Bath – Short Stay Guide

Known for and named after its Roman-built baths, Bath in Somerset boasts iconic architecture.  That is one of the many reasons why the city was awarded an UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. And is just one of only two cities in Europe that can claim that distinction.

We love the city and its nearby baby sister; Wells.  In fact, we really like the county of Somerset. It is all too often overlooked by tourists who are simply passing through on their way to somewhere else.

Getting There

Located in the Southwest of England, Bath is easy to reach, just 80 minutes from London by train. Bath Spa Railway Station is conveniently located in the heart of the city centre, just a short walk away from Bath’s main attractions and shopping districts. The city is just 19 miles from Bristol Airport and is well connected by regular bus services.

Bath is a short drive away from both the M4 and M5 motorways.  It is only when you try and bring a car into the city that you realise quite how much the city councillors hate motor vehicles. Our advice is not to bother. Use the Park and Ride instead.

Bath is now operating a Clean Air Zone in central Bath, with daily charges applying to most higher emission vehicles. While charges do not apply to cars or motorbikes, they do apply to higher emission private vans, pick-ups, motorhomes and some camper vans. 

The city has three Park & Ride services, which operate seven days a week. Buses run into the city from all three sites every 15 minutes. The journey time is around ten minutes. All buses are wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

If Bath hates cars, it loathes campervans and motorhomes even more so!  Two out of the three Park and Ride car parks have height barriers!  Do not use either the Newbridge or Odd Down Park & Ride carparks.  Instead head for the Lansdown Park and Ride which is a little more van friendly!

Staying Overnight


We stayed at the Apex City of Bath Hotel located on the corner of James Street West.  It is a modern, purpose-built facility with some very fine features.  In the basement the wellness centre is reserved for guests only and boasts a sauna, steam room, compact gym and a swimming pool. 

On the ground floor, a pleasant open aspect bar, coffee shop front desk lobby and restaurant are all located and accessible to everyone.  The hotel is well equipped with conference and banqueting facilities. And it has made a pleasing wedding venue for quite a few happy couples.

Bedrooms are light and airy and are decorated in a contemporary style, beds are comfortable and the bathrooms spacious.  Even better, many of them feature baths and we are happy to report that bath towels are of a good proportion.


Despite being a city that clearly does not like motorcaravans, Bath has a surprisingly good caravan park beside the River Avon. The Bath Waterside & Marina and Caravan Park is just two miles from the city centre. It is a two-mile stroll or bike ride along the riverside path into town. Or you can walk for 5 minutes in the other direction and take the park-and-ride bus into the city.

Voyager at Bath Waterside & Marina into the city

Nestled amid grassy banks and shady trees, the caravan park is located on one of the most treasured stretches of the River Avon. It is open all year round, with modern facilities set amongst beautifully landscaped lawns and woodlands. Each of the 88 pitches offer hard standing, free wifi and 16 amp electric.


Bath’s retail scene, set against a backdrop of Georgian grandeur, has made it one of the most stylish shopping destinations for the last 300 years.  The compact city centre hosts many independent stores and high street brands.

In the heart of the city, Stall Street and Union Street provide plenty of shops. Adjacent to Bath Abbey is Bath Aqua Glass, offering hand-blown glassware and jewellery. It is tucked away by the side of Thermae Bath Spa. On Hot Bath Street, is Breathe Out Now – a conscious wellbeing lifestyle shop selling aromatherapy card and crystals. 

We like shopping in The Corridor.  It resembles a Parisian arcade. But we also like Bath Guildhall Market, the city’s oldest indoor market. 

The London Road and Walcot areas have affectionately been known as Bath’s Artisan Quarter since the 1960’s. A collection of boutique shops have everything from vintage clothing to designer homeware, and from quirky artwork, to delicious food.

Once Bath’s main railway station, Green Park Station hosts some interesting covered markets. It is home to a creative collection of independent traders. The former station was recently used for the filming of Pursuit of Love with Lily James.  Shop for local produce on a Saturday at Bath Farmer’s Market and Bath Flea Market on Sundays. 

Every year, Bath plays host to a Christmas market.  It is a delightful opportunity to buy crafted gifts from artisans who make them. Shopping there on a winters evening sipping a glass of mulled wine is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  Be warned however, it is very popular to the point of clogging hotels and campsites, and early reservations are called for if you plan to stay overnight.


From its Roman origins to the fashionable eighteenth-century designs that form many of the city’s most recognisable buildings, Bath is steeped in history. 

