Looking for tips on how to spend 3 winter days in Bath, England? My youngest daughter and I explored this charming city in western England as part of my annual European Christmas getaway in December 2022. While the Pinterest and Instagram photos put this UK corner on my bucket list – seeing it in person was a whole new level of happiness ;).
Holy cow – I am not even sure where to start for this travel guide! I honestly was not 100% sure if visiting any place in England besides London at Christmas time would be worth the efforts of getting there.
And low and behold, the heavens decided to prove me wrong by blanketing the entire area with snow for our trip! From what I am told – snow in December is a rare occurrence and rain is more common. So keep that in mind when you read this post and look at my snowy pics ;).
I also was pretty clueless about the connection between the hit show Bridgerton, Jane Austen, and this city (guess that one is on me!). And since I am a fan of the Netflix hit (Bridgerton) – imagine my surprise when I realized we could wander the city and find many of the filming sites ;).
All this to say – sun, rain, or snow – Bath in winter but ESPECIALLY Christmas time should be on your bucket list!
And hopefully if you are not a regular reader of Pasha is Home (although I hope after reading this you will be – xx) and found this blog post while looking for how to spend 3 winter days in Bath – my Bath travel guide will be helpful to you in your planning ;).
In a rush?
Bath, England Travel Guide
- How to Get to Bath, England
- Where to Stay in Bath, England
- Where to Eat in Bath, England
- What to Do
- What to Wear
- Our Full Itinerary in a Nutshell
How to Get to Bath, England
The easiest way to get to Bath is via a 1.5 hour rail ride from London Paddington station to Bath Spa station.
I was easily able to purchase my first class tickets in advance on the GWR website.
Rail travel in first class allows for more space, free beverage service, and a reserved seat. Honestly, in all my years of traveling via rail in Europe – I have never seen a crowded first class car – a huge perk as the rush to get on the second class cars looks a tad overwhelming to me when I see it at the station…
I can easily say that traveling this way vs renting a car is so much less stressful and truly enjoyable.
It’s an added bonus in the UK that everything is also in English 😂.
And if you buy your tickets from the above website in advance, they are discounted ;).
If you are a little unsure of the exact time you would like to travel, you can buy an “Anytime Day” ticket however that will cost quite a bit more…
Our trip was in December 2022 during a big countrywide rail strike in which GWR was sending me daily emails saying to find alternative modes of transportation because service would be extremely limited if at all for the holiday season…
Being that I DID NOT want to rent a car and drive in the country, we took our chances that our trains would still be traveling on the days we needed them to. And lo and behold we had no cancellations, delays, or changes to our itinerary with this strike.
Nonetheless, it did give me a fair amount of anxiety wondering if our train travel itinerary was going to get complicated at any time in the two weeks we were in the country ;0.
Where to Stay in Bath, England
Upon Googling “Best places to stay in Bath, England” – this hotel was on every list!
I am all about location when I travel and thank goodness this property gets a 10/10 for that because after waiting over ten minutes for a taxi to show up at the Bath Spa train station (AT THE TAXI SIGN EVEN!), we finally gave up and walked to this hotel.
We quickly learned that due to the rail strike, taxis were in high demand during our entire two week England trip…
While rolling our suitcases over the REALLY bumpy and uneven sidewalks in town, the train station is only .6 miles (10 minute) walk. And was a good workout for us (correct – we do not travel light 🤷♀️).
Not going to lie, I have started judging hotels by their blow dryer (well and the lobby. And the bed. And the free treats they provide 😂).
And when a property provides Dyson blow dryers in their rooms? Yup, I know I am in the right place ;)!
Bottom line? Stay here! You will love it!
If No. 15 would have been sold out, this property would have been my next choice ;).
While walking to this hotel from the train station would not have been possible with our large suitcases (it is UPHILL afterall), it is still a beautifully elegant property.
Oh – and the Royal Crescent is a Bridgerton filming location (more on that below!).
