2 weekends ago, I made good on my promise to spend more time traveling domestically. First to check off the list was Bath - a beautiful English town surrounding ancient Roman baths and less than 2 hours outside of London. Its proximity to London makes Bath a perfect weekend getaway. For anyone contemplating a visit, we've provided a 48 hour itinerary as well as a handy map of our favorites spots and a full photo gallery below.
Keep in mind, there was plenty we didn't have the time to see during our stay. However, this should be a good starting point for any first time visitor. Enjoy!
- Trains from London Paddington run to Bath Spa quite frequently. Considering we were bringing along a dog, we decided to head out a little early at 3PM. This is especially helpful on a Friday when peak hours after work can get very crowded on board.
- The train station in Bath is conveniently located in the the city centre. While it's easy to hail a taxi outside the station, the town is very walkable and seldom requires public transportation.
- We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express for the weekend, primarily because it is one of the only dog-friendly hotels in town. Frankly, I would recommend the hotel to any budget traveler (dog or no dog). While, it's slightly outside of city centre, no attraction is more than a 10 - 15 minute walk away. Additionally, you get free wifi and breakfast at a very affordable price.
- For dinner, we headed to The Hop Pole - a homey, local pub just south of Victoria Park. In addition to locally brewed ales, the gastropub fare was delicious.
Side Note: To all the dog owners out there, make sure to check out Doggiepubs.org.uk for pet friendly dining options.
- We grabbed an early morning coffee at Colonna & Small's before venturing off on our self-guided walking tour of Bath.
- At first, I was a bit bummed that the weather wasn't great on Saturday. However, I quickly realized that the cloudy skies somehow make Bath even more beautiful. Perhaps it's the way the golden-colored bath stone, used throughout much of the town's Georgian buildings, subtly blend in with the white, overcast sky.
- The most important thing about visiting Bath is to not set yourself to a strict agenda. Take your time to leisurely explore the beautiful boulevards, quaint cobble-stoned streets and tiny alleyways.
- A few "can't miss" places include the Royal Crescent (see photos above) and the Circus. Both consist of seemingly endless rows of Georgian terraces. Make sure to walk down to the bottom of Victoria Park to get the best panoramic views of the Royal Crescent.
- The obvious "must visit" in Bath are the famous Roman Baths. While I wasn't blown away by this UNESCO World Heritage site, its history is really fascinating to learn about. Make sure to go early as the queues get pretty long and the crowds pack into the museum by mid day.
- After a morning of historic sites, we decided to walk through Bath's commercial center. There are some cute shops off of the town's main shopping corridor, Milsom Street, including HAY's first stand-alone store in the UK and Topping & Company Booksellers.
- For lunch, we made a pit stop at Same Same But Different. This tiny, unassuming cafe just north of Milsom Street serves delicious tapas-style fare.
- After a late afternoon break at the hotel, we headed back out to The Chequers for dinner. The seasonal ingredients and inventive plates at this gastropub were outstanding. Make sure to grab a table upstairs so you can see right into the kitchen and watch the chefs prepare your meals.
- Instead of heading straight back to the hotel, we opted for a detour and returned to a few notable spots like the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey. It's pretty awesome seeing the town's architectural gems lit up at night.
- After 2 nights of pub fare, it was time to work off some of the extra calories. We got up early Sunday morning to go for a quick run around town. Unlike the day before, there wasn't a single cloud in the sky. I decided to seize this opportunity and head up to Alexandra Park. Located just south of River Avon, the park sits atop a steep hill. It's not an easy climb, but the views over Bath at the peak are unbeatable.
- Post run, we grabbed coffee at Society Cafe - another great, local coffee shop in the heart of Bath.
- With only a few hours left before our train home, we walked across Pulteney Bridge to the Holburne Museum. It won't take you long to make your way through the museum's tiny collection, but it's absolutely worth a visit nonetheless.
- If you have extra time, you can head further north along Paragon Street to Hedgemead Park. While not particularly notable, it's a pleasant detour away from the city centre.
A few things we didn't have time for: