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*'''Bath Backpackers''', 13 Pierrepont, Bath. Phone: 01225 446 787, 10 Bed per room Dorms are about £13 per person per bed
 
*'''Bath Backpackers''', 13 Pierrepont, Bath. Phone: 01225 446 787, 10 Bed per room Dorms are about £13 per person per bed
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*<sleep name="St Christopher’s Bath Hostel" alt="Bath Hostel" address="9 Green Street, Bath, Somerset  BA1 2JY" phone="+44 12 2548 1444" email="bath@st-christophers.co.uk" fax="+44 20 7247 7114" url="http://www.st-christophers.co.uk/bath-hostels" checkin="2PM" checkout="11AM" price="£9.50 with breakfast inlcuded">A well known youth hostel located in the centre of the city. Part of the St Christopher's hostel chain.</sleep>
  
 
*'''YMCA''',  Locals insist that the Backpacker's beds are infested with lice, and will direct visitors on a budget to the Y on Walcot street.
 
*'''YMCA''',  Locals insist that the Backpacker's beds are infested with lice, and will direct visitors on a budget to the Y on Walcot street.

Revision as of 13:17, 3 March 2008

Pulteney Bridge

Bath [1] is an historic Roman 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. A unique location, Bath is famous for its hot springs, Roman period baths, Medieval heritage and stately Georgian architecture. Set amongst the rolling Somerset countryside, Bath (population 80,000+) offers a diverse range of attractions for its millions of visitors each year: restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and nightclubs, along with interesting museums, and a wide range of guided tours.


Contents

Understand

Bath is the oldest of England’s principal tourist destinations and has been welcoming visitors for millennia. The three hot springs within the city were sacred to the Celtic goddess Sulis, whom the Romans later identified with the goddess Minerva. Bath first achieved its status as a sacred spa site with the growth of the Roman settlement Aquae Sulis around the thermal springs. The Roman period saw a vast complex of baths constructed - the remains of these were re-discovered in the 18th century and helped fuel Bath's modern revival as a luxury resort.

Bath was a prosperous city in the Medieval period, the site of an Abbey and Cathedral (under the Bishop of Bath and Wells). The Reformation under Henry VIII saw some uncertainty emerge in Bath's future, although the reign of Elizabeth I saw the first revival of the town as a spa resort. It was during the Georgian period, however, that Bath came once again into its own. Exceedingly fashionable, Bath was laid out in stately avenues, streets and crescents, encrusted with Neo-Classical public buildings.

The Royal Crescent - Georgian town houses

More recently Bath suffered a lot of damage during air raids in World War 2. The prestigious crescents and terraces were relatively unscathed and restored where necessary, but some of the more minor Georgian and Victorian streets were demolished both after the war and during a later ill-conceived phase of development known now as the "Sack Of Bath". Consequently some modern buildings pop up in unexpected places, and the locals are generally very opposed to any major building developments that are put forward.

Future development

As of 2007, plans are underway for several major building projects which will change the cityscape - so be prepared to see a lot of construction work amongst the beauty! The Western Riverside development has plans for thousands of new houses and flats, some in large (for the town) buildings of up to nine storeys. Local shops and amenities will also be constructed. The Southgate redevelopment process is underway; the unappealing 1960s shopping centre will be replaced by a larger and more traditional looking set of shops. These developments have generated both praise and criticism from Bath residents - almost everyone is in favour of the Southgate regeneration, but some are expressing concern about the new housing plans. In 2007, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which monitors World Heritage Sites on behalf of the UN body Unesco, reiterated its concerns about building developments in Bath and warned that these could put the City's World Heritage Status in jeopardy.

Get in

By plane

Regional Airports

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 major European cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris and Prague (but not London). By public transport 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. Alternatively pay more for a taxi 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.

Cardiff Airport Exeter Airport and Bournemouth Airport are also served by low cost airlines and are within a couple of hours driving distance of the city.

London Airports

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. 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.

By train

Bath Spa is a Victorian station and 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 40 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. Taxi rank outside the station, the temporary bus station (pending the building of the new one) is a few hundred yards down the road to the left. There are no luggage lockers in the station.

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!

By car

Get off the M4 at Junction 18, follow signs for about 5 miles.

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 across from one side of the city to another, you have to go out on an unofficial ring road and re-enter the city.

Parking in central Bath is often a nightmare and two hour limits apply on many streets. Major central multi-storey car parks are based at Walcot Street, Manvers Street (near the train stations) and Charlotte Street (off Queens Square). Average 2008 rates are around £2 an hour - or the more prohibitive 30p per 10 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.

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.

By bus

There is a temporary bus and coach station at the bottom of town (pending the building of the new one) which provides a full service.

Get around

Most locations in Bath are easily walkable from the city center 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.

Pedestrians

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.

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 parking lots around the outskirts of the city (Newbridge, Lansdown and Odd Down). It can take you to Milsom Street, the city's main shopping street, or to a number of the cities schools. Note that Bath's buses are often quite expensive, compared with other cities.

Tourist buses

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 Road past the impressive Prior Park Gardens. Tickets cost between £6 and £10 for both the 40 minute Skyline tour and the 45 minute City Centre, hop-on, hop-off service.

Taxis

There are taxi ranks outside the train station and the Abbey. Somehow there never seem to be enough when a train arrives or late at night so plan ahead to avoid long queues. Taxi firms are well advertised locally. The drivers know the city well and will entertain you with stories based on how terrible the world is!

See

Landmarks

Roman Baths and the Abbey


  • Roman Baths. 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 fueled 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 served in the restaurant. Stall St, BA1 1LZ. ph 012 2547 7785. Adults £10. Open Jan-Feb & Nov-Dec 09.30 - 16.30, Mar-Jun & Sep-Oct 09.00 - 17.00, Jul & Aug 09.00 - 21.00. Closed 25th & 26th Dec. [2]

Come out of the Roman Baths and you will see:

  • Bath Abbey [3], open Easter Sunday - end British Summer time 9am-6pm, other times 9am-4.30pm - 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 Phillip, first Governor of New South Wales and founder of the city of Sydney has his burial and memorial within the Abbey.

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 Blue Glass and cross the road to the entrance to the Parade Gardens. Then follow the road to the left to see:

  • Pulteney Bridge & Pulteney Weir [4] - 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:

The Royal Crescent - Georgian town houses
  • The Royal Crescent, a magnificent crescent of houses designed by John Wood and completed in 1774. 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 semicircular shaped lawn out the front owned by the Royal Crescent residents. It is separated from Victoria Park by a ha-ha. 1 Royal Crescent, BA1 2LR ph 01225 428 126. Adults £5. [5]
  • 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 - see below under Eat
  • Walcot Street - Bath's 'Camden Town' bohemia with "bargain" antiques and weekend markets.
One of the windows in Bath Abbey
  • Other attractions include the American Museum in Britain (closed Dec 15 - Mar 16, Adult £6.50), the Thermae Bath Spa, Solsbury Hill, the Kennet and Avon Canal, River Avon, St. Catherine's Court, (unsure if you can visit, but you can stay there for £6500/weekend!) [6], and Beckford's Tower (Adult £3),

Parks

Bath's parks are ideal for a summer picnic although local bylaws prevent the drinking of alcohol outdoors. Topless bathing is frowned upon but not forbidden.

  • Parade Gardens [7], 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.
  • Victoria Park [8], 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 northwestern corner of the park makes for a pleasant wander.
  • Sydney Gardens [9], a free park where Jane Austen used to visit.

