Bewitching Bath makes for one of Britain’s best urban breaks. This city’s gorgeous Georgian buildings gleam, richly deserving their UNESCO World Heritage status and tempting the Bridgerton location scouts. Add rare Roman baths, a vibrant cultural scene, fine restaurants, superb shopping and an utterly indulgent geothermal spa, and you have an elegant city with an array of reasons to visit year-round.
Summer brings better weather to Bath, it also pushes hotel bills up and draws bigger crowds. Prices and visitor numbers also spike around Christmas and Easter – and at weekends. Late-summer, with its wealth of festivals, and spring and autumn, with fewer visitors and lower room rates, are the best times to visit Bath.
High season: June to September
Best time for sunshine in Bath
Bath is a compact city best explored on foot – the key attractions are all within easy walking distance. So summer’s dryer weather and temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius, make it the best season to stroll the streets drinking in all that extraordinary architecture. The downside is this is also peak visitor season – expect your hotel to cost more and longer lines at some sights.
September brings a calendar packed with everything from fringe festivals to events for foodies, hikers and literature fans.
Low season: November to February
Best time to soak in the spas
Christmas sees Bath bedecked in twinkling lights; artisans showcase their creations, including at the famous Christmas markets; and festive food abounds. Sights and attractions remain open and the weather isn’t terrible – with averages of 6 to 8 degrees Celsius, it's relatively uncommon to have serious snow in Bath, but you may get lucky. The big draw is a night-time dip at Thermae Bath Spa in its geothermally-heated, open-air, roof-top pool, as the steam rises through your views of those festive lights.
Shoulder season: March to May & October
Best time for exploring Bath without a crowd
Mild weather, spring flowers in parks and seasonal leaf displays – spring and autumn are arguably the best seasons to visit Bath. The big sights are minus their summer crowds so you get to see the Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent and the Circus without having to sidestep someone else’s selfie. The city’s more relaxed too – either gearing up to or recovering from the summer rush – so you get a more authentic, calmer vibe.
New Year celebrations bring revellers out in force. The January sales begin. Accommodation prices drop and restaurants offer deals to temp customers in. The Bath Rugby season hots up.
Key Events: Gallagher Premiership, European Rugby Champions Cup
A quiet time for tourism is punctuated by Valentine’s Day – expect über-romantic menus, spiking hotel prices and heart-smothered goods in stores.
Key Events: Bath Bach Fest
Spring flowers show in city parks, some sights and attractions start extending opening hours. Pulteney Cruisers boat trips resume.
Key Events: Bath Half Marathon
The Easter holidays bring a mini-visitor boom. Prepare to laugh your socks off as hoards of comedians arrive for the annual comedy festival.
Key Events: Bath Comedy Festival
As temperatures edge higher, vintage boat hire at the Bath Boating Station re-opens. The city’s biggest cultural celebrations ensure a festival feel takes hold.
Key Events: Bath Festival
Visitor numbers edge up, as do hotel rates. When school summer holidays start (from the third week) things get busier still.
Key Events: Bath Fringe Festival
Alfresco cafes set up shop. Those summer holidays are now in earnest – if you want to visit now, book well ahead. There are no big events, which makes it a great time for enjoying the sights.
Accommodation prices peak, as do visitors, but some sights stay open extra late. When it gets hot, the locals lounge in Sydney Gardens.
Key Events: Bath Bike
Schools go back (usually around the end of the first week), accommodation prices begin to dip – a little. Festivals bring everyone from foodies and hikers to Jane Austen fans to town.
Likely to be cooler, wetter – and definitely quieter – autumn sees Bath look to cultural pursuits – making it a prime time to enjoy an art exhibition or cinema event.
Key Events: FilmBath Festival, Bath Society of Artists Annual Exhibition
Fireworks light up the skies around the 5th. Autumnal leaf displays light up the city’s trees. Hotel prices are at their most reasonable. Classical music takes centre stage.
Key Events: Bath Mozart Fest
Christmas lights illuminate the streets, pubs and restaurants welcome you in. Bath Abbey offers 20-minute services, packed with carols.
Key Events: Shoppers Carols, Bath Christmas Market, New Year’s Eve celebrations
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