Bath is in Somerset and about 100 miles west of London. It’s a surprisingly family-friendly destination and once you’ve sorted the cheapest car hire you can explore more of the West Country, the Cotswolds or take a trip to Stonehenge from this city famed for its Roman Baths.
The Roman Baths
These are the no.1 attraction in Bath but I did wonder, before we visited, if they could hold the attention of a 4 and 7 year old. Thankfully there is a family audio trail by Michael Rosen which allowed me to still have time to see the sights and learn about them as the kids were enthralled. There were some simple exhibits the kids could work but our highlight was talking to the Roman stone masons who kept in character while the children quizzed them about their job.
The Fashion Museum
Who doesn’t like dressing up? No really, who? Because as far as I could see this was loved by everyone – adults and children – at The Fashion Museum. After we had tried on every outfit available, and taken photos of each other, we did the Family Trail and had to follow the clues to find the answers amongst the historic and contemporary clothing collections which allowed me to actually see some of the displays. You can also see the historic Assembly Rooms and, as there was music playing, we had a little dance in the ballroom before we left.
I wanted to walk across the famous Pulteney Bridge to show the children the shops are right on the bridge as they had never seen anything like that before. Where we live bridges are just for crossing – not for shopping! I used visiting the Holburne Museum as my excuse to cross the bridge and I’m glad we did as we spent hours there. It’s a free art gallery which understands children’s inquisitive nature and openly encourages drawers to be opened and provides magnifying glasses to study the smaller objects on display.
It’s pretty easy to see most of Bath on foot so we left the hire car at the B&B some days and just wandered. It’s a compact city and has cobbled streets and heritage buildings galore. This allowed us to find some excellent family-friendly cafes and I can recommend The Society Cafe (4 & 5 Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB) where the basement has a nook for drawing and creating artwork, plus a popular blackboard where the kids could leave their mark. For me and my husband, the high quality tea and coffee was also a rare treat for somewhere so welcoming to all ages.
We got a tip to visit Tea Monkey (Little Southgate, Bath BA1 1AS) and I’m glad we did as the tea was outstanding but they also have really well-priced children’s meals too. But the clincher for the whole family were the iPads which are free for customer use so I could check some opening times online and the kids could see a few cartoons and play games.
If you do have a car, take a short drive out of the city through the picturesque Cotswolds. You can then look back at the city of Bath and even seen the Westbury white chalk horse over in Wiltshire.
Sally Johnson is on a mission to spark a love of travel within all of her family and regularly takes her two children to see new sights both in the UK and further afield.