Home Things to do UK Bath Best Free Things To Do With Kids in Bath
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Best Free Things To Do With Kids in Bath

Historic landmark Roman Baths in Bath, England, UK
Antique historic landmark Roman Baths in Bath, England

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The gloriously attractive city of Bath is known for its abbey, stunning Georgian architecture, and association with Jane Austen. (Given that the author disliked the place intensely in real life, the irony of her modern day popularity in the city would not have been lost on her). The city’s origins go back many centuries, as the Roman baths indicate, although it really rose to fame as a spot to see and be seen in the regency years of George IV. You will find chain stores and modern amenities here, but Bath has managed (mostly) to retain its artisan nature, and there are endless pretty crescents, parks, and bridges to explore. Due to its pleasant West Country location, your chances of good weather in the city are high throughout the year, meaning outdoor activities are often an option. The mellow Bath stone used in many of the buildings and the luscious green setting gives the city a warm and welcoming feel. 

Table of Contents

Bath World Heritage Centre

Historic Bath in Bath World Heritage Centre
Historic Bath in Bath World Heritage Centre

What it is: As one of the UK’s UNESCO sites, the history of the city of Bath is fascinating, and the Heritage Centre allows visitors to find out more than they could ever imagine about the Romans, Georgians, and hot springs in the city. There are numerous displays and exhibits to interact with, and you can also pick up free guides and walking trail outlines.

Why we liked it: Okay, we confess, we loved the App in particular – with its augmented reality characters we got way more out of the places we visited than if we’d just visited. The golden acorns you could collect via the app were a hit too, opening up the city’s history and heritage in ways we’d not anticipated.

More information about the Bath World Heritage Centre

Address: 10 York Street, Bath, BA1 1NH
Opening Hours: Daily 9.30am to 5pm April to October; 10am to 4pm November to March.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing Studio – Watch the artisans at work

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing Studio Entrance
Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing Studio Entrance

What it is: Both Bath and Bristol are known for their glasswork, and if you’d like to see how the magic is made for yourself, you can watch glass being blown in one of the artisan studios in the heart of the city. The location has been featured on the BBC; as well as the glass-blowing there are various items on display including some dating from Roman times.

Why we liked it: We’d expected to find Roman remains, Regency romance, and pretty parks in Bath, but we hadn’t realised how important glass was to the city, or what an ancient art it is. The Saturday sessions sometimes coincide with members of the public making their own baubles.

More information about the Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing Studio
Address: 105 – 107 Walcot Street, Bath, Somerset, BA1 5BW

Opening Hours: 11.15am and 2.15pm Saturdays and other times throughout the week; check with the venue for details of the best time to visit.

Royal Victoria Park

Hot Air Balloons above Royal Victoria Park
Hot Air Balloons above Royal Victoria Park

What it is: Away from the stone and slate of the centre of Bath, visitors often notice just how green a city it is – due partly to its many lovely parks. Set right in front of the Circus, this was originally an arboretum, and spans 57 acres. The adventure playground includes zip lines, a skateboard area, and climbing frames, and whatever the season there’s always something going on. If you visit in summer, you might see hot air balloons; if you’re there in winter, you might see the outdoor skating rink being put up.  Feed the ducks; enjoy a family picnic; scrunch the autumn leaves; or just watch life go by. It’s also the setting for the finish line of the annual Bath Half Marathon, which takes place in autumn. And if it is raining, you can head indoors to the tropical glasshouse to admire the houseplants.
Why we liked it: Although this park is named for Princess Victoria (as she then was), who visited the city in 1830, legend has it that she was so upset by a comment made about how sturdy her ankles were that she never visited again. Our favourite part was probably the area known as the Great Dell Aerial Walkway, but the adventure playground was a big hit too.

More information about the Royal Victoria Park
Address: Marlborough Lane, Bath, BA1 2NQ
Opening Hours: All year round, 24/7.

Alexandra Park

Alexandra Park, Bath Scenery
Scenic sunset view from Alexandra Park

What it is: You’ll get gorgeous views all over Bath from this exceptionally pretty park, set in its lovely green setting of vales and hills – look over Lyncombe Hill Farm and see what landmarks you can recognise on the horizon.  If you’re feeling super fit and energetic you can take the route via Jacob’s Ladder up to the park, starting at Bath Spa rail station. There are plenty of pleasant walks in the 11 acres covered by this park, which is named after Queen Alexandra and was opened to celebrate Edward VII’s coronation in 1902.

Why we liked it: The panoramic views were stunning, and the park itself is glorious no matter what the season; it’s a great place to enjoy a picnic. Our favourite area, though, had to be the children’s play area – flat swings, basket swings, a tango swing, multi-play units and the OXO games panel, not to mention the rocker horse and elephant, as well as some play equipment designed to be very inclusive. Also, if you get the timing right, you can take advantage of free parking nearby.

More information about the Alexandra Park
Address: Shakespeare Avenue, Bath, BA2 4RQ
Opening Hours: Daily all year round (no vehicles from dusk to dawn).

Bath City Farm

Bath City Farm Petting Section
Kids Petting a Goat in Bath City Farm

What it is: If you feel like a change from parks and promenades, then Bath City Farm welcomes visitors from Tuesday to Saturday, with trails, replicas, and dinosaurs in the grass to discover. There are different trails depending on interest, one is designed for nature lovers so they have a better chance of spotting the dragonflies, frogs, and newts, and the other trail was especially relevant for those who enjoy history. Events sometimes take place in the amphitheatre, which is an old bomb crater, and there are also free family nature walks (it’s always advisable to book in advance).

Why we liked it: It was a welcome contrast to the parks and promenades, lovely as they are. Everybody enjoyed following the trails, as well as the amphitheatre are and the play park, but our favourite part was probably the replica air raid shelter from World War Two. It was super helpful to know in advance that the History Trail took around 45 minutes, and covered about a mile. And that’s before I’ve even mentioned the Fort, which has a climbing wall, interactive water feature, slide, and swing.

More information about the Bath City Farm
Address: Kelston View, Whiteway, Bath, BA2 1NW
Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday.Check bank holiday opening times with venue.

Henrietta Park

Scenic Trail in Henrietta Park
Scenic Trail in Henrietta Park

What it is: If you decide to visit this seven acre green space in between Great Pulteney Street and Henrietta Road, spare a thought and a word of thanks for Captain Forester, who donated the land on the condition that it should never be built on. It was opened in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and redesigned in the 1950s. There’s also a gorgeous Remembrance Garden which was dedicated to King George V, a fountain, and a reflecting pool.

Why we liked it: We had a great time tree spotting, including the gorgeous elm, maple, purple magnolia, and sycamore. Identifying the various shrubs and flowers was also fun, including the rose-covered pergola. Our favourite location was the Sensory Garden – which is home to all kinds of beautifully scented plants and has a lovely tranquil atmosphere. Plus – no steps!

More information about the Henrietta Park
Address: Henrietta Street, Bath, BA2 6LR

Opening hours: Dawn to dusk (gates locked at dusk).

Georgian Garden

Trail and Architecture in Georgian Garden
Trail and Architecture in Georgian Garden

What it is: Bath can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming due to its popularity, especially in high season and around the centre so if you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, this is the perfect miniature escape. This small but perfectly formed Georgian Garden just behind the Circus is a reconstruction of a garden from around 1770. The flowers and plants here would have featured in traditional gardens in the eighteenth century.

Why we liked it: History is everywhere in Bath, but this really was like stepping back in time. We half expected to see Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth or Catherine Morland sweeping past. It certainly gave a different view of the Circus as well, we could see that the façade had been made to look very uniform, but when you looked at the various townhouses, they were actually quite different and even a little bit higgledy-piggledy from the back.

More information about the Georgian Garden
Address: 4 The Circus, Bath, BA1 2EW
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily.

Beazer Garden Maze

Aerial View of Beazer Garden Maze
Aerial View of Beazer Garden Maze

What it is: So much of Bath is charming, and compact, and this is no exception. This small but appealing maze is 2D and fun to while away a little time, right near Pulteney Bridge and the river but on the opposite side from the main part of the city. Randall Coate designed the structure in 1984; the name comes from the local construction company that donated the site. It measures around 37 feet by 97 feet and is in the shape of an ellipse. You’ll find it on the Towpath in between Pulteney Bridge and Bath Rugby.

