Bath has a rich array of museums and galleries, from the famous Roman Baths to the museum of East Asian Art.
Regular art displays are featured at the central Library in The Podium as well as the Holburne Museum of Art which houses a fine collection of 17th and 18th century art including the likes of Gainsborough.
The new and highly publicised Spa Baths opened in August 2006, which use the natural thermal waters for which Bath is famous.
List of selected Attractions, Museums and Galleries:
Roman Baths and Pump Room, Abbey Churchyard (01225) 477785
If you had only one place to visit in Bath - It should definitely be The Roman Baths. This is an amazing historical artifact, the remains of life in Roman times - 2000 years old! Your entrance fee gives you a well interpreted tour with audio guides in several languages as well as special audio guides for children. The Roman Baths are truly astonishing, much larger and more fascinating than you could ever expect. In July and August, the Roman Baths are open at night, when you can enjoy an extra special experience, with the Ancient Baths lit by torchlight.
New Baths: Thermae Bath Spa, Hot Bath Street (01225) 428126
Finally, we have the Spa! This is the fabulous new building housing a state of the art spa using Bath's natural hot spring waters. Everyone who has used the spa has been delighted with its facilities, which include spa treatments, steam rooms, restaurant and four bathing pools, the highlight of which is the roof top pool. Reasonably priced with no membership or joining fees.
No.1 Royal Crescent, Royal Crescent (01225) 428126
This fully furnished 18th century house makes an excellent starting point for a tour of this remarkable city. The Royal Crescent is a crescent shaped terrace of Georgian splendor that was the height of elegance in 1774. Most of the Georgian houses built in Bath were holiday lets for the wealthy visitors to Bath. When you visit this house you get to see what it would have been like to be one of those wealthy visitors - remember: this could have been your holiday home!
Assembly Rooms and Museum of Costume, Bennett Street (01225) 4777173
Built by John Wood in 1771, this magnificent building housed the new Ball Rooms and was the all purpose entertainment centre for the fashionable denizens of Bath. If you had been one of these fashionable people, this would have been where you would have spent your evenings, arranging your children's marriages, negotiating business deals, dancing and flirting - with a little gambling for good measure. The Assembly Rooms still serve as concert hall, meeting rooms, and even ball rooms to this day. They also are home to the Museum of Costume, which houses the history of fashion, from the sixteenth century to the present day. There is usually a fascinating special costume exhibit that is all part of your entrance fee to the Assembly Rooms.
The Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay Street (01225) 443000
Author of such classic social satires as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma", this museum is dedicated to the life and times of Jane Austen. Set in a smaller Georgian residence, such as one in which Jane Austen might have lived, the centre offers a snapshot of life in Bath during Regency times (Jane's life time) and explores how living in Bath affected Jane Austen's life and influenced her writing. It has a permanent exhibition featuring displays of the places from Jane Austen's Bath; her life and family; Regency Bath; film costumes; a delightful Regency Tea Rooms, and lots more.
Bath Abbey and Heritage Vaults, Bath Abbey (01225) 422462
Bath Abbey is a gorgeous and stately Cathedral overlooking the Roman Baths and Pumproom, but predating them by several centuries. Remarkable for its fan vaulted interior and for the angels of Jacob's Ladder decorating its exterior, this is a must for any history buff. A bonus for your visit to the Abbey would be its fine choir and organ concerts. Restored in the 18th century, the Heritage Vaults are cellars housing objects from this Abbey and all previous Cathedrals and religious monuments on this site, some dating from Saxon times.
Building of Bath Museum, the Vineyards across from the Paragon (01225) 333895
For those wanting to learn even more about the wondrous architectural history of Bath. This museum located in the lovely Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, celebrates the construction of Georgian Houses, from the Cellars to the Rafters!
Museum of Bath at Work, Julian Road (01225) 318348
An interesting insight in to Bath's commercial & industrial heritage. The museum tells a story of the city's social history over the last 200 years. This is where you find out about the nuts and bolts of working life.
Holburne Museum of Art, Great Pultney Street (01225) 466669
Formerly the grand Sydney Hotel and surrounded by the Sydney Pleasure Gardens, which were a favorite respite for the likes of Jane Austen, who lived just across the road in Sydney Place, this is now the home of the Holburne Museum. It houses an exquisite collection of 18th century art and artifacts, including paintings by Gainsborough. It also has several special exhibits of artworks, both modern and historical.
Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street (01225) 477233
This gallery is housed in the impressive Guildhall and boasts works by Gainsborough, Sickert, Turner, Farrington and Barker, as well as hosting regular temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The modern gallery on the ground floor has ever changing, high profile exhibitions featuring various mediums including applied arts, photography and local works.
Museum of East Asian Art, 12 Bennett Street (01225) 464640
A small and perfect museum, filled to the brim with the finest examples of East Asian artifacts. This museum is one of the best interpreted museums in the world, and features a timeline comparison between Eastern and Western craftsmanship. This worthy museum is important to Georgian history, for fine chinese designs featured in Georgian dinnerware and textiles.
William Hershel Museum, 19 New King Street (01225) 446865
This is the modest house in which the famous astronomer (and musician), William Hershel lived in the 18th century and from where he made many important discoveries with his homemade telescope, including the discovery of the planet Uranus. You can learn about how the less-than-enormously-wealthy folk lived at this time, visiting his workshop and music room.
The American Museum and Gardens, (01225) 460503
You may very well ask, what is an American Museum doing in Bath? Well, it must be remembered that the American Revolutionary period is the Georgian period in England. This museum is in a spectacular manor house with landscaped grounds and gardens overlooking the amazing Limpley Stoke Valley. The Manor's rooms have been perfectly reconstructed to replicate different periods of American Colonial and revolutionary life. There is also a remarkable collection of American Quilts as well as featured textile and other arts-and- crafts related exhibits. Several events take place there each year celebrating historic points in American History or simply enjoying the American holidays.
Sally Lunn’s, 4 North Parade Passage, Bath BA1 1NX (01225) 461634 http://www.sallylunns.co.uk
Charming Restaurant with fascinating museum in the cellars, where you can see the Roman and Medieval foundations of the house and the original kitchen from the time of Sally Lunn.