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Four Days in Bath...too Many?

I'm taking Rick Steve's advice and going directly from Heathrow to Bath to do our jetlag recovery and hopefully enjoy the relaxing atmosphere before going back to London for the rest of the trip. I want to do three nights for sure but wonder if there's enough to do there to just stay four nights? Or is that overkill and we'll be bored after the 3d day? We won't have a vehicle, so plan to do the walking tours, bus tours that I've read about in the book. Just not sure if it all warrants four days? On the other hand, since I'm more of a country lover, I wonder if spending 8 days in London doing the city sights (staying Kingston Upon Thames) will kill me?

Posted by
31435 posts

Due to the fact this will be your first stop and you'll be recovering from jet lag, either three or four days would be good (IMO). While you could get bored if just staying in Bath, there are some good day trip possibilities from there. For example, you could take a day trip to Lacock and Stonehenge. Check Mad Max Tours for details and costs. You could also take another day trip to the Cotswolds with the same firm. Add to that a day or two in Bath, and it wouldn't be difficult to keep busy for three or four days. Depending on what you want to see in London, I might reduce the time slightly and use it in Bath and area. OTOH, there's an incredible number of things to do and see in London, so you might need eight days. Happy travels!

Posted by
31435 posts

charleyhorse, As this is your first trip abroad, you may find it helpful to read Europe Through The Back Door before departure. It provides a lot of good information on "how" to travel in Europe. You might want to pack along a copy of the England book, as there's lots of information on Hotels, restaurants, transportation and touring (Museum opening/closing times, etc.). You should be able to find the books at Chapters on Granville (I believe there's also a store on Robson) or other large bookstores. You can also download E-book versions for very reasonable cost if you have a Reader. You can obtain a free Reader in Kindle format if you'll be travelling with a Laptop or Netbook. Cheers!

Posted by
307 posts

I would think that 4 days just in Bath would be a bit much, but since you mentioned doing some bus tours and stuff in the area, I think you'll be okay. Ken has made some good suggestions...
While I'm partial to smaller towns, rural country experiences myself, London is not to be missed and there is lots to see/do to keep you interested.

Posted by
389 posts

You've been given good advice already. Depends on your interests. Check out the Visit Bath website. I think you could do Bath in one non-jet-lagged day. Agree that there is plenty to do in the vicinity. I haven't done any Mad Max tours but they are highly recommended by others and go to the Cotswolds, also to Stonehenge, Avebury and Lacock. Salisbury could be done as a day trip - on the same train line as Bath and would take less than an hour to get to. Also in the Bath area are Glastonbury and Wells - not on rail, you would have to look into tours/buses. But if this is your first time to London 8 days can be easily filled

Posted by
687 posts

I think there's enough to do in Bath for two days, if you have jet lag on one of them, but I took the Roman Baths VERY slowly, spent quite a while in the costume museum and lingered in the second-hand book shops. I thought the Jane Austen museum a waste of time. Bath is a good base as it has rail and bus service to a number of other interesting towns - Wells, Salisbury, Bradford-on-Avon (do the canal walk), Bristol, etc. Even places like Cardiff or Castle Cary.

Posted by
3696 posts

More of a countrylover? I would think 8 days in London just might kill you...I know it would me. Can you change plans once you are there if you find you need a change?
I can only walk around amidsts hundreds of people and hundreds of cars for just so long before I become numb to it all. I know there is more to see, but if I don't enjoy it or can't remember it, why? Also, I could be done with Bath in a few days as well. I am a small village, countryside kind of traveller with a few days of the city sites mixed in here and there. I love England and go every chance I get....have a great trip. Definitely you should enjoy London and Bath, but there is so much more than the cities!

Posted by
20 posts

Wow..thanks everyone for the quick responses! Yes, this is a first trip across the world. I've decided on four nights in Bath with several of the out trips mentioned. It seems there are enough other places to wander into using Bath as a base to keep us occupied for a few days. Starting Aug 30, my son and I have to be near Wimbledon as he has to be in that town for a planned activity for 1 1/2 hrs each morning for the next four days (This is why we chose Kingston Upon Thames as a base). I figure we'll take the train into the city and explore every afternoon. After that, we'll have four more full days completely free to explore London and area. I supposed I'll appreciate the quiet mountain trails that much more when I return to canada!
Thanks again!

Posted by
57 posts

We did a similar tour. Drove directly from Heathrow and spent 3 nights in Bath and then drove back to Heathrow, dropped off car and spent a week in London. We spent our first full day wandering around Bath. The next day we did the Mad Max Stonehenge, Avebury Lacock tour. that was great. Had we been there one more day it would have been nice to do one more day trip out of Bath. We also did the evening comedy tour mentioned in RS books( I can't remember the name) That was very fun. My wife is not a city person but she did fine with a week in London. Have a great time

Posted by
687 posts

As discussed on another recent thread, please don't drive right off a night flight. Take a coach or train to Bath and rent there. ("... a fifth of all accidents on Britain's motorways are believed to be fatigue related. ")

Posted by
72 posts

I totally agree with those who suggest day trips! Given the size of the country, you can reach many great areas with day trips and save yourself lots of packing and unpacking of suitcases. Personally, I find it much more relaxing--and fun--to travel this way.

