What to do & see
A great way of exploring this beautiful city and surrounding countryside is on a canal boat tour. Hire a Canadian canoe (www.bathcanal.com), take a picnic or stop at one of the canal-side tea rooms. For something less strenuous, pleasure boat The Pulteney Princess (next to Pulteney Bridge), will take you on a one-hour tour to the village of Bathampton – disembark here to find lots of riverside pubs and return on a later boat. Or explore the city by foot – there are free two-hour walking tours, Sunday to Friday, 10.30am-2pm. Look for the Free Walking Tours Here sign outside the Pump Room in the Abbey Church Yard. Or do the highly acclaimed Ghost Tour of Bath – guides tell real-life stories of hauntings as you tour the city, every Thursday to Saturday, 8pm outside Garricks Head pub.
Where to visit
The 57-acre Royal Victoria Park is a must-visit – think aviary, flower gardens, boating pond, golf courses and kids’ adventure playground and until January 6, an open-air ice rink. Right in the centre, amid the shops, stands one of the last medieval churches (1499) in England, Bath Abbey. Take the 45-minute (Dh35) guided tower tour – climb 212 steps to the top for a panoramic view of the city. You also get fantastic city views from the Regency-themed tea rooms in the Jane Austen Centre. This museum celebrates its most famous resident and offers a snapshot of life through costume and film in the Regency period. The cream tea at the rooftop café should not be missed.
Where to spa
Boasting the UK’s only hot spring (built by the Romans within a bathing complex, it still flows with natural hot water) the Roman Baths are a must-visit, both historically (a tour of the site, including drinking spa water from the fountain costs Dh70 and to get treatments (the Thermae Bath Spa utilises the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters in its open-air rooftop pool with incredible views of the city). We love the Twilight for Two experience – for Dh465, you get a three-hour spa session each, a meal and wine. Or, book a signature treatment – we love the Watsu treatment, where you’re stretched and massaged in the thermal waters. www.romanbaths.co.uk.
Where to eat
The Pump Room (an elegant, Georgian room in the Roman Baths) is a must for afternoon tea – homemade scones, strawberry champagne jam and live classical music, £18.50 (Dh108). For another traditional slice of English life, try quintessential tea room Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum – you get to eat in one of Bath’s oldest houses (1483) and try the world-famous Sally Lunn Bun, a light sweet bread. For great food and views, try the Riverside Café, tucked away in the beautiful Pulteney Bridge, one of a few historic bridges in the world that has shops in it.
Where to stay
Embrace the Georgian setting at Bath’s most famous address, The Royal Crescent Hotel on the famed Royal Crescent, a ten-minute walk from the centre. The hotel has a one-acre landscaped garden, a five-star spa and real Gainsboroughs on the walls of its elegant rooms. Take a champagne cruise in the hotel’s boat. Rooms cost from Dh965 a night, visit www.royalcrescent.co.uk.