Free tour

Bath's hidden history

Duration: 1h and 45min
Languages: English
Guru: Susan
Registered on December 10, 2022

Hello! My name is Susan and I have a background in ecology, art, and counselling. I have loved Bath since the moment I saw it over forty years ago and it is an absolute pleasure to share with you the less obvious spots in the city. Come join me!

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  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free

Tour description

Bath is a gem of a place to visit any time of the year with so many things to do amongst it’s stunning architecture 🎇

Join me on this intimate tour (5 people max) as I show you the hidden side to Bath. Be sure to wear suitable clothing and give yourself plenty of time to find parking/bathroom, et cetera.

This is an illustrated amusing tour that I have aimed at grown-ups - it is not suitable for young children or for pushchairs.

While I'm not a historian, I am a keen local, who follows a carnivore lifestyle, and I love the history of monasteries and sharing the history of this place, so come along as we find the lesser-known and older parts of the city.

In the first part of the tour
I will endeavour to paint a picture of two periods in Bath’s history - how Bath looked before the massive rebuilding of the city in the 18th century, and Anglo-Saxon, Bath with its delightful monastery and huge gatehouses and walls.

We discover what we can still see of the Anglo Saxon monastery and follow the route of ancient walls of Bath, look at how they were a vital part of King Alfred's defence against the Danes, see the original Roman and Saxon layout of the city and the part they played in Bath surviving very turbulent times.

The second part of the tour looks at the challenges faced developing the land across the river, and the magnificent job the Georgians did to overcome them, then we explore a delightful green space behind the Holburne Museum and learn about its colourful history.

We start by walking the line of the wall, south through the site the monastery orchards to the place the magnificent monastery Gatehouse stood.

We then move onto the southern line of the city wall to where the pretty Southgate once stood.

From there we explore the history surrounding the hot springs and the lovely buildings surrounding them.

Further around we see where the massive Westgate once dominated the skyline, then continuing to the northern wall, we find a piece of the original mediaeval wall still intact.

As we complete the circuit of the walls we move to the Northgate, and end with the only Gatehouse still partly intact, the very lovely Eastgate.

Now we take a look at what was once called Bath New Town, where the fabulously wealthy Pulteney family created a massive extension to the city by building luxurious homes on their farmland.

Walking Great Pulteney Street to the end we enjoy the once famous Sydney pleasure Gardens, and their colourful history, including the introduction of the railway and the canal where we finish our tour.

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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    Old Police Station, Orange Grove, Bat...
    Old Police Station, Orange Grove, Bath BA1 1LP, UK
    View on map

    Meeting point is Orange Grove near Browns brasserie & bar just east of the abbey. I will be wearing a dark jacket/coat, trousers & cap & carrying a dark backpack 👌

  • 1
    Outside visit

    Very hidden, we look at the history of this, the only surviving gate of the ancient fortifications of Bath, and the once beautiful courtyard beside it.

  • 2
    Outside visit
    The Cross Bath

    If you would like to know how this pretty little Bath looked in former centuries and how it’s got its name this is the tour for you.

  • 3
    Outside visit
    Saw Close

    We uncover the history of this lively corner and see extraordinary continuity of use from the earliest days of Bath.

  • 4
    Outside visit
    Pulteney Bridge

    A beautiful bridge with a fascinating backstory.

  • 5
    Outside visit
    Great Pulteney Street

    This magnificent street has a wonderful history.

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

(325 ratings)
By category
Fiona 16 Jul 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Jul 2024
Susan was extremely knowledgeable tour guide, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
David 14 Jul 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Jul 2024
Susan was very friendly,professional and knowledgeable about bath,she gave you opportunity to ask questions.Nice your of Bath would recommend.
Beate 12 Jul 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Jul 2024
Dette var en fantastisk. Vi var en liten gruppe på 4 stk som var en kjempe fordel(hun har bare små grupper). Fikk et godt innblikk i hvordan Bath har forandret seg gjennom årene. Stort kunnskapsnivå på Susan som svarte på det meste. Anbefaler denne på det sterkeste.
Emilie 11 Jul 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in group - Jul 2024
We hebben enorm genoten van onze tour met topgids Susan! Een aanrader als je Bath bezoekt en meer te weten wil komen over de geschiedenis van deze prachtige stad. Dankjewel Susan!
Helen 09 Jul 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Jul 2024
Susan was very prepared and full of information. We went to places I probably would not have seen whilst I am here in Bath. Susan explained the layout of Bath so that I can now explore more on my own.
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Who is this tour for?

Non suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
Not suitable for pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
A minimum of 5 people is required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Only cash payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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See availability