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Why now is the best time of year to enjoy the waters of Bath

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 14/05/2018 By Fred Mawer
The Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England, UK - provided by Shutterstock © Shutterstock The Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England, UK - provided by Shutterstock

Dip your toe in the water loved by the Romans and Georgian society in beautiful Bath.

Go now

The Bath Festival kicked off yesterday ( bathfestivals.org.uk ) and runs until May 27. It’s the biggest cultural event in the city’s calendar, with performances, readings and workshops. Highlights include the Party in the City – free musical entertainment all over Bath on the evening of May 18 – and the finale weekend of outdoor concerts headlined by Paloma Faith, Alison Moyet and Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters (tickets still available). Meanwhile, a new exhibition of Dutch Golden Age paintings opens at the Holburne Museum ( holburne.org ) (1) on May 25. 

Bath - city map

Stay here

Gainsborough Bath Spa ( telegraph.co.uk/tt-gainsborough-bath-spa-hotel ) (2) has an overblown spa complex with naturally heated thermal pools, and excellent food. Doubles from £247; breakfast from £25. Henrietta House ( telegraph.co.uk/tt-henrietta-house ) (3) is one of the city’s best b&bs. It’s on a central Georgian terrace, and provides outstanding breakfasts. Doubles from £117, including breakfast. 

Walk here

Innovative town planning made Bath a fashionable resort in the 1700s. To take in key elements of the transformation, start at Queen Square (4), then head up Gay Street to the Circus (5), a mix of Palladian, classical Roman, Masonic and Druidic influences. Pop down Bennett Street to the Assembly Rooms (6), focal point of Georgian society (free entrance). Then take Brock Street to curvaceous neoclassical grandeur of The Royal Crescent (7). 

See this

a bridge leading to a building © Provided by The Telegraph

Developed in the first century AD around natural hot springs, the Roman Baths (8) ( romanbaths.co.uk ; £16.50) are impressively extant. Go early or late to avoid the crowds. 

Try this

Wallow in the rooftop and indoor thermal pools at Thermae Bath Spa (9) ( thermaebathspa.com ). Two-hour sessions cost from £36, and include access to steam rooms. 

Shop here

Avenida Home (27 Walcot Street; avenidahome.com ) (10) specialises in homeware in colourful, original designs (many of animals). Bath’s smartest main shopping thoroughfare is Milsom Street (11). 

Drink here 

Some 230 types of gin – including the home-distilled Bath Gin – are on offer at the often-packed Canary Gin Bar (12) (2 Queen Street; thebathgincompany.co.uk ). Cocktails £9. 

Eat here

Clayton’s Kitchen (13) (15a George Street; claytonskitchen.com ) delivers high-quality, not overcomplicated Mediterranean/French cooking in an informal, modern setting within a Georgian town house. Three courses including wine from around £35 for lunch, £45 for dinner. 

Off the map 

Walk, take a bus or taxi to Prior Park Landscape Garden ( nationaltrust.org.uk/prior-park ; £7.40), a mile south of the centre, for a rare Palladian bridge, knockout city views, and at this time of year a valley scented with wild garlic.

Related: The 50 best British tourist attractions (Provided by Love Exploring)

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