Bath is one of the most unique destinations in the UK and located around 115 miles from London. This makes Bath an ideal destination for a day trip from London.
Since I live in London I have been to Bath a few times in different seasons. My favourite time to visit Bath is December when its popular Christmas market takes place, and the streets are illuminated by Christmas lights. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter when you visit Bath, this city is beautiful in every season.
Getting to Bath from London is easy, you can reach this city by taking a 90-minute train ride from Paddington Station. This is the fastest way, but if you prefer to drive, you should use the M4 and it will take you a couple of hours to get to Bath.
Bath has a lot to offer and you can easily spend a couple of days here, but if you only have one day, here are the top things to do in Bath on a day trip.
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Join a free walking tour
The first thing I like to do in any city is to get a good overview, and in my opinion, there is nothing better than taking a walking tour. In some cities like Athens, I took a food tour, in other cities, I just go for a historic walking tour.
In Bath, you can join a free walking tour which is organised by the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides who has even received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2016, which is the highest award for a volunteer group in the UK.
Two daily walking tours start at 10:30 am and 2 pm (except for Saturday which is only at 10:30 am) in front of the Roman Baths right in the centre of the city. For 2 hours you are guided through the historic streets of Bath. During the tour, you will learn about the history from when Bath was first found by the Romans around 2000 years ago. The guide will also walk you through the more recent history of the Georgian age, the time where most of Bath’s distinctive architecture was built.
The tour gives you great impressions and insights into the history of Bath. If the time of the tours doesn’t work for you, you can book a Private Walking Tour or take the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour instead.
Take photos of Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge, one of the most picturesque Georgian structures, crosses the River Avon in the city centre. The bridge was designed in 1769 by Robert Adam and it is one of the four bridges in the world that have shops on both sides of the bridge.
While crossing the bridge, you can shop, or stop for coffee or tea at one of the cute cafes. If you are lucky enough, you might get a table next to the window with the view of the river.
Walking on Pulteney Bridge, reminded me of the famous bridge in Florence: Ponte Vecchio. They are both pretty unique and photogenic.
Visit the Fashion Museum
The Fashion Museum, located in the Assembly Rooms, is one of Bath’s finest Georgian buildings.
The Fashion Museum itself houses fashion from the 18th century all the way to the latest styles of the 21st century. The audio guides tell you the story of fashion and how it evolved in the last four centuries. Even if you aren’t into fashion, this museum has a wealth of interesting information and a lot to see that you might have never seen before.
The Assembly Rooms themselves are also worth a short visit. The original three rooms called the Octagon, the Tea Room and the Ball Room were destroyed in the Blitz but it has been restored to their former splendour. The ticket to the Fashion museum is £9. You can check the opening times here.
Buy a saver ticket to see the best of Bath
I recommend you get a saver ticket which is a combination ticket for the Fashion Museum, the Roman Baths and the Victoria Art Gallery.
It costs 22.50 Pounds where the entrance to the Fashion Museum alone is 9 Pounds.
You can buy the Saver Ticket online, but it will cost you the same amount if you buy it at any of the three venues in Bath.
Visit the famous Roman Baths
The absolute highlight of Bath is the Roman Baths, built 2000 years ago and rediscovered after they had been forgotten for 1300 years a mere 300 years ago. Since their rediscovery under the current city of Bath, the old Roman Baths have been excavated, and a museum has been built around and on top of the ruins.
When visiting the Roman Baths, you will be handed an audio guide, which will tell you about the Romans who built the baths and the people who lived and worshipped here. These baths were not only a bathing place but also a temple to the Roman God Minerva.
The best time to visit is early in the morning or late in the evening before the closing time. In the midday is the peak time and it gets very crowded.
From mid-June to the end of August the baths close at 9 pm. As I mentioned before, the Saver Ticket is your best value option, but if you only want to visit the Roman Baths, now you can buy the ticket online here.
Visit the beating heart of the city: Bath Abbey
Right next door to the Roman Baths lies one of the most beautiful parish churches in England. It is impossible to miss it since the church is standing at the heart of the city. It was founded in the 7th century and it was rebuilt later in the 12th and 16th centuries.
Visiting the Abbey is one of the best things to do when you are in Bath. This is the highest building in the city and there is no entrance fee to go inside.
By taking the Tower Tours, you can climb the spiralling staircase and go to the top of the church where there is the bell ringing chamber. Here you will have a breathtaking view of the whole city of Bath. The tour cost £8 and you can take it every day except Sundays.
Walk around Parade Gardens
If you are now looking for a beautiful and green place to relax for a little bit, you might want to have a look at Parade Gardens. These gardens are in the centre of Bath and offer beautiful views of the River Avon and Pulteney Bridge. You can relax in one of the deck chairs or just lie down on the grass.
The entrance fee is £2 and it is open from 10 am to 6 pm during the summer (May to September).
Enjoy the Bath Guildhall Market
The Bath Guildhall Market is as the name suggests located at the Guildhall in Bath. It is an indoor market with more than 20 stalls and great for a short stroll through.
Here you can buy local goodies, souvenirs and snacks. The market is open every day from 8 am to 5:30 pm except Sundays.