Why not explore the surrounding countryside during your trip to Bath? Read on for a three- to four-day itinerary combining both city and country…
Day One — Soak Up City Sights
After arriving, promenade in the footsteps of Jane Austen (who lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806) and take in the city’s iconic architecture — the Royal Crescent, the Circus, Pulteney Bridge and Great Pulteney Street.
Afterwards, admire the beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling at Bath Abbey and discover 1,000 years of history, and book in advance to see the Roman Baths, one of the finest examples of Roman remains in the world.
In the afternoon, hop on an open-top City Sightseeing Bus Tour for magnificent views of the city — on the Skyline route — or visit the Holburne Museum, one of Bath’s grandest buildings and home to a vast decorative arts collection. The modern extension at the rear looks out onto Sydney Gardens and contains the Garden Café with outdoor seating. The current exhibition, Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, has been extended until 3rd January 2021.
Wander along Walcot Street and explore the many boutique and artisan shops, cafés and restaurants. End the day with dinner at Italian restaurant Aqua, The Ivy Bath Brasserie or Milsom Place’s Indian street-food restaurant Bandook Kitchen.
Day Two — Explore the East Side
Head east out of the city centre, past Walcot Street and behind the grand Georgian terraces lining London Road, and you’ll find Kensington Meadows. A large riverside park, as part of a regeneration project to create pockets of grassy meadowland, hundreds of trees have recently been planted in the fields. Follow the signposted path running alongside the river and you’ll come across a selection of children’s play equipment.
On the other side of London Road lies the village of Larkhall, home to independent shops and rows of pretty pastel-coloured houses. Further on, over the nineteenth-century toll bridge, is the village of Bathampton, where Plasticine was invented and manufactured by art teacher William Harbutt in 1897. Head towards Batheaston and Bathford and you’ll find Northend, the village where Eagle House was used as a refuge for suffragettes from 1909 to 1912.
Day Three — Wander Around Wiltshire Towns
The south-western edge of the Cotswolds is home to the historic market town of Corsham, eight miles north-east of Bath. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and with a historic High Street of mellow, Georgian stone buildings, Corsham used to be a centre for agriculture and the wool industry. You’ll also find the majestic Corsham Court there – one of England’s finest stately homes, dating from 1582, it is home to resident peacocks!
One of the West Country's most dynamic market towns, with a population of over 40,000, Chippenham is midway between Bath and Swindon. The combination of old and new, historic architectural gems, modern shopping centres and nearness to some of the country's greatest houses and historic villages, makes this town ideal for visiting.
The medieval village of Lacock, dating from the thirteenth century with its timber-framed cottages and stunning abbey, is one of the prettiest villages in England. Its picturesque streets and historic cottages and inns make it a firm favourite with film and TV producers. The village’s most famous appearances include Downton Abbey, the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and Cranford, and the Harry Potter films.
Lacock Abbey houses the Fox Talbot Museum, which celebrates the life and work of William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the founders of modern photographic processes. The house and the surrounding village of Lacock were given to the National Trust in 1944.
Day Four — Lots More to Discover
Longleat, on the border of Somerset and Wiltshire, has enough entertainment to keep you busy for the whole day. Originally a stately home set within 900 acres of landscaped grounds, the estate is home to the UK’s original wildlife and safari park, adventure play areas, restaurants and food stalls.
Bowood House & Gardens
Set in 100 acres of parkland, Bowood House is the magnificent family home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne. The upper and lower terraces, designed in the 1800s, look out to stunning pleasure grounds containing a vast collection of trees and shrubs. Enjoy a picnic in the rose garden or by the lake, where the regatta scenes in ITV’s Sanditon were filmed.
Perfect for families, the Adventure Playground boasts a life-size pirate ship and dare-devil slides – plan your day out in advance by booking tickets prior to your visit.
Where to Stay?
To make the most of all Bowood has to offer, why not stay at Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort? A four-star luxury hotel, not far from Chippenham, it has an award-winning spa and PGA golf course, plus beautiful rooms designed by the Marchioness of Lansdowne. Families can also receive complimentary access to Bowood House & Gardens.
Bailbrook House Hotel in Batheaston is part of the Handpicked Hotels Group, and is a grand mansion house with a contemporary extension and ample parking, making a great base from which to explore the area. Stay in a classic room in the modern wing or choose one of the luxury suites. Afternoon Tea is also a speciality, with homemade scones and cakes served with a range of speciality teas.
New Leaf Farm offers a selection of large and small self-catering cottages and apartments two miles from Bath’s centre, in Bathampton. Whether it’s a cosy holiday cottage for two, or somewhere to accommodate larger trips with family and friends, the cottages retain original features like oak beams, exposed stone and log-burning stoves. Outside there are private gardens with views over open farmland.
For a taste of luxury, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, on its own estate in Calne, is a world away from everyday life — a quintessentially British retreat in an eighteenth-century country house. Stay in their separate cottage — designed to give the ultimate country living experience — which sleeps up to eight people, perfect for a family get-together. A full housekeeping service is available, plus drinks and hamper packages.
A stunning country house hotel in the Wiltshire village of Beanacre, around 13 miles from Bath, Beechfield House is conveniently located for visiting the city, plus Lacock and the surrounding countryside. The 24 bedrooms are all refreshingly different, and named after trees found in the grounds. Why not enjoy traditional afternoon tea, fine dining or a beauty treatment using natural Pure Fiji products?