Moving to Bath

An overview of Bath

Bath is a 2,000-year-old marvel. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its stunning Roman and Georgian architecture and natural hot springs.

After discovering that locals enjoyed the springs, Romans established the spa town of Aquae Sulis (Waters of Sulis), named after a local god who healed followers and wreaked vengeance on their behalf.

The Somerset city and one-time home of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley has only burnished its reputation for rejuvenation and relaxation since those times, attracting 400,000 foreign visitors per year – but its wonders never cease.

British writer J. B. Priestley summed it up when he wrote that Bath “has the rare trick of surprising you all over again.

“You know very well it is like that, yet somehow your memory must have diminished the wonder of it, for there it is, taking your breath away again.”

Roman bath in Bath, England

Bath is named after its Roman baths, which have been gloriously maintained 

The cost of moving to Bath

As with any relocation, the cost of moving to Bath will depend on where you’re coming from, and what you’re bringing with you.

If you’re planning to move the contents of a three-bedroom house (roughly 875 cubic metres of belongings) from London to Bath, you should expect to pay £1,246, on average.

This includes:

  • loading and unloading
  • packing services and materials
  • dismantling and reassembling furniture
  • the fee for distance travelled

The drive from London to Bath is around 115 miles, and most removal companies charge £1 per mile (source: comparemymove, 2020).

The amount you’ll end up paying will also change depending on your moving date, the removal company you choose, and whether you need any additional services.

The cost of living in Bath

Bath is the sixth-most expensive city in the UK (source: Lloyds Banking Group, 2019).

However, it’s more affordable than almost every London borough, and is rated one of the best places to live in the UK – so the cost may be worth it.

Here’s a look at how much you can expect to pay for different goods and services in Bath (source: Numbeo, 2021).

ItemAverage price
Pint of beer£4
Regular cappuccino£2.98
Mid-range bottle of wine£8.75
Monthly public transport pass£70.30
Cinema ticket for one£12.25
Monthly gym subscription£41
1kg of local cheese£6.67

Property prices

The median house price in Bath is £325,000 – significantly more expensive than the average across England, which stands at £267,000 (source: Office for National Statistics, 2021).

Bath also has a ratio of earnings to house prices that sits comfortably in the top 20% most expensive local authorities in England and Wales (source: Office for National Statistics, 2021).

This is largely due to a decades-long trend of Londoners driving up property prices by buying homes in Bath and commuting into the capital, where they receive a higher salary than Bathonians.

If you want to buy a terrace house in Bath, the average price is £410,883. The average cost of a flat is lower, at £317,682 (source: rightmove, 2021).

If you want to rent a home in Bath, you can expect to pay £845 per month, on average – a little above the English average of £725 (sources: Zoopla and ONS, 2021 and 2020).

Council tax

The council tax bands in Bath for 2021/22 range from £1,020.22 (Band A) to £3,059.14 per year (Band H), depending on the type and location of your property.

There are discounts and exemptions available if you or someone who lives with you is disabled, receives certain benefits, or is a student or single person.

Electricity bills

You can expect your electricity bills in Bath to be a little bit above the UK average.

The average fixed cost of electricity in the South West is £87.15 per year, which is £3.06 higher than the UK average of £84.09.

And the average variable unit price of electricity in the South West is 17.9p per kWh, which is 0.7p above the UK average of 17.2p (source: NimbleFins, 2021).

Bath’s mix of Georgian and Roman architecture makes it uniquely pretty

Getting in and out of Bath

Bath is one of the worst places to drive in the UK, according to a 2020 survey by car dealership Robins & Day, because of the high levels of traffic congestion.

However, that could be about to change. In March 2021, Bath launched the first Clean Air Zone outside of London, which charges vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards.

If you’re driving a private car, you won’t be affected – but buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles, light goods vehicles, private hire vehicles, taxis, and vans are included. This should reduce congestion in the city.

Bristol Airport is the closest airport, located less than 20 miles from the centre of Bath – around a 45-minute drive. From there, you can fly to more than 100 destinations across the globe.

Public transport in Bath

If you’re looking to use public transport, Bath has you covered, with more than 30 bus routes supplied by First Bus.

A three-stop journey will cost you just £1.20, a longer journey is £2.20 if you use the First Bus app, and an unlimited day ticket is £4.30.

And if you’re travelling at night (7pm to 7am), you can get unlimited travel for just £3.30.

To help alleviate traffic congestion and avoid parking charges, you can also use one of Bath’s three Park and Ride sites.

Any day of the week, you can park your car for free at any of the Lansdown, Newbridge, and Odd Down sites, then wait a maximum of 15 minutes for a bus, and arrive in the city centre just 10 minutes later.

