Did you know England’s capital city of London receives approximately 30 million visitors per year? Whilst London holds a small piece of my heart as my home for the last 10 years, there is so much more to see if you are travelling internationally to visit the UK.
A city that deserves a lot more attention is the historic and quaint city of Bath, a city which I myself only visited for the first time last year. Bath is close enough to London that you can arrive in less than 3 hours, and a great location to experience a little bit of English life away from the capital. In writing this, my goal is to get more of that 30 million trickling through some other gorgeous parts of the country.
Bath has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the late 80s and is full of history – known for its Roman built baths, hot springs, medieval heritage and Georgian architecture. Whilst we were there for just one day and night, we wandered around enough to get a good feel of the city and what it offers its visitors. For those that plan on spending a couple of weeks in London and fancy a day excursion, here’s a complete Bath day trip itinerary that will tick all your boxes!
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- A Day Trip to Bath From London
- Where to Stay in Bath
- A Bath Day Trip Itinerary
A Day Trip to Bath From London
If you are wondering ‘how far is Bath from London anyway?!’, the answer is a mere 97 miles west! This makes Bath one of the best day trips from London. To add to that, 24 hours is all you need to see the major attractions and to get a feel of the place. Assuming London is your starting point, there are 4 ways to get to Bath and the travel time varies depending on your choice of transport and how much you would like to spend.
The easiest and quickest cost-effective way to get to Bath is by train. Direct Great Western Railway trains leave from London Paddington and could get you to Bath in 1 hour and 23 minutes. Depending on which route you take, you may be required to change at either Westbury or Swindon. Even if travelling on an indirect route, the journey shouldn’t take longer than 2 hours.
Taking the train is one of the fastest ways to get to Bath, but it may be more costly at certain times than it is at others. Travelling at off-peak times will always be cheapest, however these may come with some restrictions. Find the train that is right for you by checking out thetrainline.com. Note: the Bath Spa train station is the principal station serving the city of Bath.
We decided to drive to Bath from Central London, although there are frequent trains from Paddington Station. The drive took a lot longer than expected, partly because we made a Starbucks stop and partly because of the crazy amount of traffic. It should have taken 2.5 hours but it ended up being closer to 4.
My first tip if you are planning on spending one day in Bath is either head out early in the morning, or the night before. Remember that a lot of Londoners actually try and get out of the city at the weekend and in general, there will always be a traffic jam on the way out on Friday evening/Saturday morning and a traffic jam on the way in on Sunday evening.
Travelling by car though, could also allow you to detour at some other places worth seeing, like the town of Windsor and Stonehenge.
I’ll be honest here, there really is no advantage in travelling to Bath by bus other than to keep the cost low. The journey will take north of 3 hours (and maybe even longer if stuck in traffic) and if you are pressed for time, the train is definitely advisable and more comfortable.
That said, if your preferred mode of travel is indeed the bus, you can catch a National Express bus from Victoria Coach Station for as little as £5!
And last but definitely not least, for those that value time and comfort over cost, there is always the option of catching a 40 to 50-minute helicopter ride. The cost for this is approximately £4,000 each way, but if you are looking to splurge on a special occasion then this might be for you.
Where to Stay in Bath
For those that do plan to spend just one day in Bath and would like to spend a night in town before exploring, here are some of the most luxurious places to stay to ensure your Bath trip gets off to the best start.
A Bath Day Trip Itinerary
At this point, you know how you are getting there and where you are staying if you choose to stay the night. It’s time to dive right in and discover all of the best places to visit in Bath. Note: since many of the main attractions open at 10am, make sure you get a big breakfast at your hotel before heading out!
The first and most obvious point of call are the Roman Baths in the centre of town. The Roman Baths open at 10am each day, and you’ll want to make sure you get there before the queues start. Entrance costs £20 per adult and you can get a 10% discount by booking online the day before.
