Daytrip to Bath

Old May 12th, 2008, 03:45 PM
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nessa_L
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Daytrip to Bath

I'm planning on staying one night in Bath during my London trip. I've settled on Bath because of its history and beauty.

I'm thinking about taking the train in the evening, spend the night in Bath, discover the city the next day and take the train back to London in the evening.

Now I'm trying to figure out what is doable in one day.

To get an overview of the city, would the HOHO bus or the walking tour be better?

In the afternoon, I was thinking about the Roman Baths, the Jane Austen Centre, and the Museum of Costume.

And finally, dinner at Sally Lunn's?

What do you think of this? Any suggestions? Is this doable or too much?
 
Old May 12th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Hi nessa_L,

Bath is quite compact, so you should have not trouble seeing quite a lot of it in one day. I was there in January for one day, and had a lovely time.

Here is the link to my trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...t=0&dirtyBit=1

The walking tours offered by the Mayor's Corps of Honorary Guides are really good. If you enjoy spa treatments at all, Thermae Bath Spa is worth a visit. Be sure to book well before you get there, as treatment times get taken quickly.

As for restaurants, you might have a look at www.tripadvisor.com, there is quite a discussion about Bath restaurants. I enjoyed the dinner I had at The Pinch, 11 Margaret's Buildings, www.thepinch.biz.

Have a great trip!
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Old May 12th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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Thank you for the tips!

Your trip report was very nice to read.
 
Old May 12th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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I may be the only one who feels this way, but I thought the Museum of Costume was a total waste of time. Or maybe my expectations were too high...

As goddessintl has said, Bath is compact so you won't have a problem accomplishing everything on your list - even the Museum of Costume.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 05:48 PM
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nessa_L
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I've heard mixed comments about the Museum of Costume. I think the idea is pretty good and I do have an interest in fashion. Why did you think it was a waste of time?
 
Old May 12th, 2008, 06:58 PM
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It sounds like a good plan. Check out the rail tickets costs as well. ie the difference between a day trip ticket and an overnight. Rail costs in England are horrendous, this could make a big difference, or not at all. Just something to consider, you do want to try and maximise your $$$s. Anyway, it is just a thought.

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Old May 12th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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Hello nessa_L, just a thought, if you leave the Roman Baths until the afternoon you might find them to be crowded with visitors on a day tour from London. Most tours from London arrive in the afternoon. I would assume the Roman Baths will be less crowded in the morning.

Bath is a great city in which to stroll around. I know you are going in January, and you are planning ahead in great detail. Just in case it's a cold and wet winters day and the weather is not favourable for being outdoors for along time I would consider what to do indoors. Unfortunately, I cannot help you with plan B, but I'm sure some fodorites can.

Regarding prices for the rail tickets, check prices for a return ticket and prices for two one ways, there may be a huge difference in price.

PS, did you get an answer about tea at the Lansebrough in London?

Enjoy London and Bath!

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Old May 12th, 2008, 07:31 PM
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For rail tickets, I found that it was cheaper to travel during the evening. My original plan was to do just a day trip but it would come a lot cheaper to buy 2 one-way tickets in the evening (about 10GBP each way).

Good idea about the Roman Baths!

And I come from Montreal which is nothing weather-wise compared to Britain. So a little "freezing" probably won't stop me. I grew up with months of -35C temperature all winter long. I'd rather have rain in London than snow back home.
 
Old May 15th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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I'm thinking about taking the train on Monday night, spend the whole Tuesday in Bath, stay the night, and come back early to London on Wednesday morning. This way, I get to spend more time in Bath and I can still get cheap train tickets (about 10 pounds each way if traveling early or late). What do you think?
 
Old May 15th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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I enjoyed the Museum of Costume, just don't expect to spend all day there!

As an aside, the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) in London has a rather good costume section.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:36 AM
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As for rail tickets - www.nationalrail.co.uk gives all the fares and all the various conditions with the multitude of different fares, which can vary wildly

also check out the London Plus railpass which now includes travel to Bath as well as couchers for return train travel from any London Airport - outside the unlimited travel days that comes with the pass.