From Bath Spa railway station in the heart of the city, you can let yourself be whisked away to dozens of locations in the region, from Penzance in the South West all the way to Gatwick Airport, London Paddington, or Oxford.

Working in Bath

Bath has a large tourism and service industry – there are around 8,500 businesses in the local area, which employ roughly 92,000 people.

The city’s biggest employers are Wessex Water, manufacturing firm Rotork, and Redde plc, which provides legal services.

Bath also has a lower than average unemployment rate. It stood at 3.1% in the year from October 2019 to September 2020 – only 39% of local authorities in the UK have a lower rate (source: ONS, 2021).

Average salary in Bath

The average salary in Bath is £30,438 (source: ONS, 2020).

This is above the UK national average, which is £29,900 (source: ONS, 2021), which helps to counterbalance the city’s higher-than-average cost of living.

You can walk anywhere in Bath and have your breath taken away

The best neighbourhoods in Bath

Bath is home to beautiful architecture, more green spaces than you can count, and a couple of excellent universities. It’s also been the setting for films like Les Misérables and Persuasion, and TV shows like Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton.

Let’s have a look at three of our favourite areas to live in Bath.

Bear Flat

The ideal home for families

Average property price: £664,840

This middle-class area came second in The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live in 2020, and with good reason.

Bear Flat has excellent transport links, comprehensive broadband coverage, and numerous highly rated public and private schools.

It has a village feel, with plenty of scenic landscapes to walk, run, and cycle in – not least the beautiful Bath Skyline parkrun – while part of the area featured in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. What's more, you’d still be less than a mile from the city centre.

You can enjoy lovely local restaurants like Menu Gordon Jones, and every year on the spring bank holiday weekend, artists and craftspeople in the area run an Open Studios event, allowing you to view and buy some local creations.

There’s plenty to do with kids too, including a playground in Alexandra Park, at the top of Beechen Cliff, which offers breathtaking views of the entire city and surrounding area.

Larkhall

A wonderful area for young professionals

Average property price: £448,522

Most young professionals will love Larkhall’s bohemian spirit.

Explore unusual bookshops, independent restaurants, and Ironart of Bath, a traditional ironworkers that designs and restores gorgeous pieces.

You should also check out Rondo Theatre, a fringe theatre located in an old church hall that’s had a resident company since 1953, and you can get your fill of green spaces at Larkhall Recreation Ground.

Weston

A fantastic place for retirees

Average property price: £474,042

If you’re after a pleasant, relaxing life surrounded by nature, look no further than Weston.

You can go for a walk around farms or any of the gigantic green spaces that surround the north-west suburb, before stopping in for classic British fare at glorious eateries PieDay and Bath Roasts.

There’s a strong community spirit in the area, and it’s most on display in Eveleigh’s Café and the Old Crown pub, which has served locals for more than 300 years.

Things to do in Bath

Culture

We assume that your first port of call will be the unbelievably well-preserved Roman Baths, to embrace the opportunity to travel two millennia back in time. Unfortunately, you can’t go for a dip, but there are plenty of places for that in Bath.

After you’ve visited the city’s raison d'être, you can absorb its literary heritage by visiting the Jane Austen Centre, or even taking part in the Jane Austen Festival.

You can also go on tours that trace Jane Austen and Mary Shelley’s lives as they wrote some of their most famous works, or just visit the House of Frankenstein for a more visceral, teen-friendly experience.

Explore Bath’s multitude of fascinating museums, like the Museum of East Asian Art, Fashion Museum, Medical Museum, and Herschel Museum of Astronomy, named after the Bathonian astronomer who discovered Uranus, four moons, and infrared radiation.

Liven up your evening with a show at the Theatre Royal, or wander the grounds of Corsham Court, a stately home and art gallery that also features gorgeous gardens.

Relax

It’s called Bath, after all. Let all your worries melt away in any of the city’s many spas for an unbeatable hot spring experience.

Go to a day spa, visit a spa hotel, or simply go for a couple of relaxing hours after work.

You can sink into hot springs on a rooftop at Thermae Bath Spa, get chilled out surrounded by wonderful historical architecture at The Gainsborough Bath Spa, or enjoy a holistic spa experience at LUSH Spa Bath.

Bath nightlife

Bath may not be famous for its nightlife, but you can still have a great time at any number of establishments in the city.

One of the best clubs is Walcot House, a former bakery that’s retained its enormous space, and uses it to serve top-notch cocktails and beats.

If you’re after live music, check out Moles, which has hosted Annie Mac and The Killers, or if cocktails are your jam, visit Sub 13, which has the best drinks in Bath. There’s also a dancefloor, if you can’t help but boogie after your third chocolate-orange martini.

And if you want a comprehensive rundown of all the best venues in the city, DesignMyNight has you covered.