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Bath Canal Walk

Home > Bath > Family | Free | Nature | Outdoor
by Tom Fieldhouse (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son. I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Published February 17th 2021
Canals, boats- all that floats
This walk is perfect if you have a couple of hours and fancy escaping the city for some fresh air. It starts at Sydney Gardens by the Holborne Museum, where you can get two hours on street parking, right next to the park. Starting at the museum, you can take in the Georgian grandeur of Great Pulteney Street, get some serene canal side views, and see Bath from an unusual viewpoint. You will be walking along the lovely Kennet and Avon canal.

Bath and Avon Canal
Water reflections on a tunnel over the canal

The canal runs through the South West of England for hundreds of miles, and has become a very popular place to exercise. Expect to share the path with walkers, cyclists, runners and local residents. It can get a little busy here, but folks are always good-natured and relaxed here. If you come across one of the many pink electric scooters on the path, then you could hire one for the day, and scoot along. These scooters run on a 'Pay as you go' system.

Why not enjoy the path via a hired scooter, with VOI?

Sydney Gardens was the place to see and be seen in Georgian times. Locals and visitors could once have enjoyed a maze, live music and taken tea and cakes, but today, only the immaculately kept parklands remain. To access the canal, head uphill, cross the railway bridge and then turn left on to the canal path. There are some narrow tunnels along this route, but they add to the magic, and the water reflecting off them is beautiful.

Georgian bridge
A cast iron bridge, built in 'The French Style'.

In the 19th Century, the French-style was all the rage and the bridges over the canal were built to look like those in Paris. They are still very elegant and delicate today. Running beneath them, on the canal below, are all manner of narrowboats, barges, sailing boats and houseboats. Some of the barges are visiting or passing through but many people moor up here all year round and call Bathwick their home.

Barge Cafe
A floating cake and coffee palace

Two miles into the walk is a barge that sells excellent tea, coffee and cakes, and there are many handily placed bridges there to sit on and watch the world go by.

The George Pub
A pint on the path

If you fancy something more fortifying, then why not go for a pint in the historic George Inn. Watch out for the ghost, though!

The Holborne Museum
Museum masterpiece

If you turn around at the George pub, then another two miles will take you back to the beautiful Holborne, which is well worth a look. The museum itself is closed due to the national lockdown, but you can walk around the grounds for free, or park in their car park, should there be none on the street.

Great Pulteney Street
A fine Bath street

Once back at the museum, you can cross the street and enjoy the splendour of Great Pulteney Street. This is one of the grandest and most impressive streets in the city. Its wide and tall boulevard feel makes this place resemble Paris, as well.

Great Pulteney Street
Great houses

Glance up at the buildings, and you may well see many optical illusions. There are all manner of painted windows and window sills on this street. The British government once created a 'Window tax' to make money, and a lot of Bath residents bricked up their windows as a protest. The above image shows just how realistic some of the painted in windows were.

Why not give this gentle stroll a go? It is free, intriguing and great exercise!
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Why? Beautiful views and canal side enjoyment- perfect if you need to escape the city.
When: Anytime!
Where: Bath City Centre
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
Great article Tom. I've always been fascinated with the English canal system. They don't get much publicity here in Australia. Usually only when they appear in TV programs.
by nfoll (score: 1|68) 338 days ago
Thank you for reading, and for your comment. The canals are a whole world in themselves, really, and often a bit neglected. Walking along them has become very popular since lockdown began!
by Tom Fieldhouse (score: 1|78) 338 days ago
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