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4 days in Bath?

My teen daughter, husband, and I are spending 17 days touring Scotland and England using local transportation. Bath looks like a great place to have a base. Is 4 days too many? We enjoy walking/hiking/some touring/quaint villages.
This is our itinerary:
3 Edinburgh
2 York
4 London
3 Cotwolds
4 Bath
1 more day London then fly home.

Posted by
3428 posts

I prefer to base in London. We have never done more than a day trip to Bath and that has been fine. We really like doing day trips by train from London. I even wrote an article about it for AAA Carolina's
"Go" magazine. I'll put the link at the end of this post. Consider the following: Edinburgh 3 or 4 days with a highlands day tour (there are several good companies) train to York 3 days (with a day trip out to the castle -Warrick I think) train to Stratford-upon-Avon 2 to 4 days with day trip to Cotswolds and some walks/hikes then train to
London for rest of time with day trips.

We have done similar trips many times, so feel free to pm me.

NOTE- if it asks for a zip code use 28208 and if it goes to current issues click on archives and select Jan/Feb 2008

Posted by
1525 posts

I can't really comment on the effectiveness of Bath as a base or their options for public transport, but personally, I consider Bath to be one of the most over-hyped tourist attractions I have ever visited. That, and the fact that the town center is mobbed by hords of tourists buying overpriced trinkets made in China, makes me doubt it's value as a base. [By the way, there are at least 20 comperable Roman bath ruins scattered around Europe]

If it were me, I would extend the stay in the Cotswolds to a week and rent a car. Rent a cottage for a week (I can recommend one), cook a few evening meals at "home" and you can save enough on food and lodging to pay for the car and gas, too.

Plus you will save on the public transport you would have taken, you will get there faster, on your own schedule, plus have the ability to see towns and countryside that public transport does not serve (or serve conveniently). PM me for a cottage suggestion.

Posted by
9110 posts

Ugh on Stonehenge. Make it a driveby since you ain't going to get too much closer anyways and drive a few miles north to Avebury where there a lot more stones (plus Silbury Hill and Kennett Longbarrow). You actually wander among the stones, plus there's a neat pub (Red Lion, I think) right at the crossroads across from the antique shop.

Posted by
2280 posts

I love Bath. Four days there would be very pleasant, but I would probably choose to spend the added days somewhere else. You can see Bath easily in a day. So it all depends how many day trips you want to take from there. We did two. One day we went to Wells and Glastonbury, which we really enjoyed. The second day, which I don't think took a whole day, we went to Stonehenge and Avebury. I'm a big fan of Stonehenge, but not everyone is. If it were me, I would spend just two or maybe three days in Bath and add the other days to London. There are so many things to see in London, and it is a great base for easy day trips by train.

Posted by
6898 posts

My wife and I enjoyed Bath immensely. We were there 5 days. Two days were involved with the annual Jane Austen festival. My wife dressed in full regency costume for the festival. Transportation around the city is very good. You can easily get day trips to Stonehenge, Salisbury and other locations. (I really wasn't impressed with Stonehenge) but Winchester Cathedral was superb.

We did have a car for our day-tripping as we were driving to the Cotswold, the Lake District, Oxford, York and lots of other places. Parking is about 12 pounds a day. From Bath we did visit Hawkesbury, Lacock Abbey, Stourhead Gardens (very beautiful) and Castle Coombe (listed among the 100 most beautiful places in England. These places are a bit more difficult to get to without a car.

In Bath, we stayed at Three Abbey Green. Nothing better. We were 500 feet from the Roman Baths in a nearby very quiet courtyard. Also, the Roman Baths are located in a great open plaza next to a 4-5 block pedestrian shopping area. Great shops and lots of great food. The oldest house in Bath (circa 1400) is about 200 feet from Three Abbey Green. It's a restaurant.

For York, if your visit is 2 days and one night, you might be missing out if you want to visit Castle Howard (used in Brideshead Revisited). 2 nights and 3 days (including incoming and departing travel) will do it.

Send me a PM if you would like some pictures.

Posted by
100 posts

We've stayed in Bath the past two years. It is very busy during the day when the tour buses are there. It is quiet after 5pm when all the buses go home. We liked it. We really liked using Madmax for getting around. The guide we had was personable and really made the day fun and interesting.

The first year we did the Madmax's full day Stonehenge, Avebury, Lacock, & Castle combe. It was wonderful, small tour with 16 of us on a mini-bus. We liked it so much we went back the next year and did the Full day Cotswold tour. We also spent a full day in Bath and felt there was plenty to see. I liked what we did. You could rent a car in Bath to take in the Cotswolds, but parking in Bath cost money and you need to park in special parking lots. Certain lots your car can spend the night, so the lots may not be convenient to where you stay.

We stayed in York for what we thought would be 2 days, 1 night. We ended up not getting to York until noon from London and didn't realize we'd have to leave at 8am the next day to continue what my husband wanted to do. We did see a lot in a short amount of time, but wished we could have slowed down and seen more. Make sure you have 2 full days to take in York. It's a great town as well.

We did this trip both times with our 3 kids and visited many of the places you mentioned above, only one was a teenager at the time, but they love it and can't wait until we go again.