Last Updated on 16/04/2022 by secretmoona
The city of Bath is one of the most charming in England, with its location in Somerset, on the banks of the River Avon. Bath is famous for its Roman baths and its Georgian architecture.
If you are wondering what to do in Bath in one day, know that there are many things to do in this listed UNESCO World Heritage Site town, including museums, the famous Roman baths, the architecture and more.
Bath is small and compact; therefore can be explored on foot. This is why the city is an excellent option for a day trip from London. Bath is close to Bristol and Cardiff; therefore, you can combine it into a more extended trip. Read on to find out the best things to do in Bath and how to spend a wonderful day while there.
Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link!
- 1 See the preserved Roman Baths
- 2 Visit Bath Abbey
- 3 Relax in one of the city’s parks or gardens
- 4 Check out the Pulteney Bridge
- 5 Take a boat tour along the rivers and canals.
- 6 Learn about Bath’s history
- 7 Walk around the Royal Crescent.
- 8 Visit Jane Austen Centre
- 9 Have a soak in the Thermae Bath Spa
- 10 Go on a guided walk
- 11 Practical Information:
See the preserved Roman Baths
The Roman Baths are undoubtedly the principal place of interest in the city, so it would be a shame to skip them during your Bath day trip. The Roman Baths are located in the heart of the town, so it’s easy to get there.
The multi-building complex dates back to 70AD and was a popular place for people to visit for bathing and socialising. Although the complex is in ruins nowadays, some areas have been preserved.
People discover the ruins of the Roman Baths thanks to an audioguide tour broken down into parts: the Great Bath (where people used to bathe nearly 2,000 years ago), King’s Bath, the sacred spring and the remains of the temple to the goddess Sulis Minerva. Other rooms and pools can be visited, and the entertaining audio guide provides an extra explanation of each area of the site.
The thermal baths are open daily, and the fare varies depending on the day of your visit. We paid £25.50; however, the fare will be £20 per adult if you visit during the week. Since the site is a top attraction, we recommend visiting early or late to avoid the crowd.
Visit Bath Abbey
Located right across from the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey is one of the city’s main sights. The Gothic-style abbey cannot be missed and features interesting details both inside and out. Its magnificent and tall stained-glass windows and fan-vaulted ceiling are highlights of the visit. Please note that the abbey is a working church; therefore, be mindful when visiting. In addition, if you are up for climbing the 212 steps to the top of the tower, you will be rewarded with exceptional views of Bath.
Relax in one of the city’s parks or gardens
Bath is compact but has many green spaces to enjoy on warmer days. Behind the abbey and the River Avon, you will find the Parade Gardens. This beautiful garden is the ideal place to relax or explore before getting to know the rest of the city. Other places to see are the Royal Victoria Park, located just below the Royal Crescent and packed with locals and tourists. The park even includes a botanical garden. Elsewhere in the town, you could also find Alexandra Park and Priory Park Gardens.
Check out the Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge is a lovely bridge located right in the city’s centre. Built in 1774, the Palladian bridge crossing the River Avon has the particularity of having shops lining both sides. Completing the visual of the stunning bridge is the Pulteney Weir. The river crossing the dam creates a waterfall effect.
Strolling the bridge and along the riverbank is excellent for shopping or just admiring the view. The surrounding of the bridge is a great spot to take memorable photos.
Take a boat tour along the rivers and canals.
The River Avon runs through the city. Therefore, a boat tour is an excellent way to admire the charming scenery and the beautiful architecture of the buildings. You can go for the Pulteney Cruises, which offers open-top boats or choose a punt, canoe or wooden boat.
Learn about Bath’s history
If you want to learn about the city’s cultural and architectural history, you can include a few museums in your itinerary.
- Museum of Bath Architectures
- Fashion Museum
- Bath Postal Museum
Walk around the Royal Crescent.
The Royal Crescent is the top thing to see in Bath and the Roman Baths. On your walk to the Royal Crescent, you will pass by the Circus. The ring of townhouses was built between 1754 and 1768. The design of the buildings symbolises the sun and the moon.
Five minutes after the Circus, you’ll find the symmetrical crescent Palladian townhouses. The 30 identical townhouses overlooking the Royal Victoria Park were built between 1767 and 1774 for wealthy Bathonian.
Those who want to know what it feels like inside the townhouse can see No 1 Royal Crescent, which houses the Bath Preservation Trust. The townhouse has been preserved and remains decorated like in the 18th century.
Visit Jane Austen Centre
Jane Austen is Bath’s most famous resident event though she only lived there between 1801 and 1806. Whether you like the novelist or not, visiting the Jane Austen Centre is all about learning about Bath during her time through the food and fashion. Jane penned Persuasion and Northanger Abbey during her short stay in the city.
Once you have explored, head upstairs to the Regency Tea Room to taste some delicious cakes and scones.
Have a soak in the Thermae Bath Spa
If you want to bath in Bath, you need to head to Thermae Bath Spa, located minutes away from the Roman Baths. The modern spa on several floors offers thermal pools, a wellness suite with steam rooms, saunas, treatment rooms and even a cafe/restaurant. The rooftop pool overlooking Bath Abbey and offering a lovely view of the city highlights our visit. The site is popular, especially for couples, so that it could be a little crowded. I found the experience a little on the high side even though I enjoyed pampering myself in the waters! The 2-hour spa session costs £38 during the week and £43 for the weekend.
Go on a guided walk
It’s easy enough to explore Bath. A walking tour is a great way to get your bearings from a self-guided tour at your own pace to an organised tour with an insight into the city’s history. You can join several organised excursions, including Jane Austen tours, ghost tours, or Bridgerton filming locations.
Bath is an excellent day trip option with great transport links from many parts of the country. If you feel inspired to visit Bath, the following practical information will help you prepare for your trip. Bath’s tourist office is also an excellent place for more details.
How to get to Bath
It takes just under an hour and a half to get to Bath from London on a fast train via the Great Western Railway.
It takes about an hour and a half to get to Bath Spa from London Paddington station via Great Western Railway. It is the fastest and easiest way to get to Bath. The ticket prices start at £20.
Bristol Airport is the closest to Bath; however, the city is also accessible from Heathrow or Gatwick airports. You will need to take a train to reach Bath.
National Express offers cheaper but longer journeys to Bath from London, Victoria or other cities. The prices start at £5, and the journey takes around 3 hours.
Finally, you can get to Bath by driving there. It takes around two and a half hours from London (depending on traffic). Although I travelled by train, I found enough parking spaces in the city. I did not spot any free parking spaces, so expect parking will be expensive. Travelling by car is a good option for those exploring a road trip to discover the surroundings, for example, Bristol or Wales.
Inspired to visit Bath but want to stay more than a day? Here are some accommodation recommendations for your stay in Bath and the surrounding areas. Booking.com
Have you been to Bath? What did you enjoy most? Pin it now and read this guide to 24 hours in Bath again later!