As one of the best-preserved Georgian cities in England, the insanely pretty city of Bath is full of history, culture and delicious food. It’s compact size and the fact that almost everything of interest is located centrally makes it the perfect place to visit as a London to Bath day trip. Bath is rich in Roman history, Gothic architecture and Georgian style housing as well as great shopping, pub culture and plant-based food. While one day in Bath will always be a great idea there are many things to keep you busy even for a whole weekend. Discover how to get there, where to eat and what to see in this one day in Bath city guide.
Bath is the largest city in the English county of Somerset. It’s located close to Bristol and Wales, about 115 miles West of London. It can be reached by car, bus and train and with public transport being so reliable in the UK, I’d definitely recommend it.
Car– the most convenient but probably most expensive way to travel is by car, unless you’re in a group. Car rental in England isn’t particularly cheap unless it’s split between a group and you’ll find parking in Bath to be a little expensive. It’s always a great idea to compare prices of car rental with the bus or train as special offers might present themselves offseason.
Bus – If you’re on a tight budget you should probably look into taking the bus. The bus will take about 2.5 hrs from London depending on traffic and is a comfortable and cheap way of travelling pretty much anywhere in England. National Express offers the best options to Bath.
Train – While a little more costly than the bus, taking the train can give you more flexibility. Purchase an open return and you can make the most of your stay, departing Bath at the time you like. Avoid the traffic and arrive in Bath in just 90 minutes, with trains leaving every 30 minutes. To book your train tickets in advance click here.
Why not combine a trip to Bath with the Cotswolds in a weekend itinerary? Read about the whole itinerary here.
Bath is a really small city, especially when you compare it to somewhere like London. The centre is completely walkable and you probably won’t need to use any other form of transportation while you’re there. All the things to do listed in this post are all located centrally with only a few minutes separating some of them.
WHERE TO EAT
Bath is a great place to be if you’re looking for healthy plant-based options. There are several places to eat almost everything you could think of and while it’s not quite London with its choices, it’s still excellent for a city of this size and with only one day in Bath, it’s a serious struggle choosing where to eat. I recommend staying for both lunch and dinner.
Acorn Kitchen – Hands down, the best vegetarian restaurant in town, Acorn Kitchen is a must if you fancy a slow, high-quality treat. This delicious and beautifully presented food isn’t for every day but it’s well worth the slightly higher price tag. They almost always have a lunch menu from which you can choose 2 or 3-course options. Dishes include soups, terrines, pates, ravioli, salads and plenty more seasonal, British-inspired dishes. They also support sustainable farming and the community and farm to table practises- just a few other reasons to come here for lunch. Reservations are necessary-book online here.
Roots & Shoots Cafe – Another delicious option in the centre of Bath, this cafe not only makes a great place for a casual, quick lunch but for an afternoon coffee break too. You’ll find your favourite hot drinks here as well as lots of sweet treats like vegan croissants, cakes and slices. The best thing to go for is the ‘taster plate’, which much like a buddha bowl, allows you to try a little of everything they have on offer that day behind the counter, think pasta salads, couscous salads, hummus, curries, mixed leaves, roasted veggies etc. They also do take-out if you prefer to eat on the run or in a park.
Nourish – Another fantastic evening option after a full day of exploring, Nourish combines healthy, wholesome, plant-based food with different influences from around the world. Their food is absolutely delicious and the atmosphere and presentation something to write home about. Dishes include jackfruit tacos, walnut and cashew lasagna, Thai tofu laksa and a typical mushroom and ale pie for if you want to sample something truly British. I couldn’t recommend this place more…you can thank me later.
ONE DAY IN BATH THINGS TO DO
Bath is full of history that dates back to the Roman Empire, culture and style. There’s something to do or explore on every corner and while one day is probably enough to see the main sights running, I’d definitely suggest coming for a weekend to explore it all at a much more leisurely pace. The best way to explore all of the below options in one day in Bath is to go on a self-guided walking tour. Use the pinned Google map below to guide you around the city.