Why we liked it: Is it a maze? Is it a labyrinth? Step on the cracks; step on the stones; follow the path to the heart…explore the colours in the mosaic. Blink and you’ll miss it, but this charming little maze isn’t well known and that mosaic in the middle is well worth a view or two. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it’s technically a labyrinth…

More information about the Beazer Garden Maze
Address: Beazer Gardens, Bath, North East Somerset, BA2 1EE
Opening hours: Daily throughout the year, 24/7.

Avon and Kennet Canal and Sydney Gardens

Avon Canal Scenery
Avon Canal in Bath, England

What it is: Did you know Bath has a canal? No, neither did we. Bath might typically be associated with elegant buildings and artisan stores, but if you’re looking for a very different view, a walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal is a delight. If you’re wondering where to start, then Sydney Gardens is a good starting point, at the outer edge of the city.

Why we liked it: At peak tourist times Bath can get incredibly busy, so if you need to head somewhere with a slower pace of life and a more relaxed vibe, the Avon and Kennet Canal is a glorious option. Marvel at the engineering behind the six restored locks or just chill out watching the river traffic. The towpath leads up to Bathwick Hill if you’re looking for a slightly longer walk – look out for Top Lock Cottage on the way or see if you can spot the Pump House Chimney.  Or just spend time in the gardens, another of Bath’s Grade II listed locations and the last remaining pleasure garden from the Georgian era in the UK.

More information about the Avon and Kennet Canal if you feel like a long walk

More information about the Sydney Gardens for the gardens
Address: Sydney Place, Bathwick, Bath BA2 6NH, leading down to the canal
Opening hours: Daily throughout the year, 24/7.

Pulteney Bridge and Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent Architecture
The Royal Crescent Architecture

What it is: In such a stunning city, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to gorgeous locations and impressive architecture, but two of the most iconic locations have to be Pulteney Bridge and the Royal Crescent. Complete by 1774, the bridge spans the River Avon and bears the name of the wealthy Pulteney family. You can walk from the bridge to the Royal Crescent in about 15 minutes, which originally consisted of 30 townhouses.

Why we liked it: What makes this limestone bridge so interesting and unusual is that it has shops on both sides all the way along. Like so many of the buildings in Bath, it’s listed – in this case Grade I. It’s 18 metres long and 45 metres wide, and still used by taxis and buses. It’s survived the Georgian era, flood, and modern renovations. The Royal Crescent is 500 feet long and once we got there we were also entertained to learn the name of the ditch in front of the location – known as a ha-ha.

More information about the Pulteney Bridge

More information about the Royal Crescent
Address: Pulteney Bridge, Bridge St, Bath BA2 4AT and Royal Crescent, Bath, BA1 2LR

Opening hours: Daily throughout the year, 24/7

Honourable Mentions

There are other locations in Bath that are sometimes free, or free for children. The Bath postal museum, for instance, sometimes has “kids go free” offers in school holidays. If you feel like pretending you’re at a Georgian High Society ball, the Assembly Rooms are currently free to visit when they’re not being used for private events. (The National Trust will be taking over control next year.) The Ball Room is especially attractive and amazingly up to 1,200 guests attended the twice-weekly events here. You might recognise it from various movies and TV productions.

Just going for a wander in or around Bath is well worth it, in any season, just to see some of the fun buildings that have sprung up over the years, like Sham Castle. The city often has special artist trails and outdoor exhibitions; previous years have included owls and pigs and there are sometimes external exhibits by the Abbey. Technically the Abbey itself is free, but you do need to pass a staffed desk where there is a “suggested” donation per adult and per child. Or you can opt for window shopping in Bath Guildhall Market, which is delightfully quirky, and if you’d like to find out more about what’s going on locally, the public library is just a short walk away.

Written by
David Prior

David Prior is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and the editor of Big Family Breaks. He is also a father of five and an experienced traveller, especially with kids.

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