Georgian architecture, Roman Baths, hot thermal waters; think you know Bath? Think again! There’s a lot more to this city than meets the eye and you’ll be surprised at how much you can do on a budget too. Here are some of our suggestions for an Unexpected Bath experience, helping you make the most of your summer stay in Bath...
Check into unexpectedly affordable accommodation at the University of Bath where rooms start from just £36 per night.
Take a stroll around the campus lake to unwind after your journey, before following signs for the Bath Skyline Walk and enjoying stunning views of the city before walking into the centre.
From the unexpected to the absurd, book a balcony at Absurd Bird and tuck into all manner of soul-warming American comfort food, whilst sipping on moonshine from the Mardi Gras-style bar.
Top Tip: Visit on Wednesdays for Bottomless Wings for £12 or on a Tuesday for Burger, Bud and Beats.
After dinner join Bizarre Bath for a mix of mystery, comedy and magic challenging your perceptions of Bath. Or visit Komedia to laugh along with top circuit comics; Edinburgh Fringe Previews cost just £8 throughout July and bargain £9 Student Balcony tickets are available for the Krater Comedy Club on Saturday nights.
For a quieter night out, pop into Le Vignoble for wine tasting. No lectures on tasting notes or mouthfeel, simply set up a card on arrival and help yourself to tasters or full glasses from the Enomatic dispensers.
Get your morning off to a good start on campus by joining a fitness class or taking a dip in the Olympic-sized, London 2012 Legacy Pool at the Sports Training Village.
Take a short bus ride into the city centre to continue your active morning of adventure. Join Original Wild for a stand up paddleboarding session in front of Pulteney Bridge, or race down the Kennet and Avon Canal with a canoe from Towpath Trail Bike and Canoe Hire. Be sure to quench your thirst at one of the canal-side pubs along the way!
After a busy morning, spend a relaxing afternoon at Bath on the Beach, an unexpected corner of Caribbean paradise, complete with golden sands, palm trees, hammocks and a well-stocked bar. Treat yourself to lunch from the barbecue before joining a game of beach volleyball, boules or table tennis.
What better way to follow up a seaside afternoon than by sampling unusual gelato flavours at Swoon?
For dinner, The Stable will tempt you with delicious pizzas and pies. You’ll find plenty of vegan options on the menu too.
Top Tip: Visit on Tuck In Tuesdays, where a pizza, side salad and drink is only £10, or if you fancy a taste of the West Country, give their cider tasting board a go.
Take a short stroll to Electric Bear, a microbrewery and taproom dreaming up modern craft beers. Visit on a Friday and Saturday to soak up the summer sun in the yard whilst working your way through their always changing menu of innovative beers.
Not a beer drinker? Spend the evening with Gin Austen instead. You’ll find her at The Canary Gin Bar where she winks from the bottles of Bath Gin, a modern and refreshing gin, distilled on-site using bitter orange, kaffir and coriander. You can also join a Distillery Tour or splash out on a Gin Making Class to create a gin of your very own.
Live like a local and join an alternative tour of Bath; taste your way around the city on a Savouring Bath tour. Be warned though, with samples from seven to twelve local food and drink heroes along the way, you won’t be needing breakfast – you can probably give lunch a miss as well!
See the city by bike. As you cycle through the longest cycling tunnel in Britain with Bath Cycle Tours or Bath Bike Tours, unexpected history won’t be the only surprise as you are immersed in an interactive light and sound installation.
For lunch visit Green Park Station where you’ll find a mouth-watering selection of street food dished up from wooden cabins set beneath the old railway station roof. Tuck into moreish wood-fired pizzas at Bath Pizza Co or let the array of vegan, Thai and Filipino aromas tempt you.
After lunch, it’s time to hunt down a bargain. Visit SouthGate and marvel at the enchanting wisteria canopies whilst nipping in and out of high street stores such as H&M, Topshop, New Look and Urban Outfitters (be sure to take a snap for Instagram!)
Snap up a bargain at Grace & Ted, an emporium of pre-owned designer clothing, shoes and accessories. Explore the two floors and find designer labels such as Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Mulberry at a fraction of their original prices.
Don’t miss a trip to Walcot Street and London Road to discover Bath’s Artisan Quarter. A vibrant corner of the city, it’s home to an eclectic array of independent shops selling everything from vintage clothes and chic homeware to artisan crafts and vegan foods.
Walking around Bath’s compact city centre you’ll stumble across plenty of unexpected things to do – you’ll find plenty more of our suggestions here.