No.1 Royal Crescent
Built in the 1770s, the neoclassical townhouses of the Royal Crescent are the jewel in Bath’s architectural crown. This one’s furnished as it would’ve been in the 18th century, from the “withdrawing room” whose walls are covered in lavish damask silk, to the homely working kitchen in the basement. As you wander around, you’ll spot curiosities that the original owners might once have used, like tea caddies, a medicine cabinet and a wig scratcher.
The Botanical Gardens at Royal Victoria Park
Just south of Royal Crescent is this leafy park, which opened in 1830 and established its own botanical garden in 1887. The latter has a rock garden, a collection of heritage roses and a scented walk, as well as a replica of a Roman temple. Don’t miss the aerial walkway in the woodland garden - from here you can see right across the park into the city.
Jane Austen, who lived just opposite at 4 Sydney Place, loved to walk around this park – it’s one of the few remaining 18th-century pleasure gardens in the UK. It’s laid out much as it was then, with the Kennet and Avon Canal running through, and a series of elegant iron bridges from which you can admire the mature trees and flowerbeds. While you’re there, pop in and see art and antiques at the Holburne Museum, which sits on the park’s western edge.
Beckford’s Tower and Museum
About ten minutes’ drive north of Bath, at the top of Lansdown Hill, you’ll find this 120-foot neoclassical tower, built in 1826 as a retreat for the eccentric Gothic novelist William Beckford. He used it to house his art collection – part of which is still there – but the highlight is the pink spiral staircase. Climb to the top for wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.
Somerset Lavender Farm
Summer’s undoubtedly the best time to visit this working farm about half an hour’s drive south of Bath, as its 10-acre lavender fields are in full bloom. Whatever time of year you go, though, there’s always something to see. Explore the healing garden planted with medicinal herbs, the flower and vegetable garden whose produce is used in the café, and the plant nursery where you can buy many varieties of lavender to take home.