When I came to England, I expected every corner of every street to feel like I was straight out of a Harry Potter movie. I mean, what else is there to see in England? (answer: a LOT.) But I soon realized that England is not simply Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and Jane Austen (though they are very important). England goes way back. As far back as the Roman Empire! And Bath is the perfect example of what England must have looked like back in the Roman days. Here’s my full travel guide to Bath and how you can spend a weekend exploring this beautiful city!
How to get there
Getting to Bath from London is quite easy. It’s a simple 1h30 train ride from London Paddington. You don’t have to worry about changing trains as it’s a single ride from London. There are also many trains departing from London that stop at Bath Spa (that’s the station’s name), so you have many options available.
Where to stay
For our weekend in Bath, we splurged a little bit. Normally, we stay at Airbnbs and guest houses, but this time, we found an actual hotel on Booking.com that wasn’t too expensive. We stayed at Apex Hotels and it was simply A-MA-ZING. This hotel is so chic, y’all. I mean, when we arrived, most people in the lobby were wearing business suits and gorgeous dresses. And the best part? It’s not all that expensive. Yes, it’s a bit more pricey than an Airbnb or guest house, but I mean, if two broke college students can get there, then so can you. The room was superbly decorated, the bed was comfortable, the bathroom had both a shower and a bath, and the lobby looked incredible.
I actually didn’t take pictures of the hotel (because clearly I am an idiot), but I did do a room tour in my Insta story so I’d recommend following me there to stay up to date on my future travel adventures! (Insta handle is @awanderersadventures)
What to do
We arrived at around noon on our first day in Bath, so the first thing we did is hunt down for a place to get lunch. We stopped at Cafe Retro where we both got some baguette sandwiches with fries. The place was cute, the food was good and it was very budget-friendly, so we were both very happy.
We then walked around a little bit and snapped a few pictures of the city and its landmarks before heading back to the Abbey Hotel where our meet-up point was for our tour. If you’re in Bath for the weekend, I highly recommend you take some time to visit Stonehenge, which is a one-hour ride away from the city center! There are many tours available that can drive you to the English Heritage site if you don’t have a car. We booked with Scraper Tours and were not disappointed. Stonehedge itself is a bit underwhelming. I mean, it is just a bunch of rocks and it’s hoarded by tourists. But it is kind of impressive and it’s something to cross off your bucket list! 😉
After taking many pictures in as many angles as possible, we returned back to Bath and went to grab dinner. We stopped at Bath Brew House, which was right in front of our hotel. I ordered a Lamb Kebab with cider and the plate was so full that I couldn’t finish everything, though it was very tasty.
The next day we woke up very early in the hope of snapping pictures of the city’s landmarks without having any tourists in them. We then had croissants with coffee (or hot chocolate in my case) at Jacob’s Coffee House, which is right in front of the Roman Baths and the cathedral. The food was good and the cafe very Insta-worthy, so of course, I had to snap a few pictures. 😉
We then started our day of visits. If you want to find out more about the Roman history of the city, you have to go to the Roman Baths. Not only will you get to see the baths, but you’ll also get a great view of the abbey and you’ll learn more on the history of the city. Bath is actually named that way because of its ancient baths – Aquae Sulis (its Roman name) means “the waters of Sulis”. I don’t love all museums, but this one is definitely worth the while!
Next, we stopped by Bath Abbey, another one of the city’s mark. You can get a peek inside for free (or you can give a donation if you’d like). We have seen many abbeys and cathedrals since we’ve been in England and this one is nothing special, but it is very pretty. I’m always impressed by the architecture and the details in the stained glass windows.
Our day-trip continued to the Jane Austen Center, situated on Gay Street. I’m a big Jane Austen fan (Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite books), so I knew I had to stop there. Did you know that Jane Austen actually spent quite a lot of time in Bath and some of her books are based off this city (like Northanger Abbey)? I was actually a bit disappointed with the museum, but I did like seeing the wax sculpture of her. My favorite part of the center was the gift shop though. There are so many Jane Austen-related items! I bought myself this anthology* (affiliate link) containing her 7 novels, but there were many pretty editions of her novels available. (And you get 10% off if you buy a ticket for the museum!)
By then, it was time for lunch. We wanted to stop at the Green Bird Cafe, but it was full. So instead we ended up at Cafe Rouge, a French-like cafe. The ambiance was nice and the food was good, but it was overly expensive and the service was terrible (like, we had to stay there for over an hour and a half while my friend and I both had salads with dessert).
After a frustrating lunch, we hit the Royal Crescent. The view of the 30 terraced houses is pretty impressive – you can’t even fit them all in a picture! The architecture is gorgeous just like the rest of the city is. If you like museums, you can also visit the No. 1 Royal Crescent. It’s an old house that has been turned into a museum. You’ll see how people lived during the period of 1776 to 1796 at Royal Crescent. The rooms are very well decorated and it’s very interesting to see what it looked like back then. There are people in each room to explain what the objects are for and how it was different then and now.
But quite honestly, my favorite thing to do in Bath was simply walking around the city. Bath has so much to offer, and every corner is photo-worthy. I can honestly say that this city is among my favorites I’ve visited so far, and I wish that I could go back and spend more time there!