VISIT THE ROMAN BATHS
The Roman baths as we see them today sit on the original site of the Roman settlement constructed between 60-70CE. The original structure was solely a temple which then expanded to incorporate a public bathing house which was used until the collapse of the Roman Empire. Later it fell into ruin for a few decades before being restored many times to what we see today. When visiting the Roman baths you’ll be able to visit the hot spring and the baths themselves, note that you can’t bathe in the water though, so leave your swimsuit at home, as well as the Grand Pump Room and the Museum which houses many of the different artefacts found through history from the original Roman settlement here. The Roman baths are one of the best places in the UK to visit and learn about the Roman Empire in Britain so a few hours here is well worth your time.
ROYAL CRESCENT AND THE CIRCUS
A little further north-west from the Roman baths you’ll find Royal Cresent- thirty terraced houses in a crescent shape and they are one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK. Most of the Grade I listed houses are private residences but you’ll also find some boutique hotels here too, which you can enter to have a look at the houses from inside. There isn’t much else to do but admire the architecture and the view from this part of Bath. Just down the street, you can also visit the Circus, a quintessentially English ‘roundabout’ on which stand three magnificent oak trees, surrounded by some more iconic, curved Georgian terraced houses.
EAT A SUNDAY ROAST AT THE MARLBOROUGH TAVERN
A Sunday roast is a British tradition which you simply cannot ignore if you’re in Bath on a Sunday. It’s a large meal, generally consisting of roast meat of some variety, or nut roast for veggies, stuffing, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables all drowned in lashings of gravy. One of the best places to enjoy a classically British, yet veggie Sunday roast is at The Marlborough Tavern a wonderful pub famed for their ales and Sunday roasts. You must book ahead which you can do on their website here. If it’s fully booked then don’t worry, Nourish (above) also do an equally amazing plant-based Sunday roast.
VISIT BATH ABBEY
Bath Abbey is the largest church in Bath and you won’t fail to miss it in the city centre. Originally constructed in the 7th Century and later rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries this gothic cathedral is a prime example of Gothic and Northern European architecture of the time. Inside you’ll notice the ribbed vaulting, high ceilings, exquisite stained glass windows and organ. On the outside don’t miss ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, a ladder carved into the stone facade of the West front with angels climbing it.
Looking at this bridge head-on, as if you are about to cross it, you’d have absolutely no idea it is actually a bridge. With a narrow road and shops, dating back to the 18th Century on both sides of the bridge, it really looks like any other small, pretty English street. Walk a little further down the River Avon bank and you’ll notice it is in fact a bridge, a beautiful Palladian style bridge that wouldn’t feel at all out of place in Florence or Rome. Walk by the bank, across it and admire the history and the classic British architecture.
VISIT THE JANE AUSTEN CENTRE
If you’re a literature buff be sure to visit the Jane Austen Centre to learn more about the famed Pride and Prejudice author. In this lovely Georgian townhouse, you can explore the museum to find out a little bit more about the author, who did actually live in Bath for 5 years towards the beginning of the 19th Century.
Discover the Prettiest 5 Unmissable Villages in the Cotswolds here.
ADMIRE THE TRADITIONAL HOUSES ON ABBEY GREEN
Abbey Green is a tiny little street right behind the Roman Baths. Here you’ll find Sally Lunn’s (below) and the prettiest little square which contains a giant oak tree in the centre and a mix of souvenir shops and pubs around the sides. It looks so traditionally English and so pretty that no doubt you will at some point come across this square.
HAVE A BUN AT THE SALLY LUNN EATING HOUSE
No one day in Bath is complete without a Sally Lunn is a bun. A Sally Lunn bun is a large bread roll that was first invented here in Bath in the 18th Century. It’s somewhat similar to a brioche bun and while it’s not normally included in any lists of traditional British foods, it is worth a try at the place where it was first baked. The Sally Lunn Eating House specialises in Sally Lunn buns and if you’d like to try one or have a bite of Bath culinary history this is the place to come. Even if gluten isn’t on your menu it’s worth visiting just for a cup of tea and to explore the 340-year-old, Grade II listed house.
Do you have any comments or questions about your one day in Bath? Leave then below, I’d love to hear from you!
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