Bath is a beautiful historical town with a vibrant culture and a unique architectural style, different from any other city in the United Kingdom. If you want to experience one of the oldest towns in England, you should plan a day trip to Bath from London. The city is a haven, not only because of its Roman heritage, but also because of all the independent boutique shops, restaurants using local produce, and an array of interesting museums. Furthermore, when you are done exploring, you can relax in the Bath Spa rooftop thermal water pool.
The fast train connections make Bath very easily accessible from London, taking less than 1.5 hours.[ez-toc]
How to get to Bath from London
Bath makes a wonderful day trip from London by train or car. There are hourly trains leaving London Paddington Station towards Bath, reaching the beautiful Georgian town in one hour and twenty minutes.
If you choose to drive to Bath from London, the average journey takes around two and a half hours, depending on the traffic. Parking in Bath tends to be on the expensive side, with an average of £15/day (12 hours). The best places to park are either Avon Street or Charlotte Street, both car parks are central and have hundreds of spaces.
Highlights of a Perfect Day Trip to Bath from London:
- Walk on the Roman’s footsteps at the Ancient Baths
- Experience the city from the river
- Gaze at the marvellous architecture of the Bath Abbey
- End the day in Bath relaxing in a thermal rooftop pool
The Best Things to Do in Bath in One Day
One day in Bath is surely not enough to explore everything the city has to offer, but it’s enough to give you a taster and make you want to return for longer. There are so many interesting things to do in Bath, depending on what kind of traveller you are. The entire city of Bath is a Unesco Heritage site, so if you are a culture seeker, you will love walking around the perfectly preserved Georgian streets.
Visit the Roman Baths
The Roman Baths are probably the number one attraction that people travel to Bath for. The ancient site was built in 70AD and it is one of the best-preserved monuments of its kind in the world. It is not hard to imagine how it used to look in the past, because it looks exactly the same now. The hot springs reaching a temperature of 46 degrees Celsius are filling the pool just as they did 2000 years ago.
The Roman Baths however are not just the pool, but also an extensive site with an interactive museum, where you will experience the daily lives of the Aquae Sulis residents back in the Roman times, walking on the same stone slabs as they did. Take your time and let the audio guide lead your imagination, it is a fascinating visit.
Cross the Pulteney Bridge
If the first thought that comes to your mind when you see the Pulteney Bridge is the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, you are on to something. Robert Adam, the architect of Pulteney Bridge was actually inspired by the famous Italian landmark when he created this Bath masterpiece. The Pulteney Bridge is a prime example of Georgian architecture, and it is one of only four bridges in the world with shops on both sides. It is also one of the romantic places in Bath, so if you are travelling with your loved one, crossing over it is a must. Why not even have lunch at one of the cafes on the bridge which overlook the river?
Check out the Bath Abbey
With a history of over 13 centuries, the Bath Abbey is a prime example of Gothic architecture and a symbol of the city of Bath. The Abbey was built in the 7th century as a Benedictine Monastery, enlarged and restored several times over the years. The Abbey received its cathedral status in 1244, becoming one of the most important churches in the area.
One of the elements that make visiting Bath Abbey a must during your Bath day trip, is the fan vault over the nave, made from local Bath stone. The fan vault is a Gothic architecture style specific to England, in which the same curved ribs are spaced at an equal distance to each other to resemble a fan.
Bath Abbey also features delicate stained-glass windows and honey coloured columns, statues of Angels climbing to heaven, a peal of ten bells and two organs, which are used in concerts, especially around holiday time in the winter.
The entrance to Bath Abbey is free of charge, but donations are appreciated to maintain the monument.
See the City from the Water
A great way to explore Bath is from the water, on a half hour river cruise. The small boats leave from Pulteney Bridge along the Avon Canal, offering beautiful views of the Abbey and the Georgian architecture of Bath.
This is a year-round activity, as the boats are adapted for all weather conditions: an open roof in summer so you can enjoy the sunshine, and an on board coal fire in winter to keep you warm.
Take a walking tour of Bath
There are quite a few walking tours that you can take in Bath, to learn more about this fascinating city and its history. The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides runs free daily walking tours, taking you on a stroll around the centre of Bath, passing by the most popular landmarks such as the Circle, the Royal Crescent or the Abbey Church Yard.
There are also private tours which can be customised to your liking. Run by locals, they show you the city off the beaten path, which is a good choice if you have limited time on your one day trip to Bath.
For a more fun approach, check out the Bad and Bath Walking tour, a humorous guided walk filled with tales of the “most sinful and depraved place in the country”. Curious? Check it out here.
Walk Along the Royal Crescent
You have probably seen the Royal Crescent in photos before, and let me tell you, it is much bigger and much more impressive in real life. The Royal Crescent is a sweeping arch of Georgian townhouses, built with honey-coloured stone, which is so specific to the nearby Cotswolds.
The designer of these homes, John Wood, thought of a way to create that countryside feel whilst living in the city, so he created the beautiful lawn that is today a very popular picnic or resting spot for locals.
Look at the Panorama of Bath from Alexandra Park
One of the off the beaten path places in Bath is Alexandra Park, located just outside the city centre. The park is not only a beautiful natural oasis, it’s also a great viewpoint over the entire city of Bath and the surrounding rolling hills. It is well worth the detour if you want to see the city from a different angle.
Relax at Thermae Bath Spa
There is no better way to end your day trip to Bath from London than at the gorgeous Thermae Bath Spa complex, which features a relaxing hot rooftop pool with panoramic views over the city. The spa offers different packages, some including treatments as well as light bites in their restaurant. The Twilight package is particularly interesting because, let’s be honest, what’s better than watching the sunset from a thermal pool after a day of extensive walking?
You can book your spa experience on the Thermae Bath Spa website, by clicking here.
Skip the line:
When you only have one day in Bath you don’t want to waste time queuing, so try to book online tickets for the attractions you will want to visit. Here are a few tours that you might find useful, which include a guide and skip the line tickets:
Where to Eat in Bath:
Same Same but Different
This intimate tapas restaurant is great to visit with friends because it serves small dishes to share between you over a good glass of wine. I was introduced to this restaurant by a friend of mine who lives in Bath, when we went there for a girl’s getaway to the city. The food was really good, with Spanish inspired tapas dishes. The restaurant also caters for vegans, with plenty of choices on the menu. You can check out their current menu and make a booking on their website.
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