Weekend in Bath: The Perfect City Break Itinerary

girl walking on stone street between honey- colored buildings and columns

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Ready to spend the weekend of your dreams in the stunning UK city of Bath? Among other things, this British town is notable for its honey-colored Georgian architecture, Roman ruins, and fine dining. Bath’s small size and incredible walkability make it the perfect place to escape London for a slow-paced, relaxing weekend. 

Interestingly, Bath is the only city in the UK to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. That definitely makes it a must see!

Being the first UK city I ever visited, I was swept off my feet upon arriving into Bath. If I had any doubts at the time, its distinctive architecture certainly let me know I was no longer in Ohio.

If you too would like to feel like you’ve stepped into an episode of Bridgeton or a Jane Austen novel, I’ve created the perfect weekend in Bath itinerary that will fully allow you to romanticize your life for a few days!

brunette girl in pink sweatshirt strolling past honey colored buildings in the morning

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Bath, UK

Getting from London to Bath

Airport Connections

If you are flying into London to visit Bath, you will likely land in either Heathrow or Gatwick Airport. From there, it is easiest to connect to Bath via train. You will ultimately need to get to London Paddington Station for your connection to Bath.

To do this from Heathrow Airport, take the Heathrow Express train, which departs every 15 minutes and goes directly to Paddington. The Gatwick Express, which runs twice per hour, will take you to London Victoria Station. You can then take the Tube (London’s subway system) from Victoria to Paddington.

Train from London Paddington Station

Once you’ve gotten through your initial connections, you can focus on getting to Bath. You’ll want to catch the train from Paddington to Bath Spa station. Trains generally run every half hour, with the journey taking about one hour and twenty minutes. Once in Bath, you can catch a cab right outside the train station to your hotel.

Travel Savvy Tip

When planning to use train travel in the UK, be sure to book your tickets on the National Rail website well in advance for the best prices. Train travel in the UK is some of the most expensive in Europe, so this is key for staying on budget. Tickets release no earlier than 12 weeks out, so jump right on it once they’re available.

a beautiful street in Bath

Also Read: Great Britain Train Tips (Things I Wish I Knew)


Where to Stay During a Weekend in Bath

We loved our stay at Marlborough House, which is a quaint, cozy and affordable inn run by a very helpful proprietor named Peter. A couple months leading up to our trip, Peter sent us a very detailed email with check-in information, as well as the best train and bus options from London. He also sat us down upon arrival with a map to show us how to get to the best of Bath’s attractions. Hint: everything is walkable.

Of course, I can’t forget the nice breakfast spread served in Marlborough House’s dining room each morning. It’s built into the price of the room, so we opted to eat in every day of our stay. Peter even left some cereal and yogurt in our room the night before our day trips, since we’d be leaving too early for breakfast in the dining room.

red door of marlborough house in bath

Weekend in Bath: Day 1

Your first day of your weekend in Bath will be spent getting to know this pretty little city. Take your time strolling past charming shops and stopping into a couple of Bath’s most iconic places.

Morning: Take a Walking Tour of Bath

The best way to begin a weekend visit to Bath is by taking a walking tour. In fact, The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides offers a free walking tour every day of the year, except Christmas. The guides won’t even accept tips, making this a 100% free activity. The tour begins every day at 10:30am (also 2pm Sunday to Friday and, from May thru August, 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and lasts two hours.

While exploring the city, allow yourself to be transported to another era. The 18th century architecture of Bath was built using locally-sourced limestone, which you’ll notice on all the buildings. Have you ever seen a city so cohesively designed?

colorful storefronts in Bath UK

One of the most notable structures in this honey-colored town, which you’ll likely see on your tour, is the lengthy Royal Crescent. No. 1 Royal Crescent has actually been restored to what it may have looked like when it was originally built. You can take a look inside for £15.50 a person.

