Sometimes, you just need a little weekend getaway. Especially for those of us who have to be working adults, a quick little trip is a great way for us to still keep our wanderlust in check and see new places, but also not get fired from our jobs for taking too much time off.
I for one am always browsing airline sites to see about cheap flights and deals. From Ireland the quickest and cheapest flights, and the most frequent flights, are to the UK. So, after some browsing and researching, I decided to make a little “hit it and quit it” trip to Bath, England. It seemed small enough to explore in a few days, it was cheap and easy to get to, and it looked beautiful.
Well, turns out you can see the best of Bath in just 1 day, and here’s a guide to help you make sure you don’t miss anything!
Bath is a great place for a quick getaway. It’s cheap and easy to get to, being just an hour-long bus ride (that runs frequently) directly from the Bristol airport to Bath’s city centre. It’s a small city, meaning it’s easy to explore on foot, with all points of interest being close to each other. And, a big plus…it’s VERY affordable. A lot of Bath’s main attractions are free, and there is plenty of affordable accommodation.
1. Head for an early breakfast before heading to the famed Roman Baths
The old Roman Baths are an absolute must. I mean, you’re in Bath for crying out loud! This is the single most touristy thing to do in Bath, but you’ve just got to do it. And you won’t be disappointed!
But, that being said, the queues are INSANE. Everyday. So, get your butt out there early! Wake up early and head over to The Green Bird Cafe on the picturesque Margaret’s Buildings road for breakfast before heading over to the baths.
The Baths open at 9:00 or 9:30, depending on the time of year. So, get there about 15 minutes before they open to avoid spending your whole day waiting in line. But once you’re in, take your time wandering the baths and adjoining museum. It’s really interesting! Although you do get an audio guide which helps you learn more, during peak months there’s also a free guided tour around a portion of the baths, which is definitely a must!
You could spend hours learning the history of the baths and the Romans, taking photos of the scenic baths themselves, and browsing the museum. Although this is a very “touristy” attraction, it’s definitely something unique to Bath that you can’t miss! But, going in the morning right when it opens is the best way to avoid the crowds and make sure that you don’t waste away your time in Bath waiting in line to get in.
2. Visit Bath Abbey
While you’re in the whole “tourist” state of mind, you may as well continue onto Bath Abbey. It’s right next to the Roman baths and beautiful! It towers over the city centre, so it’s definitely a staple to the city of Bath. It’s free to visit and opens around the same time as the Roman baths, so pop in and have a look when you leave the baths!
3. Have Lunch and a Wander Around
Now, depending on how long you spent in the Roman Baths, you have some time to kill. That’s why I’ve added this into the schedule. There is a free guided tour that begins at 2pm, but more on that later. Until then, you may have some free time, in which case a wander around Bath is just the thing to do to pass time.
Bath is one of those cities that’s so beautiful on every random corner, every hidden side street, ever residential road. It’s like a smaller London, a cleaner Paris, and a colder Rome all at the same time. This city has Roman influence but an obvious British culture, but with the cafe culture and hidden side streets of Paris all at the same time. This makes it a really unique place; it’s easy to forget where you are and be transported to another place and time.
You’ll notice this soon enough while strolling. Walking around aimlessly is guaranteed to be a feast for your eyes. Walk through Royal Victoria Park. Or enjoy lunch in one of the city’s cute cafes and just explore at your leisure. The architecture, the cute building facades, the independent shops…it’ll all keep you entertained. Pay special attention to the pub signage and the doorknobs of some residences.
4. “Take” afternoon tea
The quintessentially British custom of afternoon tea is definitely a big thing in Bath, as made evident by the many tea shops around the city. Have some tea, cakes, and scones, and relax while resting your feet.
5. Head back to Bath Abbey for the Mayor of Bath Honorary Guides (10:30 am and 2:00 pm, lasting about 2 hours)
One really cool thing about Bath is that the city offers free walking tours twice a day. The guides are super friendly, know their stuff, are employed by the city, and do not except any tips whatsoever. This is a great way to learn about the history of Bath, and find out more about the city than you ever would walking around on your own! You’ll pass must-see sites like the Royal Crescent, the Circus, Pulteney Bridge, and much more! You’ll finish the tour knowing so much about the Roman and Georgian influences of Bath! This is definitely a must.
6. Stroll along the River Avon
Walking along the river will guarantee you some amazing views of the city. On a nice day there’s cyclists, joggers, couples walking, children playing…it’s a great atmosphere. Across the river you’ll see a sort of “skyline” of Bath, including the Abbey and surrounding architecture. With the birds flying and the steady, calm flow of the river, it’s a peaceful and beautiful walk.
7. Have a delicious dinner and a comedy tour to end the evening
Head to locally-recommended The Raven of Bath for some delicious pies and local craft ciders for dinner. This pub has a great vibe and, of equal or greater importance, great pies. The barmen are very friendly and helpful with cider suggestions.
Afterwards, head to the Huntsman Inn, where the Bizarre Bath Comedy Tour starts. Although this tour is neither free nor historical, it’s really entertaining. It’s a great evening activity for anyone visiting Bath, and especially for anyone visiting alone! The walking tour tells stories of the city of Bath, but takes a more irreverent look and has a bit of fun along the way. You’re guaranteed to laugh and enjoy yourself! The tour leaves at 8pm every evening (operating during peak months) and lasts about 90 minutes.
Bath is the perfect place to enjoy a weekend away as a couple, with friends, or solo! It’s scenic, affordable, and very charming. You’ll feel like you’ve walked straight into a Jane Austen novel.