1. Be transported to the USA
Did you know that Bath is home to the only American Museum outside America? It’s a beauty too: a gorgeous Georgian manor high on hill, packed with American folk arts, furnishings and historical exhibits. The gardens are equally impressive – and are about to become more so. The museum already has a replica of George Washington’s garden at Mount Vernon and its own Lewis and Clark trail, but this September a New American Garden will open, featuring a profusion of native US plants, from an American rose collection to an accessible path shaded by cherry trees. Horticulturally informative and historic, it’s also possibly the city’s best picnic spot, with its sweeping views over the Avon Valley. If you fancy a leg-stretch, walk down Claverton Hill from the museum; after a mile you’ll hit the Kennet & Avon Canal, which you can follow northwest back to Bath.
The new American Garden opens 15 September 2018; www.americanmuseum.org
2. Rejoice with Jane Austen
Whether Austen liked Bath or not (and the jury is out on that one), the city where the author briefly lived certainly loves her. For ten days in autumn, the Jane Austen Festival hits town – expect to see lots of ladies in bonnets and men in breeches, as well as Georgian dance workshops, book readings, dramatisations and walking tours. Even if you miss the festival, you can gen up on Jane at the Jane Austen Centre or imagine yourself in one of her novels at spots she frequented such as the elegant Assembly Rooms and Sydney Gardens.
Jane Austen Festival, 14-23 September 2018; www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk
3. Walk amid Autumn colours
The Bath Skyline might just be the best ‘urban’ walk in the country. Though you’re never far from the city centre, once you’re up in the surrounding hills you could be in the deepest Cotswolds. Autumn is an especially vibrant time to go for a stroll here, when the leaves are on the turn, the conkers fat, the air misty, mellow and fruitful. You could join a guided walk with a ranger or download the National Trust’s suggested walks and head on your own.
Guided Colours of Autumn walk, 28 October (£6); walks downloadable from www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bath-skyline
4. Soak outside despite the season
The Thermae Bath Spa is sublime in autumn. It doesn’t matter if the temperature is dropping, you can relax in the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters of its rooftop pool any time of year. Most romantic is to soak at twilight (the spa is open until 9.30pm), when you can watch the sunset over Bath’s rooftops and hills.
Thermae Bath Spa’s three-hour Twilight Package costs £48 for one/£90 for two, including a meal and spa access; www.thermaebathspa.com
5. Get your kids inspired
Bath Children’s Literature Festival is Europe’s largest event dedicated to children’s literature. It sees the biggest names in kids-lit descend on the city – from Dermot O’Leary to David Walliams – as well as drawing, storytelling and dance workshops. But Bath is brilliant for kids anytime. Don’t miss Victoria Park, where there’s an expansive (free) playground with zip wires, sand diggers, climbing walls, a skate park and more. Parents might appreciate the cosy Hop Pole pub opposite…
Bath Children’s Literature Festival, 28 September-7 October 2018; www.bathfestivals.org.uk/childrens-literature
6. Autumn eats
Bath has a delicious array of eateries including the award-winning Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park. For autumn eats in the city itself, head to Green Park Station. A Saturday farmers’ market is held year-round under the Victorian atrium of this former terminus. Most of the produce is sourced from a 40-mile radius – try the Bath Soft Cheese, Seven Hills Chocolate and Somerset Charcuterie. Alternatively,
Green Park Station Market, 9am-1.30pm; www.greenparkstation.co.uk
Article written by Sarah Baxter