Museums and galleries

  • No.1 Royal Crescent, [10]. Visitors can now see this grand town house redecorated and furnished to show how it might have appeared in the late 18th century.
  • The small Building of Bath Museum, in the Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel on the Paragon, [11]. One of the most fascinating museums in Bath. It gives an excellent potted 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.
  • The Museum of Costume, Assembly Rooms, adjacent to the Royal Crescent and Circus, [12].
  • The Holburne Museum of Arts,Great Pulteney Street, [13]. 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.
  • The Bath Postal Museum, 27 Northgate Street, tel 01225 460333, [14].
  • The Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay Street, Queens Square, tel 01225 443000, [15]. This museum is very popular and a fascinating testiment to Jane Austen's lasting appeal. As a museum it is somewhat disappointing as it is located in a house where Jane never lived and contains no items with any connection to her (unless you count items from recent films).
  • Sally Lunn's Refreshment House & Museum, [16]. City centre shrine to the original Bath Bun - also Oldest House in Bath - simple but enjoyable museum in cellars is free if guests take refreshment - see below under eat.
  • Hershel Museum of Astronomy, [17]. (Adult £3.50). A good museum if you are interested in the history of science and astronomy. You can visit the house where William Hershel (and his sister Catherine) discovered the planet Uranus using what was then the world's most powerful telescope (which was constructed in the garden shed).
  • The Museum of East Asian Art, [18]. A fascinating selection of ceramics, jades, bronzes, and other art from China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Do

Tours

There is a free walking tour of the city that lasts about 2 hours and is a great experience. Other walking tours include a ghost walk, a comedy walk and a pair of downloadable tours for your MP3 player [19]. You will find leaflets for these in most hotels, bars, and restaurants. Tourist busses are the best way to see the town and decide what to visit (see above). WH Smiths have a local interests section in their upstairs book department where you can buy walking tours books.

Listings

There are various websites publicising events, but probably the best thing is to pick up The Bath Chronicle (now published weekly instead of daily) 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.

Theatre

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.

Rugby

Bath Rugby Club - [20] Professional Rugby Union club playing in the top league of English Rugby, the Guinness Premiership. 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 between £15-35 depending on seating/standing location. If you're visiting on a weekend watching a match is very much recommended.

Cinema

The Odeon - [21] is the biggest and newest cinema for the biggest and newest films. It opened in 2006.

The Little Theatre - [22] shows arthouse and foreign films alongside the newest releases in an intimate environment

Bath Film festival - [23] runs from late October to mid November.

Concerts

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.

Golf clubs

Bath Golf Club - Excellent, free draining hilltop course. Not overly long but an excellent challenge for the mid-handicapper. Always in excellent 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.

Cricket clubs

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

Football generally plays 2nd fiddle to Rugby Union in Bath, although there are two non-league clubs 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 South, the joint 6th tier of English football. Average gate is around 800 and rising. Typical ticket prices are around £10 per adult and £4 per child.

Team Bath FC - also play at Twerton Park where they play in the Southern League Premier, one league below Bath City. They are affiliated with the University of Bath and are financially dependent on the tax-payer.The club shares the 'Team Bath' brand with other sports. It is famous for twice reaching the 1st Round proper of the FA cup, the only University team to do so since the 1800's. Typical gate is around 20, although was closer to 1000 for the FA cup games.

Walking

Bath is a small city surrounded by lovely countryside. The National Trust's Bath Skyline Walk [24] 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.

Get wet

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

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.

Learn

Bath is home to the University of Bath, a very well respected institution with a focus on science and management subjects. Regularly rated in the UK's top five universities. Best remembered by most alumni for a buzzing campus atmosphere and crazy houseparties. Also has world-class sports facilities, where British olympic athletes train. Located atop the lofty peaks of Bathwick hill, about 2km east of the city centre.

Bath has recently gained its second university now that Bath Spa University has been upgraded from a university college. The main campus is in a rural setting at Newton Park to the west of the city.

Work

Many Bathonians are employed in the tourist industry. There is also a thriving retail and dining industry, and the university is another source for jobs. Future Publishing, a large magazine and media company, has many offices in Bath. More recently Help Hire has moved into the city - and now sponsors Bath Rugby.