Posted by
993 posts

Having two great bases is perfect for a first timer. There is plenty to do in Bath. Start with a city tour to see where you want to go back and spend more time. The Jane Austin Museum IS a total waste of time, but the Baths, The Abbey, The Royal Crescent (the museum is at No.1) The Circus, Costume museum, The Pultney Bridge and just plain gawking. Ask one of the walking guides where the best place to have a pastie is. I know where it is but I can't tell you how to get there. All the suggestions for day trips are good. IMO, 8 days in London is not too much. There is so much do do and with over a week you won't hurt yourself doing them. Do no miss the Tower Bridge experiencs. You can cruise down to Greenwich where there is enuf for a whole day. Near the Cutty Sark and the Gypsy Moth is a roundish sort of little building that is the enterance to the tunnel under the Thames. If you do take a boat to Greenwich, be sure to go all the way to the Barrier too.
Last but not least:Magnum bars. The white chocolate/vanilla ice creams are my favourite.

Posted by
3696 posts

@Laurel... NEWSFLASH... I have recently seen ads on TV or the internet that Magnum bars are now available in the US! My favorite is the one with almonds. After searching them out on each trip to Europe, now maybe I can have them here. They won't be the same:)

Posted by
33 posts

I don't think 4 days is too much in Bath if you use this as a base for the sights nearby. I highly recommend Alan Price at Celtic Horizons (http://www.celtichorizons.com/main/index.php?site=tour) for wonderful side trips out of Bath, such as Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury, the canals, Lacock, Oxford, Blenheim, Tintern Abbey in Wales. I have not been disappointed with any of his tours. His knowledge of the area and commentary are really interesting. He is recommended in RS guidebook.

Posted by
34 posts

I wouldn't worry about too many days in London because you prefer the country. I recommend all the wonderful beautiful big parks in London to get away from crowds. I especially love Hampsted Heath and Highgate Cemetery. Regents Park is great. Wallking along the Regents Canal from Little Venice. Greenwich also has a country feel. There are many places in London which are away from the masses. And since you aren't staying in London you can take a train to many places nearby for walks in the country. There is a good website listing walks from rail stations along the Thames and the following web site lists walks from rail stations http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/

Posted by
3428 posts

Personally, I'd find 4days in Bath a bit much. But others have made some good suggestions for you. I'd add the cruise down the river from Putney Bridge. We really enjoyed that. I also don't think you'll be bored in London. Lots to see and do. A day or half day out to Windsor is always a good idea. You can also get to York, Brighton, Canterburry, Dover, Stratford-upon-Avon, Winchester, and lots of other places easily by train from London. London Walks comes highly recommended for exploring the city. You might find a trip out to Kew Gardens a nice break, too.

Posted by
165 posts

Why do you have to do anything in Bath? Why not just sit and drink tea or beer? Soak in some do nothing time, have a nap, read a book, enjoy a different country just for it's being. Break up your London ordeal with a day trip to the sea side, we took the train to Whistable, sat on the beach, ate ice-cream, took the train back to Victoria station. It's a holiday not a steeplechase, if you don't "see it all" this time I'm sure it will still be there next time.

Posted by
390 posts

I saw that you're staying in Kingston and had to chime in. I studied at Kingston Uni for a semester and loved the town. Richmond Park and Hampton Court Palace are both within walking distance, so be sure to visit! There's also a small market in Kingston Centre every morning and lots of wonderful restaurants. If the city gets to be too much, Richmond Park is a great place to unwind. There are also some great walks along the Thames. Just remember it will take about 30-40 minutes to get to central London each day, but I think Kingston will give you a really good feel for "real" London.

Posted by
709 posts

4 Days in Bath is probably a bit much, but if you're just basing there, you should be OK. Probably better with a car, though. I to,o am more of country lover, but I love European cities. With that being said, 8 consecutive days in London would probably kill me. It's a huge city with tons to do, but I'd have to break that up between the beginning and end of my trip (which is what I usually do for my English trips). Maybe spend less time in London and head to the cotswolds (perfect for a country lover like yourself).
For me, I prefer to start my Eurotrips in big cities, as the energy keeps my jetlag in check until 9pm (my earliest sleep time on day one). Why not start in London for 3 days, head to bath and cotswolds for 4 or 5, then back to London after a much needed break and recharge for another 3 or 4? Yes there's backtracking, but I find this break from the big cities necessary for my personal enjoyment. Otherwise, that countrylover in you might find yourself spending most of your time in London's excellent parks just to "get away from it all".

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for the tips everyone! ..It's been finalized...we'll spend 24-29 in Bath...basecamp without a car. I have found many things to do or not do depending on our mood. We will do the Cotswolds Day tour and the Stonehendge/Avebury tours for sure..The rest..we will wait and see what we feel like. Apparently, there's a six-mile wander that circles the town, a Bath rugby game, rent a rowboat, take a boat to Bathhampton and walk back to BAth, free Bath walking tour, walking ghost tour, comedy walking tour, day trip to Cardiff, the baths of course..and, as someone suggested..just relaxing and doing nothing in preparation for more hectic tourism to follow from the 30th to the 5th in Wimbledon, Kingston and London. Someday, I hope to return and do a real 'vacation trip', including a rental vehicle so that we can see more of the country and Scotland and Wales too..but for this trip, we've got certain places that we have to be on certain dates, so we'll make the best of what we've got and I'm getting excited because it looks like we'll have a good mix of relaxation and city chaos.
Thanks all!

Posted by
809 posts

You've gotten a number of suggestions for breaking up your time in London if you get "cityed out," but here's another - the Original London Walks not only has great 2-hour walks within London and environs but also runs day trips outside the city to the Cotswolds, Cambridge, Stonehenge, Battle, St. Albans... it's a big list. I envy you - sounds like a wonderful trip!