If you want to live among elegant Georgian buildings in a World Heritage site, look no further than the city of Bath.
The Royal Crescent’s sweep of Georgian houses has made Bath an iconic English city. Located by the River Avon in Somerset, Bath’s heritage as a spa town dates back to the Roman period. Its popularity grew in the Georgian era, which led to the stone terraces and crescents which have become synonymous with the city.
Housebuilding in Bath is slow and cautious due to its status as a World Heritage Site – and prices stand at an average of £417,000, well above the national average. You can check up-to-date prices here.
Living in Bath: what to expect
As a city, Bath is compact. And that means that all the main attractions are within easy walking distance.
The centre revolves around the Roman baths and the Georgian socialising hotspots. You can still ‘take the waters’ to test its health benefits and meet friends over afternoon tea in the Pump Room.
Bath’s popularity as a Georgian spa town means that many houses are made of local stone with impressive bay-fronted windows. Further out, the Georgian townhouses and mansions give way to Victorian terraces and more modern housing.
Careful development of the city’s riverside area has been planned for the next few years. New houses will be built with better flood defences and new riverside promenades. Housing estates offering contemporary homes have also been planned for former industrial sites.
Where to start your property search
If you are set on a period home in Bath and have a budget to match, look to the area of Widcombe. It’s home to many independent shops and has both 18th- and 19th-century mansions.
Oldfield Park also has its fair share of Bath stone properties with bay windows. Terraced houses are available along with some converted flats. In Lower Oldfield you can find a selection of studio apartments and Victorian semis.
Bear Flat to the south of the city is another option. Poets’ Corner is famous for Edwardian and Victorian terraced homes, and residents can enjoy a monthly community market.
Along the A4 London Road you’ll find Walcot, one of the more ‘alternative’ areas of Bath. Walcot Street has a vibrant selection of independent shops as well as a weekly flea market. Some houses are Grade II-listed but you can also find more standard terraced Victorian family homes.
Head north of the city into the suburbs and you’ll find Bathampton. This historic village, with its upmarket houses, offers a peaceful neighbourhood with charming walks along the towpath.
To the south lies Combe Down and Odd Down. Here you can find listed buildings and Victorian villas. There are also some more modern properties – Odd Down has a number of more affordable 1970s terraces and 1950s semis.
Classic townhouses are on the market in Lansdown, as well as some of the famed crescent houses. As a result, this is one of the priciest areas to live.
Newbridge, which sits to the west of Bath, comprises mostly Victorian houses along with some 1930s semis.
For more elegant Georgian townhouses and terraces, look to the popular villages of Larkhall, Fairfield and Snow Hill. Located along the A4, the bonus with these areas is that they’re within walking distance of the city centre.
If it’s a new home on your shopping list, you won't be short of opportunities in Bath. Crest Nicholson's Bath Riverside Development for example, is offering one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments alongside three- and four-bedroom townhouses. The development is set along the banks of the River Avon and is just a stone's throw from Royal Victoria Park.
Prices range from £360,000 to £799,000 with the Government's Help to Buy scheme available against some homes.
Getting around Bath
Train: Bath Spa train station operates services to London Paddington every half an hour and takes 90 minutes to reach the capital. It takes just 15 minutes by train from Bath to Bristol.
Parking and driving in Bath city centre is often difficult, especially at peak times. To access the city centre, try using one of the many park and rides.
Air: Bristol Airport operates direct flights to more than 100 domestic and international destinations. Providers include Easyjet and Ryanair.
Things to do in Bath
A visit to the Roman Baths is a must. The city was founded on natural hot springs used by the Romans to build large bathing complexes. See the Great Bath by torchlight in July or August to see a different side of the remains.
Bath features in Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion and was home to the author herself for a short time. Celebrate her characters by joining the annual Jane Austen festival, and follow in their footsteps by visiting the Pump Room and Assembly Rooms.
Bath Abbey was built between 1499 and 1616. Take a close look at the west façade to find the climbing angels. For a good view of the city, take the tower tour and climb the 212 steps to the top.
For shopping, visit The Corridor. This was one of the earliest retail arcades and now features high-street favourites as well as independent and specialist shops. You can get your fresh fruit and veg from the indoor market at the Guildhall.
If you’re a coffee lover, perk yourself up with a brew from Colonna & Small’s. Choose your coffee beans from a ‘beans of the day’ board and enjoy your drink in the quiet courtyard.
As a Bath resident, you must sample the original Sally Lunn Bun. Head to Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House to try one and learn the history behind the bun and its popularity.
For hearty pub food, head to Hall & Woodhouse. These Dorset brewers have a tempting gastro-pub menu and their beers on tap. You can enjoy your meal and beer from the roof terrace and take in the sights of central Bath.
Enjoy live jazz every Sunday at the Ring O Bells in Widcombe. It also serves seasonal, local food. Real ale and live music are also offered three times a week at The Bell Inn.
For a family-fun festival, make sure you participate in The Cock and Bull Festival. Held in a secret location every year, it hosts an egg-throwing competition as well as music, debates, talks and workshops.
If you fancy a stroll, follow a film trail that takes you to all the locations in Bath used for films and TV shows. Or rest your legs and hire a boat to take you down the River Avon for a relaxing cruise.
Alexandra Park is around a 10-minute drive from the centre of town and offers panoramic view of the city’s most famous buildings.
5 reasons to live in Bath
Georgian architecture and Bath stone
Easy commuting to Bristol and London
Riverside and village living opportunities
Solid and long-term investment
- Plenty of new housing developments