For me, Bath is the most beautiful city in England. Granted, I’ve only lived in the UK for 8 months, and still have a lot of exploring to do, but no where else I’ve visited has blown me away the way Bath did.
From the moment the train pulled into the station, I was breathless- the color of the stone buildings contrasted against the green countryside and blue skies, love at first sight.
Bath is a city of culture, history and gorgeous architecture. As one of England’s most picturesque towns, famed for its Roman baths, Bath draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. On my first visit, I planned a day trip, but I’m already dreaming of returning for an entire weekend next summer, or during the holiday season to shop the Christmas markets.
From London, Bath is easy to get to, direct trains run from Paddington station and take ~90 minutes.
Summer is peak time to visit, but I chose to go in early September. The weather was perfect- 60 Fahrenheit and sunshine.
One Day in Bath, England
My morning started early, I left London on a 7:30 train. Arriving in Bath at ~9, I wound through empty city streets on my way to the first stop: The Roman Baths.
The Romans were the first to document Bath as a town in 43 AD, calling it Aquae Sulis for its natural hot springs. The Romans built the town around the hot springs, which means they’re centrally located and easy to get to today.
It costs £15 for an adult ticket (£9 for student) to enter the springs, but I promise the experience is worth the admission cost. Not only are the baths a sight to behold, but you’re also given an audio guide, and access to the accompanying museum.
There are four main attractions within the bath complex- the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman bath house and a collection of artefacts in the museum.
We ended up spending close to an hour and a half wandering the baths and museum. Going first thing in the morning meant there wasn’t a line yet, and the museum wasn’t crowded. By the time we finished our Abbey tour late morning (after the baths), the line to get in was wrapped around the building.
Next, we headed to the Abbey across from the baths, a medieval church with a gorgeous ceiling, and stained glass windows.
I’d heard the tower at the top of the Abbey offered panoramic views of the city. Tower tours are £6 and leave every hour on Saturdays. You’ll climb 212 steps each way over the course of 45 minutes, while your guide tells you more about the Abbey’s history, and takes you behind the scenes.
In need of late-morning coffee, we headed to Society Cafe for a flat white, stopping in The Foodie Bugle on the way. The Bugle is an adorable homewares store, where I took a few minutes to admire the shop’s items and grabbed a fresh squeezed pear juice to drink on the way to coffee.
Our early lunch was delicious. I ordered a green juice and homemade falafel wrap, stuffed with quinoa, fresh leaves, house slaw, sweet chilli, tahini and flavor packed falafel. Perhaps the best part though, Beyond the Kale’s located in a slew of market shops, including a few fresh fruit and veg stands.
Ready for more wandering, we popped into Colanna & Smalls for espresso. The cafe is a bit on the fancy side (as far as coffee shops go), but I liked the detailed tasting notes listed for every kind of espresso.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Bath are the Gerogian terraces. Two of Bath’s most picturesque crescents are the Royal Crescent and the Circus. These curved townhouses arc around beautifully kept lawns. They’re a short walk from each other, and a must-see while exploring.
We decided it was time for a pint break, but popped into Boston Tea Party, another coffee shop, first. We didn’t eat at BTP, but it’s at the top of my list for a return trip- the brunch looked so good- there were a lot of vegetarian options, plus allergens were clearly listed on the menu.
Right across from BTP is a pub called, Assembly Inn. With pints of cider in hand, we settled into the oversized couches and kicked up our feet (quite literally). I loved the atmosphere of this pub mid-afternoon- quiet, cozy, a breeze flowing in through large front windows and the back garden.
After finishing our pints, we continued walking toward the River Avon, stopping at The Pig & Fiddle (another pub) to share a pint of cider. Bath has so many local ciders on draft- if you’re a cider fan like me, you’ll want to try as many as possible.
We walked past The Fine Cheese Co., but didn’t stop for a snack since we had dinner plans in mind already.
Eventually, we made it to the Pulteney Bridge, built in the 18th century to connect Bath to land on the other side of the River Avon. We didn’t have time for a boat trip, but tours leave hourly between April-October and cruise up and down the river.
We popped in a few of the shops lining the bridge. Of note, I enjoyed Found, a homewares store, where I picked up locally made stationary.
Ready for an early dinner, we headed to The Stable, which we’d walked past earlier in the day. Known for their pizza and ciders, we ordered a cider tasting flight, cheese plate and vegetarian pizza to share.
Highly recommend coming here- it was my first time trying rose cider, and I loved it. The tasting flight ranged from dry to sweet options, which were honestly all delicious. Our pizza was also great, but the local cheeses were a standout.
Exhausted from a day of almost non-stop wandering, we headed to the Thermae Bath Spa, Britain’s only natural thermal spa. We were only at the spa for ~two hours, but I can see how it’d be easy to spend an entire day or afternoon there. We spent most of our time in the rooftop pool, where you can soak in streaming water while taking in beautiful city views, but there are also plenty of indoor pools, a lazy river, jacuzzi, wellness area, steam room and sauna.
Completely relaxed, and with about an hour to pass before our evening train back to London, we stopped in Canary Gin and Wine Bar for negronis.
Bath quickly became my favorite city in England, I’m already excited to return sometime soon and explore more of the city, and surrounding area near the Cotswalds.
Have you ever been to Bath? What did you enjoy the most about the city?