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Side Trips from Bath?

I've booked a very inexpensive hotel in Bath for three nights in July and after reading the forums and some travel guides, I think I'd like to explore some towns and villages outside of Bath for at least one of the days we're there rather than spend the whole time in Bath. Any suggestions? We've been to Avebury and Stonehenge. Have also been to the Cotswolds and would love to go back -- is that area close enough for a day trip? Thanks!

Posted by
417 posts

I suppose that distance to travel is relative. The Cotswolds is about 1.5 hours by car from bath. Other ideas are: Cardiff, Wales- little over an hour from Bath
Tintern Abbey, & Chepstow Wales- Under an hour There are also small villages near Bath that might be fun for a day trip, but I am not very knowledgeable about those.

Posted by
417 posts

Oh, also, Bradford-on-Avon is a lovely town that would be worthwhile to visit if you like villages. Bristol is good if you are looking for a city to visit.

Posted by
101 posts

Ex Bristol 'gal here.... I would agree, Castle Combe is a lovely village, it's often used as a back drop on many a movie from a little of Doctor Doolittle to Stardust, as well as many TV series.. There are no aerials or satellite dishes.. You don't say if you are hiring a car or not. A fun day out is to hire bikes and use the cycle path along the Kennet and Avon canal to Bradford on Avon.. The George Inn at Bathampton is on the river (canal) and a nice place to stop and watch fellow cyclists go by. There has been a change in management and the food was disappointing last time I was there 2 yrs ago so may now be just a nice place to stop and have a drink.. It's a easy flat cycle ride. You can also hire a canal boat for a day and meander down the canal, my hubby did this on his last visit as my Brother who lives in Bath arranged it as a surprise day out for them. If you're staying in Bath find out if anything is showing at the theatre, Bath is one of the cities where a lot of London pre-openings take place.. There are also a lot of great pubs around Bath, one that I really like for the history is in Phillip St Norton called The George inn, it's 6 miles out of Bath, make sure to go into the old cobblestone courtyard the other side of the carpark and look at the amazing windows. You can just imagine the horse and carriages entering here.. H'mm just noticed I'm on a theme here... The pubs I mentioned are both called The George Inn.. lol Also look at Lacock, another charming little town with great pubs..

Posted by
1986 posts

Others have recommended Mad Max Cotswold tour from bath. Car is the optimum. However by train you could get to Salisbury- great cathedral and close (i have done it). if you are ambitious you could bus to lacock (via Chippenham i believe), spend an hour there and then bus back. I did it- definitely not worth all the trvel time. Busses to Lacock are very infrequent as i recall, but quite close to Chippenham. (Edited) If you want to do Cotswolds, rent a car for two days (2 days, one night in Cotswolds) and even see Lacock

Posted by
619 posts

Lacock is about 40 miles from Cheltenham. The nearby town is called Chippenham. From Bath, you can easily travel to Salisbury, Bristol or Cardiff by train. By public bus, you can travel to Wells and Glastonbury, or northwards to Westonbirt and Tetbury. Visiting the Cotswolds or Stonehenge either requires a car or organised tours like Mad Max.

Posted by
2712 posts

We did Glastonbury and Wells one day, and it made a great day trip. Wells has a beautiful cathedral, and Glastonbury is an interesting town with lots of King Arthur associations. The topography is beautiful.

Posted by
138 posts

Wow, I put this question out there not really expecting much in the way of replies, and am really excited by all the great suggestions. We will have a car and we enjoy driving and exploring the smaller towns and villages, so thanks for those great suggestions. The biking and canal boat options sound really interesting, too. Off to copy and paste all this into a document I can print out. Thanks so much for the great ideas -- I'm really excited now!

Posted by
101 posts

Glastonbury a big disappointment the town has been taken over by new age hippy stores a lot of the old charm has gone.. Wells Cathedral would be my choice over a visit to Glastonbury.