Another very well located hotel but on the other side of town from my favorite No. 15 Guest House ;). The Francis Hotel is nicely located across from Queen’s Square and very close to the shopping streets of Bath.
Courtesy Francis Hotel Bath Instagram
Where to Eat in Bath, England
While The Botanist is a standard UK chain restaurant, the ambience, cocktails, and food here were worth putting it on the list ;).
We enjoyed people watching from our table on the second floor and our cocktails were quite tasty!
Also on the list of “Must do’s in Bath” – the food here was delicious and the service was FAST!
I made a breakfast reservation about a month in advance – this is one of those places that advance planning is quite helpful.
On our many walks across Pulteney Bridge to/from our hotel, we kept passing this restaurant. Finally, my daughter said – I want to eat here!
And as we found everywhere we ate in Bath, we were not disappointed. Now mind you, we were walking around 20,000 steps a day so most places probably would have tasted pretty good to us ;0.
But nonetheless, the location, the view, the food, and the cocktails (very important to us!) get a 5/5 review from both me and my daughter ;).
Located in the historic Empire Hotel building and just steps from Bath Abbey, we were so hungry and tired and cold after returning from a day trip to Bristol (more on that below) – that finding an open table in the bar here made us ecstatic…
I was a little concerned that we were sitting in a tourist trap restaurant (due to it’s proximity to the Bath Abbey and Roman Baths) and thankfully my concerns were not necessary!
While a seat in the restaurant would maybe have been prettier, the menu in the bar is the same and honestly the atmosphere was quite cozy!
Another 5/5 review from us ;).
Recommended by our hotel staff as the best sandwich in town, we popped in to check it out and get a quick snack. Unfortunately no sandwiches for us however as we were quite full from all the Christmas market foods we had been eating throughout the day!
Joya Italian Steakhouse
Sadly we did not get the chance to eat here BUT when I eventually do return to Bath, I plan to make a reservation for this quaint place ;).
Last photo courtesy of Joya Facebook page
While The Ivy is another UK chain restaurant – every single one we saw looked so glamorous!! Of course – we never had the chance to eat at any of them…
Again, return trip…
Photos courtesy of The Ivy Bath website
What to Do
The Christmas Market
I mean – of course!!
We were there for it’s last weekend (December 9-11, 2022) and expected crowds. As there were.
Be sure to check their website for the future dates if this is something you would like to see.
I should mention that quite a few of our meals were simply at the Christmas market ;).
An absolute must for this lovely city no matter what season you visit!!
My daughter and I spent between 30 minutes to an hour here on our first afternoon in town. We did however learn on this trip that the large churches are often used for private Christmas performances or services so be sure to check the website as well as any signs out front of the churches while you are there!!
The original fan vaulted ceiling alone is worth taking a break from walking and sitting in a pew to admire it ;).
Another must do on the list of things to do in Bath, England ;).
And located literally right next door to Bath Abbey.
I should note – everything in Bath is SUPER close and within walking distance. There is seriously no need for a car in this city!!! And as you know – we didn’t even use taxis or Ubers (even with two suitcases each!).
Your admission includes an audio guide (but truth be told – my daughter and I did not use ours ;0). I imagine we missed some pretty good storytelling as the guide is award winning but our attention spans and energy levels just couldn’t do it the day we visited.
However, my daughter did decide to do a Children’s activity book that was available which made us search the grounds for various historic items…
On the website it mentions children’s audioguide that might have matched our attention spans that day but we didn’t know to ask 😂.
Surprisingly there was no line on that Friday afternoon in December that we visited – yoohoo – so no need to worry about buying tickets online ahead of time.
However there was a maze of cords for potential line control outside the building so if you are traveling on what could be a busy time – I would recommend buying tickets in advance!
The Royal Crescent and The Circus
Okay – so while these two landmarks are on every what to do in Bath, England list – technically they are just historic streets with townhomes around them (while still impressive to see as well as almost 250 years old ;0).