Walk the River Avon from Bath Waterside & Marina into the city

The city’s most famous attractions include its Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey, and the Jane Austen Centre, as well as its many shops, restaurants, and cultural events

The Roman Baths

Constructed in around 70AD, the Roman Baths was designed to be a grand bathing and socialising complex.  It is one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world.  Even today over a million litres of steaming spring water, fills the bathing site.  You cannot take a plunge here, but you can explore the site of extensive ruins and an interactive museum.  They are filled with many treasures and visual snippets. These transport you back to Roman times and the lives of the Aquae Sulis people. Walk on ancient pavements as the Romans did 2,000 years ago and explore chambers historically housing changing rooms and tepid plunge pools.

Thermae Bath Spa

If you do want to bathe in Bath, then head over to the Thermae Bath Spa.  This roof top terrace pool with its spectacular views across the city skyline. It provides the opportunity to bathe in Bath’s naturally (35.5˚ centigrade) warm, mineral-rich waters. A towel and robe are provided. 2-hour spa sessions can be booked in advance or organised on the day.

The Jane Austen Centre

The Jane Austen Centre celebrates Bath’s most famous resident.  Set in a classically decorated Georgian townhouse, it offers a snapshot of what it would be like to live in the Regency times.  The Centre explores the fashion, food, society – everything that would have inspired her timeless novels.  It clearly explains how the city of Bath impacted upon Jane Austen’s life and writing in much-loved books such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. 

The Circus

Originally called King’s Circus, The Circus was designed by the architect John Wood, the Elder.  Convinced that Bath had been the principal centre of Druid activity in Britain, he studied Stonehenge, and designed the Circus with the same diameter.  Construction began in 1754, however Wood died less than three months after the first stone was laid. So his son, John Wood, the Younger, completed the design in 1768.  The artist Thomas Gainsborough lived at number 17, between 1759 and 1774, using the house as his portrait studio. More recently, Hollywood actor Nicholas Cage also lived at The Circus.

The Royal Crescent

One of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, The Royal Crescent was built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the Younger.  This impressive landmark is arranged around a perfect lawn overlooking Royal Victoria Park. And it forms a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses. It is without doubt one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture anywhere in the UK.  The 500-foot-long crescent has an impressive ha-ha, which was designed to keep grazing animals out of the more formal areas of the garden. 

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein

In 1816, Mary Shelley wrote much of the world’s first science fiction novel, Frankenstein, while living in Bath. Extending over four atmospheric floors, Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein is an immersive multi-sensory visitor attraction. It charts Shelley’s unconventional life and the lasting legacy of her infamous creation.  The House also features two rooms dedicated to Frankenstein in popular culture, a small screening room, and a Frankenstein-themed Escape Room. For braver visitors, there is the option of a thrilling horror walkthrough.

Walking Tour 

The city is unusual in that it offers free walking tours every day of the year except Christmas Day.  The Mayor of Bath’s Honorary Guide exist to provide these free historic walking tours for individuals and non-commercial groups. The walks give people an understanding of how the city has developed, its rich history and architecture, and why it has been awarded two inscriptions by UNESCO.  Walks are offered on a twice daily basis (except Saturday) whatever the weather and each last approximately 2 hours.  There is no need to book.


Initially we were invited to dine out at Boho Marché the restaurant belonging to the Francis Hotel. But while discussing the matter with the hotels PR consultant, we mentioned we would review it in one of the many magazines we write for on a regular basis. That was when they had a change of heart.  Suddenly, they said they had considered the opportunity and concluded that MotorCaravanner was not a target publication for The Francis Hotel or Boho Marché stating, “Sadly, we’re unable to move ahead with a complimentary dining experience.”  

We found it strange that they might shun owners of vehicles costing up to a quarter of a million pounds preferring to opt for those who drive a £40,000 Tesla. But we chose not to eat where we were not wanted.

Instead, we ate in the Orange Artichoke the restaurant tucked away inside the Apex City of Bath Hotel.  We had no trouble getting a table but having done so and enjoyed our meal so very much, we feel quite sure that if ever the archaic planning rules adhered to by Bath City Council were to allow this restaurant to have its own off the pavement entrance door and would permit them to display discreet signage, this restaurant would be rammed with diners and you would have to wait a month or so for a good table.  The menu was diverse, interesting and made choice, a little difficult.  The food was delicious and delightfully presented and the wine list was comprehensive yet affordable. 

Definitely we made the right choice!