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31 Best Free Things to Do in Bath That You Can’t Miss [2021]

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In the words of our girl Jane Austen, “Oh! Who can be ever tired of Bath?”.

She’s right; Bath is full of things to do, and even though people on a shoestring tend to write it off as being too expensive to visit, it doesn’t have to be. Like, at all.

In fact, there are so many free things to do in Bath that you’ll probably struggle to fit all of them into a single weekend!

So from art galleries and museums to walking tours and fudge tasting, here are the 31 best free things to do in Bath.

This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Char Srahan.

1. The Royal Crescent

terraced-georgian-houses-of-the-royal-crescent

Address: Bath BA1 2LR

Let’s kick off this list of the best free things to do in Bath with one of the city’s most famous sights, shall we?

If you hadn’t already gathered by now, you CANNOT visit Bath without wandering down the Royal Crescent.

This iconic 500-metre long architectural landmark is made up of thirty terraced houses and is 254 years old.

At the very least, you’ll want to pitch up for a picnic or coffee on the lush grass out front but if you are willing to splash the cash (or have a generous relative), you can stop by at The Royal Crescent Hotel for an afternoon tea at £39.50 per person.

On your way back you’ll pass The Circus, up next.

2. The Circus

ring-of-historic-townhouses-the-circus

Address: Bath BA1 2EU

Just a few streets from the Royal Crescent is The Circus.

The Circus is made up of 33 Georgian houses designed by John Wood the Elder in 1768 to mimic Stonehenge’s layout (it’s only two metres shorter in diameter!).

I mean, if you couldn’t tell from the photo above, it’s named the third prettiest street in the country for good reason!

As such, The Circus is fantastic for a quick Instagram snap, and it’s especially beautiful in the winter when the residents have their Christmas trees up.

They’ve got their bauble theme nailed down!

3. Bath Abbey

exterior-of-bath-abbey-on-sunny-day

Address: Bath BA1 1LT

Phone number: 01225 422462

It’s worth visiting Bath just to see Bath Abbey, and that doesn’t even include its gift shop!

Built in the 7th century and famous for its fan vaulting (read: pretty ceilings), Bath Abbey is a must-visit attraction.

Entry is free but the wardens do ask for a donation on the door.

As with all religious buildings, there are numerous services throughout the week so plan your visit accordingly.

The Abbey closes at 2 pm on a Sunday (5 pm every other day), so ensure you’re there early if you’re on a weekend jolly to Bath.

Be warned: there can be big queues too, so factor this into your timings.

4. Pulteney Bridge and Weir

pultenay-bridge-over-the-river-avon-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Bridge St, Bath BA2 4AT

It’s a bit dark, granted, but Pulteney Bridge is where they filmed Javert’s suicide in Les Misérables.

So if you’re a Les Mis fan, you can’t miss this stop.

If, however, you’re more interested in a magnificent weir with a Georgian bridge to match, Pulteney Bridge is your place.

A hotspot for tourists on weekends, it can be hard to get close enough for a proper look but it’s worth holding your place to take in the view of the weir.

To get a better view, head across the bridge towards The Paragon and follow the steps down to the viewing platform on the other side.

You’ll then be able to look up at the bridge and see Bath’s famous rugby pitch, The Rec, too.

5. Walk the Bath Skyline

view-of-the-city-of-bath-from-the-skyline-walk-at-claverton-down-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Bath BA2 6EN

The Bath Skyline walk is a six-mile round route that, quite frankly, feels like entering another world.

With immense views across the Historic City of Bath (it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, duh) and miles of meadows, valleys and woodlands, it’s bliss.

Kick off the walk at Bathwick Hill at the entrance to Bathwick Fields and follow the National Trust signs from there onwards.

You’ll finish at the top of Bathwick Hill – factor in at least twenty minutes for photo opportunities. Honestly.