I was in Bath this February and even on my sixth visit or so found it so so great - the most visually cute city in England IMO - the harmony of Georgian architecture is so astounding
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Old May 18th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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PalenQ -
Thanks for the tip on the London Plus Railpass. At first I thought it wouldn't be worth it, but then I realized that if I limit myself to only daytrips (no staying over), I can do both Bath and Cambridge + take the Gatwick Express.

Approximate numbers I found:
20 pounds for roundtrip to Bath
25 pounds for roundtrip to Cambridge
22 pounds for roundtrip on Southern railway to Gatwick Airport

=GBP67 about equal to 130$

The pass is 145$ plus 25$ for shipping.

If I buy with Rick Steves, I get 20% discount. I was already considering to buy new luggage and travel accessories from him anyways.

So I'm thinking it might save me from waiting in line for tickets and all of that. If it'll give me a peace of mind, I think I'll go for it.
 
Old May 18th, 2008, 06:18 AM
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I have visited Bath twice. I have never done either a guided walking tour or a hop on/hop off bus but would think the walking tour makes more sense in such a beautiful and compact city. The Royal crescent is spectacular. Unfortunately I think the townhouse museum at Number One is closed in January

You should plan on spending some time in the Abbey
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Old May 18th, 2008, 06:25 AM
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One advantage to taking the H-o-H-o bus in Bath is it gets you up to the top - Lansdowne Crescent and such so you can get a great view down over the whole city. The center of Bath where most of the sites are is easily negotiated on foot. But the tour bus is a good way to see the whole city.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Rail fares in the UK are just about to change. There will now only be 3 categories of fares, so that it is easier for everybody. It will be possible to change advanced purchase fares for a fee. So wait and check fares a bit nearer the date when the new structure is clearer. I presume you planned to travel late in the evening to Bath as the rush hour trains are (or were) full with people going home, who travel to work in London, often standing room only for most of the journey.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 11:26 AM
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It is true that the rail fares have changed. Now there are three cateogories as opposed to twelve or so. I still recommend that you check the fares on the National Rail site and then go to the website of the train operating company. The TrainLine was good, but it now charges for delivery by normal post and opts you in on unnecessary insurance charges.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 12:26 PM
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nessa - plus the LondonPlus pass is valid on all trains to Bath and other points - no restrictions
the 20 pound return fare you compare must be for a restricted ticket i would think - with conditions that may not afford flexibility

on a day trip you rarely know exactly when you will feel like returning to London - earlier or later than expected IME

perhaps the 20 quid return is fully flexible - i'll have to go look
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 05:32 PM
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nessa_L
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PalenQ- The fare I mentionned is restricted. That's why I was actually thinking about getting that pass.

As for rush hour, wouldn't I be in the opposite way as people coming home? I assume that most people live outside of London and commute to London. Then, if I'm going to Bath early in the morning, I'll be on the opposite way; same with coming back. Anything I'm not understanding here?

Also, any tips on daytrips to Cambridge?
 
Old May 23rd, 2008, 07:16 AM
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yes of course you'd be going against the flow

and it you want to start earlier than 9;30am which many cheaper fares i believe prevent Mon-Fri then the pass is valid anytime.

anyway compared to full fares, which the pass gives, fully flexible fares to use on any train of any train line on that route the pass is a much much better deal than buying similar tickets in London

and you can hop the pricey Heathrow or Gatwick Express trains with the pass - you get two vouchers outside the validity of the pass to use anytime within six months i think.
Steves charges a $15 mail fee which many agents do not so if you 20% discount isn't $15 then you'd be losing money - say if just buying a book. I always recommend BETS 800-441-2387 for any questions about these passes as they are IME experts, even if you buy the pass from Steves call them to get answers to your train questions IMO - and the 20% discount on merchandise could be much better than not paying the $15 mailing fee.
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