Learn about Bath’s History and Heritage!

Bath’s history and heritage is world famous from its origins due to the natural thermal waters to its Georgian architecture, the story of Bath is told through its museums. Bath’s museums are great fun for the whole family throughout the year, but there is something special about the festive period. While you’re visiting the city, make sure to take some time learning more about Bath.

The Roman Baths by torchlight

Roman Baths

One of the most iconic places to visit in Bath is the Roman Baths with over 2,00 years of history waiting for you to explore. Discovered by Major Charles Davis in 1787, the Roman Baths is one of the largest Roman Bathing Complexes to be found in Europe! The pool is filled with natural thermal water that can only be found in Bath and may have been the reason for the city’s existence. Sadly, you cannot bathe in the thermal waters in the Roman Baths, but it is possible at Thermae Bath Spa, just a short walk away.

Over the festive period, the Roman Baths are celebrating Saturnalia, the Roman celebration of the Winter Solstice from 17th to 23rd December.  The Roman Baths will be decorating just as the Romans did with festive wreathes, greenery, decorations, and lit torches around the Baths. Kids will be able to enjoy the Saturnalia Trail to find out more about how the Romans enjoyed their holiday time, gift giving and decorating their homes.

The Marvellous Mouse Trail at No.1 Royal Crescent

No.1 Royal Crescent

Another large transformation to Bath was during the Georgian period, where Bath saw the creation of other iconic locations such as the Royal Crescent. Designed by John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, the Royal Crescent is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK. Today, the Royal Crescent is separated into townhouses with a hotel, The Royal Crescent Hotel, in the middle and a museum, No.1 Royal Crescent, at the start.

No.1 Royal Crescent is a magnificently restored townhouse museum where you can explore the fashionable lifestyle of the upper classes in Georgian Bath. This year, for Christmas No.1 Royal Crescent is getting glammed up for Christmas, sharing what Christmas was like for the Georgians. If you are a night owl, they will be open late on 14th December to experience the historic house by candlelight. For kids, there is the Marvellous mouse Trail, where they can follow the family of country mice that have made No.1 their home for the festive season! From 16th – 31st December, kids can even make their own masquerade mask.

Bath Assembly Rooms at Christmas

Bath Assembly Rooms

Continuing the Georgian theme and just a short walk away from the Royal Crescent, take a step back in time at Bath Assembly Rooms. During the 18th Century, the Assembly Rooms became the hub of Georgian Life with grand balls, marriage markets, gambling and tea rooms. They were described a ‘the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom.’

This year, to celebrate Christmas, the Bath Assembly Rooms will be decorated with Christmas trees adorned with baubles that will catch the light of the magnificent chandeliers. Nestled underneath will be presents ready for the big day and in the background, there will be festive music playing. Kids will have the chance to write their letter and post it to Father Christmas and even make their own decorations to hang on the community tree at the Assembly Rooms.

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy

Did you know that the planet Uranus was discovered in Bath? Found by William and Caroline Herschel, brother, and sister astronomers in 1781. Originally, William Herschel named the planet after King George III ‘the Georgium Sidus’; but the name was changed in 1850 to name the planet after the Roman Goddess of Astronomy, Urainia.

Today, there is a museum in the house where the planet was discovered, The Herschel Museum of Astronomy. The house has been beautifully restored to look just as it did when the Herschel’s lived in Bath. From 16th – 31st December, kids can create their own ‘Phases of the Moon’ hanging decoration and find out how the moon has helped people mark the passing of time over thousands of years.

The Holburne Museum Bath - Bath Christmas Light Trail
The Holburne Museum Bath

The Holburne Museum

Located inside at the end of Great Pulteney Street, the longest road in Bath, you many notice a familiar looking building. Recently known as Lady Danbury’s House in Netflix’s hit series, Bridgerton, in real life the Holburne Museum houses a gallery of up to 9,000 unique artworks. As a principal arts organisation in Bath and a major feature if the UK’s artistic landscape it delivers a fabulous programme, bringing the best art to Bath.

Amongst their exciting exhibitions on Jann Haworth & Liberty Blake, Lucie Rie, Sarah Biffin and Gwen John, enjoy some festive activities such as Dowland Youth Works returning to bring a Tudor yuletide to the Holburne on 9th December or Regency Cracker Making on 18th December.

Victoria Art Gallery

Victoria Art Gallery

Opened in 1900 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Victoria Art Gallery houses over 1,500 artworks including a collection of oil paintings from British artists dating from 1700 onwards.

Learn more about the Surrealism movement in Britain at the When Dreams Confront Reality exhibition. On 17th December, kids can join in with the exhibition and make their own surrealist decoration fit for the top of the tree! Don’t miss out on a chance to explore the wonderful paintings and drawings in the permanent collection in their art stores on 19th December.

Published in
11 December 2023
Last Updated
11 December 2023