A mini guide to: Bath

BY Anna Walker

1st Jan 2015 Travel

A mini guide to: Bath

With a diverse array of restaurants, bars and attractions this fascinating spa city has to be your next getaway. Here’s our pick of the best of Bath beyond its healing waters.

Drink in Opium’s secret rooms

Opium secret rooms
Image via Opium 

Modestly tucked away in the vaults beneath Grove Street, Opium bar is a not-so-secret secret bar loved by tourists and locals alike.

Opium’s distinctive interior places it somewhere between a Victorian smoking room and the forgotten loft of a Parisian eccentric.

The menu is extensive, decked out with classic cocktails, local beers and plenty of fancy fizz. They also offer a range of tasty world tapas dishes if you’re feeling peckish.

If you’re in Bath for an occasion, why not book out Opium’s secret room, complete with hidden entrance, karaoke and private bar?



Grab lunch at Sam’s Kitchen Deli

Sam's kitchen
Image via Sam's Kitchen Deli

Ideally placed on the trendy Walcot Street, Sam’s Kitchen Deli packs a lot of flavour into their tiny café space.

Offering anything from artisanal bakes to delicious dinners and small plates, this eatery has a communal feel and cosy atmosphere; perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre.

There are shelves lined with books, snug sofas and even a piano, all giving the impression that you’re eating in a fantastic home with friends.

If you’d rather eat on the go, pop in and pick up a salad or quiche to take away; Sam’s Kitchen is also a delicatessen.

Be sure to walk off your meal at Bath’s famous Circus and Royal Crescent located just minutes away. The iconic streets are populated with handsome Georgian townhouses. In recent years they’ve doubled as film locations for Vanity Fair, Persuasion, and The Duchess among others. 



Explore the Roman Baths

stay in bath
Image via Stay in Bath

No trip to Bath is complete without a visit to the historic Roman Baths. The fine buildings and baths are incredibly well preserved with four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the museum.

The first shrine erected at the site of the Baths was placed there by the Celts and dedicated to the goddess Sulis, who the Romans would later associate with their own goddess of wisdom, Minerva.

The impressive museum features several fascinating artefacts and documents the history of the site. Special events include T’ai Chi sessions on the terrace and torchlit evening tours.

Sadly, the water in the Roman Baths is no longer safe to bathe in, as it still travels through the original lead pipes. The nearby Thermae Bath Spa, however, offers visitors the chance to unwind in Britain’s only natural thermal waters just as the Romans and Celts did over 2000 years ago.



Unwind with the Lush Tales of Bath treatment

lush treatment
Image via Lush

While in the city celebrated for the restorative power of its thermal waters, indulge with the Tales of Bath treatment from Lush. This immersive relaxation experience includes a private mineral bath—complete with giant light-up bath bomb—head and shoulder massage and side-lying full body massage. 

The entire treatment (which lasts around 75 minutes) is soundtracked by Bath-based musicians and poets. Guests can enjoy listening fairytales about the Celtic goddess Sulis while they bathe, and later appreciate the harmony of a massage that is choreographed to poems about the legendary waters.  

Lush staff are calming and friendly, which helps create an atmosphere of safety and security. The interior of the spa, which looks more like a cosy ski lodge than a treatment room, is a little haven away from the busy city. 

While the treatment is available in several Lush branches including Oxford Street, Liverpool, Leeds, Poole and Edinburgh, it's definitely best experienced in the city that gave it its name. 



Feel fancy at the Jane Austen Centre

The Jane Austen centre
A costumed guide offering tours at the Jane Austen Centre

Jane Austen lived in Bath between 1801 and 1806 and the city informed the backdrop of many of her beloved novels. Both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are set in Bath, and Catherine, Northanger’s heroine, is completely charmed by the city.

"They arrived in Bath. Catherine was all eager delight; - her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already.”

The Jane Austen Centre explores Jane Austen’s time in Bath and the influence the city had over her writing, her characters, and her life. Knowledgeable guides costumed in Regency dress guide visitors through the period property where there are exhibits, talks, activities, a café and gift shop and several opportunities to dress up.

Every September, thousands of self-proclaimed Janeites descend on Bath to partake in the Jane Austen Festival. The festivities involve 10 days of music, food, balls, dances, workshops, theatre and more to celebrate one of Britain’s most iconic writers.

For a full fan experience, you can even stay in an apartment of the home in which Austen lived with her family in the early 1800s. 

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