Are you already in Bath, England with not enough time to read this entire post? Follow this link to a Google Maps version of our guide with all of our favorite spots labeled! You can “follow” the guide, and the saved locations will automatically transfer to your own Google Maps account.
I think we all know by now that I LIVE for a fourth quarter change of plans. I love a good race through the airport or a last-minute trip.
Tyler, while characteristically very much a Man With a Plan, has surprisingly become more and more like me in this regard. Between his insane work travel schedule and being married to someone whose motto growing up was “I’ll worry about that tomorrow” à la Scarlett O’Hara, he’s really loosened up and embraced the seat-of-the-pants lifestyle–for better or worse.
One of my favorite recent last-minute decisions came about over afternoon tea at the Waterford Castle. We were talking about my little sister Miriam and how proud we were of her. She’s been working really hard as a grad student and basketball coach, and we wanted to do something nice for her. We toyed around with the idea of taking her on a trip because she never gets to travel. About three minutes into the conversation, I set down my baby egg salad sandwich and said, “Should we just use points to fly her out here now??”
Less than 24 hours later, Mir was en route to the UK! We planned to fly from Ireland and meet her at the Heathrow airport before driving out to Bath for the next two nights.
With only one full day to spend in Bath, we wanted to keep the itinerary light so as not to overwhelm Mir during her very first adjustment to jet lag. We ended up spending the day meandering around the extremely walkable city centre, hitting all of the historic sites and plenty of coffee shops along the way.
Since the beautiful World Heritage Site of Bath is a popular day-trip destination from London, Tyler and I thought we’d use this post to describe the “walking tour” we did that day. For those who are planning to stay more than one day in the Somerset city of Bath, we talk about our recommendation of where to sleep at the end of this post.
One day walking tour of Bath
Start at Pulteney Bridge.
Begin your tour at one of Bath’s most iconic sites: Pulteney Bridge. The bridge, built in 1769, crosses the River Avon. We actually ended our tour here, too, and we loved seeing it in the morning light as well as at sunset.
Grab breakfast at Same Same but Different.
Walk through the city centre and take in the architecture on either side of the street before arriving at Same Same but Different. Judge the name all you want, but this place makes a killer cappuccino and avocado toast with poached eggs (my breakfast every day of this trip). This is the perfect spot to fuel up before continuing on your walking tour.
Make your way to the Circus and then over to the Royal Crescent.
You’ll undoubtedly be ready to walk off those eggs, and there’s not a better spot to explore than the Circus and Royal Crescent. Both streets feature beautifully set townhome buildings designed by John Wood in the 1700’s. Get your insta shot and check out the stunning Georgian architecture.
Skate at Bath on Ice.
If your visit falls during winter and if you are into ice skating, stop by Bath on Ice for a romantic turn around the adorable outside rink.
Tour the Jane Austen Centre.
Though I’m really more of a Brontë girl, I still insisted on a quick swing through the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. Austen lived in Bath for a period of her life, and both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey take place in the Somerset area.
Shepherded by guides dressed in character, visitors learn about Jane Austen’s life and the impact the city of Bath had on her work. Not enough time to take the tour? Swing by the bookshop to the right of the entrance and send your favorite Jane Austen fan a postcard.
Sip a mid-afternoon coffee at Colonna & Small’s.
One of the constants I can count on in life is Tyler needing a coffee at 2pm. I mean, really, it’s like clockwork. No matter where we are in the world, around 1:45pm, I can look over expectantly to find him googling “Best Coffee shop in XXX.” Unless of course, he’s already done the research, in which case I will not stop hearing about it until he’s safe and sound at a tiny round table with a drip coffee in hand. Because I myself am a caffeine enthusiast, I humor this predictable tendency and even encourage it.
Our day in Bath was no exception, and it was even less surprising that his afternoon lull set in almost immediately following our exit from the Jane Austen museum. He had actually found Colonna & Small’s a few weeks before our trip, so Miriam and I did our best to keep up as he beelined it over.
Miriam and I ordered cappuccinos, and Tyler got the pour-over. All were fantastic. Another “Great Stop,” as we like to say.
Pamper yourself at the Thermae Bath Spa.
Sadly, Miriam and I were unable to convince Tyler of the necessity of a stop at the Thermae Bath Spa. Spa-goers can relax in mineral baths and choose from over 200 treatments/packages. It honestly sounded heavenly, but hopefully next time!
Check out the Roman Baths.
Coffee in hand, head over to the Roman Baths in the city center. Bath was built atop natural hot springs back in 70 AD. For centuries, Roman Baths, situated on top of the hot springs, provided citizens a haven to bathe in “magic” mineral water and socialize (an era I do not feel as though I missed out on).
We found the audio tour of the baths very interesting, and the view from the terrace of the baths with the Abbey in the background is stunning.
Walk through Bath Abbey.
A beautiful site to see, inside and out, make sure you take a quick stop at the Bath Abbey.
Finish up your walking tour like we did back at Pulteney Bridge. Enjoy the sunset, and grab a cab to take you out to dinner in the countryside (see below).
Tyler and I originally planned on staying at The Pig, a boutique hotel about twenty minutes outside of Bath. This property is so quaint, and we were really looking forward to our authentic Somerset countryside stay. Unfortunately, they were totally booked and unable to accommodate a third guest in our room, so we ended up having to switch hotels last minute.
One of the things we were most excited about was eating dinner at The Pig. Everything on the menu looks incredible. What the restaurant doesn’t grow in their own garden they source from local farms all within a 25-mile radius of the property. Even though we weren’t staying there anymore, we still planned on having dinner here.
Without getting into another one of my stomach health sob stories, I had what was likely an ulcer flare up on our way out to dinner that night. We tragically ended up turning the car around and had to miss out on dining at The Pig, too. This was a huge bummer for us, and we definitely want to try to make it out here again in the future.
Our Plan B hotel ended up being perfectly lovely. Unlike The Pig’s location far outside the city of Bath, Tasburgh House sits conveniently on the hillside next to the city centre. It took about thirty minutes for us to walk from the Tasburgh House down the path into the city centre.
The Tasburgh House is cute, cozy, and everything you need for a stay in Bath. We recommend grabbing breakfast in the restaurant downstairs at least once–the toast is truly addicting.
If given the chance, we would definitely go back to Bath again. We’d love to explore more of the small towns and villages in the Somerset region, and I think the area would be just DREAMY in the spring.