Buy

Alongside the many high street names like Next and M&S Bath has a number of smaller independent shops. Some excellent boutique shopping is to be had in the upper part of the city, notable for its art and antique showrooms although these are sadly disappearing. Head up Milsom Street to George Street and beyond. Bath has one of the highest percentages of independent shops in any British highstreet.

As at 2008 the shabby 1970s shopping complex at the bottom end of town has been demolished and will be replaced with an ambitious new one. Few people, if any, will miss the old one and there will be some disruption over the coming years as work commences.

Eat

Overall Bath is a bit poor in this department. There are some good restaurants, and many pubs do great food, but it simply isn't the sort of city where you can wander round in the evening and make a selection. They are scattered around town so you probably won't even find more than four or five before the hunger pangs drive you into the nearest one. Far better to consult the web and decide in advance where you want to go. The list below is a fairly random selection of eateries and is far from exhaustive:

Lunch

  • Sally Lunn's Refreshment House & Museum, 4 North Parade Passage, +44 1225 461634 [25]. Taste the original Sally Lunn Bun, not to be confused with the more famous Bath Bun, a small round bun containing of sugar and currants. Good lunch time fayre - and very popular so you may have to queue at peak times.
  • King William Pub & Dining Rooms, London Road, +44 1225 428096. Award-winning gastropub.
  • Hudson Bar & Grill, 14 London St, +44 1225 332323. Great steak and seafood in stylish surroundings.

Hotels

  • The Royal Crescent Hotel, 16 Royal Crescent, +44 1225 823333, [26], [27]. Oozes exclusivity and elegance - the place for a lingering lunch rather than a quick bite.
  • Sakura @ The Windsor Hotel, Great Pulteney Street, +44 1225 422100 , [28], [29]. Japanese cuisine.
  • The Priory Hotel, Weston Road, +44 1225 331922, [30], [31]. Top notch food, top whack prices.

Evening Meal

  • The Moon & Sixpence, 6a Broad Street, +44 1225 460962, [32], [33]. Open from 11AM daily, lunch 12PM-2:15PM, dinner 5:30PM–10:30PM. Attractive restaurant off Milsom Street.
  • Yak Yeti Yak, 12a Argyle Street, +44 1225 442299, [34]. Open 12-2:00 daily for lunch, dinner Su-Th 6PM-10PM, F,Sa 6PM-10:30PM. A totally unique Nepalese restaurant in an ornately decked out basement just off of Pultney Bridge. Reasonably priced and delicious, but the service is inconsistent. Book in advance for a Friday or Saturday dinner. Located right next to the Boater, a pub with a phenominal beer garden along the river.
  • Firehouse Rotisserie, 2 John Street, +44 1225 482070, [35]. 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, +44 1225 480042, [36]. 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), +44 1225 461199, [37]. 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), +44 1225 337753, [38]. 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 we associate with Georgian Bath. Italian food.
Ben&Jerrys Shop Bath

Indian Restaurants

Bath is well served in this department. Generally all of them are good and two are exceptional:

  • The Eastern Eye, 8A Quiet Street, +44 1225 422323, [39] 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 +44 1225 460400, [40] Excellent food and service. A ten minute walk from the city centre and in a less impressive area of town but the food is exquisite. Book ahead.

Thai Restaurants

  • Sukothai, 90a Walcot Street, +44 1225 462463. Authentic Thai food in pleasant surroundings and at a reasonable price.
  • Mai Thai, 6 Pierrepont Street, +44 1225 445 557. 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.

Fish Restaurants

  • One Fish, Two Fish, North Parade, Bath. Cosy cellar restaurant - class act.


