If you are visiting London and looking to venture out on a day trip, Stonehenge and Bath are two great options to consider. You could either couple both of these together or do them individually on two separate days. This post covers how to get to each site, what to do once there and helpful travel information.
Stonehenge is a pre-historic monument on the Salisbury Plain in England. It is perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in all of the United Kingdom. Archaeologists believe that Stonehenge was constructed from around 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The purpose of this landmark is still shrouded in mystery but there’s evidence to think it may have been a burial site. Some other close contenders are a ceremonial site, a religious pilgrimage destination, and a final resting place for royalty.
Visiting Stonehenge from London
Stonehenge is around 90 miles or 2 hours away from London. Expect to spend around 2 hours at Stonehenge. If you opt to visit both Stonehenge and Bath in the same day, then my best advice is to get to Stonehenge as early in the morning or as soon as they open. We literally walked up to the ticketing counter and had no wait whatsoever, whereas we saw long lines for tickets when we were leaving 2 hours or so later. You can also buy tickets online. The website claims it’s cheaper than buying in person although I don’t recall how much I paid for the in-person to compare. Regardless, if you are combining this visit with Bath, then I recommend either getting to Stonehenge first thing in the morning or buying the first available time slot online.
The ticket also includes entry to the exhibitions and an outdoor village consisting of recreated houses based on remains of Neolithic houses discovered during excavations in this area.
Click HERE for more on opening times, costs and to book online.
How to Get to Stonehenge
Driving is the easiest as you have a lot more flexibility but public transport is not out of the question. Here’s how to visit Stonehenge if you don’t have a car.
Train – You can take the train from London’s Waterloo Station to Salisbury. Salisbury station is about nine miles from Stonehenge. From there you need to take the Stonehenge tour bus which takes you from Salisbury to Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
Organized Tour – While I don’t always love organized tours, sometimes they are a good option if self driving is not. Check HERE for some options!
Bath is aptly named after the Roman baths that can be found in the city. The city was established by the Romans as a thermal spa in the 1st century AD and became an important center of the wool industry in the Middle Ages. Today, this city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an easy day trip from London. Bath is compact and easy to get around and its main highlights can be covered in a day.
Things to Do in Bath
Visit the Roman Bath
The main attraction in Bath is the Roman Baths. These baths date back to the 1st century AD and were used for public bathing until the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century AD. You can visit the the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House, and a museum during a visit to the Roman Baths. Note that you cannot get into the water though.
Click HERE for ticket prices and to buy online.
Visit the Abbey
Situated close to the Roman Baths is the beautiful Bath Abbey. The Abbey’s full name is the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul but it is commonly known as Bath Abbey. This church used to be a Benedictine monastery. It is constructed in the Gothic style and is really beautiful both inside and out.
Entry by donation.
As I mentioned, Bath is compact and easy to get around. It has beautiful neoclassical Palladian buildings, making the city very regal and elegant. One site in general to look out for is the Royal Crescent. The Royal Crescent is a block of 30 terraced houses built in a crescent shape. In addition to the beautiful architecture, there are tons of shops and places to eat as well.
Fun Fact – Bath was used as filming locations for the Netflix series Bridgerton. Check out THIS link for more information on the exact sites.
See the Pulteney Bridge
This covered bridge was completed by 1774, and connected the city with the land of the Pulteney family. The Pulteney’s were a wealthy family who wanted to develop their land to make it a suburb to the city of Bath and the bridge was constructed as a first step in this process. Today, it’s considered to be one of the famous covered bridges in the world.
Fun Fact – This bridge was used for the death of Javert in the 2012 film version of Les Misérables.
Visit the Jane Austen Center
The famous novelist Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806. At the Jane Austen Center, you can learn about everything from food, fashion and society during the author’s time. Great for those who are fans of her work!
Have a Bath Bun or a Sally Lunn Bath (or Both?)
Bath is famous for its bath buns. These are a sweet roll made from a milk-based yeast dough with crushed sugar sprinkled on top. They were invented by a doctor named William Oliver in the18th-century. This doctor would treat patients visiting the city’s Roman baths and give them a Bath bun (imagine that!). There is also a second type of bun that you can try, called a Sally Lunn bun. These are not sweet like Bath buns and a lot more plain. I had a Welsh rarebit on a Sally Lunn and it was delicious!
How to Get to Bath
Self-driving – Bath is around 120 miles from London. This journey can take anywhere from 2.25 hours to 3.5 hours depending on traffic. If you are also visiting Stonehenge along with Bath from London on the same day, then the journey is about 30 miles or an hour from Stonehenge.
Train – There is a train that departs from Paddington station in London every 30 minutes or so to Bath and takes 1 hour 20 minutes. The train is the fastest mode of transportation.
Organized Tour – see HERE for some options on organized tours from London
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The Cotswolds is another great day trip you can take from London. See HERE for more!