9 Insider Tips for Visiting Bath, England
4. Be prepared for the hills
Bath is very hilly. When you’re a local, you get used to it (and it lends itself to great exercise). But it takes many visitors by surprise.
When you arrive at the bus or train station, you will be in the belly of the valley. The further into town you go, the more uphill it will be. Wear good walking shoes and be prepared for some climbing.
One of my favorite ways to do the city is to walk all the way up to the Circus and Crescent (famous neighborhoods with stellar Georgian architecture), which (as a tourist) is about as far as you need to go in that direction. From there, it’s all downhill as you meander past the Assembly Rooms back toward the Roman Baths.
If walking is a major concern for you, there is a Hop-On Hop-Off bus that will take you to most of the major attractions. But if you can walk, you’ll see much more on foot!
5. Check out local shops
Bath is known across Somerset for its excellent shopping opportunities. It has a wide range of lovely independent shops well worth your time (and money). A few of my favorites are: Timber Treasures (handmade wooden goods), Mr. B’s Bookshop and Topping & Company Booksellers (lovely independent bookshops), and Wool (a “knitting emporium” my mother heartily enjoyed).
From the end of November into the first few weeks of December, Bath is home to an extensive Christmas Market. Locals may grumble about the crush in City Center, but it is a great place to pick up some presents. At night, it glows with Christmas lights and is marginally less crowded (especially in the middle of the week).
6. Check for festivals before you arrive
Bath is home to an almost ridiculous number of festivals throughout the year—from the Literature Festival (February/March) to the International Music Festival (May) to the Children’s Literature Festival (September) to the Jane Austen Festival (also September). Check out the Bath Festival website to see if there’s something happening during your visit.