Bath is a famously historic spot – the site of settlements since the Iron Age, first built up into a city by the Romans who loved its hot springs, its great abbey founded in the 7th century (and host to the crowning of Edgar, King of England, in 973), and extensively developed by the Georgians, who gave the city much of the elegance and character we know it for today. Visitors to Bath can scarcely miss the Abbey, the legendary Roman Baths, and The Royal Crescent – but if you’re looking to dig a little deeper into the city’s rich history, where else should be on your list? We asked local blogger Sal Godfrey to share her favourite Bath museums that are a little further off the beaten track…
Museum of Bath Architecture
One of my favourite museums in the city, the Museum of Bath Architecture (housed in the Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel, a beautiful building in its own right) explores the history of Bath through those who built it, their influences, their methods and the challenges they faced. It’s a fascinating angle and will give you a whole new appreciation for this beautiful, graceful city as you discover the incredible skill and ingenuity behind its exquisite façade. Take a stroll through the city centre afterwards and I guarantee you’ll be spotting all sorts of brilliant little details you’d never have noticed before!
Bath Postal Museum
I’ve always been a sucker for an unusual museum – the more niche, the better – and I love the quirky little Bath Postal Museum for its dedication to a subject that doesn’t get enough airtime. Wondering why there’s a postal museum for Bath in particular? Turns out that this city isn’t just about Romans soaking in the tub and Jane Austen – it’s also played a crucial part in the history of the post. You’ll have to visit to find out more…
No. 1 Royal Crescent
For anyone fascinated by the city’s Georgian history, in particular, No.1 Royal Crescent is a real gem – a restored Georgian townhouse that gives you a brilliant glimpse into city life in the late 1700s. Not only can you stroll through its beautifully furnished rooms and chat to expert guides, but No.1 also hosts some fascinating exhibitions and events (my
Herschel Museum of Astronomy
Another museum devoted to an aspect of Bath’s history visitors may not be familiar with – did you know that it was in Bath, in 1781, that William Herschel first discovered Uranus? Not only was he the first to realise the existence of a whole new planet, but in doing so, William Herschel doubled the size of the known universe – and he was a self-taught amateur astronomer, designing and building all his own telescopes to do so. The Herschel Museum celebrates not only William but his sister Caroline, also a pioneering astronomer in her own right, and is absolutely fascinating – well worth a visit.
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy, No. 1 Royal Crescent and the Museum of Bath Architecture are all owned by the Bath Preservation Trust, so visitors can get a combined ticket to see them all at a discounted rate – just ask at any of the museums for more information. Meanwhile, if you’re planning to spend a little longer in Bath to really explore beyond the city’s most obvious attractions, staying in one of our beautiful properties is the perfect alternative to a hotel – instead, you’ll have a cosy home away from home as a base for your adventures. We can offer everything from a romantic little pied-a-terre for two, to fabulous townhouses that host up to ten people (perfect for getting friends or family together).