Planning a trip to Bath this summer? Here are our top tips!
Bath is beautiful all year round but when the sun comes out the city blossoms – literally. So, save the city’s many amazing museums, galleries and indoor treats for when the rain returns – which it will, this is England after all! – and make the most of blue skies while they last.
With all our self-catering accommodation located in or around Bath city centre, you are spoilt for choice on how to pass your days, so here are our top tips for where to go and what to do in Bath when the sun comes out:
The River Avon
There are few more pleasant ways to spend a summers’ day than a relaxed meander along the beautiful river Avon which sweeps around the historic city centre before diving into lush Somerset countryside. You can walk west from the city centre all the way to Bristol along the River Avon Trail if it takes your fancy and the river path offers plenty of tempting pubs to stop off for a drink or bite to eat.
If walking is not your thing there are lots of other ways to enjoy the river – from boat trips with River Adventures or Pulteney Cruisers to a spot of canoeing, rowing or punting from Bath Boating Station. But remember, always head upstream first so that you can relax and let the river take you back on the return journey.
Factoid: Avon means ‘river’ in Anglo Saxon – when the Romans arrived in Bath and asked the locals what the river was called they were told: ‘Avon’. So River Avon actually means ‘River River’.
The Kennet and Avon Canal
Step back in time and enjoy a slower pace of life by hiring a canal boat for a few days from one of the many Bath based charter companies like Anglo Welsh. There are few journeys more beautiful than the canal route from Bath to the picturesque market town of Bradford-upon-Avon, as it winds its way through the tail end of the Cotswold Hills, over the historic Dundas and Avoncliff Aqueducts.
If boating is not your thing, rent a bike from Green Park Bike Station or Nextbike and cycle the 17.5 miles along the tow-path. If you’re feeling fit this is an easy day trip and Bradford on Avon offers some great options for lunch or dinner. If however the cycle ride has tired you out you can always jump on the train back to Bath – just make sure you book your bike on at the station.
Bath is an amazingly green city and boasts several lovely parks, but the two that are most worth a visit are the Royal Victoria Park and Alexandra Park.
Royal Victoria Park – Vicky Park to the locals – sits next to the famous Royal Crescent and was officially opened by an 11-year-old Queen Victoria in 1830. With its combination of green open space, majestic trees and tranquil ponds, it is a perfect place to relax in the sun – whether for a stroll, a picnic, a lie down or an energetic game. Within its 75-acres, the park boasts an adventure playground, a skate park, an 18-hole mini golf course and a luscious botanical garden, so there really is something for everyone. On a summer’s evening, you’ll also be able to enjoy the spectacle of hot air balloons taking off from the park to float high above the city.
Alexandra Park sits on top of Beechen Cliff hill above Bath Spa Station and while it is much smaller than Victoria Park, it offers beautiful panoramic views out over the city and the surrounding wooded valleys and hills.
If you want some colour then explore some of the stunning historic gardens Bath has to offer. Nestled between the river and the Abbey right in the heart of the city, Parade Gardens is a great spot to relax between a busy day of sightseeing or shopping. The gardens offer lovely views of Bath’s iconic Pulteney Bridge and the weir.
Behind the Holburne Museum, stretching up to the canal is Bath’s oldest park, Sydney Gardens. With its impressive trees and shrubs providing some welcome shady spots, it is a great place to cool off away from the buzz of the city centre. It is also a train enthusiast’s dream come true as the main rail line to London snakes through the park with bridges crossing it offering great views of passing trains.
Arguably the most impressive of all Bath’s green spaces is Capability Brown’s Prior Park Landscape Garden. It was created for the home of 18th century entrepreneur Ralph Allen, with sweeping views down the valley towards the city. Take a bus or taxi up to the entrance then enjoy an easy walk back down the hill through the gardens, across the famous Palladian Bridge and back into Bath via Widcombe.
There are countless wonderful walks in and around Bath, but one route that is worth giving up a morning or afternoon for is the Bath Skyline Walk. Starting on Bathwick Hill, this well marked six-mile circuit takes you through wild meadows with stunning views across the city, through woodlands, hidden valleys, past an Iron Age hill fort and 18th century folly. You could stop off at the American Museum at Claverton Down and enjoy a free cookie and coffee with your admission fee when you present your Skyline map.