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1 week solo trip to Bath and London

I just got back from a quick solo trip to Bath and London. It was so much fun! Here are the details and some tips if you are also planning a trip there:

I decided to visit Bath first, on Rick S.'s recommendation. My initial plan was to go into London, stay 1 night to get some sleep, then go to Bath the next day. Then decided that was too inconvenient, and found a referral to Blackberry Cars on this forum. I didn't realize i could hire a car to take me directly to Bath from Heathrow! Yes, it was not cheap (about $200) but for a quick trip like this i decided it was worth it. As it turned out our flight was 2 hours delayed out of San Francisco, so i really appreciated the time savings. My driver met me at Heathrow with no problem and we were in Bath about 90 minutes later.
I stayed 3 nights in the Queensberry Hotel. It was amazing. Great service and beautiful room with a bathtub!
The next morning i was booked on a walking tour - booked with Getyourguide . I also booked tickets to the Roman Baths along with this, which has a timed entry- for after the tour. In retrospect, i should have done the baths another day or time, as i was tired after the walking tour, and the late afternoon crowds at the Roman Baths were heavy. A lot of the exhibit is indoors and a bit cramped, so i would recommend going in the morning. The walking tour was excellent, about 1 1/2 hours - Bath is small and very walkable (and beautiful!) . fyi: The Roman Baths offer a free audio guide with your entry ticket.

Bath has tons of restaurants, and i had no trouble finding places to eat. it may be tougher in the summer, but i didn't have to make any reservations.
I had booked the Bizarre Bath comedy walk that evening - had heard great things, but i was too tired to go that night!
Thursday, i had an all day tour booked with Mad Max tours. Excellent operation, with small coaches, not big buses. We left at 8:30 and visited Stonehenge first- which was great, because we beat the crowds by getting there at 9:00am. There is now (since 2013) a beautiful visitors center and you take a short shuttle bus ride to the monument. It was incredible!
Next we went to Avebury - more stones in a much larger circle, but not shaped like the stonehenge stones. Lots of thatched roof cottages on the way.
After that stop we visited two Cotswold villages: Lacock Village and Abbey (downton abbey and harry potter shooting locations) and had lunch on our own. Then we headed to Castle Combe, and after that back to Bath by about 5:00pm
On Friday morning, I visited the No. 1 Royal Crescent Museum which i had learned about on the walking tour. It's a townhouse that has been restored to show how people lived in the late 1700s. Super interesting!
Then i took the train to London. I booked it online on my phone that morning. The hotel said i could also just buy the ticket at the station.
I wasn't able to make a seat reservation but it turned out to be no problem.

Continued on the next post....

Posted by
170 posts

Bath and London continued:

I had looked into getting an Oyster Card - there is an oyster card app. It was very glitchy and i could not get it to work.
If you have Google Pay or Apple Pay, it's super easy to just use your phone for underground and bus tickets - You just scan your phone entering and exiting and it deducts the fare. If only san francisco had a system like this!
All taxis take card payments as well! I really did not have to deal with cash much at all. One of my walking tours requested cash, but that was the only time.
Friday night i took a Jack the Ripper Walk with London Walks. I have gone on many of their walks and they are always great. This walk was bookable online as it was a small group (12) which made it so much better! Richard Walker is an actor with great storytelling skills! Loved this tour.
Saturday i booked a tour of Shakespeare's globe theater , which was excellent - and then walked across the bridge to St. Pauls. there was a fairly long line, even if you had a prebooked ticket -as they had a security check for bags. This was also Saturday at noon on a holiday weekend, so crowds expected. They have a free self quided audio tour.
I booked tickets for that night on for Oklahome in the West End. the price was very reasonable. the show was excellent. The theater district was teeming with crowds on the street after the show! It was so much fun.
Sunday morning i did some shopping and then I had another london walk tour booked at 2:30pm. This started on Baker Street and went into Regents Park and down the Regents Canal. It was a beaufitul spring day. There is nothing like a London park in nice weather - everything was in bloom.
My hotel had stored my bags, so when i got back i picked them up and took a cab to Paddington station as i decided to stay at an airport hotel the last night.

