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  • Writer's picturesarahhawley

A Day in Bath

I have been to Bath many times, but up till now I was always on a tour bus and we always ended up doing the same thing. First you go to see the Roman Baths, then the Pump Room and a little bit of window shopping before being herded back onto the bus to go back to London. There is so much more to Bath than that, and I wanted to see it...the rest of it. That’s why on my most recent trip to England, I planned to take a daytrip on my own to see Bath. It was mid-October when I took the late morning train to Bath Spa, which is a 2 hour journey west of London (by train). After sitting for so long on the train, I was happy to walk…and walk I did. I walked all over Bath, I only had one day to see it and I wanted to see as much as I possibly could. If you are thinking of going to Bath, I would recommend that you book accommodations to stay overnight for at least one night; this will give you more time to see Bath without the need to rush.

As I started my day in Bath, I walked from the train station towards the main part of town. My first stop was Sally Lunn’s Eating House. It is one of the oldest houses in Bath. I stopped to have a peek in the museum shop downstairs and I picked up one of their famous Sally Lunn Buns (which is a semi-sweet bread). You could also have a meal in the restaurant, but I decided not to, because I had just arrived and there was so much more I wanted to see.

I walked all over bath and through all the little streets. I past Bath Abbey, which was opening later than usual that day, so I was not able to go in. I walked by the Roman Baths and the Pump Room, The little theatre – which is a cute old cinema that is still in operation. I walked through some of the famous streets in Bath, looking at the architecture and landmark buildings - everything from the old post office to the New Theatre Royal and everything in between.

I stopped in at the Jane Austen Centre, as Bath is the place where this famous author not only lived, but it was also the location where many of her stories took place. One of the houses she once called home, is just up the street from the Jane Austen Centre. If you continue to climb up this street, you arrive at the Circus, which is a circular street with impressive curved buildings – not the big top circus with performers and animals. Just west of the Circus is the Royal Crescent. Another grand impressive architectural structure. The building is in a giant C-shape and follows the curve of the street. There is a lovely park area just below the Royal Crescent, which is a great spot to stop and have a snack or a picnic and there are public toilets in the park nearby. On this day the Royal Crescent Museum was closed, so again, I was not able to pop in for a visit. This area has been used in a number of film and TV productions, most commonly in period dramas.

I wandered back down into the main streets in Bath over to Pulteney Bridge. I walked along the Grand Parade and down into the Parade Gardens. There is a small fee to enter the gardens, but there is a lovely view of the bridge from there. This is also a nice place to stop for a snack or rest on a bench and there aren’t too many people in the gardens, likely because you have to pay to get in. As I walked along Bridge Street, (which also has lovely views of Bath), I realized that it was the middle of the afternoon and there was still more of Bath I wanted to explore. The weather had become quite overcast and I thought it might rain. I made the journey outside of the city centre in Bath taking a 30 minute hike up a steep road all the way to the top, where I finally arrived at Prior Park Landscape Garden.

This place was just beautiful. It is well maintained with lovely nature paths on tree covered trails, ponds and rolling green hills with the most wonderful view from the very top of the hill. I wandered up and down all the trails and took way too many photos. By the time I finished up here and followed the back roads all the way back down into the city centre, it was early evening. We were starting to lose daylight as the sun was dropping in the sky. I still wanted to see the Bath skyline, which can be viewed in several locations around Bath, but I wanted to see it from Alexandra Park.

At this point in the day my phone had died and I was trying to figure out how to get to Alexandra Park, which took a while to find where I wanted to go on a map and then make my way over to Alexandra Road. From here is a small entry point that takes you directly to the Bath Lookout, also known as the Alexandra viewpoint. Just like anything else worth doing the walk up to the viewpoint was quite a climb and I mean a very steep climb up soooooo many stairs. It doesn’t seem to matter how fit you are, you will be out of breath when you make it to the top.  Once you arrive at the top and come out of the tree covered path, you come to a clearing with the most amazing view of the Bath Skyline. I was able to make the journey before the sun went down and I spent quite a while up there on a bench enjoying the view (while also catching my breath and recuperating from such a steep climb). The good news was, it was all downhill when I decided to go back to the city centre, which was much easier than the climb up. I will say that the struggle was well worth the reward.

I stayed in Bath until seven in the evening, grabbed a quick bite to eat for dinner, and caught the train back to London. It was a long day and I didn’t get to see everything that I wanted to in Bath, but I was able to see the majority of the things I was interested in and I was happy with what I saw.

October is out of season so there are not many tourists and I went to Bath during the week (not on a weekend), which again means less crowds. This was a great daytrip from London, to get out of the city, see a different part of England, and for spectacular photography - particularly for landscape and architectural photography. As I have said before, there is still more of Bath to see and staying at least one night in Bath will allow for you to see all that Bath has to offer, as there is much more than just the Roman Baths and the Pump Room. Should you have the chance to see Bath, I encourage you to make the trip and do a bit of research in advance to make the most of your time there.

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