The beautiful and historic City of Bath, Somerset is only a 90-minute train ride from London and just under 15 minutes from Bristol.
Sitting on the banks of the River Avon in the south-west of England it has been home to the Ancient Britons, Romans and Saxons, made fashionable by the Georgians and bombed by the Germans.
Since 1987 the City of Bath has been designated a UNESCO world heritage centre.
As mentioned, Bath is less than a 90-minute direct train ride from London, Paddington station. It is also only 15 minutes by train from the maritime city of Bristol.
If you were visiting by road 2000 years ago you would have used the Fosse Way but today, most non-Romans now use the M4 motorway. London to Bath is about 2 hours 30 minutes but as with most UK road trips, it can be shorter or considerably longer depending on the traffic.
If you are visiting London there are a number of tour companies that run daily trips from London to Stonehenge and Bath. These can be good if you do not have your own transport or only have a short time in the UK however, it can be a long day leaving before 8 a.m. and returning late in the evening.
What To See
Although not a big city there is still plenty to see and do in this wonderfully unique Somerset town. You won’t be able to cram it all into 24 hours but hopefully you will get a taste of the Georgian splendour and experience the highlights.
‘The Roman Baths’
The natural hot springs are the main reason for Bath’s existence. It has been a spa break destination for thousands of years. Step back 2000 years and visit the Roman Bath Complex which is open daily. You can read more about our visit to the Roman Baths here – Getting Steamy At The Roman Baths.
Bath Abbey was originally founded as a monastery in the 7th century. This was replaced by a Norman cathedral which lasted until the 15th century and finally the Abbey was constructed which is how it appears today.
The Abbey asks for a small suggested donation to enter and they do allow cameras and videos although tripods are not allowed.
At an additional charge there is a guided tour of the Abbey Tower. You get to climb the 212 steps to the top of the tower from where you can get uninterrupted views over Bath towards the countryside.
‘Tour Georgian Bath’
The city became fashionable in the 18th century with the building of many grand residential houses and boulevards designed by architects John Wood the Elder and his son John Wood the Younger. These include ‘The Circus’ and ‘The Royal Crescent’.
The best way to see the Georgian architecture is to simply walk the town. As well as The Circus and The Royal Crescent you must visit The Pulteney Bridge, Great Pulteney Street, The Pump Room and The Assembly Rooms.
‘Museums And Galleries’
The Grade I listed building of the Holburne Museum, Sydney Gardens displays a large collection of fine and decorative arts based on the original collection of Sir William Holburne.
The building has been also been used as a film location for many period dramas and films including The Duchess starring Keira Knightley and Vanity Fair starring Reese Witherspoon.
The museum is open 7 days a week and has free entry.
There are a number of other museums which are worth visiting if you have time including The Fashion Museum in the Assembly Rooms, the Georgian townhouse at No 1 Royal Crescent and the Victoria Art Gallery.
Where We Stayed
For this trip we stayed in Jane Austen’s former house which is located at 4 Sydney Place, this is where the Austen family lived for three years from 1801. The ground floor apartment is known as ‘Emma’s Garden Apartment’ which included the original parlour.
Just be careful if you decide to lie on the sofa in your underwear as just outside is a popular spot for Jane Austen fans to pose for photographs. You don’t want then to look in and think that ‘Mr Darcy has let himself go!‘
You can see more of the apartment on our YouTube Channel.
Do you live in Bath or maybe you are a regular visitor. What are your ‘insider tips’ for our next visit.