Bath is gorgeous. And historic. And easy to get to from London. It’s my first suggestion for a day away if you want to explore outside of the city, especially if you are using public transportation. The train from Paddington will arrive at Bath Spa station in 1.5 hours and you can walk to all the highlights.
We’ve been to Bath several times and always stay with our friends who live there (a dear co-worker from my Coke days and her precious family!) They have a fabulous Airbnb if you’d like to spend the night. Here is a lineup of our favorite things to see, do and eat. I think you can fit them into a 24-hour visit or just a long day trip!
Roman Baths – This is the best place to start your visit to Bath. The stunning unearthed remains give you incredible context to the beginnings of this town from 43AD. Don’t skip the audio guide; it’s free and offers interesting commentary (there’s even a kid’s version!)
Bath Abbey – It’s right next to the Roman Baths, so whether you step inside or just enjoy the street music while gazing up at it from the street, take a moment to appreciate its beauty.
Pulteney Bridge – I just love cities and towns that incorporate the river into their cityscape (I’m looking at you Athens and Atlanta – step it up). Don’t miss the Pulteney Bridge for cute cafes, shops and sweeping views of the horseshoe-shaped weir just off the main streets of Bath.
Walking Tour – Y’all know I’m a sucker for a walking tour, particularly free ones. Bath has several and we’ve taken a few. The mayor’s office of Bath leads a free walk, so bribe your children (or spouse) with an ice cream as the reward for a few hours of learning. The highlights include the Royal Crescent, Circus and some homes of famous authors and actors.
Ride the Canals – There are several rental bike outfits, and riding the canals around Bath gets you off the touristy streets and offers a glimpse of real life in Bath. You might see a narrowboat moving through the locks or a few locals walking their dogs and children home from school. The Georgian homes and gardens along the canals are gorgeous, too!
Relax at Thermae Spa – If you are in Bath without children, don’t miss a chance to visit the spa. The OG warm springs are still used today, albeit fancied with modern treatments and luxurious facilities (including a gorgeous rooftop pool!) My favorite experience was the lavender-scented, aromatherapy steam room.
The Pump Room – Adjacent to the Roman baths, the Pump Room offers lunch or afternoon tea in a gorgeous Georgian dining room that makes you feel like royalty. Book a reservation after your tour or better yet, after your morning at the spa.
Ice Cream – Luke is my ice cream connoisseur and he proclaimed local purveyor Marshfield Farms to be the best ice cream on our visit. I’ve also heard the fudge shops are delish, so make sure to indulge your sweet tooth at some point in your day.