Many walking scenes from the Netflix hit Bridgerton were filmed on the Royal Crescent sidewalks.
The homes are in a crescent shape overlooking Royal Victoria Park.
If you are an avid architecture lover, be sure to also walk The Circus neighborhood. When viewed from above, that entire area forms a key shape (which is a masonic symbol dating back over 200 years).
A beautifully restored townhouse museum on the Royal Crescent that is worth paying the small admission fee (at time of publishing it was 15 pounds per adult).
The exterior and entrance hall are additional locations used in Bridgerton ;).
You will likely spend a little less than an hour in this townhome before wandering the walkway in front of the rest of the Royal Crescent townhomes.
Once again, my daughter asked for the available children’s guide at this stop which created a “Christmas mouse hunt” throughout the home for us ;).
Shop on Milsom Street
Even though we had actually flown to London without much space in our suitcases to bring too much home – we still enjoyed the shopping vibe in this city ;).
I especially fell in love with the Sam Wilson shops local to the Bath and Cotswolds area :).
Be sure to pop in here to enjoy the pretty things available and if you are lucky enough – take something home ;).
At the end of the street is a cute little dessert shop that is also worth popping into and maybe even treating yourself if you so incline ;).
Enjoy the Views of Pulteney Bridge
Every list I read about what to do in Bath, England was a tad deceptive of this bridge.
One blog post I had read even compared it to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. And I must disagree.
I had walked over this bridge in Bath TWICE before even realizing it was THE BRIDGE you were supposed to walk on in the city. Now mind you, once was with my suitcases while walking to my hotel and I was 100% struggling with them. But the second time was later that same day and I still didn’t realize it was the “must see” bridge.
Don’t get me wrong – it is a quaint little bridge with cute shops and is 100% worth wandering over but don’t expect Ponte Vecchio…
If you are staying at No. 15 Guest House, you will have to walk over this bridge to get to everything else in the city anyway ;0.
I would recommend walking down the small set of stairs on the southeast side of the River Avon for a full view of the bridge and waterfront.
While we did not actually go into this centre due to time and energy constraints, we were aware of the presence of Jane Austen memorabilia throughout the city.
If we had a third day in the city of Bath, I imagine we would have explored here but instead our third day in the area was spent doing a day trip to Bristol ;).
Find the Bridgerton Filming Locations
I am still quite surprised that in creating my itinerary for our visit to Bath, I did not find anywhere that this is the main filming location for the Netflix show Bridgerton (which I loved btw!).
There are many filming places around the city to explore (I found a more detailed blog post describing these spots for more diehard Bridgerton fans) but here are the ones that we decided to wander to:
The above photo of Abbey Deli (I.E. Modiste from Bridgerton) may actually be my favorite photo of all our time in Bath ;). It was taken around 9am the morning after a night of snowfall ;).
You can go inside for a breakfast treat, afternoon tea, or just to look at the Bridgerton products they have in their small shop.
HOLBURNE ART MUSEUM (AKA LADY DANBURY’S HOUSE)
This museum is located at the end of the street that No. 15 Guest House is located on. Truth be told – we never made it all the way to the end of this street but again if we had spent our third full day in Bath, I am sure we would have ventured down this way ;).
See above for more details on this area of town ;).
Do a Day Trip to a Surrounding Town
And here was when I had my first huge disappointment with this trip…
I had every plan on seeing the southern end of Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty as a day trip from Bath.
AKA Castle Combe. But while the newly fallen snow was truly stunning – it also stunted my plans to see this area…
Try as we may though. We took a train to Chippenham in hopes of catching the bus to Castle Combe from there.
But turns out, that particular bus does not run on Sundays (the day we attempted this).
So then we tried to get a taxi to drive us from Chippenham to Castle Combe (literally a 15 minute drive!).
