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How To Have The Perfect Day Trip To Bath, England

Last updated on May 5th, 2024 at 08:21 pm

The beautiful city of Bath in the county of Somerset is one of the most visited cities in England…and it’s easy to see why! A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, Bath’s long history, stunning Georgian architecture and natural beauty make it a destination with something for everyone.

I recently made a day trip to Bath from London and although time was limited, there is still much you can experience.

I’m going to set out all you need to know, how to get there and what to see so that you too can have a perfect day trip to Bath.

Is a Day Trip to Bath Worth It?

Yes! A day trip to Bath will give you enough time to see the major sites in the city. Obviously, if you want to spend longer in Bath and perhaps visit the surrounding area, then there are plenty of accommodation options, however one day in Bath will generally be enough time to see and experience what the city has to offer.

Getting to Bath from London

There are several ways to get to Bath from London:

Train

The quickest way to get to Bath from London will be by train. Great Western Railway trains depart from London Paddington Station and arrive into Bath Spa Station about 80 minutes later. It’s a short walk from Bath Spa Station to the city centre. Taxis and local buses do depart from outside the Station however.

I travelled by train and would recommend this as the best option. Leaving early/mid morning and returning in the (early) evening will give you a good amount of time in Bath.

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Coach

Bus services leave regularly from London Victoria Coach Station and arrive at Bath Spa Station. Although priced more cheaply than a train ticket, the fastest journey time is 2 hours and 45 minutes so this will eat into your time in Bath.

Check National Express for bus routes and pricing.

Car

Driving to Bath from London will allow you to be in control of the time you have in the city, subject of course to traffic jams! Bath does have 3 Park & Ride schemes to enable visitors to avoid traffic, parking charges and Bath’s Clean Air Zone – click here for more information.

A Bit of History

Bath is best known for its hot springs and the baths constructed in the city when the Romans arrived around 60 AD. It’s worth mentioning however that the hills in the region were home to human beings during the Mesolithic period and several Bronze Age barrows have been found in the area.

The Romans named Bath Aquae Sulis and were there for several hundred years. Over time, Bath became an important centre for the wool industry and then, in the 18th century, it developed into a spa city. Today, tourism is one of Bath’s main industries, with two key periods in English history – Roman and 18th century Georgian – being the reasons why.

Bath at Christmas

I visited Bath in November 2023, just in time for the start of the Bath Christmas Market. I understand that the 2024 Bath Christmas market dates have been announced and the market will open on 28 November and finish on 15 December. Throughout the city there are little wooden chalets selling everything from food & drink to ceramics & jewelry.

The lights and Christmas decorations really do add to what is already a lovely atmosphere. Christmas lovers may therefore want to consider a day trip to Bath Christmas market!

Things to do on a Day Trip to Bath

If you are planning a day trip to Bath, then here are some of the top things to do:

1. Visit the Roman Baths

At the top of any Bath itinerary is a visit to the Roman Baths. Although built in the 1st century, the Roman Baths were not discovered and explored until the late 19th century and opened to the public in 1897.

Image of the Great Bath within the Roman Baths. This is a must see during a day trip to Bath.

At the heart of the Roman Baths is the sacred spring next to which the Romans built a Temple dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva. The mineral-rich waters from the sacred spring supplied the bath house which included the iconic Great Bath. Lined with 45 sheets of lead, the Great Bath is 1.6m deep.

Image from the Roman Baths. This is a must see during a day trip to Bath.

Today, you can follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans and walk around the Great Bath. In addition, you will see the sacred spring, the Temple Courtyard and learn about the bath house and the people who used it.

Here are a few tips for visiting:

  • Ticket prices are seasonal and depend on when you visit. My ticket on a November weekday was £18 (concessions available) rising to £20.50 for a weekend/Bank Holiday. In June 2024, prices will be £29 (weekend/Bank Holiday) and £27 (weekday) – check the official site for exact ticket pricing
  • Allow 1.5 – 2 hours for your visit
  • Go early! By mid-afternoon there was a long queue to enter
  • If you want to walk around the Great Bath and take photos without others in the background, head there first. You can retrace your steps back into the museum afterwards
  • Don’t forget to taste the spa water….from the dedicated spa water fountain at the end of your visit!
Image overlooking the Great Bath within the Roman Baths. This is a must see during a day trip to Bath.

