Royal Victoria Park Bath
Destinations, England, Europe, Travel

10 Things To Do In Bath With Kids

During our two-week stay, we found more than 10 things to do in Bath with kids, but we share some of our favourites.  We fell in love with Bath.  Here’s why.

Bath Weir & Pulteney Bridge, Bath
Pulteney Weir & Bridge, Bath.  The Weir was first built in the 1600’s to avoid flooding.

10 Things To Do In Bath With Kids

1. Pulteney Bridge & Bath Weir

One of only four bridges in the world with shops on both sides across its full length, iconic Pulteney bridge is one of our favourite places in Bath. Just to sit on a bench and enjoy the view with a coffee or to picnic next to the small Beazer maze while the children play. We’d end up here often to relax when walking around the city centre.

 

Pulteney Bridge Bath-
Pulteney Bridge, Bath. One of only four bridges of its kind in the world.

It was interesting to read about the history of the bridge and the weir and how it works. From Pulteney bridge, you can do the canal walk and walk a mile or more along the river Avon to explore further or you can take a boat cruise.

At first, Nick and I used to carry the pushchair down the steep stairs of Pulteney bridge to get to the labyrinth, but later we saw a post lady walking underneath the bridge and she pointed out that’s it’s the easier way with a pushchair to get back onto the bridge.  Big help!

In case you wanted to know where the other three bridges like Pulteney Bridge are in the world…

  • The Ponte Vecchio or the “Old Bridge” over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy
  • The Krämerbrücke or the Merchant’s Bridge in the German city of Erfurt
  • The Rialto Bridge or “Ponte di Rialto” in Italian, is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice

Read our post about our two-week visit to Bath to find out where we stayed, what we ate, what we learned about Bath and the cost involved of our two-week stay.

Beezer Maze, Bath
Beezer Maze, Bath

2. Beezer Maze

Beezer Maze is actually a small garden labyrinth with a mosaic centre that celebrates Bath’s Georgian architecture and the designs of railroad tycoon, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  It was designed by maze designer and “labyrinthologist” Randoll Coate in 1984. Coate designed over 50 mazes in England, all of which are known for their hidden symbolism.

 

Beezer Maze Bath
The mosaic centre of the Beezer Maze with Pulteney Bridge in the background

It’s really small, but somehow the children loved it and came up with so many different games.  They had three-legged races, timed races, I raced them and jumped across rows without touching any grass.  They had heaps of fun while providing me with top-notch entertainment. It’s a joy to watch them play. They’re so funny.

 

Pulteney Cruisers Boat Cruise on the river Avon.

 

Pulteney Cruisers Boat Cruise
Waiting for our boat to come in.

3. River Boat Cruise

Pulteney Cruisers depart regularly from the Weir at Pulteney Bridge to the Batheaston bridge and back and takes about an hour to complete.

Soon after the cruise starts the trolley lady comes out to take our order of hot chocolate and crisps.  Ten minutes in, Kate rubs her eyes. Tucked in under my forever scarf, warm and snug as a bug, she drifts off to sleep while nursing. Perfect.  That leaves me to relax, have my hot chocolate and enjoy the scenery and super onboard commentary with the older two, all the way.

 

The Mil at Batheaston bridge
The Bathampton Mil next to the Batheaston toll bridge

A boat cruise is a nice, relaxed way to see part of Bath and I’m glad we did it.  My highlight was of course when the skipper turns around and says to me, “It’s refreshing to see children get enthusiastic and excited about nature. Mostly kids sit staring at their phones while on this cruise.”

He noticed the kids as they excitedly point out birds and look for wildlife along the river Avon.  I couldn’t help but feel chuffed and then burst with pride as they next identify the grey heron, yellow wagtail and a Kingfisher while cooing over all the newly hatched ducklings.

  • Adults – £9
  • Children – £4 (5 – 15)
  • Under 5’s go free.
Visit their website for timetables: http://www.pulteneycruisers.com

 

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey.  The entrance to the Pump Room and Roman Baths are on the right

4. Bath Abbey

We go to Bath Abbey only to stand in awe of its towering magnificence.  Also to listen to the musicians perform in the square behind it, but mostly to just gaze at it. It is beautiful and it’s ancient.  The first King of all England, King Edgar, was crowned at that exact site in 973.

