Bath is one of the few cities in the world to have earned a UNESCO World Heritage Site award. It's a city with significant historical importance. From the Roman occupation in of early Britain and particularly Bath (around 60AD) to the gorgeous 18th Century Georgian structures; Bath has always and will remain one of the most popular and admired cities to visit in the UK.
The handsome honey-coloured façade of many Bath buildings (attributed to the Bath Stone used), varied and inspiring religious history and of course the ancient Roman archaeological sites that populate many areas of Bath attract over 3 million visitors to our wonderful city.
With such a rich background it is no surprise that Bath has some of Britain's more intriguing and entertaining museum attractions. Here at Holiday Inn Express Bath we are delighted to offer a guide to a few of the best museums in our beautiful city.
Jane Austen Centre
40 Gay Street
"Who can ever be tired of Bath?" - Northanger Abbey
Jane Austen is regarded as a hugely celebrated British author, and the new face of the Pound Sterling £10 notes, will forever be linked to Bath through her famous novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
Jane Austen regularly visited Bath including a period of 5 years where she called Bath home, used this intimate knowledge of her most loved city when she penned the above novels. Largely set in our city, these novels illustrate her admiration for Bath's fashionable shops, elegant cobbled streets and her social adventures dancing in the old Assembly ballroom.
The Jane Austen Centre is a grand collection of memorabilia celebrating the author's exploits and lifestyle. It also includes a walking guide conducted by guides in full period costume that include a detailed and entertaining insight into many of Austin's favourite social hangouts, including Queen Square, Bath Abbey and the glamorous Pump Room.
A true treat is to admire the glorious rooftop view from the Regency Tea Room. Settle down to some cream tea and crumpets, emulating the favourite delight of the famous author.
Victoria Art Gallery
For a brilliant way to spend a few hours in Bath, the fantastic, free civic collection at The Victoria Art Gallery should be on every visitors list.
It contains an incredible array of work from artists that both lived and worked in Bath. Most notably Gainsborough, Barket and Sickert, however it also includes excellent guest exhibitions that are highly recommended. Split over two floors the gallery displays a permanent collection on the upper floor of which the work is accessible not only in terms of the displays but the explanation behind the artists' visions.
The ground floor contains two exhibition rooms for temporary guest expiations featuring extremely interesting contemporary work that is both expansive without being overwhelming. A true highlight of the Victoria Art Gallery however is the astounding collection of glassware and ceramics on display. The vivid colours, intricate designs and beautiful craftsmanship are hugely worth taking time out to visit.
Admission to The Victoria Art Gallery is free, except for special exhibitions.
Tuesday - Friday 10.00-17.00
The Holburne Museum
Great Pulteney Street
The Holburne Museum is a fascinating collection of some of the most exquisite art and exotic artefacts housed in an magnificent building.
A truly lovely small museum, the exhibits contain some remarkable Renaissance artwork, intricate Stuart embroidery and stunning silver treasures all thoroughly interesting and excellently displayed. An entirely worth-while visit, The Holburne Museum contains plenty of old-world masterpieces as well as contemporary collections to explore and each exhibition is as enthralling as the previous.
The museum also boasts a splendid café serving delicious fresh deli items, homemade cakes and excellent coffees, the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon soaking up the view of the delightful Sydney Park gardens. Holburne Museum sits provides a lovely area to walk and enjoy the fresh outdoor air alongside the Avon Canal.
It's a true, tranquil change of pace from the bustling, shopping streets of the city.
Admission to The Holburne Museum is free, except for special exhibitions.
Monday - Sunday 10:00-17:00
Bath Fashion Museum
One for the fashionistas, Bath Fashion Museum is a brilliant showcase of amazing outfits ranging from 16th century right up to present day.
Found in the elegant Assembly Rooms, it's a fun, highly interactive fashion experience with a fascinating display of costumes from dainty, Downtown Abbey, period garments to the some striking outfits of modern megastars. A total collection of over 30, 000 authentic items are on display with excellent audio commentary to guide you through the various themes and styles. There are also a number of special exhibitions that take place at the Fashion Museum such examples have included the Royal Jubilee outfits, dresses from the biggest movie icons and a 70's Laura Ashley assembly.
For the reluctant, less style -conscious observers, the Bath Fashion Museum will surprise you. Even without any interest in clothes or design, it's an extremely fun place to visit. The chance to try on the array of outfits throughout the ages, including suits wartime wear from WWII and the finest Georgian creations to evoke the trendy former residents of the stylish Bath social scene.
The Bath Fashion Museum is an amazing display of outfits that bring to life the most romantic novels and iconic films.
Adult - £8.75
Children (6-16) - £6.75
Under 6s - Free
Family (2 adults and up to 4 children) - £27.00
Daily – 10:30-16:00
The American Museum
Any visit to Bath should not neglect to visit this staggeringly beautiful Georgian structure amidst 120 acres of gorgeous stately grounds The American Museum collates the greatest array of Americana on British shores.
Visitors will be able to enjoy vast colonial collections from the American Civil War, incredible Native American quits and of course all the Wild West Gunslingers and 1920s Gangsters memorabilia to satisfy anyone with an interest in American History.
Although a rather small museum it does manage to pack in an enormous amount of rich, interesting and at times eye-opening exhibitions. It doesn't shy away from painting a full picture of Native American interactions with early settlers, the American Slave Trade or the Civil Rights Movements in what is a thoroughly engaging and well explained manner. The American History Museum provides a well narrated audio guide as well as museum staff that are very helpful and happy to explain in further detail any of the period themed rooms.
Worth the visit alone is view the well-stocked café that overlooks the beautiful gardens and rolling green hills. The museum's flower garden is absolutely delightful to walk through, modelled on its American counterpart George Washington's Mount Vernon Garden in Virginia.
There is a free shuttle bus that runs from regularly from Bath City Centre, departing at Terrace Walk (close to the Bath Visitor Information Centre).
Adults - £9
Children (5-16) - £5
Under 5s – Free
Family (2 adults and two children - £25
24 November - 18 December (Tuesday to Sunday): 12:00-16:30
18th December - 18 March: Closed
The American History Museum is fully wheelchair accessible and photography is allowed.