Tip: you do NOT have to take the Heathrow express for 25 GBP. You can take the Elizabeth Line on the regular underground. it is a very nice new train line and it just costs the price of an underground ticket. It takes maybe 10 min. longer but it was super easy!
I stayed at the Hyatt Place heathrow and it was very nice. Bar and restaurant off the lobby and i had dinner there - good food!
About a 5-10 minute bus ride to the terminal for my flight.

Hope this report is helpful!

Posted by
14153 posts

What a fun time you had!! An excellent solo trip. I love London Walks and am glad you enjoyed them!

Thanks for doing a Trip Report. Lots to do for us solo travelers!

Posted by
2732 posts

What a nice trip you had! You packed a lot into a short time, and it didn’t sound overly rushed. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by
2448 posts

Thanks, annemargaret. I've bookmarked this to refer back to. Which hotel did you stay at in London?

Posted by
561 posts

Great trip report, thanks! I’m hoping to go to London & York within the next year, but now I want to fit Bath in as well. I love solo travel. You certainly gave us some good tips!

Posted by
170 posts

thanks for all the nice comments. FYI: i did not list my hotel in London as it would be quite expensive in $$, but i paid in Hyatt Points. so i felt it maybe wasn't useful for people. it was the Hyatt Churchhill.

Posted by
1852 posts

Thanks for the trip report. Anyone who has points they can use for hotels or air fare is really lucky these days. I've noticed a great increase in prices even since last fall when I was in England for several weeks. I, too, loved that Mad Max tour from Bath. If you are ever in York I would recommend the Fairfax House which is from about the same time period and I thought was even better than #1 Royal Crescent. There are docents in every room to answer your questions.

Posted by
434 posts

I’ll be a solo traveler in Bath and London hopefully in 2024. Thanks so much for doing the trip report. Sounds like a great trip! You really hit the ground running! How many nights were you in London? And how long did it take you to kick the jet lag in Bath? All those tours sounded great especially the small group tour that took you to Stonehenge etc. I’m bookmarking this for sure. Thanks annemargaret.

Posted by
3803 posts

Excellent trip report!
Thanks for posting it. I really enjoyed reading it.
You're right about Bath being full of good restaurants.
I do love Bath!
Beautiful city and endless possibilities for sightseeing.
Your trip was well-planned and you really got to see a lot!
Glad you got to do the Regents Canal Walk with the London Walks company!
Great choice! They have so many great walks, it's hard to choose.

Since you loved Bath, I will recommend a movie I watched last night (for about the 5th time).
"Emma" with Gwynneth Paltrow.
It is frequently on HBO and Showtime.

Posted by
795 posts

Excellent report - sounds like you had a wonderful time.

When we were in Bath we took a Mayor of Bath Corps walking tour - had an excellent, energetic docent - covered all the main sites. No reservations needed - just show up. Can't beat the price - it's free, and they don't accept gratuities.

Also, there are varying opinions re pushing on to Bath after arrival via plane vs staying in London first night. We did the former [ train from Paddington] - required little effort - and were able to start refreshed in Bath on our first full day without the stress of additional travel.

Posted by
36 posts

Thanks for sharing! Congrats on being able to use reward points.

Posted by
170 posts

Thank you for all your comments!

I don't have a key to overcoming jet lag, but I do take melatonin at bedtime when traveling, and because I had a tub iny room I took hot evening baths which helped me sleep!

I think I could have done the option of training to London and staying the first night in a London hotel going to Bath the next morning. But because I was doing my last night in the airport hotel, I just didn't want to move an additional time. I agree that traveling too much on arrival Day is no fun.

The mad Max tour was the first time I have done an all day tour. It was great to be driven around to sites and our guide Colin was so funny and nice. I found the British people in general to be very friendly!

York sounds nice - I can't wait to go back and visit other areas.