Slow travel guide to Bath

Slow travel guide to Bath

Founded around 60 AD during the Roman Conquest, the historic city of Bath is famous for its thermal springs and well-preserved Roman Baths, striking Anglo-Saxon Abbey and beautiful Georgian architecture.

Bath has all the ingredients for the perfect slow city break; a fantastic array of restaurants, a walkable city centre, easy train access and plenty of spots to slow down, including green spaces. As our own local city, this is a true local’s guide.

Our unique slow travel guides are carefully curated handbooks to some of our favourite destinations. Slow travel, part of the wider slow living movement, is not just a method or a means, it’s a mindset. It’s an approach to travel which replaces the desire to see as much as possible with the desire to experience everything as deeply as possible. Instead of solely listing the biggest landmarks, we share our favourite local spots to slow down and gain a richer sense of place.

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What to eat, where to stay and what to do in Bath


Where to eat and drink in Bath

There’s no shortage of places to eat in Bath. Beyond the usual chains, many of which are situated in the SouthGate shopping area near the station, there are plenty of independent eateries. As a general (but not exact) rule, the further north you head from the station, the more indie options you’ll find.

There are too many great restaurants in Bath to mention, so we’ll stick to those we always come back to when friends ask us for recommendations. For slow food fans and seasonal inspired dishes, we’d recommend Beckford Canteen and Upstairs at Landrace. If you’re looking for a great date night location, try Bosco Pizzeria, La Perla or Beckford Canteen. Dos Dedos is fun for friends or a casual evening out.

Best restaurants and places to eat in Bath:

  • Dos Dedos (great tacos in a relaxed space)
  • The Walcot (originally a bakery before becoming a student nightclub – yes we remember those days too – and now a stylish restaurant with a downstairs evening venue. We love that the restaurant’s meat is sourced from the owners’ local butchers. The owners also run Italian-inspired Mother & Wild in nearby Corsham)
  • Upstairs at Landrace (small bistro located above the Landrace bakery offering a seasonal, daily-changing menu)
  • Bosco Pizzeria (great Italian restaurant with a nice atmosphere and some outdoor seating in a courtyard)
  • Ole Tapas (cosy upstairs restaurant serving hearty tapas classics, perfect for rainy days)
  • La Perla (an upmarket Spanish restaurant underground in an impressive vaulted cellar)
  • Beckford Canteen (aesthetic former Georgian greenhouse location offering modern British dining)
  • The Scallop Shell (seafood and takeaway fish and chips – perfect for walking back up to enjoy in front of the Royal Crescent on warm evenings)

Best pubs and bars in Bath:

  • The Dark Horse (an intimate cocktail bar using local and foraged ingredients, plus serving only beers brewed in the South West)
  • The Bath Brew House (one of our favourite pubs)
  • The Common Room (a quirky cocktail bar)
  • The Bath Distillery Gin Bar (try Bath’s local gin in endless combinations of G&Ts)
  • The Beckford Bottle Shop (a wine bar and bottle shop which also serves small plates – situated on quiet Saville Row with pretty outside tables, making it a great place to while away an afternoon)
  • Hall & Woodhouse (this is a large pub with a rooftop terrace – the perfect place for a drink on summer days)

Best brunch spots and cafes in Bath:

  • The Green Bird Café (a great independent brunch spot with small courtyard)
  • Society Café (there are two locations, perfect for a coffee stop – Kingsmead Square is the larger cafe)
  • Landrace Bakery (Bath is famous for Sally Lunn’s Bath buns, but our favourite is Landrace’s sticky and sweet Swedish-style cinnamon buns)


Where to stay in Bath

  • The Yard in Bath (a boutique B&B with stylish rooms and a great bar)
  • No.15 by GuestHouse (located in three Grade-I listed Georgian townhouses featuring individually decorated rooms)
  • Queensberry Hotel (a luxurious choice that’s family-friendly, even complete with child-sized robes. Also boasting the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Bath, the Olive Tree)

For self-catering accommodation, there are plenty of AirBnBs and beautiful homes listed on Plum Guide. With first-hand experience of living in the centre of Bath, we recommend avoiding any locations above very central coffee shops or restaurants/pubs and along the busy main ‘high street’ (Milsom Street, Union Street and Stall Street). The glass bins can be emptied very early with a resounding crash and many buildings will have original or very old single pane windows; in fact and for this reason, we’d recommend ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper on an overnight visit. Some of the more residential streets above The Royal Crescent make for a quieter location, albeit a longer 15-20 minute walk down to the train station.

If you’re truly looking to slow down, The Pig Near Bath is around a twenty-minute drive outside the centre of the city. Like all of The Pig properties, the setting is special, the interiors are inviting and the menus are seasonal and local. We love dining in The Pig Near Bath’s plant-filled conservatory on a sunny afternoon. Or, for another country hotel outside the city, try the boutique Homewood hotel, complete with outdoor heated swimming pool. For those seeking luxury, Lucknam Hotel & Spa offers a five-star stay just 25 minutes away by car.


What to do in Bath

No doubt The Royal Crescent, Royal Circus, Roman Baths, Pulteney Bridge, the city’s rooftop spa and impressive Abbey are already on your must-visit list (and all certainly worth a visit). So, we’ll offer some more alternative ideas for what to do and where to slow down in Bath.

A spot of independent shopping: Bath is home to some excellent cheesemongers, including Paxton & Whitfield and The Fine Cheese Co. On Saturdays, browse the Bath Saturday Antique and Flea Market to find a few unusual treasures. If you’re after interiors, Walcot Street is home to plenty of big names, but you’ll also find the lovely boutique Always Sunday on nearby Broad Street. Plant lovers will find Botanica Studio hard to resist, this houseplant haven is tucked away in Union Passage.

Something cultural: Learn about Jane Austen’s time spent living in Bath at the Jane Austen Centre or visit the Bridgerton-esque Assembly Rooms, said to be a key gathering place for fashionable Georgians. You can also spot scenery from Netflix’s Bridgerton series across the city on a walking tour.

Something different: Fever has created candlelight concerts in some of Bath’s most iconic venues. You can currently enjoy events in the city’s iconic Abbey, including a string quartet tribute to Taylor Swift.

If you have more time: Explore a little more of the local area by taking a walk along the Avon canal to the nearby village of Bathampton. Walking from Pulteney Bridge to the George Inn in Bathampton takes approximately 45 minutes.

If you’re hoping to visit Bath’s popular Christmas market, we’d recommend a midweek break. The city is hugely busy at this time, especially at weekends.


Where to visit near Bath

Head north and you’ll soon find yourself in Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds. Before heading straight to popular haunts such as Daylesford Farm or Burford Garden Co, we recommend exploring the quieter side of The Cotswolds. Visit Tetbury, one of the best towns for antique shopping in the UK and stay at the nature-infused Thyme boutique hotel which celebrates farm to fork dining.

Head south and explore Somerset. After around 30 minutes you’ll reach Frome, a creative market town with pretty Catherine Hill, home to lovely independent shops. Read our Frome travel guide to discover the town’s best shops, restaurants and cafes. Keep going and you’ll find stylish Bruton, home to Michelin-starred Osip restaurant, The Newt in Somerset and Hauser + Wirth Somerset. We guarantee you another weekend well spent in the West Country.