The first time we went to the Abbey, a violinist was playing in the square.  Onlookers were lazing on the benches and the atmosphere was happy and relaxed.  We bought postcards and tried to go into the Abbey to show the kids but it was so busy and crowded that we turned around.  Usually, there’s a time of day when the tour groups are gone from these sites, but we tried in the morning and late afternoon on different days of the week and they always seem to be there.

The square behind Bath Abbey
The square behind Bath Abbey

The Abbey is supposedly free to enter, but when you have four people standing at the reception desk shouting over all the heads of tourist trying to get in that it’s £10 p/p to look inside a church, then the donation aspect flies out the window for me.  If it’s £10, it’s £10. No problem, but don’t advertise it as free when you demand payment on arrival.  I was slightly annoyed by the demand.

One afternoon, we walked a long way along the canal and through the city centre from the Botanical Gardens.  We were tired and as we got near the Abbey it was strangely quiet except for the voice of a solo female opera singer drifting through the air. The tour groups gathered in front of the entrances to the Roman Baths and the Abbey were all quiet as they listened. We joined them in their reverie while the kids and I drank our hot chocolate and enjoyed her performance.

Just hanging out at the Abbey gave us good memories to take away.

 

Sally Lunn's
Sally Lunn’s Eating House.  The oldest house in Bath c.1482

5. The Sally Lunn’s

The home of the Sally Lunn Bun. A secret recipe which bakers around the world have tried to copy for 300 years, unsuccessfully, and passed down from one owner of the house to the next.  Our dinner at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum was a highlight for me.

Sally Lunn’s buns are served in the oldest house in Bath, the same house that Sally Lunn herself baked her first bun in the 1680’s.

 

Sally Lunn Bun
Brendan’s savoury Sally Lunn Bun

Looking at a Sally Lunn bun you’d say it’s just another bun, but it really isn’t. It’s the world famous Sally Lunn Bun and it’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted. I racked my brain trying to describe it’s texture or trying to find something to compare it to.  I came up blank. You have to taste it for yourself.

The house itself is small and quaint, the decor and feel of the place transport you back into an old English world to a different space in time. It’s so sweet.  Our dinner ended quickly, as usual, these days, when Kate’s finished her meal and her attention cannot be diverted any longer.  When she starts to climb on the table, tries to jump from chair to chair and cling a spoon on all the unusual shiny metal things they have on display. She’s two. Don’t judge.  She’s a work in progress.

 

The World Famous Sally Lunn Cream Tea
Finally, I got my traditional English cream tea: The World Famous Sally Lunn Cream Tea.  It’s not just a bun!  Trust me.  Nick had their home-made caramel milk topping and Leah had a chocolate spread bun.

We arrived at 6 pm not knowing that the small kitchen museum closes at 6 pm.  I was heartbroken when we finish our meal, ready for a peek into Sally’s very own kitchen and our waitress tells us that it’s just closed.  The museum is free if you eat something in the restaurant so they owe us a free tour next time, but I won’t be able to go there and not have a World Famous Sally Lunn Cream Tea anyway.

Should you plan a visit to Sally Lunn’s in Bath, I highly recommend that you visit their website first.  You’ll find menu’s and opening times, but also specific information that they want visitors to know before they arrive.

 

Pretty crossing in Royal Victoria Park
Pretty crossing in Royal Victoria Park

6. Bath Skyline

Bath Skyline is one of VisitEngland.com’s 10 jaw-dropping walks in South West England. It’s a National Trust trail and you will find maps and more information about different routes on their website.  It’s a 6-mile walk through diverse natural habitats with wildflowers, follies, Roman settlements, an iron age fort, valleys and archaeological sites to delight any who venture there.

I could not attempt the full walk with the kids on my own, but will 100% for sure do it if we get the chance later in life, perhaps when Kate is older.  Brendan took the kids to the Fairy Wood at Claverton Down and the nearby natural play area from where you can do a shorter family-friendly walk.  There’s a fun forest fairy trail too. They got the best view of Bath Skyline with its Georgian architecture on full display from nearby Bath University, which is worth a visit in its own right.  If you enjoy geocaching, you can hunt for 4 geocaches in this area.

