Bath is such an easy day trip or weekender from London that it’s a must do for any Londoner.
Bath is a gorgeous city. The exquisite golden coloured buildings give off such a sense of regalness. The tiny little shops and pubs standing side-by-side on little cobbled stoned laneways make it feel completely historic, like you’ve stepped back into time into and expect to hear ye olde English, before connecting back into the larger high streets for gourmet food, shopping and of course the must sees of Bath.
In under two and a half hours on the train, Bath is the perfect day trip for any Londoner. Having done this myself in mid-February 2017 I’m sharing my experience and tips on how to do a day trip from London to Bath.
How to do a day trip from London to Bath
Return travel from London to Bath
My day trip from London to Bath started out from Waterloo at 9:20am on a Saturday and in a speedy 2 hours and 26 minutes—the perfect amount of time for catch up chats with the girls over a Pret coffee—I was on the other side at the Bath Spa Station.
Travelling back home to London from Bath took slightly longer at 2.5 hours, thanks to a slow train up in front of us, and this time I arrived in at Paddington.
I used trainline.com to buy my return tickets which cost a very reasonable £39.50 return.
What Rebecca Loves Travel Tip: Did you know you might be eligible for a National Rail Card? The card gives you up to 1/3 off train travel across the UK.
Where to eat in Bath
After a very easy and pleasant 10 minute stroll from the Bath Spa Station you will find yourself in the city centre. As we had spent the morning on the train, our first point of call was lunch rather than sight seeing and here are a few places I suggest for a meal in Bath:
Hall & Woodhouse
We had lunch and dinner here as the city was so packed that day we couldn’t get into the pub we wanted to go to.
In the end we were not at all disappointed. The food was tasty and priced really well; the decor was amazing—really eclectic but didn’t look overdone or pointless; the staff were super friendly and even remembered us on our repeat visit for dinner; and the atmosphere was nice and for a Saturday buzzy but not over powering like a pub can be.
Lunch was sandwiches, hots chips and a glass of wine each. I had the fish finger sandwich which was really delicious, and washed it down with a big glass of Sauvignon Blanc—I was in heaven.
My new mantra: believe it’s summer, act like it’s summer (hello, fish and white wine!), and summer will be here.
For dinner we all had the shepherd’s pie, which was actually made with confit duck not lamb. I was worried about a pie made with duck meat—you only get so much meat off a duck and it’s so easy to over cook—but the portion size was huge and it was lean and tender. With dinner we enjoyed a lovely red, so much so we had two glasses.
The Raven is a pub that I came across when planning our trip that I really wanted to try.
The menu has either pies or not pies and both come in at under £10. Such a bargain when another pub wanted £14 for a pie—surely I’m not the only one that thinks £14 for a pie is ludicrous?!
After multiple failed attempts at lunch and dinner to find a table in the small pub, we cut our loses and went to Hall & Woodhouse, which I cannot fault.
Sally Lunn Buns
As a Bath legend this was on our list of places to stop in to and try. Through the cafe window we could see what the Sally Lunn bun was and it wasn’t quite what I imagined.
I had in mind a cream bun, but it looked like a large scone, so we decided it wasn’t for us and that we would rather head to dinner and grab a pie and a wine.
If I was to go to Bath for a full weekend then I would make the time at morning or afternoon to try this with a cup of tea.
The number 5 thing to do in Bath on TripAdvisor is a fudge store, can you believe that?! We popped in here as it’s so central you kind of can’t miss it—diagonal the entrance to the Roman Baths in the Abbey Churchyard. Trying the delicious free sample, we planned on heading back before the end of the day for train snacks, but instead we had wine number two with dinner 🙂
The Pump Room
At the top of my list for my second trip to Bath, the Pump Room is connected to the Roman Baths and does an exquisite looking afternoon tea. If you stay for a weekend, absolutely do this, for a day trip however I just can’t see how you can fit lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in and sightsee—and Lord knows I tried!
What to see in Bath
A ten minute stroll from the train station and you’re right in to the city centre of Bath. With approximately three hours of sight seeing time—lunch and dinner need time to be enjoyed 😛 —we still saw all the must see sights and did it all on foot.
While the Roman Baths are right in the city, as is the Bath Abbey, we saved both of these for last in the hopes that mid-afternoon would be quieter.
The Circus and Royal Crescent
Walking north for another 10 minutes, we walked past the Jane Austen Centre and made our way to The Circus and Royal Crescent.
We didn’t go to the Jane Austen Centre, I know, what were we doing in Bath then?! We just didn’t have time and full disclaimer, I’ve never read a Jane Austen book…
There is a free In the footsteps of Jane Austen walking tour in Bath, that Bath Tourism have provided. For any fans, maybe try it?
After the Royal Crescent we headed south through the park just below and then west as we crissed crossed laneways and cobbled stoned streets before we arrived at the River Avon and Pulteney Bridge 10 minutes later.
If you cross to the other side of the bridge, there is a pier where you can take a boat ride along the River. It’s a one hour return journey and you can buy tickets at the pier. Because we were only there for a day—and spent most of it eating and drinking—we didn’t have time for this. The views from under the Pulteney Bridge are meant to be amazing though, so might be worth making the time if you can.
From the Bridge we walked down the River past a gorgeous park and then to the right through more cobbled stoned streets to wind up at the Bath Abbey. Maybe another 10 minutes spent walking—this city is beyond easy to get around.
We really wanted to go up into the Abbey Tower at sunset, so we went got there before 5pm, unfortunately the last tour up the Tower is at 4:30pm.
The Roman Baths
The star of the show. At £15.50 for a ticket we were all a little, for what?! To see a bath?! but actually there’s a hole audio tour with loads of history and artefacts before you even get to the bath.
Included in your ticket as well is a taste of the spa water, containing 43 minerals, a nice flavour isn’t one of those minerals. It was warm and tasted like it had spent a lot of time in the pipes. A small swig was enough for me.
Other sites in Bath
I can’t speak to these, as I didn’t go, but some other sites in the town that are meant to be quite good:
- Jane Austen everything
- Fashion Museum
- Thermae Bath Spa—I would 100% go here on visit number two and if I had of gone for a weekend on visit number 1 I would have gone.
- Various other museums
My day trip from London to Bath cost me £40 for the return train ride and entrance fee to the Roman Baths. Add on food which was another £40—£15 lunch and a wine and £25 for dinner and two glasses of wine.
What Rebecca Loves Travel Tip: Bath, or at least our restaurant didn’t charge 12.5% service tax like London does.
All in, my day trip from London to Bath cost me £80. I think that’s quite good to travel to a new city, sightsee all day and eat two meals, with wine, at a nice restaurant.
Obviously, if you take a packed lunch, find the cheapest weekend to travel for train tickets and don’t pay entrance fees you can of course get that cost down.
I loved my day trip to Bath, made even better by the February sunshine. It was such an easy day trip from London I’m so glad I did it.
Have you been to Bath? I would love to hear about your trip in the comments. And if you have any questions about your day trip from London to Bath, just ask. R x