It’s no secret that Bath is one of the most photogenic cities in the UK… or in the world, for that matter. So here are my recommendations for ten classic locations in Bath that no photographer should miss.
1. The Royal Crescent
How could this not be number one? The Royal Crescent is an architectural masterpiece designed by John Wood the Younger in 1774. It’s often busy with tourists so arrive early in the morning or at dusk to get great shots. The odd thing about the Crescent from a photographer’s perspective is that it is incredibly long and thin. One trick is to fill the empty spaces in the frame with clouds above or leaves on the ground. This is the highlight of our Classic Bath Photo Tour. And quite rightly so!
2. The Circus
The Circus is just a short walk away from the Royal Crescent and another jewel in the crown of Bath’s architecture. It is the work of both John Wood the Elder and his son John Wood the Younger, and said to be inspired by both the Colosseum in Rome and Stonehenge. Don’t forget to photograph details like the masonic symbols and acorns that adorn the buildings.
3. The Roman Baths
We don’t usually include the Roman Bath Museum on our photo tours of Bath as it is often packed with visitors. But if you are waiting to get in the moment it opens you’ll have a chance to get great shots. Zip through the museum and you can photograph the empty baths before anyone else is there. If you are lucky enough to visit on a sunny winter morning when the steam is rising you are guaranteed spectacular shots!
4. Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge was completed in the 1774, the same year as the Circus. Famously, it’s one of only two bridges in Europe that have buildings on both sides. The best shots of the bridge are probably from below on the riverbank furthest from the Abbey . For a more unusual shot find your way round to the north side (it’s a lot less posh than the front). The bridge looks great lit up too, so it’s a highlight of our Dusk and Night Photography Tour.
5. Bath Abbey
Right by the Roman Baths Museum, the Abbey is the literal and spiritual center of the city. There has been a Christian place of worship here since at least the 7th Century and some think a Roman temple may lie underneath. (Not much chance of it being excavated!) One trick for a nice photo of the Abbey is to get as close as you can, choose a wide-angle, and shoot upwards. There’s lots to photograph inside too, not least the spectacular ceiling. If you need a shelter on a rainy day, the Abbey is perfect. We usually start our tours here, but as all our tours are private other places are fine too!
6. Lansdown Crescent
I have a confession to make. The Royal Crescent may be the most famous of Bath’s crescents but it isn’t my favourite. This one is! Lansdown Crescent is a bit of a trek uphill from the center of Bath, but well worthwhile. It is much quieter than the Royal Crescent but just as beautiful. Sometimes there are even sheep grazing on the lawn. We don’t normally include this on the Classic Bath Photo Tour, so check our Explore More Bath Tour.
7. The Pump Room
The Pump Room gets its name from the pump used to serve Bath’s famously delicious spa water. OK… I lied. The water is famously unpalatable. But don’t let that deter you because complaining about the taste of the water is an essential Bath experience that goes back to the time of Jane Austen. For photos, this is another spot that we often include on our Dusk and Night Photography Tour. It’s also a great place to relax over lunch or afternoon tea when the photography is done.
8. The Cross Bath and Thermae Bath Spa
The cobbled streets by the Cross Bath and Thermae Bath Spa always seem to have something to offer. It is worth lingering here – as we often do on the Classic Bath Photo Tour – because there are all sorts of unexpected angles and shots. Linking the Cross Bath with the Pump Room is a beautiful colonnade that creates spectacular shadows on a sunny day. Meanwhile, the contrast between the Georgian buildings by the Georgian Cross Bath and the modern architecture of the 2006 Thermae Bath Spa is great for striking photos.
9. Kennet and Avon Canal
Bath is full of picturesque locations and the Kennet and Avon Canal that runs through the city is no exception. It is said to be the most beautiful stretch of canal in the UK. You can easily spend an hour or so leisurely strolling along the towpath and we sometimes create an Explore More Bath Photo Tour using this route. If you enjoy taking portraits, the canal boat owners (and their pets!) are often happy to pose. Don’t forget check out the spectacular lock at Widcombe. It is one of the deepest in the UK.
10. Alexandra Park
Last but not least is the view from Alexandra Park. This was a favourite haunt of Jane Austen and the view is as spectacular now as it ever. The edge of the park that overlooks Bath is known as Beechen Cliff, which should give you an idea how the steep the path up is! (When we include this on a tour, we often take a taxi on the way up.) I used a 70-200 lens when photographing this view. The local focal length flattens the rows of Georgian houses on the opposite hillside.
Did you find this list useful? Would you like to learn how to photograph these wonderful locations? Please check out our tours of Bath for photographers via the menu above. All our tours are private and customizable. So just let us know what you are interested in!