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Things to do in Bath

A lot of hot air

Balloons floating steadily over the Bath are a regular sight. It's easy to see why: the undulating Cotswold countryside is the sort of view that makes even the most cynical of souls misty-eyed. Try Bath Balloons (tel: +44 (0) 1225 466 888; www.bathballoons.co.uk) for rides over the Cotswolds, the Mendip Hills and the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Catch a classical concert at Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal (tel: +044 (0) 1225 448844; www.theatreroyal.org.uk), built in 1805, is one of the oldest working theatres in the UK. It stages everything from original productions to Shakespeare, children's shows and West End hits like Avenue Q.

Check out the bizarre side of Bath

The words 'bizarre' and 'Bath' are probably not the most obvious bedfellows, but from March through October, the Bizarre Bath Comedy Walk (www.bizarrebath.co.uk) leads its participants through the Spa town's more irreverent attractions. It's 90 minutes long and starts at a pub, so you can get a few drinks down beforehand if you like.

Rowing on the River Avon

The River Avon stretches for 75 miles (121km) from Gloucestershire down to Avonmouth, near Bristol. It's been said by some that drifting down at your own pace on a gorgeous July day is one of life's truest pleasures. Find out for yourself by hiring a canoe, kayak or punt from Bath Boating (tel: +44 (0) 1225 312 900; www.bathboating.co.uk) for anything from an hour to a day, or take a riverboat tour.

See the skyline from the hills

Bath is surrounded by light green hills and bottle-green trees. This six-mile walk circumvents the top of the city while taking you to the 18th-century Sham Castle and the Iron Age fort on Solsbury Hill. Bath's tourist office has more information (www.visitbath.co.uk, +44 (0) 1225 322442).

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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.