Day Trippers: Bath England

March 13, 2018
March 13, 2018 Hilary

Day Trippers: Bath England

Two full weeks in England meant that not only would we have ample time to explore London (our home base and my favorite city), but we would also have time to venture further afield on day trips. There are so many great cities within driving distance of London, so how would we decide which ones to visit? I had a very long wish list…

Pulteney Bridge Bath England

Pulteney Bridge

Realistically we only had time for three day trips, and our visit to Stonehenge, which was non negotiable, would be one of them, so based on their proximity to one another, it made sense to choose Bath. That meant our visit to Bath was actually by default, but pair ancient history, both Roman and British, with beautiful architecture, and our only complaint was that we wished for more time in such a gorgeous city!

Related: 25 Things to do in London

Related: Bucket List Item: Stonehenge

The City of Bath

Bath, a world heritage site, is located in Somerset about 97 miles west of London. The special distinction was given to the entire city in 1987, but when you consider that people have been coming to this amazing city for thousands of years, you have to wonder, what took them so long? What’s so special about Bath? Well, for starters the Baths themselves.

Roman Baths Bath England

Entrance to the Roman Baths

Aquae Sulis

The Romans came to Britain around 43 AD, and to this area shortly after. The first Roman people who came to Bath were soldiers, and it was their craftsmen who built the temple and bath complex that the city is so famous for. Archeological evidence tells us that the baths were built and complete by 76 AD.

Roman Baths Bath England

The Roman name for Bath was Aquae Sulis, which means The Waters of Sulis, The name comes from the Celtic Goddess Sulis, who they identified with based on her similarities to their own Goddess Minerva.

Roman Baths Minerva Bath England

The Roman Goddess Minerva

During your tour you’ll see a combination of ruins and modern displays depicting what the complex would have looked like almost 2000 years ago.

I was fascinated to learn that the flow of water is 250,000 gallons per day at a temperature of 115°F.

Roman Baths Bath England

Look, but don’t touch the water.

The combination of history, architecture and science meant that our entire family enjoyed visiting the Roman Baths.

A word of advice: Don’t touch the water during your visit, because while at one time the waters here were considered healing this is not the case today. In fact several types of disease causing bacteria can be found in the water.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey is only the third church to occupy this site in the past 1200 years. Talk about history! The current Abbey was started in 1499, but was surrendered to the crown, during Henry VIII’s time, before it could be completed. It was left in ruin for more than 70 years before it was restored and became a parish church. It was another 200 years before it became the church we see today.

Bath England United Kingdom

View of the Abbey from the Roman Baths

Edgar, the first king of England was crowned at Bath Abbey over 1000 years ago, and you’ll find a plaque commemorating the occasion on the floor of the abbey.

While I wandered around marveling at the history and architecture, the boys explored via a scavenger hunt provided by the Abbey.

Bath Abbey England United Kingdom

The Abbey’s Famous Fan Ceiling

Bath England United Kingdom

The Abbey at Christmas

Sally Lunn’s Buns

One of the hardest things about traveling to a place for only one afternoon is working out just what to see and eat, and hoping you don’t choose wrong. Especially if you know you might not return. Thankfully we had a few insider tips, which led us to Sally Lunn’s!

Sally Lunn Bun House Bath England

Who was Sally Lunn, and what is a Sally Lunn Bun?

Legend has it that Sally Lunn, a French Huguenot, came to Bath in 1680 in order to escape persecution. She found work in a bakery, and started baking what is now known as the Bath Bun.

According to the official website a Sally Lunn Bun is part bread, part bun, and part cake, and can be enjoyed with either sweet or savory accompaniments,

Sally Lunn Bun House Bath England

The buns are so large we bought two and shared them. Unable to decide which topping to try, we chose two: Cinnamon butter and lemon curd.

The Royal Crescent

Sadly our day in the wonderful city of Bath was coming to an end, but not before we made one final stop to see The Royal Crescent.

Royal Crescent Bath England

Built between 1767 and 1774 the Royal Crescent is considered to be one of the greatest examples of Georgian Architecture in the United Kingdom. Due to it’s historical and architectural importance the building is protected and for the most part the exterior remains unchanged from when it was built.

Royal Crescent Bath England

The Crescent is 500 feet long and consists of 30 terraced houses, which include a hotel and a museum. 10 of the original townhouses are still full-sized, while 18 have been split into flats.

