The best city to visit within easy striking distance of London is Bath — just a 1.5-hour train ride away. If ever a city enjoyed looking in the mirror, Bath's the one. Its streets a series of architectural chorus lines, Bath has more protected historic buildings per capita than any other town in England. Built of the creamy warm-tone limestone called "Bath stone," it beams in its cover-girl complexion. Proud locals remind visitors that the town is routinely banned from the "Britain in Bloom" contest to give other towns a chance to win. Bath's narcissism is justified. Even with its mobs of tourists and greedy prices, Bath is a joy to visit.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Free City Walking Tours Top-notch tours helping you make the most of your visit, led by The Mayor's Corps of Honorary Guides.
▲▲▲ Roman Baths Ancient baths that gave the city its name, tourable with good audioguide.
▲▲ Bath Abbey 500-year-old Perpendicular Gothic church, graced with beautiful fan vaulting and stained glass.
▲▲ The Circus and the Royal Crescent Stately Georgian (Neoclassical) buildings from Bath's 18th-century glory days.
▲▲ No. 1 Royal Crescent Your best look at the interior of one of Bath's high-rent Georgian beauties.
▲▲ Canalside Walk to Bathampton This easy, hour-long stroll along an Industrial Age canal is a delightful escape from the busy town.
▲ Pump Room Swanky Georgian hall, ideal for a spot of tea or a taste of unforgettably "healthy" spa water.
▲ Pulteney Bridge and Parade Gardens Shop-strewn bridge and relaxing riverside gardens.
▲ Victoria Art Gallery Paintings from the late 17th century to today.
▲ Fashion Museum 400 years of clothing under one roof, plus the opulent Assembly Rooms.
▲ Museum of Bath at Work Gadget-ridden circa-1900 engineer's shop, foundry, factory, and office.
▲ American Museum and Gardens Insightful look primarily at colonial/early-American lifestyles, with 18 furnished rooms and eager-to-talk guides.
▲ Thermae Bath Spa Relaxation center that put the bath back in Bath.
Jane Austen Centre Exhibit on 19th-century Bath-based novelist, best for her fans.
Museum of Bath Architecture Intriguing collection of models and maps illustrating Bath's development.