Posted by
2364 posts

My son and I loved Wells, the town, cathedral, etc. First saw it on one of Rick's shows, try to rent it from the library if you can and see what we mean. I think it is only about half hour drive from Bath. In Bath be sure to take the free waking tour, very worthwhile.

Posted by
6898 posts

I second the trip to Castle Coombe. No castle there but simply one of the most beautiful villages in England. It is beautiful. Have duck and charry pie at the White Hart pub as we did. Look for the honor box of sweet cakes as you walk through. The lady bakes sweet cakes and leaves them outside in a small box. If you want one, simply take it and deposit your money through a small slot in the door. It's all by trust and honor. I also second the visit to Lacock Abbey and the small adjoining town of Lacock. Some Harry Potter stuff there if you really look for it. You can see the big cauldron used in the movie. Also Professor Snape had a class in one of the rooms that's in one of the movies but they won't tell you which one. In the small adjoing village, you can drive into the shallow river and then out to another part of the town. Look for the honor box of sweet cakes to your right as you come out. It's really hard to pass up these kinds of places.

Posted by
138 posts

Thanks so much for the additional tips and suggestions. My daughter will love the Harry Potter sites!

Posted by
79 posts

I live in Bath this year, and I always take everyone who visits to Glastonbury. I love the juxtaposition of New Age and Celt and Christianity that collides there. And the view from the Tor of the countryside is gorgeous. But that is just my thing. I like it better than Stonehenge. I also second Wells. The cathedral there is stunning, and I am not a cathedral person. Castle Comb is so quaint and lovely. Good for an hour stroll through, but not a lot there. A bike ride along the canal to Bradford is also a good suggestion. I know I am prejudiced, but I can easily fill 3 days right here in Bath. The Roman Baths and Abbey, the Mayor's Walking Tour, The Fashion Museum, The American Museum, The Museum of Bath at Work, the parks, the shopping, the pubs....I love it here. Have a great time.

Posted by
1883 posts

Back from a bike tour of this region. We started in Bath. Glastonbury is wonderful, visit the abbey there. not much in the town. Wells has a wonderful cathedral as well. Salisbury - the church there is wonderful, Sign up to take the tour so you can walk above the ceiling of the church. Note that this church was the final scene in "Pillars of the Earth" mini series. I read the book before we went, and saw the movie when we got home and was so happy to know that I walked in the church they used!

Posted by
3752 posts

Andrea, there are lots of good suggestions here, but my choice would be one day in the Cotswolds. Here is the page from Wikitravel; this article names some of the most popular villages. http://wikitravel.org/en/Cotswolds You can begin your research by clicking on the name of each village to see its profile and photos. In a village like Stow-on-the-Wold or Broadway, it's fun just to park the car and walk around, or in Bourton-on-the-Water sit on a bench by the river Windrush and watch the ducks go by. Then walk around town a little more and discover a little tea room for mid-afternoon tea and scones or sandwiches. A really great little guidebook is "Insight/Compact Guide, Cotswolds" ISBN No. 978-981- 258-091-7 It's 80 pages, paperback, the size of a very thin paperback novel, fits in a backpack or pocket. Details most of the villages in the Cotswolds, has a map, has pub, restaurant and hotel information. About $5. As you said, you've been there before, and would love to go back; it is my favorite part of Britain. Have a great time!

Posted by
359 posts

It ain't the Grand Canyon but Cheddar Gorge, not far from Bath, is worth a few hours. Quaint village at the bottom of the gorge, take a tour of the well organized cave walks with lots of stalagmites/stalactites, and have a half-pint of scrumpy cidar with your lunch in the village. Bristol's been cleaned up a lot since I was first there 30+ years ago and probably worth a half-day of incredibly interesting history stuff that happened in this largly tourist ignored city. The Bristol city tourist websites should let you know if something will catch your fancy. For sure Wells and the Cathedral; a must see if staying in the area.