Named for the hot springs which percolate up into the heart of the city, Bath has attracted visitors to the curative waters since Roman times. The Avon River runs around the centre and has formed an important part of the landscape and old industry with its network of canals. Bath has been named a World Heritage Centre, and her history and culture are a magnet for tourists from all around the globe.
City Centre Rarely can you find so much to see and do in such a small geographical area as in Bath Centre. World class museums, including the Roman Baths and the internationally renowned Museum of Costume, are so numerous that little gems such as the Postal Museum are easily overlooked. An important site of historical and cultural origins, the centre is home to Bath Abbey, site of 1600+ years of religious activity, and the Theatre Royal is home to pre-London tours and local productions alike. Music, literature and Shakespeare Festivals highlight the busy diary of activities, and pubs, clubs and various music and comedy venues (and buskers!) are plentiful. Around every corner you can find excellent dining options, and if you're bent on shopping, you can't go wrong; Bath has all the big names as well as a complete range of independent merchants, all within easy walking distance of one another. Both train and bus stations provide easy access to all the city has to offer.
City Suburbs So you've arrived in the city unannounced and to your dismay every hotel in the city centre is full to bursting. Don't despair - there is still hope. The city suburbs are the perfect place to stay when visiting the city, offering all the peace of the countryside yet only minutes from the city centre on foot. The best place to start looking is Newbridge where every other establishment is a hotel. Take a flat walk from the city along the beautiful winding canal path and be thankful that you were foolish enough not to book ahead!
Lansdown Privileged living and private houses are Lansdown trademarks. Beckford's Tower, Lansdown Horse Racing Course and spacious playing fields are prominent sites, as well as a Ministry of Defence property. The Kingswood School and Preparatory School, and the Royal High School are popular sites for the education of ministers-to-be and antique shops litter the streets. Lansdown Park-and-Ride offers easy access alternatives into the centre.
Larkhall Old village life thrives here, a short walk from the centre. Everything you could need from delicatessen to hardware shop to the corner butcher is here, and the best part is, it's off the main road! The housing is a mixture of old and new and ranges across income levels, and a church-community run coffee shop is a local meeting place. Several pubs and the Rondo Theatre keep the night alive and takeaway food options abound.
Oldfield Park and Bear Flat A diverse area of Bath and just a short walk from the centre, Oldfield Park has a wide range of housing, from terraced housing at the lower end of Oldfield Road up through semi-detached to the houses and private properties which figure prominently on the upper road. Moorland Road is the main shopping area in Oldfield Park and is bedecked with flowers during the summer. The Bear Pub, with the polar bear on the roof is an easy landmark among the Bear Flat shops, and the Real Meat Company offers an excellent selection of organic and humanely raised meat.
Weston and Newbridge West of the city centre is an area of middle-income housing and suburban shops - check out Chelsea Road for hairdressers aplenty and the best bakery in Bath. Locksbrook Cemetery is an integral part of the landscape, as is Victoria Park, a huge, safe play area for hordes of energetic children. Pubs and eateries, including the award winning Dolphin Inn, and the Michelin-starred Lettonie can be found in this area. Also located here is the Royal United Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the Avon region.
Outside the City Bath's and North East Somerset's (B&NES) main geographical feature is the river Avon which, with the Kennet and Avon canal, has formed a historically important base for industry as it curls through the hills on its way to the mouth of the Severn at Bristol. Bath is the centerpiece for visitors, though many opportunities in more rural settings lie waiting to be discovered. The county is also home to Newton St. Loe, a quaint old village with properties and lands owned and maintained by the Prince of Wales.
Bradford-on-Avon This one-time home to wool, cloth, and rubber industries, eight miles from Bath, Bradford-on-Avon's central landmark is the ancient bridge over the Avon. The Saxon town is bordered by the Kennet and Avon Canal and is packed with listed buildings, including a well-preserved Saxon church. Industrial works are still an important feature, as are large recreation grounds and several golf courses. Opportunities to visit small historical houses and sites are plentiful. The town is certainly worthy of further exploration.
Corsham Located in the county of Wiltshire and about six miles northeast of Bath, Corsham is a historic market town with a quaint pedestrian shopping area including some specialty shops such as Elegance Bridal Wear. Housing is varied with some new developments. Pubs include the Northey Arms on the outskirts, and the Hare and Hounds in the centre; the Methuen Arms Hotel provides central accommodation. The town is bordered by Pickwick Lodge farm and a military training base. By all means stop to see historic Corsham Court, a Royal Manor in the days of Saxon Kings and surrounded by extensive landscapes cultivated by Capability Brown.
Keynsham Bustling with small town energy, Keynsham is ideally positioned between Bristol and Bath. High street shops, health and garden centres serve local families and retirees. Off the high street are middle-income houses in a suburban setting; the lifestyle is relaxed. There are a number of hotels in the area suitable for those who want a quiet holiday, but for good night life, head to Bath or Bristol.
Midsomer Norton A surprisingly large and lively town centre, Midsomer Norton boasts good shopping opportunities, including the Holly Court Arcade and other high street shops. The Mallards Pub is frequented by locals, while the Old Priory Hotel allows the visitor to experience luxury outside Bath. New housing and industrial units testify to development of the area, while old industry is represented by the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trackbed Trust.
Norton Radstock This old mining town between Bath and Wells has a large shopping district and lively centre. The Radstock Museum offers a glimpse into local history and industry.
Whether you choose to stay within the city itself, or choose a base in a more rural location, you can be assured of a warm welcome and the kind of hospitality that has become a trademark of the West Country.