We Visit

Bath

Roman spas, some of the finest examples of Georgian architecture and more museums in one square mile than most cities on the planet, Bath also has impeccable foodie connections dating back to Jane Austen's time.

The World Heritage Site of Bath owes its name and fame to Britain’s only naturally occurring hot springs. The Roman bathing complex is Aquae Sulis’s most famous legacy, but courtesy of the modern Thermae Bath Spa, which opened in 2006, today’s visitors can soak in the hot, mineral-rich waters in much the same way as the Romans did 2,000 years ago.

There’s more to this place than hot water, though. There’s Bath Abbey, the last of England’s great medieval churches, more museums in one square mile than most cities on the planet and some of the UK’s finest examples of Georgian architecture. Together they attract an annual 4.8 million visitors.

Literary and artistic connections draw the crowds, too. It was in Bath that Jane Austen set Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, and it’s here that Thomas Gainsborough established himself as a painter and Charles Dickens placed part of The Pickwick Papers.

Prefer designer boutiques, independent shops and high-street stores? There’s a remarkable number – all easily reached on foot in the city’s compact centre.

Bath also has strong foodie connections. Austen writes of overindulging on the famed Sally Lunn bun, which dates back to the 17th century. Try it at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, one of the city’s oldest residences.

Then there’s the Bath Oliver biscuit (so good with cheese) invented here in the 18th  century, but sadly no longer made locally.

In 1957 The Good Food Guide declared Bath’s Hole In The Wall the single most influential restaurant of the post-war years. Thirty years later, the city hosted the UK’s first farmers’ market – now a weekly fixture at Green Park Station.

The restaurant scene continues to be buoyant, with an excellent mix of eating houses and pubs, including a handful of good quality, reliable mid-price places that are a treat to visit – among wine bar Corkage.

Higher up the scale is The Dower House at the Royal Crescent Hotel, where David Campbell’s cooking is appropriately luxurious. Also top of the tree is Menu Gordon Jones, considered by many to be the hardest-to-book restaurant in town – but then it does have just 22 seats.

In a nutshell, Bath is a city with something for everyone.