The Non-Essential Guide to Bath

It’s easy to find a list of the must-see, must-do tourist attractions of Bath, but what about other things that are still interesting, still fun, but just… well… not really essential?

I’ll start off with a quick list of ‘essentials’ – these are what I think most websites will talk about, and what most people will recommend if you have a short time in Bath: Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, Thermae Bath Spa, Pulteney Bridge, the Royal Crescent, and the Circus. I won’t elaborate further as you can look them up on the Bath tourism website.

What I’d really like to share is a list of other things you can do if you are in Bath for any decent amount of time:

Boating on the River Avon

P1050269_FotorCambridge and Oxford are well known for their punting and boating activities, but did you know you can do them in Bath, too? The Bath Boating Station offers three types of boating experiences: rowing, punting and canoeing. The River Avon is a lovely and rather quiet river to be on (there is the occasional motorised riverboat, but they don’t come round too often), with lots of trees and wildlife – I once spotted little cygnets bobbing along the river with their parents. Head upriver away from Pulteney Bridge and you’ll end up at the Bathampton Mill, a great place to moor your boat and have a meal or drink before heading back to the station. The Bath Boating Station is open during the warmer months of the year, from April to September.

Bath Skyline Walk

P1060096_FotorThe city of Bath is situated in the Avon Valley and surrounded by hills. One of the great things about this is that you can head into meadows, woodland and nature very easily, as well as enjoy wonderful views of the city from places like Alexandra Park. The Bath Skyline walk is a six mile route marked out by the National Trust that goes along the hills around Bath, through valleys and woodland. You will see some amazing views of Bath, lots of wildlife and, at the right time of year, flowers. The route also takes you near Sham Castle, an 18th century folly that was commissioned by Ralph Allen to provide employment for local stonemasons.

Bath Christmas Market

Source: The Daily Telegraph.

Source: The Daily Telegraph.

This is, obviously, a seasonal attraction, but one that I love to visit every year, even though there are crowds upon crowds of people. The Bath Christmas Market is not as huge as London or Birmingham, and doesn’t have as much food as other Christmas markets, but it is just very pretty to walk through: there are the rows of decorated traditional wooden chalets, surrounded by beautiful Georgian buildings.

No.1 Royal Crescent Museum

P1050934_FotorBath has many museums, and I think this one makes some of the Top 10 lists, but I wanted to highlight it because I think it’s awesome. As you may have guessed from the name, this museum is located at No.1 Royal Crescent, which like the rest of the Royal Crescent was built in the 18th century. The museum shows visitors a typical wealthy 18th century Bath home, with Georgian interior design. The best part of the museum is the presence of knowledgeable guides situated in each room, who will tell you interesting stories about the way people lived and some of the famous residents of 18th century Bath.

Bizarre Bath – The Comedy Walk

P1050970_FotorBath is a historic city, but sometimes it’s good to have a bit of a laugh, and Bizarre Bath will give you lots, with some magic thrown in as well. It’s less of a walking tour around Bath than a piece of street theatre. You will end up walking around the streets of Bath, but don’t expect to learn anything historical! It’s been a while since I went on this walk, but I do remember having some funny details of the city pointed out to me, that I had never noticed before. The walk is seasonal and only runs from April to October.

Mini Golf at Royal Victoria Park

Source: ArtanAbart, TripAdvisor.

Source: ArtanAbart, TripAdvisor.

I know, I know, you’re asking yourself, “What’s so special about mini golf?” To be perfectly honest, I haven’t played mini golf anywhere else but every time I’ve gone to Victoria Falls Adventure Golf, I’ve always had lots of fun. There are 18 holes, lots of different water features and nature all around you; the scenery is quite picturesque.

So there’s my list! What other activities do you like to do in Bath? Let me know! And if you haven’t tried some of the things on this list, why not give them a go the next time you’re in Bath?