Bath has been a popular choice for visitors seeking a luxurious break since the regency period when it became one of the most important places for social life outside of London.
The city was the height of fashion for high society, with its grand balls and social gatherings in magnificent buildings. Today, many of those buildings are 5-star hotels, with luxurious spas, opulently decorated rooms and suites and high-class dining experiences.
Bath is a compact city easily explored on foot and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site for more than 30 years, due to its Roman remains, eighteenth-century architecture, historical social scene, thermal springs and impressive landscape.
Wandering in the footsteps of Jane Austen along the streets lined with Georgian buildings, you can’t help be impressed by the particularly breath-taking light as the sun sets on the honey-coloured Bath stone – affectionately called the ‘golden hour’ by locals. A private walking tour will give you the option of a tailor-made itinerary – independent tour guides will work on a bespoke basis to help you plan your time in the city.
The Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum is one of Bath’s greatest buildings just 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre at the end of Pulteney Street. Set within 5 acres of grounds, The Holburne is a perfect place to spend a morning with its contemporary and historical art collections, modern extension and Garden Café which face on to Sydney Gardens at the back – a favourite of Jane Austen who lived opposite the museum. The current Grayson Perry exhibition is extended until 3rd January.
No. 1 Royal Crescent
No. 1 Royal Crescent is a another of the city’s outstanding museums – a chance to step into the past at one of England’s finest Georgian townhouses and explore Georgian life as it would have been, and of course, a visit to the Roman Baths, one of the finest preserved Roman remains in the world, should be high on your list of places to visit – explore the Great Bath, walk on original Roman pavements and see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva. Ensure you book a slot online in advance (there are no walk-ups available).
Bath was built for style and is full of fashion boutiques, award-winning independent jewellers and luxury interior stores. You will find preloved designer labels at Grace & Ted, hi-end labels at Square, Grace and Mabel and Definition and Mulberry Bags on Milsom Street. Bath is also renowned for its luxury interior stores – Neptune, India Jane, Rossiters of Bath, Hay Design, The Loft and Salcombe Trading to name a few.
When hot-air balloons can take to the skies again, a champagne balloon flight will give you unrivalled views of the city and beyond into the Somerset countryside – some of the balloon companies will offer exclusive flights if you’re celebrating a special occasion. For incredible views on foot, Prior Park Landscape Garden or the Bath Skyline Walk should be on your itinerary.
A classic afternoon tea – a popular pastime in Bath and a ‘must do’. Traditional champagne afternoon tea in the serene English gardens of the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa will be a very fitting ending to a luxury break to Bath.
Where to stay – for a small city there are plenty of luxury hotels to choose from:
The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel
The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel occupies two distinguished Georgian buildings in the heart of the city and has the only spa in the UK where you can bathe in naturally heated spa water in a circuit of thermal pools, saunas and steam rooms. The treatments at the award-winning Spa Village have been developed to harness the healing qualities of the mineral-rich waters and include aquatic body therapies and personalised aromatherapy treatments. Non-residents can book a Spa Day which combine a spa treatment with afternoon tea or lunch. (Spa re-opening subject to government guidelines.)
The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa
The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa (open from 10th July) is a haven of elegance set in one of the world’s most iconic pieces of architecture. Each bedroom is uniquely designed with spectacular views and the hotel prides itself on its impeccable service, delivered by staff dedicated to making your stay unforgettable. The spa boasts a 12-meter heated relaxation pool, salt infused sauna and herbal steam room a fitness gym and private treatment rooms. (Spa re-opening subject to government guidelines.)
Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa
A 15-minute drive outside of Bath into the Cotswolds is Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, a world away from everything on its own estate – a quintessentially British retreat with its own cookery school, equestrian centre and Spa in a 18th century restored Palladian mansion. You can stay in a separate cottage within the 500-acre parkland – the cottages have been designed to give you the ultimate country living experience and sleep up to 8 people.
The Bath Priory
The Bath Priory is nestled within four acres of award-winnings gardens on the edge of the city centre. Art owned by the proprietors Andrews and Christina Brownsword adorns the walls of the Georgian house while the Garden Spa by L’Occitane, (the first and only spa by L’Occitane in the UK), promises to transport you to Provence the moment you step through the door. (Spa re-opening subject to government guidelines.)
Bath’s food and drink scene includes many award-winning fine dining experiences – giving you plenty of diner options:
Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant
Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant features Georgian architecture, original artwork and an impressive wine wall and is open to hotel guests and non-residents. Enjoy exquisite cuisine inspired by fresh, seasonal ingredients in a sophisticated yet informal environment. The Restaurant has been awarded three AA Rosettes and features in the prestigious Tatler Restaurant Guide.
The Queensberry Hotel’s Michelin-starred Olive Tree Restaurant has a delicious, seasonal menu, and Lucknam Park’s Restaurant Hywel Jones also offers sophisticated dining. Dine on small plates and a vast selection of wines at Beckford Bottle Shop, which has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, or stop for lunch at The Ivy Bath Brasserie. OAK (formally Acorn restaurant) was recently listed as the No 1 plant based restaurant in the UK by the Times – Richard, the owner, uses vegetables grown on his own farm and each dish is, a quite literally, a work of art.
For further information on planning a stay in Bath go to visitbath.co.uk Please check individual websites and social channels for up-to-date opening information and social distancing measures.