 

Royal Victoria Park, Bath-
Royal Victoria Park, Bath-

7. Royal Victoria Park

Another place on our list of Bath favourites where we spent much of our time.  This amazing green public space has mini golf, bowls, a boat pond with ducks, great big greens and picnic areas, botanical gardens with statues, sculptures and the best big trees to climb a kid to dream of. But the place we were nagged to visit over and over by the children is the play area.

 

The play area in Royal Victoria Park in Bath is not just any little kiddies play area.  It must be the best public play park we’ve ever seen.  If it gets any better than this anywhere else in the UK I’d be utterly gobsmacked and eat my hat if I had one.  It’s big with slides and swings for all shapes and sizes and a separate large skate park.  I can’t even describe all the different areas they have here to entertain the kids and couldn’t get it all in one photo to do it justice.  It’s just great.  Suffice it to say, we spent many happy hours there.

 

Royal Victoria Park Bath
Royal Victoria Park, Bath.  The perfect trees to climb.

Toilet-time is paid for at 20p for 15 minutes.  There is a nice kiosk and over weekends the merry-go-round horse ride (£1,50 p/ride) and a blow-up jumpy castle slide (also £1,50) is in action. The park was quiet during the week when we went most and buzzing at the weekend, which was also nice. More friends to play with.

 

The Crescent, Bath
The Crescent, Bath.  A 73 sqm 1-Bedroom flat at this prime address will cost you £745,000

8. Royal Crescent & The Circus

A memory I’ll cherish forever is of a bright Mothers Day Sunday spent in Bath with my family that ended on a high note with as we sat on the lawn of The Crescent to enjoy a full orchestral performance at the bandstand.  We also discovered Geocaching for the first time while in Bath and found our first Geocache near The Crescent.  Couldn’t log it because we didn’t know that we needed a pen, but it got us started and we’re hooked!

 

Royal Crescent Museum
No. 1 Royal Crescent Museum

The Circus is linked to the Royal Crescent by a row of houses and if you are able to get a birds-eye view from the top you’ll see that it forms a key! The key to Bath.  Built by father and son, John Wood Jr and John Wood Sr, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom. The story of the talented Wood family and their history in Bath is worth a Google.  Today you can visit a true Georgian house at No.1 Royal Crescent for a fee because it was made available to the public as a museum.

Great Britain, England, Bath, Royal Crescent and the Circus, aerial view
Aerial view of the Royal Crescent and the Circus showing the Key to Bath.  You will see the Circus built around the clump of trees in the middle of the picture, connected to the half moon shape of Royal Crescent by a row of houses.

The design of the Circus by John Wood the Elder, who was fascinated with paganism, is apparently full of symbolism related to not only druidism, and paganism but also Christianity and masonic symbols. It’s measurements and part of the design matches that of nearby Stonehenge.  The Circus also represents the sun and the Royal Crescent represents the moon.  And I thought it was just another row of pretty houses!

 

Bath Aqua Glassmaking Demo
Bath Aqua Glassmaking Demo.  It gets hot in there!

9. Glass Making Demo

A Glassmaking demonstration at Bath Aqua Glass Workshop turned out to be entertaining and the kids loved it. In fact, they liked it so much that they want to do to the full course and learn how to do it themselves!  That’ll have to wait, but for now, we learned quite a bit about this form of art.  Kate’s eyes lit up as we walked into the shop filled with pretty glass ornaments and jewels.  This is right up her alley.

 

Bath Aqua Glass
Bath Aqua Glass.  Mom, can I have it, please?

They offer different viewings that range from non-interactive to interactive at different levels and prices.  Our demo was interactive, which meant that the glassmakers told and showed us exactly what they did and we could ask as many questions and take as many photos as we liked.

The Interactive glassmaking demo lasted 45min and cost £10,50 for myself and the older two. Under 5’s go free.

A special something for someone is the ‘Breath in a bauble’ option. After the demo, those who paid for it got to pick the colours for their bauble and then breath into the tube to blow their own bauble. It costs £12.50 per bauble and I thought it was quite romantic when a couple stood up to do it together.

If we had the luggage space and capacity to accommodate a delicate glass bauble on our journey around the world I would’ve given in to Kate’s pleading, but this too will have to wait for another day and the lesson must be enough for now. This adventure is all about memories. Not things. Remember?

Information about options, times and prices can be viewed on their website: http://www.bathaquaglass.com/activitieslist.html#glassdemo

 

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath
Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.  The girls enjoyed the kiddies art cart.