Snacks & treats

  • Fudge Kitchen, 10 Abbey Churchyard, +44 1225 462277, [41]. Some of the best fudge you'll eat, and a discount for school children. Watch the the different fudge flavours being made and then try a piece before you buy. You certainly wont regret going in there. The shop also caters for special occasions like weddings. Very friendly staff and an excellent gift/ food.
  • Ben & Jerrys Great location outside Aquae Sulis, the Roman Baths, and the church/abbey serving ice cream, snacks and drinks (and hot food in restaurant inside). Excellent small ice-cream shop. Ben & Jerry's Official UK Site with offers and special deals but very little information relating to this shop in bath, unfortunately.
  • Ben's Cookies, Popular with young locals, not exactly cheap but definitely worth it for a wide selection of melt-in-the-mouth cookies. Behind Union Street down an alley that comes out from the Corridor accessed via Union Street or opposite the Guildhall.

Fast food

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. Has been serving traditional fish and chips for over 50 years. M-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 12PM-8PM. Eat in or take-away - seats 60.


Local specialties

  • Bath Buns are a buttery bun 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 delis.

Drink

The idea that Bath is a 'posh' city is dispelled by a weekend tour of the bars in the lower part of the city. Most aren't worth bothering with, but a few stand out. Here's a little pub crawl of some of the best:

  • The Salamander. Nice selection of real ales. Next door is the popular Firehouse Californian Restaurant. (location - Quiet Street, again off Milsom Street).
  • The Raven. Great, friendly pub, just across the road from The Salamander. Good selection of real ales. They also serve great quality pies and mash -definitely recommended if you're hungry!
  • Ye Old Green Tree. Very small, characterful old pub (Green Street, off the main shopping area of Milsom Street). Squeeze through the door, elbow your way to the bar and order some real ale or cider. Then take on the challenge of trying to drink it without spillage as the tourists continue to pour in.
  • Saracen's Head. Bath's oldest pub can be found in Broad Street. Legend has it Charles Dickens stayed here, although he didn't. He should have though, he probably would have liked it.
  • Pig and Fiddle. There are many people that enjoy this pub, but be warned that it can takes ages to get served and may be impossible to get a seat in summer. There is a seating area outside but, like, big deal.
  • The Bell. The heartbeat of Walcot Street, Bath's bohemian quarter. Superb array of beers (both real and gaseous) and other intoxicants from around the globe. Regular music venue, great atmosphere, friendly crowd.
  • The Star. Walk along the Paragon to find this pub which is the same now as it was 100 years ago. Small rooms, wooden benches, barrels etc. Very atmospheric.

Other notable pubs are:

  • The Crystal Palace. Head out of the bottom of the Abbey Churchyard towards a big tree and you'll find this popular pub. Notable for having an outdoor area, which is rare in Bath, and good food too.
  • Raincheck Bar. now Beau Bar Decent alternative to the Garricks Head for a pre/post theatre drink. Located around the corner from the Theatre Royal - hang out for divorcees......
  • Lambrettas [42]. Scooter-themed pub along North Parade (near train station and Parade Gardens).
  • Caffè Uno [43]. Pretentions to Italian styling with wall paintings etc. Spacious, brasserie-style café superbly located overlooking Pulteney Weir.
  • Garfunkels [44] & Browns [45]. Two popular tourist pubs adjacent to Bath Abbey. Bit more pricey but pleasant, open and stylish, with outdoor seating areas. The address is Orange Grove, a short walk from the train station.
  • The Boater. Awesome beer garden. When the large garden's full of students it can be fun, with Pulteney Weir in view. Nice in the summer evenings.
  • The Ram. Just outside of downtown Bath in Widcombe. Alway offers a handful of local ales and ciders. Conveniently located next to Manhattan American Hamburgers.
  • RSVP, George Street 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 [46]. 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.

Or head out of town to some great country pubs

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 aquaduct. Superb in the summer. You can get a train as there's a small station just two minutes walk away, or get a taxi.
  • The Wheatsheaf at Combe Hay [47]. 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 [48]. 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.


Nightclubs

There is a definite shortage of cutting edge nightclubs in Bath. Expect bog-standard commercial dance on popular nights. Serious clubbers often travel to Bristol or London. While drunken revelers expecting fun times can choose from a veritable bounty of nightclubs located in the city center. Most club nights cater to mainstream tastes. Although posters and flyers advertising more specialist nights can be found if you look for them in locations such as the walls inside the towns independent fast food outlets.

