Spending some time in London and looking for an easy day trip? Why not escape to the English countryside by taking a London to Bath day trip? Bath is just over an hour from London by train yet feels like a million miles away with its perfect small town vibe and pretty countryside setting.
I always say that the best way to get a real feel for a country is by getting out of the big city and visiting some smaller towns. You really can’t go wrong with taking a day trip to Bath from London, it is truly one of the prettiest English towns.
Bath is considered the largest city in Somerset yet the historic centre is compact and easy to explore by foot. Some of the highlights of your day trip will be absorbing the fascinating history of the Roman baths, visiting the UK’s only natural thermal springs, checking out some cute British tea shops and perhaps a museum or two.
We recently spent a day in Bath while driving around the beautiful Cotswolds villages on a one week road trip from London. We really loved it there and wished we had longer to spend but since we only had a day, I’ve created this London to Bath day trip itinerary to help you plan out the perfect sightseeing adventure.
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The Perfect London to Bath Day Trip Itinerary
One of the main things people associate with the town of Bath are the incredibly well preserved ancient Roman Baths. They’ve been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are by far one of the most popular attractions in England. We’ve seen a lot of Roman sites over the years and this was definitely one of the best!
History of the Baths
With a history going back nearly 2000 years, the Romans first built a religious temple on the site of the hot springs around the year 70AD. Over the centuries that followed, it slowly developed into a public bath house which became known as “Aquae Sulis”.
The bathing complex was made up of a series of rooms including baths, sacred pools, plunge pools, saunas and heated rooms. It became so popular that people from all over the country and even parts of Europe would travel to visit this sacred site and enjoy the baths.
When the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, the bath house eventually fell to ruins due to flooding and neglect. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the Roman Baths were uncovered, restored and opened up to the public. Restoration work extended through the 20th century until today where ongoing work is still being done in order to preserve the ancient site for years to come.
Visiting the Baths
When you first enter the bath house, you’ll walk around the upper terrace to get a nice view of the baths below. After strolling around the bath rooms, saunas and sacred pools, you’ll finish your visit at the museum which showcases many cool Roman artifacts including offerings that were once thrown into the springs.
It’s easy to spend 1-2 hours visiting the baths and soaking up all the history. Keep in mind you won’t be able to swim in the baths as this is a protected historical site for viewing purposes only. You will however be able to get up nice and close to the baths to take photos.
I would recommend starting out your London to Bath day trip by visiting the baths first thing in the morning. Queues can get quite long in the middle of the day with tour groups from London so it’s best to avoid the crowds.
Pump Room Restaurant
Finish off your visit to the baths with a stop at the Pump Room for some tea and scones. The Pump Room was originally built in the late 18th century and was opened up to the public to serve thermal water for healing purposes. People would visit the Pump Room to socialize and drink the thermal water.
Nowadays it’s a beautiful restaurant serving tea, coffee, lunch and baked goods. You can even taste the spring water from the Pump Room’s fountain.
Roman Baths Opening Hours – 9:30am – 5pm
The opening hours change on a seasonal basis and the baths stay open much later during the summer months, check the official website for the most current hours.
Roman Bath Tickets – Ticket prices vary between weekdays and weekends. They also slightly increase during high season. For more info about purchasing tickets to the baths, click here. Audio-guides are included in the ticket price.
After your visit to the Roman Baths, head over next door to the beautiful UNESCO listed Bath Abbey. The history of this church dates back over 1000 years but there have been many changes to it over the years. The interior of the church is very impressive with high ceilings and stunning stained glass windows.
You can also take a tour to the top of the church tower where you’ll find the most spectacular views over Bath and the surrounding countryside. Bear in mind that you’ll need to climb 212 steps of a narrow spiral staircase to reach the top.
Entry to the church is free but if you want to take the tower tour, tickets cost £8 per adult. Find out more info about the church tower tours here.
Thermae Bath Spa
For those disappointed that they couldn’t bathe in the ancient Roman baths, you’re in luck. Not too far from the Roman Baths, you can enjoy a soak in the baths of the Thermae Bath Spa which is fed by the natural mineral waters from the original springs.
There’s a beautiful open air rooftop pool where you can relax in the warm water and take in the stunning panoramic views around you. You also have the option of visiting the indoor Minerva Bath which is the largest of their thermal baths. In addition to the baths, there are steam rooms, saunas, ice chambers and more.
It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind for an hour or two. Unfortunately photos aren’t allowed to be taken here in order to respect the other guests. You can check out their website to see photos of how beautiful this place is. Find more information about prices, spa packages and opening times by visiting the official website.
The Royal Crescent
In the afternoon of your London to Bath day trip, make your way up the hill to see the Royal Crescent, one of the most iconic buildings in Bath. Built in the late 18th century, this impressive crescent shaped building is a stunning example of Georgian architecture. It makes for a great photo opportunity!
This gorgeous row of townhouses was once home to the upper class and nowadays the Royal Crescent is a luxurious 5 star hotel and spa as well as a museum. To get there from the town centre it’s a 15 minute walk up the hill, see here for directions.
On your way to the crescent, you’ll walk passed The Circus, a street of circular townhouses and another beautiful example of Georgian architecture. It was actually designed to mimic the shape of Stonehenge!