10. Victoria Art Gallery (Free)

If you enjoy cultural outings to museums and galleries you’ll be spoiled for choice in Bath. I try to do 1 or 2 cultural visits with the kids in new places if possible and try to suss out the family-friendly options.  A small gallery next to Pulteney Bridge and the Bath market, Victoria Art Gallery has more than 1500 pieces of art and was opened in 1900 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s jubilee.

We popped in on our way to Bath Market one afternoon and it was nice and quiet. I say “popped in” because we were in and out under an hour.  Leah and Kate headed straight for the kiddies art cart and drawing table while Nick and I looked at every piece of art on display.

The kiddies table is set up in the middle of the room so I could keep an eye on the girls all the time while we read the description of each piece at our leisure.

I forgot how much nudity plays a part in art. With Nick just starting to feel awkward about it and trying not to look, I struggled to explain why there are nude paintings and sculptures on display.

 

The Bandstand at the Royal Crescent
The Bandstand at the Royal Crescent

 

The painting of a dying Cleopatra with the snake on her naked chest especially affected him.  It opened a whole new topic of discussion about who she was, what happened and why.  His curiosity was piqued and that is what I wanted to see. Interest and not total boredom.

Our visit led to a discussion about how this collection of art shows the slow change of artists doing only portraits to paintings of other things over a long period of time.  And of course, a few homeschool history lessons had to be organised to learn more about Cleopatra and the love story that possibly caused the tragic end of a great female ruler, which again let to further research into other ancient civilisations too.

I’m not sure if these are all family-friendly or worth a visit because we didn’t go ourselves, but I want to mention some of the museums you can visit in Bath to show the diversity on offer. There’s quite a list but here are a few:

  • Holburne Museum: FreeBath’s first public art gallery built around the collection of art and silver of Sir William Holburne.
  • Museum of Bath at Work: £14 Family ticketA visit is highly recommended by online reviews. It shows the commercial development of Bath over 2000 years with displays over 4 floors.
  • The Herschel Museum of Astronomy: £15 Family ticket. William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, in his home on New King Street in 1781 with a telescope of his own design.  The museum is set in his own house and honours his discovery and many other talents.
  • The Fashion Museum (£29 family ticket).
  • Bath Postal Museum (£10 family ticket)
  • Jane Austin House (£28 family ticket)

More Things To Do In Bath

Things that caught our interest but we didn’t get to do this time.

Free Guided Walking Tours – Only In Bath

At 8 pm in the evening, free guided walking tours depart from different places in the city. The guides share the comedic side of Bath’s history and they do it for the love of Bath. This is one we’d absolutely love to do.

Bath Boating Station
Bath Boating Station on the river Avon.

Bath Boating Station

Hire Victorian skiffs and canoe’s at Bath Boating Station and explore Bath on the river Avon.  I planned this for Brendan to do with the older two, but I forgot it was mothers day on the same day that they’d already made other plans for us.  Next time!

The Roman Baths & The Pump Room

We did this tour many years ago with our friends from South Africa, Dirk and Alecia.  It’s one of the things that you have to do when in Bath and it’s great to see, but I remember a lot of reading and I think when our children are older and they can appreciate it more we’ll combine it with a visit to the Bath Thermae Spa and a treatment in the mineral-rich spa waters.  They have to be over 12 for that.

Visit the VisitBath.co.uk website to get more information and for deals on tickets for 2-for-3 attractions.
The Circus, Bath
The Circus, Bath

Thermae Bath Spa

Among many other amazing treatments, you can book a 1,5hr session in the Cross Baths thermal spa at Thermae Bath Spa (not the same address where you visit the Roman Baths) for £18-£20 p/p and probably swim in the same mineral-rich water discovered by Prince Bladud.

Children under 12 cannot go into the spa for treatments, but it’s on our wish list to go the next time we can plan a visit.

 

Read our post about our two-week visit to Bath to find out where we stayed, what we ate, what we learned about Bath and the cost involved of our two-week stay.

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We paid for everything ourselves while visiting Bath.  These are all our own opinions and thoughts and it’s not endorsed by any of the places referred to in this post. Information was sourced from public sites and are correct at the time of this post, but please visit the relevant websites for up to date information.

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