Beyond London

How to Plan the Perfect Bath Day Trip from London

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As you visit London, you’ll quickly get the sense that history is all around you. Roman history under your feet dates back two millennia, never mind the imprint of all the centuries since. Other parts of England show the land’s long history too back to the origins of Stonehenge 5,000 years ago and other relics of the Romans like the city of Bath. If the idea of exploring that history firsthand excites you, planning a Bath day trip is a great idea.

I’ve made the day trip to Bath from London; I took a bus tour that allowed me to explore the baths the city is named after, as well as several other sights in town. Based on my experiences, I’m confident that Bath is one of the best day trips from London and worthy of consideration if you have 1-2 days in your London itinerary for a journey outside the big city.

Bath Day Trip Hero

Though it often gets lumped in with other destinations outside London, Bath is worth its own time to explore. If you’re time-constrained when visiting London, you may want to do a Bath/Stonehenge/Windsor tour that packs a ton in – but if not, plan a Bath day trip and enjoy all this English city has to offer.

This post was originally published in June 2021 and was updated in April 2024.

Reasons to Plan a Bath Day Trip

Every city has something to offer, but if you ask me, Bath is the perfect day trip for history lovers. As the name suggests, Bath is known for its ancient Roman Baths – yep, the Romans even made it to Britannia. People can visit the Bath complex and learn about the history of Romans in England and enjoy a relaxing experience.

Bath is also known for its stunning Georgian architecture, characterized by elegant terraces and crescents. The Royal Crescent and The Circus are prime examples of this architectural style. Also, the city’s unique urban layout and beautiful buildings create a charming and picturesque atmosphere, making it a pleasure to wander through the streets and parks.

Things to Do for One Day in Bath

Bath Day Trip - Park in Bath

There are a number of fascinating things to do in Bath – and the best part is that you can fit almost all of them into a single-day trip to Bath. I’ve listed these things to do in Bath in order of popularity, and at the end of this post, I put together a proposed Bath day trip itinerary to help you finish planning.

1. The Roman Baths

It should come as no surprise that the most popular attraction and experience in Bath is… the Baths! These Roman Baths date back 2000 years and are a fascinating history/culture/wellness experience. Basically, there’s something at the Roman Baths that will appeal to all kinds of travelers.

The Bath compound is open to the public and contains both exhibits about the history of Romans in England and access to the baths – but you can’t actually go bathing in them! Instead, you can opt to try a drink of the spring water that feeds these baths. It’s supposed to be very good for you!

Tickets for the Roman Baths are £25.50 on weekdays and £27.50 on weekends for adults; timed tickets are currently required but this will likely change in the future. Beware that ticket prices go up in the high season.

If you’re interested in Roman history, be sure to check out the London Wall Walk and other Roman sites in London during your trip.

2. The Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent in Bath, England

As I mentioned at the top, architecture is one of the top reasons to visit Bath. The Royal Crescent is one of those popular Bath architectural sights, though it’s not one you necessarily need much time to see. This fascinating structure is comprised of 30 terraced houses in a sweeping arc; that’s really all it is! There’s a nice green space out in front where you can sit on a sunny day too.

3. The Circus and Assembly Rooms 

The Circus and Assembly Rooms are regarded as two of the main exponents of Georgian Architecture in Bath. 

Formerly known as The King’s Circus, The Circus is a historic ring of townhouses. It was the masterpiece of Bath’s renowned architect John Wood, the Elder. He started building The Circus in 1754 but unfortunately died that same year. Consequently, his son, John Wood, the Younger, took on the project and finished building The Circus in 1768. 

 But this wasn’t John Wood, the Younger’s last architectonic intervention. He then designed and built The Assembly Rooms 1769. These rooms served as fine entertainment venues for fashionable citizens, like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, who were habitués of the balls hosted at the Assembly Rooms. 

The Assembly Rooms are also home to the Fashion Museum, which I have expanded on in a different section below in case you want to visit. 

4. Thermae Bath Spa

Since I’ve already dashed your dreams of bathing in the Roman Baths, here’s a consolation: you can soak at Thermae Bath Spa. Claiming to be Britain’s “original thermal spa” (though one could argue the Romans got there first…) this modern version is a fabulous way to pass a few hours – and enjoy some great views of Bath in the process.

It’s £35 for admission to the Royal Bath (£40 on weekends) which includes two hours of soak time in the warm mineral waters, plus a towel, robe, and slippers.

5. Bath Abbey

Though England is home to many incredible churches, Bath Abbey is worth a visit whether you love architecture or views. Inside the Abbey, you can enjoy incredible High Gothic architecture, or you can climb the Abbey Tower as part of a guided tour. You’ll ascend 212 steps to the top of the tower, which offers sweeping views of Bath and the countryside.

6. The Pulteney Bridge

The Pulteney Bridge is not far from Bath Abbey. Designed by Robert Adam, this Grade I listed bridge over the River Avon has been part of Bath since 1774. It got its name from the Pulteney family, who actually decided to build the bridge to connect the family estate in Bathwick to the city of Bath. This stone bridge, which is one of the most photographed in the UK, boasts a Palladian style. One of its peculiarities is that the bridge has shops built across its full span on both sides. Stroll down the bridge and explore the quaint shops. 

The bridge with the river and side Georgian buildings create gorgeous scenery that’s definitely worth capturing with your camera. Take my advice and head to one of the river banks to get a full picture.