2. View the Pulteney Bridge and Weir

Pulteney Bridge spans the River Avon and is one of the most recognisable sights in Bath. The bridge was constructed to connect the city with land owned by the Pulteney family. Construction of the bridge took 5 years and was completed in 1774. Pulteney Bridge is unusual in that it has shops built across it. 

The bridge and weir are very close to the city centre so be sure to add them to your Bath day trip itinerary!

3. Visit Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey is a former Benedictine Abbey dating from the 7th century. The current church on site however dates from the 1600s. The Abbey dominates the city centre and, if that wasn’t enough, it’s right next to the Roman Baths so you can’t miss it!

The fan vaulted ceiling is particularly beautiful as are the stained glass windows. There is also a really good interactive Discovery Centre which opened earlier in 2023.

Here are a few tips for visiting:

  • Tickets cost £7.50 (concessions available) and audio guides are £3.50.
  • A festive tour operated between 23 November 2023 – 9 December 2023 and cost £15. Climbing the 212 steps up the tower with a guide – a hot chocolate or mulled wine were included! Details of a similar tour in 2024 are not yet confirmed
  • Allow 30 minutes for a visit (longer for a guided tour)
  • Pick up a free leaflet when entering the Abbey as this gives a good amount of information and includes a plan of the Abbey
  • The Abbey holds special events during the Christmas season including ticketed services and shoppers carols
  • Check the official site for up to date visitor information

4. Admire the Royal Crescent

One of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK is Bath’s Royal Crescent. Built between 1767 and 1774, it comprises a row of 30 terraced houses. The Crescent is 150m long and at number 1 you will find the Royal Crescent Museum, a house museum exploring life in Georgian Bath. At numbers 15 and 16, you will find the 5 star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. 

In front of the Crescent is a ha-ha, a ditch where the inner side is faced with stone and vertical and the outer side slopes and is turfed. In this way there is an invisible partition between the upper and lower lawns. The Crescent has featured in some films and TV shows including The Duchess and, more recently, Bridgerton. 

It’s a 10/15 minute walk from the city centre and worth the walk.

Image of the Royal Crescent, a must see during a day trip to Bath.

5. Eat at Sally Lunns

Dating from around 1482, Sally Lunn’s is one of the oldest houses in Bath. Today, you can dine here on one of the city’s most famous delicacies, the Sally Lunn bun!

Legend has it that Sally Lunn, a Huguenot refugee, arrived in Bath in 1680 after escaping persecution in France. She started making the bun which quickly became, and remains to this day, very popular. They can be eaten with either sweet or savoury toppings.

I had the chicken and ham hock trencher and it was delicious! Diners can also enter the old bakery museum next to the dining room for free. The kitchen museum is believed to originally have been Sally Lunn’s bakery.

Check the restaurant site here for dining information including menus.

6. Wander Through Royal Victoria Park

I love to wander around the old streets of historic cities, there is often much to see down narrow alleys. In Bath, after walking to the Royal Crescent, I turned off into Royal Victoria Park.

The Park is located not far from the city centre and its 57 acre size makes for a nice break from the crowds. I noticed also that an ice skating rink had opened for the winter season giving locals and visitors alike another way to get into the Christmas spirit!

If You Have More Than One Day In Bath

If you are thinking of extending your stay to beyond one day or you’re looking for some alternative ways to spend a day in Bath, then you might want to consider adding the following to your itinerary:

  • visiting the Jane Austen Centre
  • spending time at the Prior Park Landscape Garden 
  • taking the hop on hop off bus to sightsee rather than walking
  • having afternoon tea at The Pump Room Restaurant
  • joining a walking tour
  • enjoying a spa experience
  • visiting the Assembly Rooms
  • shopping!

Final Thoughts

The beautiful city of Bath England is within easy reach of London (and other UK cities) and is a perfect choice for a day trip. Stunning architecture, history dating back centuries and the natural beauty that comes from being located in the Avon Valley, mean Bath has something for everyone, young and old.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to visit Bath and given you enough suggestions to create your own perfect 1 day itinerary.

If you need further help in planning this or any other trip, do check my Resources page here.

If you’re looking for further day trip ideas, then read my post about the Royal town of Windsor here or my post about the historic city of Canterbury here.

Disclaimer – Information correct at the time of writing but do check before visiting.

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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