One of the jewels of England, Bath's Roman and Georgian history are everywhere, whether you want to simply enjoy being surrounded by some of the best architecture in the world or to more closely examine the city’s fascinating past.
Sites such as the ravishing Pulteney Bridge which, like Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, was designed for practicality as well as beauty with built in shops. It’s the perfect place to visit if one of you prefers sipping cappuccinos to history.
The Roman Baths from which the city takes its name were built by the Romans around the only hot spring in Britain and are still filled with natural warm water. As well as audio guides in eight languages the admission fee includes guides specially for children in both English and French. Genius.
The Fashion Museum’s 150 figures chart fashion from the late 16th century to the present day. There are exhibits of menswear, womenswear, day and evening wear and alternative fashion. You can even try on a crinoline at the Corsets and Crinolines display.
Bath is hilly which you should bear in mind if walking is a problem. It can be tricky for motorists too so if you are driving, it is advisable to make sure your hotel has parking.
This entrancing city has a vast choice of places to stay. There are dozens of smaller hotels in 18th century houses, handsome from the outside, though sometimes rather cramped within. And the historical vibe (Beau Brummel, Jane Austen, etc.) tempts some hoteliers to adopt a deadly repro/chintzy style. Beware.
The following are small hotels which avoid camping up the history and are strongly recommended as some of the best places to stay in Bath.
In the upper echelons of price and grandeur, competition is fierce and the Big Three; the Bath Priory, Bath Spa and Royal Crescent, have each splashed out heavily on spa facilities. All would also claim to be high up there amongst the best places to stay in Bath.
Highly recommended, is the Bath Priory, though it is just on the edge of the city and not in the centre. Decorated in traditional English country house style, it has an award-winning Michelin-starred restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, glorious four acre gardens which also supply the kitchen with vegetables and extremely comfortable and luxurious rooms and bathrooms. Bath is quite small so the centre of the city is easily accessible from the hotel.
The well-known Royal Crescent hotel is hard to beat if you are planning a treat. Situated right in the middle of one of the most jaw-droppingly impressive pieces of architecture in Britain, there is little chance of waking up here and wondering where you are.
Effortlessly combining traditional and modern interiors it is a classy delight both inside and out. And the fabulously grown-up spa is a child-free zone.
Of the three, the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel can't be ignored, but is hard to really love. Standing in seven acres of formal grounds, it is competent, imposing and slightly dull, though its spa facilities are excellent.
Bath (Upper Bristol Road)
Friendly boutique guesthouse housed in a Victorian complex at the heart of Bath. Vintage-style deco combined with lashings of creature comforts are the hallmark of this cosy haven within easy reach of the spa town’s main sights.
This six bed property is tucked away in a quiet residential nook, yet walking distance from Bath centre. Rooms are decorated in a French country style with white linens and pastel throws. There is a sunny courtyard and cosy living room to relax. A full organic breakfast awaits you each morning.
A Victorian house set in 7 acres of stunningly beautiful countryside close to the city of Bath. The interior is elegantly designed with well chosen wallpapers and fabrics. Breakfasts include local produce. An idyllic spot for exploring the city and its surrounding area.
Excellent value town centre hotel a stone's throw from the best that Bath has to offer. No restaurant, but in this city there's plenty of choice elsewhere. Great for families and those on a budget.
Step back into Georgian Bath but in a hotel with all mod cons. Elegant listed house with high-ceilinged rooms and shuttered windows, sleigh beds, antique furniture and traditional bathrooms. An unbeatable breakfast. Classy choice for those seeking a touch of Georgian authenticity.
Bath (London Road West)
Newly renovated historic property on the outskirts of town. Set amid 20 acres of private gardens, Bailbrook House enjoys great views over both city and surrounding countryside. Ideal for both leisure and business travellers.
Funky informality and affordable style in this trendy hotel in the centre of Bath. Buzzy bar, small rooms, can be noisy, but fun.
Come here for a weekend away that’s like visiting old friends. Styled as a contemporary classic, this B&B just outside the city centre is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. It’s super comfortable with great views and a British feel.
Located in a quiet corner of town, yet just ten minutes walk from the city centre. Decorated with an eclectic array of Asian antiques from the owner's travels. Rooms are decorated in neutral colours, some with four-poster beds, claw-foot baths and power showers. Plus a tranquil garden to enjoy.
This former parish dating back to 1740 provides a secluded country haven just 15 minutes drive from bath. All three rooms are decorated in classic country style with antique pieces. There is a charming dining room overlooking the mature gardens. A full English Breakfast is served every morning.
Family friendly B&B in Jacobean manor house in quiet rural surroundings with beautiful grounds. A good base for visiting Bath and the south Cotswolds, with lots of space for children.
Chic, calm privately owned townhouse hotel in Georgian terrace house, smart with large rooms, good restaurant and wine list
Grandeur on a human scale; run with love and attention to detail on the eastern fringes of Bath
Charming boutique hotel in the peaceful New Forest. Quirky rooms sit within the Grade II listed building and cozy outhouses. Restaurant and kitchen garden, extensive spa, stunning grounds. Country walks and sights nearby make it the perfect romantic getaway.
Elegant, informal Georgian hotel near Roman Baths. Landscaped gardens, spa, beautiful rooms. Award winning restaurant.
Elegant country house hotel on the edge of the city with award winning restaurant plus indoor and outdoor pools.
Five star luxury hotel situated in the classical splendour of Bath's Royal Crescent, with The Spa at the Royal Crescent and Dower House Restaurant - ideal for exploring the World Heritage Site on your doorstep.