West of London lies one of the prettiest regions of England, the Cotswolds. Bath is a charming and picturesque city in the Cotswolds. The London to Bath Day Trip is well worth a day’s travel, simply to experience The Roman Baths, The Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey, The Pulteney Bridge and lunch or tea at The Pump Room! Here’s everything you need to know!
London to Bath Day Trip
Recently, my husband and I spent a week in London. We’ve been a few times before, so this trip we wanted to take a few day trips and explore important sites outside of London. Bath was at the top of our must-door list!
It’s SUPER easy to travel from London to Bath by train! From Paddington Station, there were trains leaving about every hour, and the trip itself takes around 90 minutes. You can book a ticket online, or simply find the ticket kiosks inside Paddington Station, and purchase a ticket when you arrive.
You do not need a car at all to enjoy Bath. It’s a very walkable city, and most of the important sites are in the city’s historic center.
We visited in mid-November, so the tourist crowds were very minimal. I can imagine in the summer months it’s totally different story, though. That’s one of the advantages of being an Empty Nester! We don’t have to travel during peak tourist season when the kids are out of school.
While enjoying this London Day Trip to Bath, we enjoyed the following sites, and I will walk you through each one: Bath Abbey, The Roman Baths, The Pump Room, The Royal Crescent, and Pulteney Bridge.
Since I’m curious, my first questions is: what is the difference between a Cathedral and an Abbey?
Simply said, an abbey is like a monastery under the direct supervision of its abbess (the spiritual mother) and or the abbot (the spiritual father), the abbey is where the religious (monks and the like) dwell. In this place, there are lots of them, at least a dozen. Abbeys, as a structure or place, is a group of infrastructures that comprises many minor buildings like a separate monastery, convent, place to receive gifts from offerers from the outside, and of course a place of worship.
Cathedral is more closely likened to a typical church. But unlike most churches, the cathedral is considered as the principal church (the major) religious establishment in a certain diocese. It may not be the biggest church in the city but it does house the throne of the bishop. And unlike abbeys, cathedrals are led by the bishops. Although the cathedral is also a center for many functions both civic and social, the main purpose for erecting a cathedral is to serve as a place for worship.
Having cleared that up, I highly recommend spending time inside the gorgeous Bath Abbey. Currently it’s under restoration, but it’s absolutely worth visiting anyway. The Abbey can trace its roots back to 675 A.D. And the stained glass windows and the fan vaulted ceiling are, as I said earlier, gorgeous.
I particularly enjoyed reading the many memorials on the Abbey’s walls. There are 635, and most commemorate people from the 1700s and 1800s. Through the memorials, we learn about their lives, loves, and belief in the Christian hope of resurrection.
Will and I were pleasantly surprised by the many volunteers inside the Abbey, who were delighted to answer each and every question we had, and were the kind of people you’d like to sit and have a cup of tea with! I’m not kidding. They were SO nice!!!
- The Bath Abbey is open every day, essentially between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sundays the hours are a little later, due to morning worship services. Check here for exact daily hours.
TICKETS and TOURS
- Entrance is free. However, if you’d like to take a tour, that includes a 212 step climb to the top of the Tower, the cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children, and lasts around an hour long. Click here for more detailed info.
The Roman Baths
Certainly, the main attraction in Bath is The Roman Baths. And, a visit here is simply amazing.
The Roman Baths is one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe. The site consists of the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world. The city’s unique thermal springs rise in the site and the Baths still flow with natural hot water.
Visitors can explore the Roman Baths, walk on the original Roman pavements and see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva. The museum collection, located next to the bathing complex, includes a gilt bronze head of the Goddess Sulis Minerva, and other Roman artifacts.
The Roman Baths attracts over one million visitors a year – making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the United Kingdom. Again, we were glad to be there during a non-peak tourist time!
I would plan to spend at least two hours visiting The Roman Baths, and the audio guide is essential for fully enjoying every aspect of this ancient Roman site.
