The most popular time to visit Bath is during the summer months, when the climate is at its most pleasant. Hordes of tourists descend on the city, for the parks, museums, architecture and the Bath International Music Festival, which runs for 17 days in late May and early June. Visitors should expect to pay increased rates for accommodation and should also expect attractions to be crowded.
Another peak time in the city is the festive Christmas and New Year period.
Spring is an excellent time to visit Bath – the parks and gardens are in bloom, the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists.
The winter months are chilly and damp, but travellers can visit the sights at leisure due to fewer crowds. Cheap flights to Bristol (the nearest airport) and lower accommodation rates are more likely to be available with the exception of the Christmas and New Year period.
The Romans established the City of Bath in AD 43 and this city, awash with architecture, history and culture, has been welcoming visitors ever since. Many of Bath’s great buildings date back from its renaissance in the 18th century when, once more, it became a fashionable spa town and played host to royalty and the cream of aristocracy, who visited the city to “take the waters”. Today, visitors can walk around the old Roman Baths, enjoy the splendour of Bath Abbey or simply take in the breathtaking Georgian architecture of this beautiful city, which somehow managed to escape the ravages of industry and the Luftwaffe.
Jane Austen lived and based many of her books on Bath, and on Gay Street, near where she once lived, visitors can find the Jane Austen Centre, which displays her life and times. For an authentic feel of life gone by, period decorations and furniture have been reinstated in No1 Royal Crescent, so that the house appears as it might have been as a fine 18th-century townhouse. Though architecturally Bath is something of a period piece, it is also a very modern city; its restaurants and pavement cafes packed full of local businessmen and artisans. The International Music Festival marks the beginning of summer and adds to the city’s lively, festive atmosphere and its Theatre Royal is one of the country’s leading provincial theatres, attracting big names and pre-West End runs.
Summer days can start out cloudy and cool and be hot by afternoon. August is the hottest month when it can reach the 20s. Bath’s winters are long and chilly with the occasional mild day. December through February temperatures range from about 2 to 8 degrees. There is little snow, but icy rain is typical. Spring is mild and warm with May temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees.
It’s easiest to explore Bath by foot. Many sights are located close to one another and there are guided walks of all types. Walk along the ghost tour, or just ramble by yourself through Bath’s lovely old streets. You can also rent a bike to speed things up a bit. Bath is bike-friendly, with bike racks in the city centre and paths set aside along the canal. The bus system covers the city and outlying areas.
Bus tours are also available, such as the hop-on, hop-off buses. Switch things up by taking a flight on a hot air balloon or a boat ride on the river.
You can also catch a taxi or drive yourself if you’d like. Remember to avoid rush hour, park early in the day and keep an eye out for one-way streets.
The closest airport is Bristol International Airport (BRS) located less than 20 miles (32 km) from Bath. There is a regular and quick train service between Bristol and Bath. Buses and taxis are also available.