Water

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, largely due to the strange taste due to the minerals that the Romans believed had health benefits for the drinker.

Sleep

Accommodation in and around Bath ranges from budget hostels and smart, comfortable self-catering homes, through elegant bed and breakfast and guest houses, hospitable farms and inns, to top-of-the-range hotels.

Budget

  • Bath Backpackers, 13 Pierrepont, Bath. Phone: 01225 446 787, 10 Bed per room Dorms are about £13 per person per bed
  • St Christopher’s Bath Hostel (Bath Hostel), 9 Green Street, Bath, Somerset BA1 2JY, +44 12 2548 1444 (, fax: +44 20 7247 7114), [49]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. A well known youth hostel located in the centre of the city. Part of the St Christopher's hostel chain. £9.50 with breakfast inlcuded.
  • YMCA, Locals insist that the Backpacker's beds are infested with lice, and will direct visitors on a budget to the Y on Walcot street.
  • YHA Bath, Bathwick Hill, Bath, Somerset, BA2 6JZ, Telephone no: 0870 770 5688, Decent youth hostel accommodation from £12.95 a night in an Italianate mansion on the outskirts of the city. Frequent bus service serves between the Youth Hostel and city centre. Hostel is closed for refurbishment until April 2008.

Mid-range

  • Carfax Hotel, 13-15 Great Pulteney Street, Bath, BA2 4BS, 01225 462089. (email:reservations@carfaxhotel.co.uk, Fax: 01225 413257), [50]. A trio of Georgian Town Houses in Bath's famous Great Pulteney St, with car park, lifts, restaurant and affordable prices. A very central hotel in walking distance of the Roman Baths and Abbey, with Henrietta Park at the rear.
  • Hilton Bath City, Walcot Street, 01225 463411 (email:reservations.bath@hilton.com, Fax: 01225 464393), [51]. The location is everything for this hotel, right in the center of Bath. The rooms themselves are small and not terribly impressive.
  • The Abbey Hotel, North Parade, 01225 461603 (email: ahres@compasshotels.co.uk, Fax: 01225 447758), [52]. Comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, well-equipped rooms, great breakfasts, reasonable rates.
  • Express by Holiday Inn New hotel about 1 mile from city centre. From £79 for a double room with basic breakfast.

Splurge

  • The Royal Crescent Hotel, 01225 823333 , [53]. The Royal Crescent luxury Hotel occupies the two central buildings in the Royal Crescent. Both are Grade I listed, and were built by John Wood the Younger himself. If you truly want to immerse yourself in the City of Bath and all its historical glory then this is the place to stay.
  • Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, Sydney Road, 0870 400 8222 (email:sales@bathspahotel.com, Fax: 01225 444006), [54]. One of Bath's flagship hotels - 5 star luxury with fine decor and amenities. Bath Spa Hotel is the celebrity's favourite: Joan Collins and Felicity Kendall have been spotted there. A nice grotto is a feature of the large front lawn. Adjacent to the attractive Sydney Gardens - a great starting point for the mile-long canal walk to Bathampton village.

Contact

Phone

Bath's landline area code is 1225. Dial 01225 from within the UK or +441225 from outside the UK.

Internet

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 offer free wireless internet, notably the Kipling Coffee shop behind the train station and Pultney Bridge coffee shop. Many pubs also offer paid wireless internet, including the Saracen's Head and St. Christopher's Inn.

Stay safe

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 on a Friday and Saturday 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.

Get out

  • Wells
  • Bristol, with its many attractions situated around the floating harbour and Avon Gorge, is only some 12 miles drive or 15 minutes train journey away, and makes an excellent day trip from Bath.
  • Bradford-upon-Avon is a beautiful, picture-postcard small town near Bath. It's accessible by rail and there's a lovely 30 minute walk along the canal to Avoncliffe where the Cross Guns pub provides good food in an excellent riverside setting - and you can catch the train back to Bath from there.


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