Visitors can also take a cruise from the bridge. These cruises meander along the River Avon toward the village of Bathhampton; it’s another opportunity to look at the city from a different angle. Here’s a great tour option to get you started if this sounds interesting.

7. Jane Austen Centre

Outside the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England
Photo credit: wwwuppertal via Flickr

Sticking in the historical trend, fans of Jane Austen will consider Bath a must-visit for the Jane Austen Centre. Though Austen herself was not a fan of Bath and wrote of it in satire often; the Centre is located here because her father moved the family there during her life, and both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are set in Bath.

In terms of visiting, you can learn about Austen’s life and work with the aid of a costumed guide, plus enjoy hands-on activities from her time and tea in the Regency Tea Room.

8. Fashion Museum

For an entirely different museum experience, Bath is home to the Fashion Museum. This museum blends history and culture through three centuries of Western history. You’ll see everything from 18th-century ballgowns and 20th-century platform shoes here; they also bring in visiting and temporary exhibits related to fashion and design.

This one’s a must-do if you love fashion, and will remind you that England has played its part in the fashion trends of the world, even if it’s not Milan or Paris.

9. Bath’s Buns

Photo credits: Bex Walton & HarshLight via Flickr

If you eat just one thing in Bath, it has to be a bun. Okay, maybe two things, as there are two distinct types of Bath buns. First, the traditional Bath Bun (try at The Bath Bun), a small, sweet roll with sugar and topped with raisins or dried currants. The alternative is the Sally Lunn Bun (available at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House), a larger plainer roll with less flash.

This article breaks down the difference between them; above you also see a braided cinnamon bun too – proof that there are other buns worth trying too!

10. Royal Victoria Park 

If you feel like taking a breath of fresh air, Royal Victoria Park is a lush green space with a botanical garden inside. It was opened in 1830 by Queen Victoria, who was only 11 years old at the time. The park overlooks the Royal Crescents and features tons of meandering paths that navigate and explore the beautiful grounds and scenery. The Botanical Gardens sits in the northwest area of the park and contains one of the finest collections of plants on limestone in the West country. There’s also a replica of a Roman Temple in the gardens. 

11. Bath Skyline Walk

This final thing to do on your Bath day trip is only an option if you rent a car to visit Bath. The Bath Skyline Walk is a six-mile circular trail located about two miles outside the city center. It takes about 3.5-4 hours to walk depending on your speed but offers panoramic views in every direction. It’s a great way to exercise and see more of Bath than the commonly trod tourist path if you’re spending a full day in Bath and have the transport to get there.

How to Get from London to Bath

Bath Day Trip - River View with Boats

There are four ways to get from London to Bath for a day trip:

  1. Train – It’s a 90-minute ride from Paddington Station in London to Bath Spa Station. Trains run roughly every 30 minutes and this is a cost-effective way to reach Bath.
  2. Car – If you choose to rent a car for your day trip to Bath, it’s a 2.5-hour drive.
  3. Bus – Buses run from Victoria Station to Bath every 60-90 minutes depending on the time of year. It’s a 3-4 hour drive from London to Bath.
  4. Tour – There are many guided tours that allow you to visit Bath for a day trip. These typically range from 10-14 hours and often combine Bath with another destination (like Stonehenge, which is a tour I took for my first visit to Bath).

In terms of travel time and cost, the best way to visit Bath is by train but this means you won’t have a car to explore more of the city during your day trip.

Guided Tours to Bath

If you’re unsure about arranging your own itinerary, there’s always the opportunity to book a guided tour. Below I’ve let you three Bath guided tours you can check for your trip.

  • Bath City Walking Tour: This tour is great if you want to hear the history of the city told by a local. Also, you can choose to take it in the morning or afternoon.
  • Sightseeing Boat Cruise: If you’d like something different, this boat cruise shows you the city from a different perspective. And everything looks even better with a glass of Prosecco, which is included!
  • The Bad of Bath Walking Tour: Fancy some English humor? This tour uncovers Bath’s “corrupt” side with a fun and humorous twist.

What About Visiting Stonehenge too?

For those who like to see as much as they can during their visit (you never know when you’ll be back), you can take a Stonehenge-Bath guided tour and see two World Heritage Sites in a single day. These places are a mere 35 miles apart, and you’ll see many companies include them in the same tour. (You can also visit Stonehenge as a separate day trip from London if you have the time in your itinerary.)

Most tours a 12 hours long, and spend a reasonable time at each location to see the highlights. The good news is that buses have allocated parking, know the routes well, and don’t waste much time getting around.

In case you wonder, while you can easily explore Stohenge in 90 minutes, Bath has so much to offer that an overnighter would be better – but the city center is pretty compact so a day trip is still worthwhile.

If a Stonehenge-Bath guided tour is something you’d like to do, here are my best options:

  • Stonehenge & Roman Baths Full-Day Trip: This great tour starts in Stonehenge and then continues to Bath – it offers plenty of time at each stop, including free time to explore Bath.
  • Stonehenge and Bath Full-Day Tour: The highlight of this tour is that you get to enjoy some free time in the city of Bath and it allows you to decide whether you want to include the Roman Baths as part of your tour.
  •  Full-Day Coach Tour from London: This tour is a bit shorter – 10 hours – but still lets you plenty of time to explore Bath.

Have questions about planning your own Bath day trip? Let me know in the comments!

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Valerie fell in love with London on her first trip to the city way back in 2011. Since then, she spent a year living in London and visits as often as she can (you can find her recent trip recaps here!). She launched LOMM in 2021 to help other travelers fall in love with her favorite city on earth.

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