I say this is off the beaten path because, in comparison to the number of tourists I saw in Bath, there were relatively few gathered for the evening tour I took.
The tours are guided by the "Mayor's Honorary Guides of the City of Bath"--locals who do this for free, because they love showing off their city.
Our guide was friendly, enthusiastic, and funny, and he gave us great insight into history (ancient and modern) that we never would have found out on our own. The tour lasts about two hours and departs from the Abbey Churchyard daily at 10.30am; M-F at 2pm, Sat 2.30pm, and occasionaly evenings during the summer. Check with your B&B for the latest details.
Imagine broad, sweeping lawns rimmed by woodlands. Picture a quiet serpentine lake topped by a Palladian bridge and picturesque views from every angle. Ten minutes drive outside the city, Prior Park occupies its own green universe. Part of the UN's World Heritage Site of Bath, the 28 acre landscape garden was planted by Bath entrepreneur Ralph Allen, with design assistance from his friends, Alexander Pope and Capability Brown. Built into a steep valley, the garden offers both seclusion and challenge.
There is no parking on the grounds. Visitors may either walk (approx. 30 minutes from town and mostly uphill) or take the bus.
Prior Park is serviced by the # 2 and #4 lines, which depart from the Dorchester St. stop approx. every 15 minutes, Monday to Saturday or every 30 minutes on Sundays. The garden is open from 11:00 am daily, closing at dusk in winter (5:30pm the rest of the year). Admission is L 4 for adults, L 2 for children. From Prior Park the hiking enthusiast may continue on to the Bath Skyline, a hilly and partially wooded 6-mile circular walk around the city perimeter.
A house-within-a-house. The dining hall and old reception room display the 17th century Tudor heart of this manor, originally built in the Dutch style. The exterior is a Baroque overlay covering the many extensions that were added between 1692 and 1704.
Over 300 years of history are reflected in the furnishings. The collections of Delftware and fine Dutch paintings draw many visitors. Others come to stroll the gardens or to picnic on the grounds. Personally, I enjoyed the amazing complex of kitchens and dairy which led directly to the Courtyard Tearoom - and a welcome break from what seemed like miles of stairwells!
For souvenir hunters there is a National Trust gift shop on the premises. The park grounds are open all year from 11:00 am to dusk. The manor house and garden may be viewed from March to October, Fridays to Tuesdays only, from noon to 5:00 pm. Admissions range from L 4.10 for children to L 8.30 for adults.
Dyrham Park is 8 miles north of Bath with bus service departing from the Manvers St. bus station. (The station info desk will provide schedules and fares).
NOTE: From the Park entrance it is a hilly walk of 10-15 minutes (occasionally past herds of deer and cattle!) to reach the manor and the tearoom. Allow adequate time for your return walk to the bus stop.
If you fancy an escape from the City Centre and the Tourist attractions, Prior Park Landscape & Gardens is ideal. It's a short bus ride from the City Centre. Prior Park Landscape & Gardens is a Green Park and you can only travel there either by foot or public transport with the exception of disabled travellers, who have to reserve a parking spot in advance with their registration details. Prior Park is renowned for its Palladian Bridge, one of four left in the world. I recommend a visit where you can enjoy the green space; admire the surrounding nature and enjoy a picnic by the lake.
The green lungs in the golden city of Bath. Victoria Park wears its Botanical Gardens like a floral crown. Besides offering a tot lot, a duck pond and the fairgrounds, it also serves as the launch site for hot air balloon flights. Pictured here is the gate just above Queen Square. For a spectacular entrance or exit point, look for the pair of gates and obelisk located further north, at the foot of Marlborough Lane.
Not many people know about these nice guided walking tours in Bath.
The guides are volunteers who love the city and like to tell its story.
The meeting point is outside the Pump Room in Abbey Church Yard.
Stonehenge is only an hour's drive away from Stonehenge, so if you're in Bath and have some time to spare, then I would recommend you make a visit. There are some tour groups that offer short trips to Stonehenge; the company I used was Scarper Tours.
The Scarper Tours minibus picks up outside Bath Abbey (outside Whitemans Bookshop on Orange Grove) at 1.30pm and returns at 4.30pm; extra tours available during the summer months. You'll get to spend an hour at Stonehenge, which is enough time for you to walk all the way around the stones and complete the audio guide that is included with your entrance fee. Tour price is £12.50pp, but doesn't include the entrance fee to Stonehenge, which is an extra £5.90 per adult (discounts for students). Reservations by phone, email, or at the Tourist Information Centre.
A leisurely stroll in the hills surrounding Bath, The Bath Skywalk is one of the most spectacular walks you could wish for, especially when the weather is glourious. You can start either from Bathwick Hill or Widcombe Hill. The walk talks either a half an hour or 3 hours depending on picnic conditions :)
You can really go off the beaten path here but be careful, it is easy to get a little lost in the hills beyond and parts are steep so be sure to in fine fettle before you go. The beauty of this walk is you don't have to do the whole loop just do as much or as little as you like. There are lots and lots of walking trips you can do around Bath, it is a walkers paradise!
There is a large antiquarian bookshop on the bottom of Manvers Street, right across from the bus station. In the basement there is a museum that shows the history of book binding with examples and first editions and manuscripts. I didn't get a chance to see it but it's definitely on my list for the next visit.
There's a lovely canal walk that starts from Bath and you can walk all the way to Bradford-on-Avon (it takes 2 1/5 hours - it's 14km away!) If that's too much heel action just 20 minutes away is Bathwick and it has a fantastic Pub called The George right by the canal so you can rest your tired feet here in an idilic setting. As you walk along the path there are many colourful boats (an people) who live on the river. It's really interesting walk.
Moles Club is one of the UK's best live music venues: whether you're a tourist from London looking for some live entertainment, a local resident of Bath, Bristol & the West Country, or a visitor to Bath or England from anywhere in the world, this could become one of your favorite nightclubs to build your social life and nightlife around.
Widcombe is just behind the railway station. It's a nice street with some of the finiest resturants in Bath (I'll write about these soon) A quaint coffee shop too. From the top of the street you can walk across the road (to the left) and start a walk along the canal into Bath, it's a nice relaxing moment.
If you continue up a steep hill, past The White Hart Inn and after 10 minutes you will be at the start / finsh of the 'Bath Sky Walk' - TIP !
Approximately 20 miles from Bath you can visit Cheddar Caves and Cheddar Gorge.
The Caves are Britain's most beautiful caves, - Gough's Cave, with its cathedral-like caverns, and Cox's Cave, with its calcite structures and brilliant colours.
You can also climb Jacob's Ladder to Pavey's Lookout Tower, and for cliff top walks on Britain's highest limestone Gorge.
Nearby is also the original Cheddar Cheese & Cider Depot.
Telephone for opening hours which differ from summer to winter.
The Salamander pub is not so easy to find if you're not from Bath but well worth looking for. Here's a map link:
(you need to paste it all into your browser)
Canal towpath runs from Bristol through Bath onto Bathampton. Its a lovely walk with a pub at Bathampton called the George. It will take a day to walk it slowly, but a couple of hours to cycle. All flat. Nice if you've been really busy doing mad stuff.