As much as there is to do in Bath itself (see our previous posts for inspiration!) it’s also a brilliant starting point to explore this part of England, which is full of history and fascinating things to see and do. Not only that, but it’s on a major railway line and has plenty of great public transport links, so you can often get exploring without the need to bring or hire a car – which has the added bonus of letting you sit back and look out of the window as you travel! Bath is surrounded by gorgeous countryside that you can glimpse even from the very centre of the city, so it’s hard not to feel that urge to get out there and have an adventure. We asked local blogger Sal Godfrey to recommend a few of the best day trips you can make from Bath without your car…
It would be crazy not to start with Bristol, Bath’s sister city that’s only ten minutes away on the train. Once a bustling maritime port and the starting point for some of history’s most famous voyages, Bristol is a lively buzzing place packed with excellent food and drink, comedy, live music and more. I particularly recommend a visit to the restored SS Great Britain, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and one of the most advanced passenger steamers in the world in her time, for anyone wanting to get a flavour of Bristol’s history. For foodies, meanwhile, there’s almost too much to choose from, but St Nicholas Market and CARGO, both hotspots for small innovative restaurants and fabulous street food, are very much worth a visit.
How do I get there? Regular trains run from Bath Spa Station to Bristol Temple Meads Station, both of which are easily accessible on foot from each city’s centre.
Fancy travelling back a little further in time? Or just want to escape the city and drink in one of Britain’s most outstanding natural landmarks? Cheddar Gorge is utterly breath-taking and not to be missed if you’re in the area. Visit the Museum of Prehistory to learn about the fascinating discoveries made here, including the 9000-year-old skeleton known as Cheddar Man, or dare to climb Jacob’s Ladder and take the cliff-top walk for truly outstanding views.
How do I get there? Take a train to Bristol Temple Meads Station from Bath Spa Station, then hop on a bus, outside Bristol Temple Meads Station, to Cheddar.
The beautiful Somerset countryside has played host to numerous film crews, so you may well find yourself in familiar surroundings all of a sudden. Lacock Abbey is not only beautiful and historic in its own right, dating all the way back to 1232, but has also appeared in the Harry Potter films, doubling up for Hogwarts – so as well as being a priceless National Trust property, it’s also a magical place to visit with the family.
How do I get there? Take the train from Bath Spa Station to Chippenham Station, and then a bus to Lacock. Alternatively, join an official tour from Bath to pack in several fabulous famous locations in one day – I recommend checking out the Around & About Bath ‘Medieval Marvels & Movies’ tour.
Bradford on Avon
It’s all very well heading out on an action-packed day trip, but sometimes you might want to take things at a more gentle pace. Bradford on Avon is the perfect destination for a more relaxed day out – just 15 minutes on the train, which drops you off right in the middle of this beautiful little town. Surrounded by rolling green countryside, with narrow streets and little cottages, it’s a lovely spot to explore on a sunny day. Have lunch in a pub, stroll along the river to the ancient tithe barn, or potter around the small independent shops.
How do I get there? Take the train from Bath Spa Station to Bradford-On-Avon Station. From there it’s a short walk of about five minutes to the heart of the town.
Bath is a lovely place for a weekend break – but with so much to discover nearby, it’s worth considering a longer stay too. Our selection of beautiful accommodation within the city provides you with the perfect base for adventures near and far, whether you fancy exploring another city, stretching your legs in the beautiful Somerset countryside, or diving deeper into the rich history of this part of the world.