Royal Crescent Bath England

The inside of No. 1 Royal Crescent is a museum

Unfortunately for us, the museum located in No. 1 Royal Crescent was closed for the Christmas holidays, but we did arrive at golden hour, so the shutterbug in me was pleased about that.

Castle Combe

Our final stop of the day, was the adorable and quaint Village of Castle Combe, located in the Cotswolds in north west Wiltshire. The village looks just as one might imagine an English village should look, and according to the official website its often referred to as the “prettiest village in England.” Even with the fading light on a cold winter afternoon we could see the charm this little village possessed.

Castle Comb England United Kingdom

Hopefully we’ll find our way back to this part of the world one day, and if we do further exploration of Castle Combe is a definite.

Tips & Advice:

Roman Baths Bath England

The Entrance Hall Ceiling at the Roman Baths

  • While we did purchase our tickets to the Roman Baths in advance we mistakenly thought showing them on our mobile device would be sufficient. It wasn’t. Be sure to print them out prior to your arrival.
  • We used the audio guide during our tour of the Baths, and it was very sufficient, but I think a tour might have been a nice supplement.
  • If you want to taste the spa water at the Baths you can safely do so in the Pump Room.
  • Bath Abbey is located just next to the Roman Baths.
  • If you’re traveling with younger children, be sure to ask in the Abbey gift shop for the children’s activities.
  • There is a full service restaurant at Sally Lunn’s, and had time permitted we would have loved to eat there.
  • Royal Crescent No. 1 is open to the public depending on the time of year. Check the official website for operating hours.

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Family Travel in Bath England

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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and wherever I go, they go! This means they are, at the ages of 9 and 15, world travelers and all around go along guys! There isn’t anywhere I can’t take them! It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things I’ve learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (47)

  1. I love Bath & can’t believe how much you managed to fit into one day there – we used to live about 20 minutes away & popped there regularly – it still is my favourite city & home to a lovely Spa too. You then ended up at Castle Combe, which was only 5 mins from us – a stunning village & always worth a visit. A real trip back down memory lane for me #citytripping

    • Hilary

      Funny, I felt like we missed out on so much in Bath, but I suppose we managed quite a bit in one afternoon! I always love reading about the places I’ve lived from another person’s perspective. So Fun!

      • Believe me you packed a lot in, but it would be worth going back for another visit if yiu have the chance, especially over Christmas when there is the most incredible Christmas Market filling the streets #citytripping

  2. I love Bath but I’m a little sad we skimped out on paying to go into Bath Abbey! Next time I will definitely go in! You also got a lovely shot over the town! I wish we had had more time to explore! #CityTripping

    • Hilary

      Yes, definitely find your way inside the Abbey it’s wonderful! Also, it’s a suggested donation, so pay as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.

  3. I love the fan vaulting of English churches. It’s such a beautiful design element that I haven’t seen outside of England yet. I had to LOL at the diseased water in the baths – you’d think they might try and do something about that given how many people probably believe in the healing powers. 😉 Your picture of the Royal Crescent in the late sun is absolutely gorgeous. It looks HUGE!! I’ve never made it outside of London when visiting, but Bath would most certainly be on my list as well when I do. #citytripping

  4. Wherejogoes

    We live near Bath and you’ve captured many of our favourites here. My niece has just started uni there so we are enjoying discovering everything again with her. Castle Combe is somewhere we love, we stayed there the first night of our honeymoon. Thanks for reminding me of some of my favourite places, close to my heart! #CityTripping

    • Hilary

      Oh this means a lot to me as I admit to being nervous when posting about a spot near and dear to the hearts of many of my fellow travel bloggers! What a wonderful spot for a honeymoon! I hope to get back there someday!

  5. Bath is one place we really want to return to, we only had a morning there on a tour. Your pics brought back some wonderful memories

    • Hilary

      I also wished for more time there. I know wot would be lovely, but was surprised at just how lovely and regretted not having more time there.

  6. Bath was the perfect day trip from London! I didn’t go inside the abbey, but apparently I should have – LOVE the ceiling! #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Yes, it was very lovely inside. I always go in even though I’m not religious at all, I love the history, memorials and architecture. It was a perfect day trip wasn’t it?!