If you prefer to save room in your budget for other sights, there is still plenty of grandeur to appreciate from the exterior of the Royal Crescent. In fact, the huge lawn in front would be a great spot for an afternoon picnic.

the royal crescent in bath - weekend in bath

Afternoon: Explore Sights Around Bath

Bath Abbey

A visit to Bath would not be complete without stopping by Bath Abbey, which towers over the city in dramatic fashion. Unless there is a special event going on, the Abbey is generally open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (last entry 30 minutes before close & Sunday hours are limited due to church services). Admission costs £7.50 for adults, with an additional £3.50 charge for an audio guide.

If you’re up for a 212 step climb to see amazing views over Bath, you could pay £15 for a guided tour of the Bath Abbey bell tower. Tickets must be purchased the day of and are available every day, except Sunday.

exterior of bath abbey

Other Awesome Things to Do in Bath

If you have extra time after seeing Bath Abbey, there are plenty of sight-seeing opportunities to squeeze in before dinner. You will notice I have not included the Roman Baths quite yet. Don’t worry – they’re coming!

Any of the below places would also be great to add on if you happen to be staying beyond the weekend for 3 or 4 days in Bath.

  • Assembly Rooms: Historic and beautifully designed venue for 18th century social gatherings. The Rooms are free for National Trust members to visit (£10 for everyone else), but are often rented out for private events. Book ahead to ensure tours will be running.
  • Fashion Museum: Peruse an extensive collection of fashion hits and misses throughout the centuries leading up to the modern era. The museum is temporarily closed as it moves to a new location in the center of Bath.
  • Jane Austen Museum: Jane herself apparently lived in Bath for four years, and based two of her novels here (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion). The £14.75 ticket is worthwhile for those (me!) who are a big fan of her work.
  • The Pump Room: This restaurant is located right next door to the Roman Baths. If you’re feeling brave, you can drink a glass of the “healing” spa water sourced from the Baths.
sign pointing to various bath attractions

Travel Savvy Trip

Even when we took a day trip, My husband and I were still were able to easily walk around the entirety of Bath in the morning and evening. Word of caution though – things don’t really stay open that late in this slow-paced spa town. One exception is the Roman Baths, which lets visitors in until 9:00 p.m. for a limited time during July and August.

Also Read: Planning Your UK Trip (10 Mistakes to Avoid)

brunette girl in black tank top taking an evening stroll through Bath

Evening: Dinner & Roman Baths

Grab a Casual Dinner

Before you go exploring the Roman Baths, stop into a local restaurant for dinner. A great choice for a casual atmosphere with deliciously sophisticated fish and chips is the The Scallop Shell. This beachy spot brings out your order pretty quickly, so you can make sure to get over to the Baths before closing.

interior of the scallop shell restaurant

Tour the Roman Baths

The best time to visit the super popular Roman Baths are first thing in the morning. It is much easier to appreciate the romance of this ancient site and imagine the Roman society that once congregated here in a peaceful setting.

However, if you are like us and have a day full of activities already booked, you might not be available for a 9am timeslot (10am during weekdays in the off season). Thankfully, the Baths stay open late, so it’s still possible to experience them in their glory with very few other people around. You could even argue they are more enjoyable at this hour with the warm glow of torch lighting under the soft evening sky.

The Baths were especially exciting for me because they were the first Roman ruins I had ever seen. Oddly, before coming to England, I was somehow ignorant of the fact that at some point… Romans lived here. Or at least, I faintly recalled learning about Rome’s rule of England back in high school, which had been long forgotten by the time of our visit.

the roman baths from above during a weekend in bath

Weekend in Bath: Day 2

The second day of your weekend in Bath is the perfect opportunity to take a day trip. Bath is a great jumping off point for many interesting places in the surrounding area. You could do this by self-driving, but there are also small and large group tour options available if you don’t want to rent a car.

There are endless options for day trips you could do from Bath, with two of the most popular being Stonehenge and the Cotswolds. Mad Max is a great minibus tour company that runs both of these tours in a relaxed small group setting. We actually used them twice during our visit!

Below, I am running through each tour, and what we liked about each (including our favorite).

brunette girl in pink sweatshirt visiting Stonehenge

Option #1: Stonehenge Tour

Before planning a trip to England, I did not see myself visiting Stonehenge at all. After doing some research on Bath, though, I saw that Stonehenge was only about an hour’s drive away, so I figured we couldn’t miss this opportunity.