6. University of Bath

university-of-bath-sign-by-steps

Address: Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY

Phone number: 01225 388388

If you’re at a loose end, it’s well worth travelling up to Claverton Down to visit the University of Bath which was built in 1971.

A hub for Team GB athletes in training, the Training Village is worth a nosey (you might just see a famous Olympian!) and the lake outside the University library is a gorgeous coffee spot.

Bath is the highest university in England, so once you’ve scaled the hill, a cheap panini from one of the sandwich stands is quite the reward.

Come on, you can break the ‘free’ rule for a panini, right?

7. Guildhall Market

gillards-of-bath-stall-at-bath-guildhall-market

Address: High Street, Bath BA1 4AW

Phone number: 01225 460808

Bath’s only indoor market, the Guildhall Market, is the city’s oldest shopping venue and is home to twenty very unique stalls.

From a sweet shop to leather goods to Skoobs’ famous bookstore, there are loads to browse.

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Most vendors have been trading there for over thirty years and pets are very welcome.

8. Kennet and Avon Canal Path

kennet-and-avon-canal-path-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Kennet and Avon Canal Path, Avon BA2 6QU

The Kennet and Avon canal connects Bristol to Reading so of course, much of it runs through the heart of Bath.

With locks every few metres and narrowboats passing through every few minutes, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t cover off at least some of the canal path.

If you’re looking for a long walk along the canal, start at Pulteney Bridge and walk for twenty miles, finishing at the famous Caen Hill lock flight at Devizes.

On this route, you’ll pass the Avoncliff Aqueduct, Sydney Gardens and Dundas Wharf – all perfect stops for a brew and view.

If only the drinks were free, ey?

9. Little Solsbury Hill

view-north-west-from-little-solsbury-hill-free-things-to-do-in-bath
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Address: Solsbury Lane, Batheaston, Bath BA1 7JQ

Solsbury Hill looks pretty unassuming to the naked eye but the view once you reach the top is immeasurably beautiful… no wonder Peter Gabriel poured his heart out in his song Solsbury Hill!

The top of the hill is home to an Iron Age fort which used to be manned by ‘warrior farmers’.

Cool, huh? When I’m older I want to be a warrior farmer.

10. Sham Castle

exterior-of-sham-castle-on-sunny-day

Address: Golf Course Rd, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 6JG

Sham Castle is a castle-front that was erected by Ralph Allen in 1762 (to get a better of view of the city from his townhouse, obvs).

Not only is Sham Castle a super stop after scaling Claverton Down Road (it’s really steep!), but as Ralph hoped, the view is breathtaking too.

11. Bath Christmas Market

market-stalls-at-bath-christmas-market-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Stall Street, Bath BA1 1QH

So this might only be one of the best free things to do in Bath at a certain time of the year, but it’s too good not to include, okay?

Each and every year, Bath’s magical Christmas Market pulls in thousands of people to the city; and rightly so as it’s so Christmassy it HURTS.

With hundreds of sprawling stalls (manned by truly lovely people), fairy lights everywhere and Glühwein on every corner, Bath Christmas Market is a must.

In my opinion, it’s as good if not better than many European Christmas market bigguns like Strasbourg and Brussels. There, I said it.

As so many people come flocking, it’s vital that you plan your visit before you arrive.

Your best bet is to park at Charlotte Street car Park or Manvers Street car park or see here for other travel options.

12. Victoria Park

couple-strolling-through-royal-victoria-park

Address: Marlborough Ln, Bath BA1 2NQ

Just metres away from the Royal Crescent, Royal Victoria Park is a haven on a hot day with its botanical gardens and bandstand.

There’s a café, mini-golf course and the Great Dell Aerial Walkaway too so you can make an afternoon of it.

Additionally, an open-air ice rink opens in November each year, but you’ll need to book in advance.

13. The Holburne Museum

the-holburne-museum-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Great Pulteney St, Bathwick, Bath BA2 4DB

Phone number: 01225 388569

Bath’s Holburne Museum is home to two floors of fine art displays and exhibitions, as well as embroidery, gems and portrait miniatures.

