If you haven’t picked up on this by now, I love all things British. So when I got the chance to spend a week in London this October, I jumped at it, and quickly sought out opportunities to visit the countryside.
After researching destinations that would make for good day trips out of London, I landed on two: Rye and Bath. Both places were easily accessible by train, and as Rye is southeast of London and Bath is southwest, I got to see a good bit of the country outside of my train car window in either direction.
Bath is the largest city in Somerset, England, situated in rolling green hills in the valley of the River Avon. It’s known for its natural hot springs, Roman-built baths dating back to 60 AD, 7th-century abbey, and 18th-century honey-colored Georgian architecture. The popularity of the hot springs drove Bath to become a popular spa town in the Georgian era, and Jane Austen called the city home in the early 19th century.
The vibrant history, beautiful architecture, charming streets, and huge parks certainly made my visit to Bath worthwhile. I enjoyed spending a better part of the day seeing the sites with my cousin, Brian, and would undoubtedly be happy to return again.
Here are my recommendations for a day trip to Bath:
Visit the Roman Baths. These are in the center of town and are easy enough to come by on foot. Adult tickets are £16.50, and we purchased ours upon arrival. They’re open every day of the week from 9am-10pm in the summer, and 9am-6pm for the remainder of the year. Make sure to pick up your headset for the self-guided audio tour—you’ll learn a lot at your own pace!
Stroll through Royal Victoria Park, named for Queen Victoria when she visited Bath as a princess at age 11 in 1830. The park is a short walk from city center. It spans 57 acres, is home to beautiful botanical gardens, and offers a nice respite from the crowds in town.
If any Janeites are reading this (Jane Austen fans, for those who don’t know), you can visit the Jane Austen Center and learn how Bath provided inspiration for two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
Architecture lovers, go see The Royal Crescent, a 500-foot-long landmark building overlooking Royal Victoria Park. It was built between 1767 and 1775 and is one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK. And, fun fact, it was featured in two films: Persuasion and The Duchess.
Stop for a pub lunch and pint at Coeur de Lion, the smallest pub in Bath. It’s a quaint, cozy little place situated along Northumberland Place, a picturesque side street.
Walk along the River Avon and across Pulteney Bridge—built in 1769, it’s one of only four bridges in the world to have shops across its full span on both sides.
Grab a meal or drink, tuck into a window-table at The Huntsman, and watch all of the people go by. We enjoyed a pint and a game of scrabble in the pub, but there was a beautiful formal dining room upstairs, too.