Bath is a quaint city in Somerset, in the south west of England, known primarily for it’s lavish and ancient Roman Baths but also renowned for it’s beautiful Georgian style city centre; which is actually a world heritage site. Only 13 miles from Bristol and 115 miles from London it is easily reached and is ideal for a weekend get-away, which is exactly why we visited.
Great Western trains from London Paddington depart every 30 minutes and take about 1.5 hours to reach Bath Spa. We chose this method and paid £29 return each, which isn’t half bad really and meant we were able to avoid the bus.
A National Express bus will set you back anywhere from £14-£30 return depending on time of travel and comfort required, and can be as fast as 2.5 hours or as slow as 3 hours depending on the driver’s mood that day, and traffic out of London.
From Bristol a train will take around 15 minutes and cost around £8 one way, but you’re probably not going from Bristol are you. No.
If the train is too expensive and the bus too slow, one thing I would recommend taking a look at is ride sharing with Bla Bla Car, which is becoming more popular in the UK now than it was when we went (2010).
Hint – You are allowed to drink alcohol on National Rail trains and this is a great opportunity for a prosecco (let’s be realistic here) breakfast.
We stayed at a ‘hotel’, which was really more of a b&b, called ‘Wentworth House Hotel’. It was a fairly nice place, with four-poster beds and a spa pool, that includes breakfast in the price of it’s rooms. I think we paid around £75 for one night, which by our standards today is pretty pricey, but at the time I remember thinking it was a good option.
On further reflection, £75-£85 is about the average price you should expect to pay for a nice room for a night in Bath, as it’s a very rich, tourist oriented city. If this is way outside your budget, you can find Hostels from £17 a night (dorms) with private rooms from around £25.
Try to stay within what you consider walking distance from the city centre as that’s where everything is. There is a local bus service if you find yourself further away, but Bath is such a nice place, you will want to walk.
Most of what Bath has to offer is within a square mile around Bath Abbey; A gorgeous Gothic Church restored in the 16th century, and this is where you should probably start. Wandering around the city centre you are bound to come across the ancient Roman Baths, which are well worth a visit, although a little pricey at £14. After a day walking the city and visiting the famous street ‘The Circus’, make sure to visit the Thermae Bath Spa; a huge multi storied spa complex in the city centre. We spend a couple of hours soaking and steaming and relaxing in the rooftop pool, which is absolute bliss. Thermae Spa is not cheap and will set you back around £35 per person, but if you are feeling like splashing out, it’s worth it.
Another feature of Bath is it’s convenient location to one of the UK’s most famous tourist attractions; Stonehenge. We decided spur of the moment to take a stonehenge specific bus; a number of which depart the city centre regularly, and cost around £10 return (as memory serves). The bus takes about an hour each way and you might want to spend an hour at Stonehenge itself, certainly no more than two hours, so the whole experience can easily be done in a half day. Entry to Stonehenge is £14.50, which we thought was overly expensive, but it is an impressive sight for all of 15 minutes.
Hint – Take morning or afternoon tea at one of the cafes overlooking the river.
Bath for one night;
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