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Bath Travel Guide

About Bath

A honey-coloured gem set in the leafy south-west of England; Bath is one of the UK’s most idyllic cities. The centre is characterised by sweeping crescents and twisting streets glimmering with golden stone, and calls to mind scenes of 19th-century high society as described by Jane Austen in two of her novels. There’s also plenty of greenery and a gentle bucolic pace thanks to the city’s position amidst soft English countryside.

Bath is famed for its thermal springs, around which the Romans built a magnificent temple and bathing complex, which gave the city its name. The site still flows with natural hot water, while today’s ready supply of top-end boutiques and fine dining compliment the 21st-century thermal bath and spa facilities, pushing the city’s appeal to an all-time high.

Bath has the further distinction of being the UK’s only entire city with UNESCO World Heritage status. Around 5,000 buildings are listed for their architectural merit, with the Royal Crescent, the Circus, the Pump Room, the Assembly Rooms and Pulteney Bridge particularly exceptional Georgian masterpieces. Today, any addition to Bath’s pristine brickwork has to slot in seamlessly and be built in the distinctive Bath Stone.

Beyond the city confines, gently undulating hills offer endless rambles, and not a few picture-postcard villages. Bath is within easy reach of some of the Cotswolds’ most appealing offerings, such as the pale 17th-century limestone buildings of the historic wool town of Painswick.

As to be expected of any university town, Bath’s pubs fill up swiftly at night, while its culinary circuit is increasingly diverse. Dinner options range from affordable brasserie meals to exquisite contemporary dishes served on crisp white tablecloths. For a real treat try the Michelin-starred restaurant at The Bath Priory.

Literary and artistic residents make for a rich cultural scene, and Bath’s calendar is peppered with noteworthy festivals, such as Bath Literature Festival and Bath International Music Festival. As for a certain English novelist, she remains one of the city’s most revered figures – her life and work are celebrated every autumn at Bath’s city-wide 18th-century extravaganza, the Jane Austen Festival.

Key facts

Population:
85000
Latitude:
51.386552
Longitude:
-2.367117

Featured Hotels

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The Royal Hotel

Housed in a property designed by Brunel, The Royal Hotel has been around since 1846. The present owners took over in 1995 and initiated a refurbishment programme that has transformed the hotel into a modern, attractive and comfortable establishment. The hotel has two bars and a restaurant with steaks as its speciality.

The Queensberry Hotel

The Queensberry is a boutique town house hotel that is both intimate and stylish. Located in a residential street near the Circus, it is an elegant hotel with many of the original Georgian architectural and decorative features intact. The service is superb, and so is the hotel's Olive Tree restaurant, which offers contemporary British cuisine.

The Pulteney Hotel

The Pulteney Hotel is a large, elegant Victorian house set in its own picturesque south-facing gardens, with fine views of Bath Abbey. There are 17 rooms, all with en-suite facilities, colour television, tea- and coffee-making facilities, hairdryer and central heating. All rooms are tastefully decorated.

Lucknam Park

15 minutes' drive outside of Bath, 5-star Lucknam Park has established itself as the destination for those seeking a weekend immersion in luxurious hospitality. Set in a 17th-century Palladian mansion marooned in 202 hectares (500 acres) of listed parkland, the hotel boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, an equestrian centre, and a cookery school.

Duke’s Hotel

Boutique Duke's, located on Bath's grandest street, somehow manages to make grand Georgian proportions homely as well as chic. Vivid décor, four-poster beds, delicious breakfasts that linger in the memory, and personable hosts that genuinely seem to care – Duke's is the complete package.

The Royal Crescent Hotel

It is hard to beat The Royal Crescent Hotel and Bath House Spa in terms of location, which is situated in the very middle of what is perhaps Europe's most elegant crescent. The hotel occupies two of the Royal Crescent's buildings, both of which were built by John Wood the Younger. The hotel is one of Bath's very best and has beautiful gardens and an excellent restaurant.