Our idea for a vacation to England started with the idea of going to Bath. As the trip planning evolved, we decided to spend most of our time in London and take a side trip to Bath.
Here’s how we did it.
The trains from London to Bath leave from Paddington Station. Paddington also has an Underground Station so it is easily accessible from anywhere you are staying in London. There is a bit of a walk from the Underground portion of the station to the train station so pack light. (While you are at Paddington train station, check out the statue of Paddington Bear near the Number 1 train. You don’t need a ticket to get to it.)
Trains run often between the two stations — one or two an hour. It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to Bath. I used thetrainline.com to search the schedule.
You can buy tickets ahead of time if you know about when you want to go. That will save you money. I didn’t want to be tied to a time so we bought tickets the same day with a return on a specific date during Super Off Peak times. Peak time tickets are the most expensive and let you travel during rush hour. Off Peak is right before or after rush hour and Super Off Peak is late morning and early afternoon. On the weekday we traveled, Super Off Peak went until 4 PM.
In general seats aren’t assigned so you can sit anywhere you want. Some people pre-book assigned seats so if a seat has a paper ticket sticking up from it, don’t sit there.
The station in Bath is just south of the main touristy area. You can get taxis here or behind Bath Abbey to take you to your hotel. We used AirBnB to find a place about 1.2 miles from the station. Helpful hint – Once you get out of the tourist part, Bath is built on hills. Big Hills. Don’t think “It is just over a mile. We’ll walk.” Take a cab or else find yourself hiking a mountain while pulling luggage. Voice of experience here.
We bought the Spas Ancient and Modern Package for our first day in Bath. This got us discounted admission to The Roman Baths, champagne tea at the Pump Room, and two hours at the Thermae Spa. All these things are close to each other so it is easy to do even if you get to Bath in the early afternoon like we did.
Our Itinerary – Details to Follow
On Our First Afternoon
The Roman Baths
Champagne Tea at the Pump Room
Bath Abbey (These three are all next door to each other.)
Walk to The Circle and The Royal Crescent
Considered dinner at The Raven but it was so busy that we couldn’t get in
Two hours soaking at the Thermae Spa
Picked up some soup and microwavable rice at the Waitrose just past Bath Abbey because we were too tired to find a restaurant. Bath seems to close up fairly early at night at least in the central area.
Day trip to Cardiff Wales
The Morning After – We dropped off our luggage at a hostel near the train station. They keep bags for £3 a bag.
Jane Austin Center
The Fashion Museum at The Assembly Rooms
Lunch at The Raven – We got here when it first opened so we got in.
Headed back to London and arrived by 6 PM.