best museums in bath

Five of the best museums and venues to discover Bath’s amazing heritage

5th February 2020

One of the main reasons so many people visit Bath each year is the city’s incredible history. It’s on display everywhere you turn, from the ancient underground chambers of the Roman Baths to the Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent. 

If you want to find out more about Bath’s heritage, there are plenty of places to do just that. Here’s our guide to the best Bath museums for uncovering the city’s history from Iron Age settlement to fashionable Regency spa town. 

  1. The Roman Baths

To learn more about Bath, it makes sense to start at the beginning (or very near the beginning). The Roman Baths is not only one of the best museums in Bath, but one of the best-loved attractions in the whole of the UK. The original Baths were built around 70 AD as a grand bathing complex, including numerous pools and chambers on top of steaming natural hot springs. The complex is remarkably well preserved and although you can’t actually enjoy a dip in the Baths, you will be absolutely fascinated by this multi-level museum. 

  1. The Jane Austen Centre

Find out more about Bath’s most famous resident, the author Jane Austen, at this popular museum and tea room. You’ll learn more about Austen’s life and how her time in Bath influenced her work. There’s even chance to tuck into an afternoon tea and try on Regency costume. And you mustn’t leave without taking a quick selfie with the famous waxwork Mr Darcy. 

Stay at our Milsom Place apartment and you’ll be virtually next door to the Jane Austen Centre. 

  1. Museum of Bath at Work

You’ll be pleasantly surprised on visiting the Museum of Bath Work, which tells the story of 2,000 years of working heritage in the city. The centrepiece of this museum, on a site dating from 1777, is a fabulously reconstructed Victorian soft drinks factory. There’s also a reconstructed ironmonger’s shop, cabinet maker’s workshop and Bath Stone mine, along with a range of other fascinating exhibits designed to bring history to life. These are among the best things to see in Bath if you’re interested in learning about its past. 

Our Ainslie’s Belvedere townhouse is right next to the Museum of Bath at Work, and just a short walk from other must-see Bath city centre attractions. 

  1. Museum of Bath Architecture 

Bath is world-famous for its architecture, which is one of the reasons it’s a UNESCO World Heritage city. This museum, nestled in one of the only intact 18th Century Gothic Revival buildings in Bath, explores the rich architectural history of Bath. Through fascinating exhibits and detailed models, you’ll learn about how Bath became the grand, classical-influenced city it is today, from humble beginnings as a provincial town. 

Book a stay at our beautiful No.14 house and this fantastic museum is right on your doorstep. 

  1. Bath Postal Museum 

Did you know that the first letter with a pre-paid postage stamp (the Penny Black) was sent from Bath? This museum brings the city’s postal heritage to life with interactive exhibits, games, models, collectables and much more. 

Special mentions must also go to the Fashion Museum, Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House and Museum and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. The latter is the site of the discovery of Uranus in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel, another of Bath’s famous residents.