When you think of Bath, what do you think of? Jane Austen. Beautiful Georgian buildings. Cultural and historical places of interest. Not family fun. But we visited Bath and included some ‘grown up’ places on our itinerary, and it worked out well with a 7 year old who has a short attention span.
What’s good about Bath is you can split the city’s attractions into different areas, and visit several in a day. So one day we did Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths. And today I’m sharing our experiences visiting the Royal Victoria Park and Royal Crescent.
No. 1 Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent has to be one of the most famous streets in the UK. The semi-circle of beautiful Georgian town houses overlooking Royal Victoria Park. Own a house in the exclusive street and if you want to change anything there’s strict rules and sign off. On our tour bus we were told that there’s only one yellow front door, the others are much plainer conservative colours.
You can fight your way through the tourists to get a photo (coachloads of tourists stop off at the bottom of the hill to let people take photos), or do what we did and visit No. ! Royal Crescent to find out more about the history of that house. It’s set out as it would have been from 1776-1796 under the ownership of the first resident Henry Sandford. As with most places in Bath, there may be a queue at opening time so either go later in the day, or get there earlier to be at the front of the queue.
When you arrive you can sit and watch a video to find out more, but we took a free children’s activity backpack and headed straight into the house itself to see everything. There’s lots of steps so not all of it is accessible, but it wasn’t too crowded.
The children’s trail had different types of activities using interesting props, like measuring and counting different patterns and shapes in the décor, or spotting items, drawing things. There are a couple of different activity packs depending on the age of the child which is good. Both N and another girl we spotted going round with a pack, had given up by half way round though!
I love finding out about households from historical times and there was plenty to see and learn about as you visit the different floors of the house, ending in the kitchen and downstairs rooms.
Royal Victoria Park
After visiting No. 1 Royal Crescent you’re in perfect position to explore Royal Victoria Park. The park goes on for some way, with a popular playground for children at one end. We didn’t make it there as by the time we were heading that way, we’d done a lot of walking and were getting a little hot. Definitely be prepared to walk around Bath (take scooters or a buggy for younger children!).
At the Gravel Walk (where the ladies and gentlemen would take their daily exercise each days) end of the park, there’s mini golf, tennis courts and the clubhouse café. We paid under £10 for the 2 of us to play 18 holes of golf in a lush green garden of a golf course. It was packed out, and being only 2 of us we had a lot of waiting around for people in groups or 5 or 6 who couldn’t get the ball in the hole (and hadn’t read the rule of if 7 being the maximum shot – presumably to prevent bottlenecks).
We enjoyed our golf, although N wasn’t impressed with my win. I was over the moon to get a hole in one on one hole. A total fluke!
For lunch we decided to eat in the club house café – with a view over the city and a nice big space, it was a nice café for a quick break without being crowded.
The Georgian Garden
Our final visit that day was by chance. Walking along the Gravel Walk I spotted an open doorway in the wall and a sign inviting people in. The Georgian Garden is a simple walled garden, planted with flowers and trees in a similar way to how it would have been in Georgian times. N wasn’t impressed, but it was lovely to have some peaceful respite from other people as we were the only people there at the time. If you’re lucky, you can see people in the windows of the business in the building behind, sorting through clothes, fabrics and designs.
Despite ticking 3 tourist attractions off the list that day, we still had plenty of time to head back to the hotel, then go back out for food later. The good thing about Bath is, while there’s lots of traffic and people around, it still feels fairly relaxed. And the days feel long enough that you can see lots without feeling rushed.
Have you visited Bath before? Where would you recommend to visit?
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