And we only found ONE TAXI in all of Chippenham who said absolutely not in this weather (yes – it was still snowing that Sunday in December). He told us Castle Combe is at the bottom of a very steep hill and said hill will be very icy and dangerous on a day like that day. And that any taxi driver that attempts to drive that hill on such a day would be risking their entire business .
So here we are… now needing a return trip to Bath so that I can see the picture perfect southern Cotswolds village of Castle Combe.
A two night stay was our next stop in this itinerary. You can read my Cotswolds Travel Guide here if that will be part of your adventures as well ;).
I was so frazzled and defeated by what the taxi driver had told us in Chippenham where we also very quickly noticed that town was not worthy of spending any time in.
We got back on the train to return to Bath.
But if I was thinking clearly, I would have remembered that while planning this trip I was having a hard time choosing between a day trip to Castle Combe or Frome!!!!!
Instagram introduced me to the quaint southwestern English town of Frome.
And I had completely forgotten that it is another small English town I need to see.
Just adding it to my return to Bath list I guess…
Not going to lie – Bristol has never been on any England itinerary of mine.
However on that deflated return train ride to Bath, a young man convinced my daughter and I that Bristol would be a great place to spend our day instead of returning to Bath.
So we stayed on that train and headed to the young, hip, university town of Bristol.
And enjoyed seeing all this city has to offer for about 3.5 hours – including their Christmas market ;).
The artist Banksy is originally from Bristol so we kept our eyes peeled for any signs of his art but are pretty sure we only found replicas…
A List of Other Day Trip Options
- Oxford – a 1.5 to 2 hour train ride from Bath. We had visited this famous university town in 2010 and thoroughly enjoyed the vibrancy of the atmosphere.
- Bradford-on-Avon – a 15 minute train ride from Bath
- Stonehenge – a 2 hour train and bus adventure but still an English countryside must see
What to Wear
As you can see from all the photos we took, we were mostly outside wearing our winter coats or parkas.
I have had a really good pair of weatherproof boots for almost ten years now that the style is no longer sold which makes me sad.
All in all – a good pair of waterproof shoes or boots, a warm coat or parka, a hat and mittens, and a few cute scarves (since that is going to be your main source of fashion statement on a trip like this!) plus sweaters is what you will find the best for your 3 winter days in Bath England ;).
Our Full Itinerary in a Nutshell
Day 1 Monday December 5, 2022 Fly British Airways San Diego to London
Day 2 Tuesday December 6, 2022 Arrive in London
Day 3 Wednesday December 7, 2022 London
Day 4 Thursday December 8, 2022 London
Day 5 Friday December 9, 2022 Train from London Paddington to Bath Spa 10am-11:20am
Day 6 Saturday December 10, 2022 Bath
Day 7 Sunday December 11, 2022 Day trip to Bristol (sleep in Bath)
Day 8 Monday December 12, 2022 Train from Bath Spa to Moreton in Marsh (Cotswolds AONB)
Day 9 Tuesday December 13, 2022 Cotswolds
Day 10 Wednesday December 14, 2022 Train from Moreton in Marsh to York
Day 11 Thursday December 15, 2022 York
Day 12 Friday December 16, 2022 York
Day 13 Saturday December 17, 2022 Train from York to London 9am-11am
Day 14 Sunday December 18, 2022 London
Day 15 Monday December 19, 2022 Fly British Airways London to San Diego
I hope you found this post helpful in planning how to spend 3 winter days in Bath, England. Or even if you are visiting this impressive city in another season, this Bath travel guide should help you in knowing where to stay and eat and what to see ;).
This destination offers so many fun experiences and truly is a perfect stop in any UK adventures you are planning. As you might have noticed above, our next stop during our December visit was to the Cotswolds (another Instagram introduction!).
Bath can most certainly be considered the gateway to the Cotswolds if that is on your bucket list as well!
I had been hoping to see this stunning part of the English countryside for years now and finally seeing it makes me aware I hope it isn’t my only visit to this part of the world ;).
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Have a wonderful day my friend! I hope something makes you smile today ;).