Bath itself is the main attraction here – the UNESCO World Heritage City in all her architectural glory is why so many people from around the world make a beeline for Bath. Simply strolling around the Georgian streets is the best way to see iconic landmarks like the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, but Bath also has a lot of offbeat museums showcasing everything from postage stamps, to fashion, astronomy and American artefacts.
Many of the larger museums are closed on Mondays and smaller ones sometimes have seasonal opening times, which I’ve indicated in the individual reviews.
Bath is notorious for being an expensive city to visit, but there are ways to keep the budget down with discount cards. The Bath Visitor Card, available for £3 from the Bath Tourist Office (http://visitbath.co.uk, 0844 847 5256) nextdoor to the Abbey, gives discounts on major attractions including The Museum of East Asian Art, The American Museum in Britain, Bath Boating Station, Bath Postal Museum, Fashion Museum, Sally Lunn's Refreshment House Museum, Prior Park Landscape Garden, Museum of Bath at Work, Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Bath Abbey Tower Tours and Bath Aqua Theatre of Glass. It also gives discounts at restaurants including Strada, Rajpoot and the Jane Austen Centre Regency Tea Room, as well as many gift shops, Thermae Bath Spa and various tours.
Another way to save money is to get the train to Bath and use your train ticket to get two for one offers with First Great Western at Thermae Bath Spa, Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, a clutch of restaurants and most of the museums. Fill out a form online at the tourist office’s website (see above) to get a discount voucher – remember to hold on to your train ticket to validate it though. Tickets are valid from any station to Bath - so if you're driving and want to be sneaky you could even park at Chippenham and just get the train one stop to qualify for the discounts. This offer is valid until the end of April 2011.
How I’ve picked my things to do:
If you’re coming to Bath for the first time there are some sights like the Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent and Thermae Bath Spa that are no-brainers, but if you want to go off the beaten track a bit, or have been before, I’ve included some fun things to do and see that are quite well-hidden from the main tourist drag such as the Museum of East Asian Art.
I’ve chosen attractions that I’ve been to as a ‘tourist’ on school trips and when friends are visiting, but I’ve also included places that I like to go on a quiet weekend like the Victoria Art Gallery as well. Let me know if you discover an attraction worth mentioning that I’ve missed out of my Top 20.