The Pulteney Bridge is another one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks and one of only four bridges in the world that has shops lining both sides of the bridge. A day trip to Bath isn’t complete without a wander across the historic Pulteney Bridge, browsing the little shops and maybe buying a souvenir or two.
If you’re hunting that perfect Instagram angle like I was, you’ll want to cross the bridge and walk a little ways along the other side of the river until you reach the point where you can capture both the bridge and church tower in the background. Thank me later😉
Explore the Town Centre
Take a stroll through the pretty streets of the town admiring the beautiful Georgian architecture and browsing the cute shops and tea houses. If you’re looking for a good place to stop for lunch or a snack, pop into Sally Lunn’s tea house. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Bath and the place where the famous “Bath buns” were first created!
Sally Lunn’s dates back to the 15th century and it’s the perfect restaurant to try some traditional English cuisine as their menu is full of authentic and delicious meals. This lovely old tea house is open everyday for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. It’s definitely worth a visit at some point during your Bath day trip!
While you’re out exploring the town centre, make sure to check out the Bath Guildhall Market, it’s the oldest place to shop in Bath! This historic market has been operating for over 800 years. There are 20 stalls in the market: cafes, bakeries, jewellery shops, leather goods, book shops and more.
Opening times: 8am – 5:30pm Mon – Sat, closed on Sundays
If you have any extra time to spend in Bath then you should check out a few of the museums that the town has to offer. Bath is home to 13 museums, there is really something for everyone!
Whether you’re into art, fashion or history, visiting a museum in Bath is a great way to spend a rainy day or an addition to the Bath day trip itinerary above. Here are some of the best museums in Bath (besides the Roman Baths!).
- No. 1 Royal Crescent – One of the townhouses at the Royal Crescent which has been decorated with historic furniture from the 18th century and turned into a museum to showcase what a home in Bath would have looked like during that time.
- Bath Fashion Museum -A museum with a beautiful collection of historic clothing telling the story of British fashion over the last 400 years. The museum is inside the Assembly Rooms, yet another gorgeous Georgian building.
- Holburne Museum – Set in a lovely location inside a Grade I listed building, this museum features paintings from the Renaissance period, sculptures, historic jewellery, porcelain and much more.
- Jane Austen Centre – Diving into the history of the famous British author who once called Bath home, take a look at what life looked like in 18th century England and get a chance to dress up in traditional clothing for a fun photo.
- Sally Lunn’s Museum – Dining at this historic tea house will give you access to the kitchen museum below. Take a look at the kitchen where the original Bath Bun was created and learn a bit about the building’s history that goes back over 1000 years!
Bath Walking Tour
The final thing that I’ll mention on this London to Bath day trip itinerary is a walking tour of Bath. Taking a guided walking tour is a great way to learn some background history and insider’s tips from a local guide. This popular Bath walking tour will show you the highlights of the town and also include a guided tour of the Roman Baths.
For a very reasonable price, a skip the line ticket to the Roman Baths is also included in this 2 hour tour! The tour will then take you to Bath Abbey, the Pulteney Bridge, Bath Circus and the Crescent.
Bath Tours from London
Sometimes it’s just easier to have your day trip planned out and fully organized so that you can just sit back and enjoy the sights. If you’re one of those people that would prefer a guided day trip from London to Bath, find some of the best tours below.
Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath Tour
An epic full day trip departing London in the morning and stopping first at the amazing Windsor Castle. Learn all about the 900 years of history at the castle that is still an official residence of the Queen. The next stop of the day will take you the mysterious ancient stone circle of Stonehenge.
The final stop of the day will be in Bath where you’ll take a guided tour to see the highlights of the town finishing up at the Roman Baths. Transportation, guided tours at all attractions and some entry tickets are included in the tour. See the link below for more detailed info.
Bath and Cotswolds Tour from London
If you’re short on time but would like to see a little bit of everything, this highly rated tour makes a great choice. Stopping at some of England’s best highlights, you’ll be able to tick off some amazing sights from your bucket list. The tour departs London and stops in Stonehenge, Bath, the Cotswolds villages, and Stratford-upon-Avon.
An experienced guide, transportation and plenty of free time at each attraction are included in this day trip. It works out to be a long day(12 hrs), but if you’re spending some time in London and looking to get a taste of England’s pretty countryside, then this is the perfect tour option for you!
Stonehenge and Bath Day Trip from London
The tour departs London and makes the first stop of the day at the UNESCO listed site of Stonehenge. Enjoy a guided tour while learning the fascinating history behind this ancient monument.
The afternoon will be spent in Bath where you’ll have the option to choose which sites you’d like to visit. This day tour is great if you would prefer to have more free time to explore Bath at your own pace. See the link below for more detailed info on this London to Bath day trip.
Getting from London to Bath
The easiest way to get from London to Bath is by taking the train. The train to Bath departs frequently throughout the day from London’s Paddington Station. The total journey takes just under 1.5 hrs.
Where to Stay in Bath
Too tired after sightseeing all day to make the trek back to London? Bath has plenty of nice places to stay in and around the town. We had a car when visiting so we stayed just outside of the town in a charming old manor called the Bailbrook Lodge.
We had a nice stay there and really enjoyed the breakfast which is served with a complimentary glass of champagne! It was really easy to catch the bus into town from the street just outside of the B&B. Click here to book a room at the Bailbrook Lodge.
If you’d prefer something more centrally located click here to browse more accommodation options in Bath.
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