bath abbey guide

All you need to know about the magnificent Bath Abbey

8 September 2017

If you’re visiting Bath for the first time, there’s one attraction you absolutely must see. Take a trip to the magnificent, historic Bath Abbey to marvel at the architecture and drink in the centuries of history on this incredible site. You can even climb the Abbey tower’s two hundred steps if you’re feeling really energetic!

A quick Bath Abbey history lesson

There has been a church or other place of worship on this site for over a thousand years, but the present Abbey church was founded in 1499. It is known as one of the last medieval churches of England and has undergone many changes over the centuries. It lay in ruins for over 70 years during King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries until being repaired, and finally Sir George Gilbert Scott completely transformed the inside of this Grade 1 listed building in 1874.

Another notable historical fact – Bath Abbey was where the first King of all England, King Edgar, was crowned in 973.

You’ll find out all about the building’s incredible history, including its Anglo-Saxon past and Norman heritage, when you visit.

Architectural highlights to look out for

There’s a wonderful sight everywhere you turn when you visit this Bath landmark but there are some particular things you should look out for. The spectacular stone fan vaulting is one of Sir George Gilbert Scott’s innovations, replacing an ancient wooden ceiling. Other unmissable Bath Abbey architecture highlights include:

  • Ladders of Angels – where angels ascend and descend relief ladders of stone cut into the west front of Bath Abbey, the first view that visitors see of the main building
  • The vaults – the restored 18th century cellars are where you’ll find the Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults Museum
  • Stained glass windows – the Abbey has numerous beautiful windows, particularly the 19th century window depicting the coronation of King Edgar
  • The tower – pay £6 per adult or £3 per child for a Tower Tour ticket and you can climb the Abbey’s 202 steps and enjoy breath-taking views across the city.

Planning your visit

First things first, how much is the Bath Abbey entrance fee? The good news is that entrance to the Abbey is free, but the church does ask for a donation instead of a fee should you wish to make one. The money goes towards funding the mission, monastery and maintenance of Bath Abbey.

Opening Times are from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, opening later until 6pm on Saturday and with Sunday opening times of 1pm-6pm. If you’re driving, the nearest short stay car park is a five-minute walk away at the Podium in Northgate Street.

As for where to stay near Bath Abbey, one of the most convenient and luxurious places to set up your base camp is at our No 10 apartment for two. If you’re visiting with the family or a larger group, Monmouth Mews and Gay Street House are also not very far away.