After entering, you are given an audio guide for your visit and it’s incredibly fascinating to hear how the Romans lived all those years ago. The Roman Baths are below street level and have four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and finds from Roman Bath. I have to warn readers that the Roman Baths receive around 1.3 million visitors a year so expect them to be crowded – especially if you visit at the weekend.
All in all, we spent about an hour and a half looking around before moving on. Lastly, please remember that you cannot swim here! For those that do want to swim…keep reading.
Thermae Bath Spa
To experience a traditional bath for yourself, head over to Thermae Bath Spa about a minute’s walk away from the Roman Baths … just be sure to book in advance as this place is the only natural thermal spa in Britain and tickets for their packages go fast! Prices can be found here. Alternatively you can always wait in the queue, however it may take some time before you’re up. Once you’re in, treat yourself to a swim in the rooftop pool or experience the ice chamber, infrared room or steam rooms.
Whilst not exactly the same, it’s an opportunity to experience what the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago. Interestingly, the source of the thermal water remains unknown and it is said to have healing properties. The thermal waters contain over 42 different minerals, the most concentrated being sulphate, calcium and chloride.
Once you’re done from the Thermae Bath Spa, take a 5 minute walk over to Bath Abbey. It’s worth checking out just to admire the impressive architecture. The church is still active and whilst I did not venture inside, you are able to take a guided tour should you have the time. At the time of writing, tickets cost £8 and tours last around 45 to 50 minutes.
Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House and Museum
Sally Lunn’s is one of the oldest houses in Bath. The first ‘Bath bunn’ was created within the kitchen museum by the legendary young Huguenot baker Sally Lunn. The Eating House is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, and offers authentic regional English Food. You may want to pick up a Bath bunn and try it out for yourself!
The Royal Crescent
It’s no secret that Bath has some of the most photogenic scenery in England. If you’re looking to see and take some beautiful images of stunning Georgian architecture, then walking the Royal Crescent should be high on your list. Built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the Younger, the Royal Crescent is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK and overlooks a beautifully manicured lawn. Very impressive and just a 10-minute walk away from both Bath Abbey and Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House.
The Jane Austen Centre
A stop for the book lovers, the Jane Austen Centre is located about 10 minutes away from Royal Crescent. Jane Austen was based in Bath from 1801 to 1806 and it was the location where she wrote two of her books – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The centre is located in an old Georgian townhouse and it tells the tale of Jane Austen’s time in Bath and how it influenced her writing. The admission price for adults is £12.
Once you’re ready from exploring and are wanting to wind down before dinner, wander over to Pulteney Bridge that crosses River Avon – one of the things I enjoyed seeing most on this day trip. Pulteney Bridge sits above a horseshoe-shaped dam that was built in the 1700s and despite all the visitors, it’s actually a really serene and peaceful place to just stand and watch the water.
To help with that, the bridge itself is closed to traffic, with the exception of buses, taxis and cycles. We were lucky to visit at twilight, when the sky was starting to turn intimately dark and it was soon time for dinner. The bridge is surrounded by loads of different restaurants and bars, so you’ll have plenty of spots to choose from.
For those that would rather explore the town with a guide – you’re in luck! The Mayor of Bath Honorary Guides offer a free, 2 hour walking tour of Bath twice daily. It includes all the main points of historical and architectural interest. I’m not normally a fan of free tour guides that rely on tips at the end, but this is not how Bath Honorary Guides operate. They are paid by the local council and are full of knowledge about the city that you can be sure is factual. Since they are already paid by the council, they don’t expect tips at the end either!
Hopefully this short Bath itinerary has inspired you to visit soon. If spending longer than 24 hours in Bath, you may even want to consider a day trip to Bristol from Bath’s city centre.
Are you planning on visiting Bath soon? Or even better, have you visited already? What were your favourite places to see? Share them in the comments!
Whilst in Bath, I had the pleasure of indulging in an all-vegan tasting menu at what has become one of my favourite restaurants – Acorn. You might want to give it a read!