      • I’ve stopped going inside, because it usually looks the same as everyone else, but I guess I should go back to my old ways 🙂

      • Hilary

        It’s true many are similar, but it was a small donation and we figured we could always leave if it wasn’t good. 😘

  7. London’s my favorite city too and I just booked a trip there later this year with two girlfriends. Since we’ve both been there we’re looking for some things to do and see we’ve never seen before so I’m loving your Bath day trip idea!!! Definitely saving this to discuss with my girls 🙂 #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Ooh! I hope you do have time for a day trip or two! Windsor is also very worthwhile if you haven’t been…

  8. kriebelbeth

    Bath was the first day trip out of London that we made in 2014, when we were first time visitors in the UK. The connections to Jane Austen sold it for me. I love Bath, it is one of my favorite destinations in the UK. I love that it has retained a very historical character, as opposed to London’s many modern structures. (I ADORE London, don’t get me wrong!) Funny, I have yet to make it to Sally Lunn’s. Your post has sold me on why I should. 🙂 Great write-up. And love that you had golden hour light. Cheers!

    • Hilary

      I get what exactly what you mean! I love London with its eclectic mix, but love cities like Bath and Edinburgh for the way they’ve retained so much of their character. Yes! Sally Lunn’s is definitely worth a visit!

  9. Clare Thomson

    Bath is one of my absolute favourite cities. You’ve got some truly stunning photos of the Royal Crescent. It’s really hard to capture how big it is but you’ve managed it beautifully. Did you drink some of the spa water at the end of your trip to the Roman Baths? I think it tastes revolting but I always have a couple of cups in case it really does have some magical qualities…#FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      I know you love Bath and truth be told I was a little nervous about that. We weren’t aware of the Pump Room, so didn’t taste the water. Though after reading about it I’m kinda glad I didn’t! Next time I want to explore the Pultney Bridge!

  10. I’ve heard sooo many great things about Bath. I have a cousin who actually went to college there. The last time we were in London, we wanted to do a day trip but winded up going to Oxford instead of Bath cause of the distance but next time we will definitely head to Bath!

    • Hilary

      I also really want to visit Oxford, but thought the holidays might not be the best time of year.

  11. I do hope to visit Bath some day, I know I would love it. I can just imagine it all those years ago, which I think is part of the allure. The lunch place looks amazing too! Was the bun good? #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      We ran out of time so took the buns back to our apartment and toasted them for breakfast! They were good, but next time I’d like to stay and eat at Sally Lunn’s.

  12. We have only visited London, so we hope to explore the amazing places around the city as well one day. Bath to me looks and sounds like a good starting point. I would love to see the Abbey as it’s architecture and the history of the building is nothing we can experience in Australia. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      I know just what you mean, there is so much to see I. London it’s hard to venture further out. Compared to Europe were relatively young here in America and the longevity of these places amazes me!

  13. I really enjoying wandering around Bath. It’s such a pretty and historical city. If you’re a literary fan, the Jane Austen museum is worth a look. We didn’t make it to the Baths….can you believe it? So we shall have to revisit soon. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • Hilary

      Ha! I can believe it there is so much to see there and as I lived 30 min from the Statue of Liberty for a year and never made it there until after I’d already moved away… I can relate!

  14. Bath is so awesome. I visited in 2001, and at that time, you could drink the water. I tried it (yuck!) but my daughter refused to drink it. I guess that’s not allowed at all now :). I would gladly return to this fascinating city!

    • Hilary

      I didn’t realize it during our visit, but you can taste a safe sample of the water in the Pump Room, however after reading about it I would have taken a pass. I hear its pretty vile.

  15. The Bath Abbey looks amazing! And the rows and rows of buildings in your first photo are not like anything I ever saw before! Really enjoyed all your photos by the way.

    • Hilary

      Thank you! I took that photo just before we went down into the valley where Bath is located. I feel like I got a lucky shot as It was literally me jumping out of the van, snapping two pics and away we went!

  16. bavariansojourn

    Bath is a brilliant choice, it’s a really beautiful city with lots of lovely history! Glad you got to Sally Lunns as well! 🙂 #citytripping

  17. Bath is such a beautiful city! It’s so interesting to visit the Roman baths and the architecture is gorgeous. We also enjoyed the free city walking tours with the official Bath guides. #farawayfiles

  18. Adore the look of Sally Lunn’s bunns! Ha! So awesome and excellent choices with the cinnamon butter and lemon curd! It’s too bad the water in the baths isn’t safe anymore, how cool would it be to dip in ancient waters that Romans did! Beautiful post Hilary. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles.

  19. The photo of the Christmas tree in the Abbey is so pretty! I’ve heard so many good things about Bath and would love to visit. I can’t imagine living in a house or flat in the Royal Crescent! Such an incredible building.

    • Hilary

      It was a lovely Abbey! As far as the town houses were concerned: #housegoals 😘

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