Travel writer Simon Heptinstall has lived around Bath for 15 years. He's the best guide to tell you what's worth visiting... and what isn't. Follow his three-page selection of the best bits of Bath.
This is page one.
Click here for page TWO, including Queens Square and the Royal Crescent
Where to wallow
There is evidence that there were hot springs in Bath at least 7,000 years ago. In the famous ancient myth, the English Prince Bladud was cured of leprosy by bathing in the water and founded the first city here.
Later, the invading Romans built one of the largest bath complexes outside Rome on the site of the hot springs. In the late 18th century Georgian era of powdered wigs and dandies, Bath became the centre of one of the most renowned social seasons in Europe.
In the 20th century, however, the popularity of the spa pools declined. The local council took them over and they finally closed in 1976. In the 1990s a controversial project was born to revive the spa. It involved long planning disputes over the creation of a striking modern building among all the famous Grade I listed World Heritage architecture. It took many years but finally Thermae Bath Spa opened in 2006. It is a world class attraction that has been receiving mostly very positive reactions ever since.
The elegant church tower next to the Baths is a good landmark if you get lost wandering Bath’s confusing little streets, alleyways and corridors... and it’s worth looking inside too.
Now the west front has been cleaned up you can spot carved angels climbing up ladders to heaven plus some pretty deformed-looking statues. They never recovered from Cromwell’s soldiers’ musket target practise.
The Abbey is also the site of the coronation of Edgar, the first king of united England. Outside, the Abbey yard is a good place to sit at a horrible over-priced tourist cafe and watch top quality buskers.
Bath Abbey official site.
Walk behind the Abbey to find why everyone feels forced to photograph the River Avon spilling over the terraced curved weir with Pulteney Bridge behind. It's such a romantic spot - especially after dark. On cold nights the river steams mysteriously due to hot spring waters bubbling up from far underground.
Bath's 250-year-old Georgian Bridge is still lined with shops. Of course, it's just as touristy as the Ponte Vecchio in Florence but Pulteney's river and surroundings are better... and it leads to the impressive architecture beyond.
See page two of the best things
to see and do in Bath.
Photos (and more information): visitbath.co.uk