The charming city of Bath is a unique city to visit in England. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was originally a spa town in the 1st century and settled by the Romans. The charming city of Bath is an easy day trip from several popular destinations in the UK including London. So wherever you choose to start, you can follow our best day trip to Bath itinerary to make sure to catch all the highlights.
The history of the city of Bath, England dates back to approximately 60 AD when the Romans first built the baths and temple around the hot springs that became known as Aquae Sulis. The town of Bath is, of course, most recognized for the ancient Roman baths. However, what you see is a replica of what was once there.
Although the famous Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century, the town did not become the cultural center that it is today until the 17th century which is the Georgian Period. It was during this period that many people began to praise the powers of the healing waters for which Bath is known. It is now part of the National Trust.
Getting there by train
When starting in London to travel to Bath, the best way to get there is by train. The Paddington Station is the most popular train station for traveling to Bath from London. There are trains departing and arriving all day from London Paddington to Bath Spa station and back again. Ticket prices for a roundtrip between London and Bath can cost from $100-$150 so the best way to figure out the time and cost of your journey is to jump on-line and see all the options available. It is best to book tickets in advance on-line.
It will take you about an hour and a half to arrive to Bath Spa station from London by train. Remember that you want to have plenty of time to spend on your day trip to Bath itinerary so be sure to book your train tickets early in the morning. Once you arrive you will find that Bath is a compact city and can easily explored on foot.
Getting there by car
If arriving by car then it is best to park in one of the three “Park and Ride” lots and taking the shuttle bus into the city centre. There are three options:
- Lansdown: North of the city
- Newbridge: West of the city
- Odds Down: South of the city
There are hundreds of spots at each of these parking centers and it is free to park there. You only need to pay for the shuttle which is less than $5 to ride. The shuttles come by at least every 15 minutes so this is a great way to get to Bath if you are arriving by car.
There are many important Bath attractions to see. Here is our list of historic structures that must not be missed:
The Roman Baths: This is what most people think of when they think of the city of Bath. However, the structure that is seen is really a more recent building, dating from the 19th century rather than the original ancient bath. The water seen in the bath is actual thermal water from the natural spring. But the water is not fit for swimming. A girl actually contracted meningitis in the late 1970’s and died after swimming in the water. The woman seen swimming below is doing so illegally and happened to jump in on the day I visited in 2019. Police took her after she swam for two hours.
- The Bath Abbey: This beautiful abbey was founded in the 7th century. It is built in the perpendicular Gothic style. It is adjacent to the Roman Baths and adds beauty to the backdrop of photos. Make sure to spend quality time inside to see the impressive vaulted fan ceiling.
Sights of Interest
- Pulteney Bridge: Built in the 18th century in the Palladian style, the bridge is unique due to the shops built on both sides. With its beautiful arches and interesting weir in the foreground, the Pulteney bridge is so picturesque that it is frequently photographed. It is not to be missed on any day tour of Bath.
The Royal Crescent: The Royal Crescent is one of the best examples of beautiful Georgian architecture anywhere in the U.K. It was built in the 18th century and over the course of time has had many famous residents. It is still used as housing today. The entire building is so unique that it is often depicted in shows, including the popular show Bridgerton. It is worth the effort to see this lovely building.
The Pump Room: The Pump Room is Bath elegance at its finest. Here you can revel in an afternoon tea or a champagne brunch while enjoying the spa water from the fountain. The Pump Room has been a Bath staple for two centuries and has been enjoyed by the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
Things to Do
Besides the popular historic sights already mentioned, there are many things to do during your day trip to Bath itinerary. For one thing you can find an expert guide to take you on a Bath tour. Though to be honest, Bath is such a compact city and easy to navigate that you can easily tour it on your own. You can easily explore the elegant Georgian streets at your own pace. You can take a short walk and stroll along the River Avon.
Or you can gaze at the Assembly Rooms in the city centre. These elegant rooms were once the center of high society in England where one would go to see and be seen. The rooms are now open for public viewing. Literary fans can visit the Jane Austen Centre to see what it was like to live in Bath from Jane Austen’s view. When you are done in the Centre, you can enjoy a lovely afternoon tea before you leave.
Fashion Museum is a must for all fashion and history enthusiasts. It boasts a world class collection of historical outfits. It is also widely known for contemporary dress as well. And finally, a trip to Bath wouldn’t be complete without a visit to an actual spa. Thermae Bath Spa is a classic that is the only day spa to use Bath’s natural thermal waters. You can book a message or a facial. Or you can book an entire spa package that will allow you to bathe in the thermal waters.
If you only have time for a one day trip to Bath it will be difficult to see the nearby sights in the area. If you can spare an extra day or two then there are many other places of interest to see nearby. For those who are fans of English royalty, Windsor Castle is an easy stop to make between Bath and London. Originally built in the 11th century, it is still a working royal castle and is the preferred residence of Queen Elizabeth II.
A tour of nearby Stonehenge would be a great option if you have free time to spare in the area around Bath. It is best to book your tickets in advance on-line. Tickets cost approximately $25 a person or $60 for a family of 5. In addition to seeing the famous stone circle, there is also a museum with plenty of exhibitions to explore so plan to spend a couple hours here at the least to get the full experience.
The Cotswolds are designated “An Area of Natural Beauty” and is easily accessible from Bath. My husband and I stayed at the Swan Inn in the lovely town of Bibury. The English countryside is the highlight of the Cotswolds. The rolling hills are dotted with picturesque little towns and the quaint homes are made of the famous honey colored Cotswolds stones.
In Bibury you can see the famous “Arlington Row” which is a row of weaver’s cottages that is said to be the most photographed houses in England. This pretty little row of houses is even featured on the inside of UK passports.
Bath is a great place to visit. Make sure to follow our day trip to Bath Itinerary to see all the best things that the city has to offer. Even if you only have one day to spend in Bath your are sure to have a good time.
Have you been to Bath? Which of our recommendations have you done? Which of our recommendations are you going to try? Do you disagree with any of our suggestions? What are we missing? Join the conversation and share any tips, questions or additional thoughts in the comments!
For more travel ideas be sure to check out our other posts!