What I loved about this Stonehenge tour is that the ‘henge itself was a very small part of the day. The tour beelines immediately to Stonehenge first thing in the morning before it becomes too overrun with tourists. Note: Entrance to Stonehenge requires an additional cash fee of £23 per adult.

avebury stone circle

What then follows is an exciting day of exploring the English countryside. The next stop was the Avebury Stone Circles, which are a less touristy version of what Stonehenge basically is. After this, to my very great delight, was a bit of a Harry Potter themed stop. Looking back, this might actually be what sold me on this tour.

interior of lacock abbey

The town of Lacock is an extremely well preserved medieval city that has been used quite a lot as a filming location. Harry Potter is one of the films included (Godric’s Hollow anyone?), and there are many spots throughout the town that you would recognize from the movies. My husband and I squeezed in a stop to Lacock Abbey during lunch to see the set of a Hogwarts corridor. 

The final stop of the day was Castle Combe, which is one of the most picture-perfect villages in England. Looking for a full tour of cute little villages like this? The Cotswolds tour (discussed below) may be more up your ally.

beautiful homes and bridge over creek in castle combe

Option #2: Cotswolds Tour

The Cotswalds are similar to Lacock in that they are beautifully preserved medieval villages. Tiny in size, the height of their success was during the 13th to 16th centuries, where they flourished from the wool trade. Industrialization later would change all this, as the textile industry evolved and the demand for wool decreased. These little towns became impoverished, as residents fled to find work in the cities. 

However, this economic demise is the reason why these pretty towns are still intact today. Poverty inhibited further development, so the existing buildings were largely left untouched for centuries to come.

bibury in the cotswolds

Mad Max’s Cotswolds Tour takes you to five of these cities, with the first being Castle Combe. The four others include:

  • Malmesbury
  • Bibury
  • Stow-on-the-Wold
  • Bourton-on-the-Water
Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds

If I had to choose a favorite, I’d have to say I preferred the Stonehenge Tour. I felt that the stops were more diverse and interesting. The Cotswolds towns were gorgeous, but they started to feel a bit repetitive by the end of the day.

Evening

Upon your return to Bath, have a lovely Italian meal in the vaulted stone cellars of Sotto Sotto. Be sure to make reservations in advance, as this small restaurant has limited seating. 

view of Pulteney Bridge during weekend in Bath

• • •

This concludes the perfect low-key weekend in Bath, UK. If you think this beauty of a city looks stunning in photos, I can assure you that Bath is even more striking in person. My jaw quite literally dropped with I caught my first glimpse of the honey-colored 18th-century buildings.

The best way to experience Bath is to take things slow. The streets were meant for strolling and peeking into local shops before indulging in a leisurely dinner. You have plenty of time to see everything you want to see in this walkable town, so save your energy for London. You’ll need it!

Are you planning a Bath, UK itinerary? What is drawing you to the manicured historic streets of this delightful spa town?

The perfect itinerary for an amazing weekend in Bath UK.  Features the best things to do in Bath, including the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Museum, and Bath Abbey.  Eat at delicious restaurants and marvel at Bath's stunning architecture all in just one weekend.  #bathtravel #bathuk #baththingstodo #bathitinerary #batharchitecture
8 reasons why you need to include Bath in your UK itinerary. Bath simply cannot be missed on a trip to the UK. On the fence? Read this to see why a trip to this gorgeous city is certainly worthwhile.
The perfect itinerary for an amazing weekend in Bath UK. Features the best things to do in Bath, including the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Museum, and Bath Abbey. Eat at delicious restaurants and marvel at Bath's stunning architecture all in just one weekend. #bathtravel #bathuk #baththingstodo #bathitinerary #batharchitecture
The perfect itinerary for an amazing weekend in Bath UK. Features the best things to do in Bath, including the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Museum, and Bath Abbey. Eat at delicious restaurants and marvel at Bath's stunning architecture all in just one weekend. #bathtravel #bathuk #baththingstodo #bathitinerary #batharchitecture

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