- Open every day, except December 25 and December 26. Essentially 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. But, be sure and check here for exact information on the day you plan to visit The Roman Baths.
TICKETS and TOURS
- Tickets range from $25-$13 per person, depending on the day of the week, your age, and how much you want to see. All the details can be found here.
- There are free tours offered every hour, but your ticket includes an audioguide, so you can enjoy The Roman Baths at your own pace.
The Royal Crescent
Full disclosure. Visiting The Royal Crescent is about a mile walk….uphill from the Historic Center. But, it’s 100% worth it…and let’s face it. You know you’ve eaten a few scones and clotted creme while in England, so a little walk uphill might be in order. Just sayin’.
The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent. Designed by the architect John Wood, the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom. Although some changes have been made to the various interiors over the years, the Georgian stone façade remains much as it was when first built.
Many notable people have either lived or stayed in the Royal Crescent since it was built over 240 years ago, and some are commemorated on special plaques attached to the relevant buildings. Of the crescent’s 30 townhouses, 10 are still full-size townhouses; 18 have been split into flats of various sizes; one is the No. 1 Royal Crescent museum and the large central house at number 16 is the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa.
Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the museum while there, as Netflix was filming a period piece, and no through-traffic was allowed. Bummer.
But, we did cut through the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa to get to the back side of The Royal Crescent, and THAT is where I want to stay when I go back for a longer stay in the Cotswolds!!!
The final historic site we enjoyed on our London to Bath Day Trip was the Pulteney Bridge, which crosses the River Avon. It was completed by 1774, and connected the city with the land of the Pulteney family. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it is exceptional in having shops built across its full span on both sides, like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. It’s really charming, and the shops along the bridge include many souvenir shops, gift shops, and tea rooms.
The Grand Pump Room Restaurant
The Grand Pump Room was built in the early 1790s, and soon became the destination for high society to meet and ‘take the waters’ from the hot springs while enjoying lavish entertainment. Famous authors such as Jane Austen mentioned it in her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, as the place where “every creature in Bath was to be seen…”. And Mary Shelley wrote the iconic Frankenstein while staying in lodgings next door. Over 200 years later, most of the neo-classical style and Georgian features remain unchanged – creating the perfect ambience in which to enjoy the quintessentially English custom of afternoon tea.
During the day the Pump Room restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. At certain times of the year (Easter, July, and August,) the restaurant opens in the evening for late tea and dinner. There is also the opportunity to enjoy special Torchlit Terrace Dining during December.
The Pump Room Trio or pianist plays every day to add to your enjoyment. Will and I enjoyed Brunch the day we visited, and the space was decked out in charming Christmas decor. We loved every minute and every bite! I highly encourage this dining experience! Make reservations on Open Table.
Other Note-Worthy Sites
We spent about 7 hours in Bath, and experienced everything I described above. However, there are some sites we missed worth mentioning:
- The Holburne Museum: Fine and Decorative Arts
- No. 1 Royal Crescent: Exquisite example of Georgian interior design with authentic furniture, paintings, textiles and carpets.
- Fashion Museum Bath: World-class collection of contemporary and historic dress.
- Jane Austen Centre: Offers a snapshot of what it would be like to live in the Regency times – the fashion, food, society – everything that would have inspired Austen’s timeless novels. The Centre also explores how the city of Bath impacted upon Jane Austen’s life and writing in much-loved books such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
- The American Museum: This is the only American Folk Art Museum outside the U.S. Set to reopen in March 2020. It’s not within walking distance of the Historic Center, but cabs are easy to find outside the train station.
- Bath Christmas Market: Runs about three weeks from the end of November through the middle of December.
I encourage you to plan a London to Bath Day Trip! And let me know what you discover in Bath!!!
Tags: Bath | Bath Abbey | Bath England | Cotswolds | Day Trip | England | High Tea | Jane Austen | London | London Day Trip | The Pulteney Bridge | The Pump Room Restaurant | The Roman Baths | The Royal Crescent