Image: Stalls at a World Heritage event Image: Stalls at a World Heritage event Show image info

World Heritage Day celebration


World Heritage Day 2017 - the Wonderful Waters of Bath!

Join us on Sunday 23 April at Parade Gardens from 11.00-15.00 for a day of free activities to celebrate Bath World Heritage Site.

World Heritage Day is marked at sites around the world each April.  This year has special importance for Bath as the City celebrates 30 years of being a World Heritate Site, having been inscribed by UNESCO in 1987 alongside some of the most amazing cultural and natural places on Earth including the Great Wall of China, the Acropolis, Venice and the Palace of Westminster.

This year the theme will be the 'Waters of Bath' and activities will focus on the past, present and future use and significance of Bath's hot springs, river and canal network.

Displays will be staged by local museums, archives and heritage organisations, and you'll find up-to-date news about exciting developments and restoration projects taking place in Bath.

This year, for the first time, we'll have a programme of mini talks.  Local experts will be exploring different aspects of our 'watery theme' including the medicinal use of spa water, the importance of the waterways in the Georgian development of the City, Bath's cold water springs and minor spas, the use of thermal water to heat the Abbey and the history of Bath's river crossings. 

Guided walks will be on offer throughout the day ranging from a 30 minute Garden Tour, to a 1 1/4 hour tour around the river and canal, and longer walks to the Bath Skyline and Cleveland Pools.

Entertainment will be provided at the bandstand by Bath City Jubilee Waits (11.00-12.00) and Bath Spa Band (14.30-15.30).  To mark St George's Day Widcombe Mummers will be performing 'St George and the Dragon' at 13.00.

There will be plenty to keep younger visitors busy!  Follow the 'bookmark stamp trail' to find out why Bath is so special; practise your engineering skills by trying to build Pulteney Bridge; explore how old maps reveal how Bath has changed over time; try your luck at World Heritage dominoes; test your knowledge of globally important places and add a pin to our giant map to show what World Heritage Sites you have visited.  If you fancy getting crafty you can make a scented 'spa posy' or a dragonfly - your own water-loving visitor to take away. 

Share your memories of the day by uploading your Pulteney Bridge selfie using #bathworldheritageday - you may even get a Georgian visitor in your picture...  

There is a cafe on site and plenty of space for a Springtime picnic.  The perfect free day out!

We look forward to seeing you there!

You can download the World Heritage Day 2017 full programme for the day using this link (PDF, 1.2MB)  

Parade Gardens is in the centre of Bath, next to the River Avon.  Directions can be found from this Parade Gardens page.

The splendour of Georgian society is celebrated at World Heritage Day 2016 in Bath  

Image: Learning to dance with the Jane Austen Dancers at the Assembly Rooms


On Sunday 17 April 2016 the Assembly Rooms came alive with echoes from Georgian Bath for World Heritage Day.   

This annual free event, which celebrates and promotes the city’s World Heritage Site status, is now in its eighth year.  World Heritage Day is held at a different venue in Bath each year.  This was the first time the event had taken place indoors.  The theme chosen for the day was Bath’s Georgian social legacy – one of the key attributes for which the city was designated a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO in 1987.  The Assembly Rooms, which opened in 1771, provided the perfect setting for a range of themed activities and entertainments.  

Over 650 visitors of all ages took the opportunity to learn Georgian dances with the Jane Austen Dancers, listen to 18th century music, gamble at the card tables, try on fancy costumes and make-up, explore displays of Georgian objects and find out more about the art and architecture of the Assembly Rooms.  Craft activities were enjoyed by the younger visitors - many a tricorn hat was spotted around town that day!

A highlight was the chance to meet Captain William Wade (Bath’s Master of Ceremonies from the 1770s) and his friends - the artist Thomas Gainsborough and Mr and Mrs James Hook Campbell.  However, proper standards of behaviour were not always observed as it emerged Captain Wade and Mr Campbell were rivals for the affections of Mrs Hook!  At times the tension spilled over from the card tables to a formal duel with swords and pistol - the skilful stage-fighting actors of the Natural Theatre Company put on an entertaining show for the crowds!  

Guided tours are a popular feature of Bath’s World Heritage Day.  This year there were three to choose from.  The Mayor of Bath’s Honorary Guides led walks around the ‘Upper Town’, to explain how the ‘Company of Bath’ shifted their focus to developments in this fashionable area in the 18th century.  Within the Assembly Rooms visitors were given wonderful views of the elegant interiors of the public rooms on a Balcony Tour.  ‘Georgian Highlights Tours’ of the Fashion Museum’s brand new ‘Fashion in 100 Objects’ exhibition were also on offer.

A showcase was provided for Bath’s many and varied heritage organisations.  The National Trust with their technology partners from the University of Bath invited visitors on a virtual reality walk through Ralph Allen’s landscape garden at Prior Park. The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution brought along the fascinating 18th century diaries of 'Enlightened' Bath resident, Edmund Rack.  The city’s major Heritage Lottery Fund projects were all represented, with informative displays and staff on hand from Bath Abbey Footprint, the Cleveland Pools Trust, the ‘Bathscape’ landscape partnership and the Archway Centre Project.  The exciting Archway Centre development will extend learning facilities at the Roman Baths and deliver a World Heritage Interpretation Centre in the heart of the city.

The full programme for the day is in the World Heritage Day 2016 leaflet (PDF).

Heritage Events, October 2016 to April 2017

Download the current Heritage Events leaflet to find out about family events, adult events and community events taking place in Bath and North East Somerset from October to December 2016. Find out about events in the New Year by downloading the January - April 2017 Heritage Events leaflet.  All forthcoming events and learning opportunities organised by the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum, Victoria Art Gallery and Bath Record Office are also listed on the Heritage Events webpage.

Museums Week, 21 - 29 October 2017

Every year during the October half term holiday, museums and heritage sites in Bath and North East Somerset offer special events and free entry to local residents of all ages as part of Museums Week (formerly known as Heritage Open Week).  In 2017 events will take place from Saturday 21 to Sunday 29 October.  Full details of events including workshops, screenings, trails, special exhibitions and dates for free entry can be found on the Museums Week web page.

Details of Museums Week 2017 will be available from September 2017 but for a flavour of the event you can download the 2016 Museums Week brochure (PDF 946KB).

Heritage Open Days, 7 - 10 September 2017

Every year in September many buildings and places of interest in Bath and the surrounding area take part in Heritage Open Days, the national 'open doors' festival.  During the four day event residents and visitors have opportunities to visit interesting places free of charge that are usually closed to the public or difficult to access.  You can search the Heritage Open Days website to find places to visit.

Details of the local openings for the 2017 event will be published in July 2017 but you can download the Heritage Open Days 2016 brochure for a flavour of what to expect (PDF 1.2MB).