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24 Hours in Bath

Olivia Allwood-Mollon spends a rejuvenating 24 hours in Bath

Where to stay

We recommend The Roseate Villa, a 19th-century townhouse, just minutes walk from the heart of Bath and all it has to offer.

Rooms are spacious, contemporary, and stylish. The beds are huge, with sumptuous pillows and billion thread-count linen. Coffee machine and TV both easy to work, and, whilst my room lacked a bath (ho, ho, ho), the mosaic-lined, heritage shower was as effective as it was attractive.

The Roseate Villa’s fantastic breakfast, with warm, freshly made bread – inc. gluten-free just for me – was something else. I enjoyed a hearty full English, elevated with poached eggs and absolutely first-rate sausages and bacon. My fellow diners had variations on eggs royale, all show-stopping.

The Roseate Villa also does a top-tier Afternoon Tea of finger sandwiches, cakes, and more (types of) tea than China!

What to see

The 2000 year old Roman Baths are spectacularly well-preserved, and as one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe, need little introduction. Once the site of one of the great religious spas of the ancient world; the people of Roman Britain came here to worship the goddess Sulis Minerva and bathe in the waters of the natural thermal springs, which still flow with hot water today. Equally atmospheric and fascinating, the annexed museum contains a collection of thousands of archaeological finds from pre-Roman and Roman Britain.

Or for a more immersive experience, the Thermae Bath Spa spans five floors, including a rooftop pool pumping out 10,000 year old spring water. A combination of the historic grade-1 listed building, and contemporary glass cube addition. It has two natural thermal baths, an open-air rooftop pool and an indoor pool, a large wellness suite with two aromatic steam rooms, an ice chamber, an infrared sauna and a celestial relaxation room.

My personal favourite is the authentically restored Georgian house, No. 1 Royal Crescent. Providing an insight into the interiors and workings of a well-to-do townhouse of the late 1700s, this museum-cum-interiors-porn is bang in the middle of Bath’s legendary Royal Crescent.

Then we come to the world-class Holburne Museum, home to fine and decorative arts built around the collection of Sir William Holburne. Artists in the collection include Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs, Ramsay and Zoffany.

The vast and beautiful Bath Abbey is also worth a nose-in, along with the Jane Austen Centre, Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein and Sally Lunn’s Kitchen Museum.

Where to eat

The rather smart Montagu’s Mews offers a delicious lunch through the gardens of award-winning, independent boutique hotel The Royal Crescent Hotel. Pitched in the centre of the city’s most iconic Georgian crescent. This hotel and restaurant is Bath grandeur at its finest.

For something more casual, but still delicious, the independent pizza restaurant Dough has an impressive selection of bases to choose from, including turmeric, kamut, hemp and multi-grain. Incredibly, all are available in a gluten-free option! And they’ll even shape your pizza like a heart if preferred.

What to do

After all that sightseeing, we reckon a massage is in order, and you can’t get much better than the subterranean cavern that is Bath Holistic Massage. Entering through hole in the wall of these ancient vaults, this magical, botanical den belies its massage therapist Soph’s strength and expertise. Just half an hour in her hands and I felt truly rejuvenated. 10/10.

Why go?

Alongside its almost limitless cultural attractions, Bath hosts many a festival, including the spectacular annual celebration of all things well-being; ReBalance festival, held at the start of each year.

How to get there

We recommend Great Western Rail’s Long Weekender ticket. This ticket type allows travellers to get a return ticket from Paddington to Bath for £79 if travellers leave on a Friday or Saturday and return on a Monday, which offers plenty of time to explore the beauty of Bath.