Things to Do in Bath in 2024

11 April 2024

The Very Best of Bath: Top Attractions, Shopping, Sightseeing, Spa and More

Dive into Bath, an elegant city that blends rich history and stunning architecture with modern amenities and fabulous style.

This iconic spa town has been a destination for pleasure, relaxation and rejuvenation since the Roman times, and is famed for its architecture made from golden Bath stone, its upscale independent shops and businesses, and extraordinary array of galleries and museums.

Nestled in the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage site is the magnificent Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, offering not only luxurious accommodation, including glamorous suites, but also access to a range of state-of-the-art health and fitness facilities alongside decadent dining and a truly indulgent spa.

Let's make the most of your visit with our expert guide to the very best things to do in Bath.

TAKE THE WATERS

Visit the Roman Baths

Step back in time and explore the Roman Baths – one of the city's most iconic attractions, as well as one of the best-preserved Roman sites in Europe. Marvel at the ancient architecture, soak in the history, and learn about the fascinating Roman way of life through interactive displays or guided tours.

Don't forget to visit the Pump Room, which is the only place where the mineral-rich waters – once believed to have healing properties – are safe to drink. It’s a truly immersive experience (although perhaps an acquired taste).

Roman Baths

Spoil Yourself at a Modern Spa

There's no dipping permitted at the Roman Baths, so make sure you head to a sumptuous state-of-the-art spa for your chance to truly relax. The facilities at Macdonald Bath Spa – a luxury five-star hotel – include a thermal suite, outdoor hydrotherapy pool, indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.

While you're with us, you can truly indulge with a range of ELEMIS or ishga spa days and treatments, including deep tissue massages, superfood facials, hot stone therapies and deluxe manicures. Feeling fabulous in opulent surroundings? That's definitely something for your Bath bucket list.

Outdoor Pool, Bath Spa Hotel

ABSORB THE ARCHITECTURE

Explore the Royal Crescent

You can't come to Bath without ambling alongside this marvellous Georgian edifice - one of the city's many architectural highlights. This truly renowned crescent-shaped row of townhouses, overlooking the most perfectly manicured lawn, offers a glimpse into the opulent past of England's aristocracy - and it's the perfect place for a selfie, too.

Other notable architecture around the city includes the Grade I listed townhouses of Bath Circus, adorned with emblems from acorns to snakes; the Assembly Rooms with its collection of stunning chandeliers; and Bath Abbey, England's last great medieval church.

Hot air balloons over Bath

Stroll Across Pulteney Bridge

Picturesque Pulteney Bridge is one of the city's prime examples of Georgian architecture, and one of only four bridges worldwide with shops spanning its entire length on both sides. Adorned with classical features including pediments and pilasters, its elegance has captivated visitors since its unveiling in 1770.

Today, it remains a symbol of beauty and romance, offering picturesque views from Parade Gardens and the crescent weir. Notably featured in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables, Pulteney Bridge is a bustling hub of activity, housing an array of restaurants and shops including Bath Rugby Club's official merchandise store on its quaint thoroughfare.

Pulteney Bridge spanning the River Avon

BE A CULTURE VULTURE

Get Lost in Austen

Experience Jane Austen's Bath at the Jane Austen Centre, where history and literature intertwine. Knowledgeable, costumed guides will transport you to Regency times, offering insights into Austen's life in this splendid city, and its influence on her renowned works. Dress up in period clothing from their vast collection, indulge in Regency delicacies, and try your hand at writing with a quill pen. Don't miss the chance to capture a moment with the iconic Austen waxwork.

In September, you'll be able to celebrate Austen's legacy at the 2024 Jane Austen Festival. Hosted over 10 days from 13th to 22nd September, and sponsored by Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, you can expect theatrical performances, guided walks, and even a Regency Costumed Promenade. Bring your bonnet.

A Jane Austen book

I really believe I shall always be talking of Bath, when I am at home again – I do like it so very much...” - Jane Austen

Brush up on the Arts

Aficionados of the arts will adore Victoria Art Gallery, a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces including captivating works of renowned artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, J.M.W. Turner, and Walter Sickert, as well as contemporary local talents pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. A visit to the Holburne Museum is also a must, with its diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts spanning from the Renaissance to the modern era. Don't miss their Henry Moore in Miniature retrospective this summer.

Creativity knows no bounds at Beaux Arts Gallery, showing collections of contemporary art, sculpture and ceramics. Exhbitions change monthly, so there's always something new to experience. And if modern art is more your style, pop into Clarendon Fine Art on New Bond Street, where you'll discover original works from 20th Century masters including Warhol, Hockney and even Picasso.

A man studies monochrome photographs mounted on an orange wall in an art gallery

SPOIL YOURSELF SILLY

Shop Until You Drop

With a compact city centre packed with high street names and independent traders alike, Bath has to be one of the UK's most stylish destinations. It's the ideal spot to spend, spend, spend - discover the luxury retailers and high-end boutiques of Milsom Street, the modern SouthGate shopping centre featuring major brands from Apple to Zara, the vintage clothing emporiums of the Artisan Quarter, or try a spot of light antiquing along Bartlett Street. No matter the destination, you're bound to return with a plethora of designer shopping bags adorning your arm.

A few notable specialists include the beautiful, locally-handmade jewellery and glassware at Bath Aqua Glass, Vogue-approved gift shop Found, design-led department store Rossiters, and The Antique Map Shop, where you can pick up unique piece of history to take home as a memento of your time in Bath.

Shop signs in Bath

Make Time for Tea

Indulge in a decadent British treat and join us for afternoon tea at Bath Spa Hotel. Whether you’re marking a special occasion, surprising a loved one, or simply craving a sweet sensation, our delectably decadent offerings and impeccable service in our picturesque location will be the icing on the cake.

Savour a daily selection of delicate sandwiches, homemade scones, and fabulous cakes and fancies, all served on traditional tiered cake stands, and paired with Birchall's fine loose leaf tea. Add some sparkle with English fizz or Taittinger rosé champagne, bask in the sunshine on our terrace during fine weather, or snuggle up in our cosy and inviting Drawing Room on cooler days. It'll be the most delicious bit of your day.

Champagne Afternoon Tea

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Sightsee In Style

Round off your visit with a unique perspective of Bath. Elevate your adventure with a breathtaking hot air balloon ride with Virgin Balloon Flights, and drift above the city's historic skyline while taking in panoramic views of Bath's architectural wonders and lush green countryside. For something more serene, take a leisurely cruise with River Adventures along the tranquil waters of the River Avon, allowing the gentle flow of the river to guide you through this picturesque city.

Due to its compact size, Bath is the perfect place to explore on foot. Delve into the city's rich history and culture with a free guided walking tour, led by knowledgeable locals who will unveil hidden gems and fascinating facts tucked away among Bath's cobbled streets. Or, for a hassle-free way to see the sights, hop aboard a sightseeing bus tour and let the narrator guide you through the city's storied past, while enjoying top-deck views of some of the many attractions listed above.

A sightseeing boat cruises down the River Avon

Four-Legged Fun at Bath City Farm

For some countryside charm, visit Bath City Farm. At this working farm, referenced in the Domesday Book, you'll get up close with farmyard fauna from woolly pigs to Shetland ponies – and you can even feed the greedy pygmy goats. 

As well as being a fully operational urban farm, Bath City Farm offers a children's adventure play area, a café, an amphitheater, and community garden plots. They also organise educational activities for children and young people, volunteering opportunities, and community events throughout the year.

Make sure you exit via their Farm Shop to pick up scrumptious local apple juice and artisanal preserves, among other treats – delicious reminders of your day in the fresh West Country air.

Grazing goats