The museum itself is a Grade I listed building with a beautiful garden and it does a great job at tracing the history of Bath as an artistic and fashionable spa city.

And on the second floor, you can find the works of Sir Thomas William Holburne himself, who founded the museum in 1893.

It’s important to note that entry to the Holburne Museum is only free between 3 pm – 5 pm on a Wednesday and from 5 pm – 9 pm on the last Friday of the month.

Plan your trip wisely so you don’t miss out!

14. Milson Street

crowds-of-people-shopping-on-milsom-street

Address: Bath BA1 1DB

Milsom Street is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful streets in the city, so of course, it deserves its place on this list of the best free things to do in Bath.

Built in 1762 by Thomas Lightholder (that surname is a flex in itself), it’s now home to lots of luxe shops including Jolly’s (a special edition House of Fraser flagship built especially for the city of Bath), Milsom Place, which pulls together a whole array of quirky pop-up shops, and The Ivy, if you fancy a bougie lunch.

Admittedly, all of these places require you to part with some pennies but who said you can’t window shop, right?

15. Beazer Maze

beazer-maze-by-pulteney-bridge-free-things-to-do-in-bath
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Address: Spring Gardens Rd, Bathwick, Bath BA2 6PW

If you’ve got thirty minutes to kill, Beazer Maze makes a great stop as it’s just two minutes from Pulteney Bridge.

It’s a stone maze designed by labyrinthologist, Randoll Coate, in 1984 (one of the best maze designers in the world, apparently).

In the middle of the maze is a Roman mosaic of a pretty grumpy-looking guy, but you must stop to say hi.

If you don’t, he might curse you or something. Maybe.

16. Henrietta Park

winding-path-going-past-trees-in-henrietta-park
Photo credit: Ray VanKleef

Address: Henrietta Rd, Bathwick, Bath BA2 6LY

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If you’re game for some greenery, Henrietta Park is a great place to head.

The seven-acre park boasts a rose-covered pergola, yards of colourful flower beds and a Sensory Garden for little ones.

The park is a five-minute walk from Pulteney Bridge and it’s open all year; however, the Memorial Garden of Remembrance (for George V no less!) is locked between dawn and dusk.

17. Bath City Farm

poppies-in-front-of-bath-city-farm-sign

Address: Kelston View, Whiteway, Bath BA2 1NW

Phone number: 01225 481269

Putting the ‘baa’ in Bath, Bath City Farm is one of the best free things to do in Bath if you’re an animal lover.

With goats, pigs, sheep and chickens, Bath City Farm perfectly mish-mashes rural with the city.

There’s also a nature trail, a café, a garden shop (where they only sell local produce) and an outdoor amphitheatre.

Admission is free, but they do encourage donations. (I say, do it for the baby goats!)

The farm is closed to the public on Mondays and Sundays, and opening hours are 10 am – 4 pm.

18. Alexandra Park

a-view-of-bath-from-the-viewing-platform-at-alexandra-park-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Bath BA2 4RE

You’re looking for ANOTHER panoramic view of Bath?! Fine, Alexandra Park it is.

Alexandra Park sits atop Beechen Cliff so makes for a prime view of the city, including an up-close view of Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths.

To access the eleven-acre park you’ll need to climb quite a number of steps, so do consider this if mobility is an issue (or you’ve gone a little too hard on Bath’s famous fudge).

19. Green Park Station

market-stalls-inside-green-park-station

Address: Green Park Rd, Bath BA1 1JB

Phone number: 01225 787910

Green Park Station is a disused railway station in the heart of Bath that’s now filled to the brim (no seriously, it’s chocca) with market stalls.

There are spaces to shop, eat and work so whatever you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it at Green Park.

What’s more, loads of local traders are up for a chat, and all of the produce that’s sold there is sourced locally. Win, win!

