Has anyone ever taken the train from Bath to Highclere Castle? There is plenty of information on this forum and in Rick Steves’ books that covers getting from London to the castle, but I’m not finding much addressing alternate starting points. We have tickets for morning entry and afternoon tea for May 8th. Highclere is one of our must sees on this trip, and since we won’t have a car, we just want to be certain the train is a reliable way to get there. I see on the National Rail website that we have to change trains in Reading or possibly Westbury—what is a safe amount of time to allow to make the connection? Some itineraries I see on the rail website show only eight minutes between trains (and on a different track no less), which seems insufficient. I’m also assuming that we should pre-book a cab to meet us at the station. Thanks in advance.
If you know which station, and how to get from the station, then you are OK. Just look up connections from Bath on the National Rail site.
You say you have done that. National Rail (all rail sites) have a pre-programmed minimum connection time in them, appropriate for the station (more for bigger stations). I would just go by whatever connection time it gives you, unless you have extra problems (wheelchair for example).
You can add extra connection time, but you may find it changing from 8 minutes to 1 hour 8 minutes, if the trains are every hour.
Newbury you will have discovered is your destination.
Built in connections should work unless you are particularly slow.
Where are you finding an 8 minute connection. I've just looked for today and see about a 23 minute connection in Reading.
It is rather cheaper to travel via Westbury, and not significantly any difference in time. Although the Bristol to Portsmouth Harbour trains on which the initial leg would be are often crowded.
Newbury station has a taxi stand served by several companies, but to make sure you can get a taxi right away I would advise going online and making a phone call ahead of your arrival. Google "Newbury UK taxi companies".
You'll want to decide between paying the taxi driver to wait right at Highclere Castle during your visit, or calling for another taxi when you're ready to go back to Newbury station (in which case it's a bit of a gamble how quickly they'll be able to come and meet you).
There are restaurants in Newbury's high street in easy walking distance from the station, if you want to have dinner before returning to Bath.