Stuffed full of history and the star of many a TV show, Bath is a small city with a lot to discover. Although it’s a simple city to explore on foot, or on your own, taking an organised tour can give you a whole other perspective on the history, culture, and sights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From free city explorations to special themed tours, Bath has something for everyone. If traditional sightseeing tours are not your jam, try a treasure hunt as a way to get around town and find hidden gems. Festivals are another fun way to experience the city, find out the best time to visit Bath to plan your trip.
Tours all tend to take in Bath’s famous architecture from the Roman Baths and the Abbey to The Circus and the Royal Crescent, but their content differs in tone and delivery, so it’s worth finding one that speaks to your interests.
Whether you fancy a chuckle while you delve into Bath’s bizarre history, or you want to discover Jane Austen’s most-loved locations, you can find your new favourite from our round-up of the best tours in Bath.
1. Free City Tours
This organisation of dedicated volunteers has been taking tourists around the city since the 1930s and now the walking tours run at 10.30am and 2pm Sunday to Friday, 10.30am on Saturdays and and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6pm (May-August). Meet them by the sign outside of the Pump Rooms/Roman Baths (look out for the Mayor’s Guides badges).
If you’re visiting in the summer try the Pulteney Estate Walks to uncover Great Pulteney Street, Sydney Gardens, and the Kennet & Avon Canal. They run on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am between May and September (also leaving from the Pump Rooms).
Tourists (and locals) who like exploring at their own pace can download Visit Bath’s free self-guided audio World Heritage Site Walking Tour, which covers all the major sights with a sprinkling of historical context.
2. Themed Tours
Bath can sometimes take itself a little bit seriously, so inject some humour into your history and try a comedy-themed walking tour. Laugh at Bath’s private and group tours take an entertaining approach to telling the city’s stories with hilarious historical facts, colourful local characters, and a light-hearted look at the main sights with guide Jamie.
Running at a time to suit the group, the tours can be customised based around what you all want to do, rather than just following the same itinerary every time.
Bizarre Bath is a well-established comedy walk that has been entertaining visitors for many years, with a 90-minute show that starts from the Huntsman Inn at 8pm every night except Mondays during the season (April-November).
Feeling brave? Take a hauntingly horrific Bath Ghost Tour to discover the gruesome history of horrible things in the city and visit haunted locations. If that’s a little too scary, try a silent disco ghost tour for a more upbeat approach (or just a silent disco tour with zero ghosts).
3. Boat & Bus Tours
Give your feet a break and hop on a riverboat to enjoy the sights along the River Avon from Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey to the city’s ornate bridges, or upgrade and enjoy a prosecco cruise along the river!
Bath Open Top Bus Tours are an iconic sight around the city, hop on and off the red double-decker buses to see all the attractions and listen to a narration of the city’s secrets.
4. Two-Wheeled Tours
If you’d rather whizz around Bath on a bike (or e-scooter) there are tours to take you, but the city is surrounded by hills so get ready for a work out! Just like the name suggests, Bath Cycle Tours runs two-wheeled trips that take in urban and countryside routes on a half-day tour that includes the Victorian tunnels outside Bath.
Need a bit of help? Opt for a private electric bike tour for a hand with those hills.
If scooting around is more your style, pick up one of the ubiquitous red Voi scooters from around town and take a self-guided tour of the sights.
5. Food & Drink Tours
Eat your way around Bath with a food or drink themed tour! Bath is surrounded by beautiful countryside that gives us plenty of local produce and you can discover this on one of Savouring Bath’s foodie tours.
Choose from standout cuisine on the Food Heroes tour, sweet treats on the Guilty Pleasures itinerary, or taste the best of Bath on the Local Flavours food tour. If you’re a fan of fromage, try the Cheese Tour of Bath to get your dairy fix.
6. Cultural Tours
Snap happy visitors can take a photo tour with photographer and historian Simon Christie who runs Photo Tours in Bath, and can take you on a private exploration of the city’s sights while giving you plenty of time to take photos (with tips and tricks for the best angles).
Bath’s main attractions offer informative tours that give you more context about their importance, check out the Abbey tours (climb 212 steps if you’re up for it), and gallery tours of exhibitions at the Victoria Art Gallery.
Bath has a starring role in many books and films and there are tours dedicated to discovering the places you’ve read about (and watched). Literary lovers can follow the Footsteps of Jane Austen with another free audio tour that highlights historic sights and contains excerpts from Austen’s novels that mention places in Bath.
Jane Austen Tours take visitors to Bath and further afield to bring her books alive on group tours.
Bridgerton fans can take a self-guided tour of film locations but to get all the extra gossip and info, take a tour with Fred Mawer, a Bath-based travel journalist who is also a Blue Badge qualified tour guide. Fred also runs city walking tours and beyond Bath adventures that can be tailored to your interests.
Amy is an award-winning travel writer born and bred in Bath. She has written for national newspapers and magazines from the Guardian and Mail on Sunday to Conde Nast Traveller and Good Housekeeping. Now she’s helping travellers explore Bath, one story at a time.