from Bath city centre).
- The Wheatsheaf at Combe Hay. The Wheatsheaf was originally built in 1576. It became a pub in the eighteenth century and with its wooden beams and roaring log fire, has retained all its original charm. Good food, large gardens, take a taxi.
- Tuckers Grave, Faulkland. This is where Bathonians head to get authentic glow-in-the-dark cider. It's strong stuff served in what feels like someone's living room. Take a taxi.
- The George at Norton St Philip. With 700 years of hospitality under its belt, the George is positively oozing with history. With flagstone floors and antique furniture you'll be transported back in time. and if you go in winter you'll be glad of the open fire to keep you warm.
Considering the size of this small city there are a reasonable number of nightclubs to be found, in no small part helped by the city's substantial student population. Most club nights cater to mainstream tastes, while serious clubbers tend to travel further afield to the larger cities of Bristol and London. Posters and fliers advertising more specialist nights can be found in locations such as the walls inside the town's independent fast food outlets. A unique aspect (for better or for worse) of Bath's nightclubs is that many of them are located in the cellars of old Georgian buildings and can weave through the ground like mazes.
- The Blue Rooms. At the top of town on George Street. Popular mainstream club.
- The Second Bridge. Bottom of town near the police station. One of the city's most popular destinations after pre-drinking around town. Popular with students.
- OPA, 14 North Parade (near Parade Gardens). A classy bar perfect for chilled drinks, it does have a small dance floor. Opa has Bath's only Spanish Night on a Wednesday and a Gay night on Thursdays.
- Po Na Na, 8/9 North Parade. Wednesday night hosts Discord, the city's most famous rock night. Thursday is also very popular. Very young crowd.
- Club XL. To the north of the town centre on Walcot Street. Popular with Students.
- The Weir Lounge. Below Pultney Bridge, by the Weir.
- Moles, 14 George St. Famous club on George St, hosting gigs as well as club nights. Friendly crowd and reasonably priced drinks. Locals generally head for a drink in The Porter (next door) before heading to Moles later in the evening. Tuesday's 'The Big Cheese' (known as 'cheesy Tuesdays') is Bath's longest running club night.
Things to know
There are various online sources which publicise local events, but probably the best thing is to pick up The Bath Chronicle (published weekly on Thursdays), or a copy of Venue Magazine (analogous to London's 'Time Out') from a newsagent. Venue is weekly (except around Christmas/New Year), costs £1.50, and new editions are usually available on Wednesdays.
Safety in Bath
Overall Bath is a very safe city to visit; the large number of tourists and university students generates a friendly and vigorous feel to the city. Bath city centre is lively and bustling until late on Friday and Saturday evenings, although things get rougher around kicking out time late at night. Women would be well advised to avoid wandering around alone at night. The common problem for tourists is the occasional groups of homeless beggars around the parks and abbey - you may see them drinking lager and shouting abuse, which can surprise many first-time visitors. However, they're not pushy when asking for money, and argue amongst themselves rather than getting passers-by involved. Accept it as a byproduct of a city that attracts tourism (and therefore money), and it's no problem.
The river between Pultney Bridge and the weir looks good for a spot of swimming when you're young and fit. It is actually very dangerous, and every year people die doing it. Warleigh weir is good if you're looking for a swim - about 3 miles along the canal.
If you're a keen cyclist, there's a wonderful Bath-to-Bristol cycle path at your disposal. However, please be aware that there have been robberies and attacks on this stretch of cycle path in 2008. Police have made arrests, but it's something you should consider if planning to make the journey.