20. Victoria Art Gallery

the-victoria-art-gallery-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Bridge St, Bath BA2 4AT

Phone number: 01225 477233

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery is a treasure-trove for paintings, sculpture and art exhibitions.

If you want to visit one artsy place in Bath, I recommend that it’s this one.

The rooms in which the works are found are amazing in themselves but even better, each month the gallery curators hold a free after-hours tour where you can see behind the scenes.

Entry to the museum is free but exhibitions are paid for – regardless, you need to book a time slot before visiting.

The gallery is closed every Monday.

21. Bath Artisan Market

mirror-inside-bath-artisan-market

Address: Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HA

Phone number: 07825 684778

Bath’s Artisan Market takes place on the first Saturday of each month and what a dream it is.

Found on Queens Square, the Artisan Market calls itself “Bath’s biggest and friendliest market” and actually, they’re right.

There are rows and rows of local crafts, independent businesses, street food and occasionally live music which only adds to the atmosphere.

For me, a non-negotiable has to be the Bath Soft Cheese stall; it’s epic. Dairy Lea who?

22. Fudge tasting

fudge-kitchen-shop-happy-easter-fudge-free-things-to-do-in-bath

I don’t think you’ll need much convincing on why fudge tasting is one of the best free things to do in Bath.

But in short, Bath knows what it’s doing when it comes to fudge.

I encourage you to pop into the following fudge shops: Fudge Kitchen, Roly’s Fudge and San Francisco Fudge.

Whether you’re buying or not, you’ll be offered tasters and you’d be silly to pass on them.

I can guarantee the sugar hit will be delectable, but I can’t guarantee that you won’t be tempted to splurge!

23. Join a walking tour

the-obelisk-in-queen-square-park-on-sunny-day

Address: Join the tour just outside the Roman Baths at the ‘Free Walking Tours Start Here’ sign

For a free walking tour of Bath, look no further than The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides.

The walk takes around two hours and covers the rich history of the city, including stops at Abbey Churchyard, Queen Square, the Royal Crescent and the Circus.

Each tour is circa 2 miles/3km and includes a gradual incline of around 100 feet.

Tours take place every day of the year excluding Christmas Day at 10.30 am, and 2 pm Sunday to Friday, and 10.30 am on Saturdays.

You must book at least 24 hours before your tour kicks off.

24. Two Tunnels Greenway

dundas-aqueduct-going-over-river-on-sunny-day
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Address: There’s no official address for tunnels. Head east along the Upper Bristol Road in the direction of the city, and then take the first right (Brassmill Lane BA1 3JE) then on to the river towpath. Lastly, following signs, cross the green steel footbridge over the river.

If you’ve got time on your hands and energy in the bank, a walk along the twelve-mile Two Tunnels route is one to consider.

A lot of the path is on an old disused railway line and the highlight is, of course, the twin tunnels that you can walk or cycle through.

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The Combe Down tunnel is the longest walking tunnel in the UK at a modest 1,672 metres.

It has an interactive light and sound installation too, so it’s definitely one to tick off the bucket list.

Once you’ve headed out of the city, the Tucking Mill Viaduct will come into view, followed by the Dundas Aqueduct, Midford Castle and the Devonshire Tunnel Portal.

I recommend stopping for a pub lunch at the six-mile mark: The Cross Keys is a stellar choice (BA2 5RZ).

Lots of people choose to cycle this route, so if you want to hire a bike, head to the Green Park Bike Station.

25. Parade Gardens

the-bandstand-in-parade-gardens-with-the-empire-hotel-in-the-background

Address: Grand Parade, Bath BA2 4DF

You can find the Parade Gardens just a few metres down from Pulteney weir.

The Parade Gardens have a stunning view of both the river Avon and Bath Abbey so if you’re in need of a pit stop, take it here.

And the best bit is that throughout the summer you can hear bands playing at the bandstand.

26. Jane Austen’s Bath

view-looking-down-abbey-churchyard-to-bath-abbey

If you’re a Jane Austen stan (don’t tell me I’m not down with the kids), you’ll know that Jane Austen spent much of her time in Bath and referenced the city in several of her books.

So that you can trace Austen’s steps around the city and see some of the places she lived, the kind people at Visit Bath have put together a free audio tour of ‘Jane’s Bath’.

It takes around ninety minutes but feel free to pause if you want to stop for tea.

(Jane’s favourite tea was Lapsang Souchong, so if you really want to get into character, head to Green Rocket to taste it. I just can’t promise that it’ll be free!)

27. Bath Carnival

people-celebrating-at-bath-carnival-free-things-to-do-in-bath

Address: Procession begins at The Forum, Avon, 1A Forum Buildings, Bath BA1 1UG

Each year, Bath comes alive with its annual Bath Carnival which describes itself as ‘Bath’s biggest free party’.

Thousands of people take to the streets in colourful outfits to celebrate the city and raise money for important community causes.

The sea of headdresses and huge skirts brings an electric Caribbean energy to the city – you can’t miss it!

As well as the carnival procession, there’s a whole roster of events including live music, stage performances, craft workshops and costume making sessions.

Be there! You won’t regret it.

28. Bath Street

couple-and-child-walking-down-bath-street-in-winter

Address: Bath BA1 1QN

You guessed it; Bath Street is where the famous Thermae Bath is found in Bath.

Situated at the Pump Room, the historic bath bubbles up from the ground reaching temperatures of 46°C, and although you can’t quite see it from Bath Street itself, the street alone is beautiful enough to make up for it.

The long-cobbled street is flanked by glittering Georgian pillars that just scream romance.

It promises a postcard-worthy photo, and it’s a great background for a selfie! 

There’s a reason Bath is one of the best UK city breaks for couples, after all.

29. Bath Aqua Glass Shop

interior-of-bath-aqua-glass-shop

Address: 105-107 Walcot St, Bath BA1 5BW

Phone number: 01225 319606

If any shop is worth a peruse in Bath, it’s this one.

Bath Aqua Glass is an independent glass company that does all of its glassblowing on-site, resulting in lots of unique pieces of jewellery and gifts for sale that’s fresh out of the studio.

Additionally, there are glassblowing demonstrations at 11.15 am and 2.15 pm Monday to Friday and at 2.15 pm on a Saturday.

Window shopping, quite literally.

30. St John’s Church

interior-of-st-john-the-envangelist-church
Photo credit: Catholic Church England and Wales

Address: South Parade, Bath BA2 4AF

Phone number: 01225 464471

Bath Abbey sets the standard high, but St John’s Church in the centre of Bath is almost as beautiful.

With stunning stained-glass windows and the highest spire in Bath (standing at 222 feet high), you really must pop by if you’re in the vicinity.

However, make sure to check on Mass and Confession times before rocking up.

31. Palladian Arch

york-street-palladian-arch-with-statue-in-front
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Address: York Street, Bath BA1 1NQ

Last but by no means least on this list of the best free things to do in Bath, we have this beautiful Palladian arch.

Just beside the Roman Baths, you can find a stunning decorative arch that was once used to carry water to a new spa (this plan was masterminded by Major Charles Davis in 1889 but didn’t last long).

Nowadays, the arch is a gorgeous reminder of how they used to pump hot water around the city.

And maybe, more importantly, it makes a great shot to make your friends and family envious of your trip.

 

So there you have it: 31 amazing free things to do in Bath!

It’s safe to say that if you want to do Bath on a budget, it’s certainly possible.

But which of these free things to do in Bath are you going to try out first?

Please let me know in the comments below!

From art galleries, parks and museums to walking tours, festivals and fudge tasting, here are 31 amazing free things to do in Bath. Click through to read more...

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