How To Enjoy 1 Day in Bath, England
Updated: Jun 29
I love history. It was my university degree, so it's only natural that one of my top places to visit in the UK was Bath. I was so excited to explore this UNESCO World Heritage city right from the start. I knew that I wanted to visit the Abbey and the Roman Baths, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of other unique and beautiful spots around the city as well. We spent one day in Bath, and managed to see the majority of the main attractions, and found some great places to eat as well.
During the Anglo-Saxon period, the city was known as Akemanchester ("aching men's city") because of the healing properties the water was said to have. This name was derived from the Roman name, Aquae Sulis, which stood for "the water of Sulis". From historic sites, to beautiful shops, to amazing restaurants and cafes, Bath is bursting with things to do and places to see. Here's what we got up to during our one day in Bath:
What To Do in a Day in Bath
A very iconic location in Bath, Pulteney Bridge was built in the 1770s and is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops spanning its full length on either side. The weir in the River Avon just in front of the bridge was used to prevent flooding in the late Middle Ages, and was rebuilt in the 1970s. This is a beautiful location, and one of the best areas to walk around during a day trip to Bath.
Bath is full of amazing little shops and cafes, so make sure you take some time to walk around a few of them. We came across a number of artisan shops with very unique and handmade things to purchase. You'll no doubt pass by them walking between the main attractions, so if you're only in Bath for one day you won't need to go out of your way to find them.
The Royal Crescent, built in the late 18th century, is an impressive display of Georgian architecture, and a must visit during any trip to Bath. When we visited there was hardly anyone around, which was surprisingly because it's one of main attractions in the city. If you're exploring Bath by foot, the Royal Crescent is easily accessible and not too far from other points of interest. No day trip to Bath is complete without coming here.
At the start of the Royal Crescent you'll come across a museum that has been fully furnished as it would have been in the Georgian period - No. 1 Royal Crescent. If you have time during your 24 hours in Bath it's an interesting place to visit, but tickets cost £10.90, so if you're visiting Bath on a budget, you might want to skip this one and spend your money elsewhere.
The Assembly Rooms are located in Bath's Fashion Museum, and are instantly recognizable from a number of Jane Austen's novels and movie adaptations. There are 4 rooms in total, opened in 1771, and the Ball Room is the largest 18th century room in Bath! Entry to the Assembly Rooms is free.
Don't forget to check out the Fashion Museum as well! Tickets cost £9.50 to enter, which gives you access to a large collection of contemporary and historic attire. It's a top attraction in the city, and if you're visiting the Assembly Rooms anyways, you might as well as add this to your list of things to do while visiting Bath for one day.
Sally Lunn's is one of the world's most famous eating houses, and there's a tiny museum in the basement too which you can enter for free. In the museum you can see the original kitchen where Sally Lunn created the first Bath bunn, which is now famous all over the world. This attraction takes less than 10 minutes to look at, unless you decide to have something to eat here. It's located in the city centre, so during your one day in Bath try to make some time to pop in for a quick look around.
On your way to the Royal Crescent, don't forget to admire another historic street - The Circus. It's a famous street in Bath, which forms a circle of historic Georgian houses with three entrances, and was completed in the late 18th century. This is another free thing to do in Bath, and is a very popular area too.
The Christmas market is beautiful in Bath, so if you're lucky enough to be in town when it's on, go and explore all of the tasty and pretty stalls. We visited the day before it officially started, but some of the stalls were open so we were able to enjoy some of it. So if you're planning a Bath day trip in the near future, I'd recommend going around Christmas time to help you get in the holiday spirit.
You can't visit Bath for a day without visiting Bath Abbey. It's located in the heart of the city and is absolutely stunning inside and out. It has been a place of Christian worship for more than 1200 years, and you can climb to the top for some stunning views as well. Entrance to the Abbey is free and the tower tour costs £8.
The Roman Baths were constructed in the 1st century AD, and is one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. This was such an incredible experience and if you can't decide what the best things to do are during your one day in Bath, this is it. You can even taste some of the spa water if you're brave enough (I'm guilty of this). Tickets vary depending when you visit, but start at £18.50 per adult during the week. Since this is a very popular attraction, I'd recommend buying your tickets ahead of time as they can sell out very quickly.
Everywhere you go in Bath there's something interesting to see. So, take your time and enjoy yourself! And if you're feeling brave enough (and don't get caught) you can get a really nice photo standing on top of the wall on the upper balcony of the Roman Baths. After all, you're only in Bath for one day right? So why not.
Where To Eat in Bath
In terms of afternoon tea, Brigit's Bakery has to be the cutest one I've ever had. The bakery itself is located just next to Pulteney Bridge, hidden away at the bottom of some steps off the main street. It's 100% worth stopping by. I mean, just look at it! You'll need to have a break at some point during your day trip to Bath, so you might as well enjoy the best afternoon tea in Bath at the same time.
I'm a bit of a pizza lover, so I had to give Bath Pizza Co. a try. It was delicious, and freshly made on site. It's situated in the old station, which makes for a unique dining experience! It's also a great place to stop if you're visiting Bath on a budget, as the pizzas are very reasonably priced.
As far as Italian food goes, Amarone has to be high on the list of the best I've ever had. Everything is perfect, and a lot of the dishes are made onsite, such as the pastas and ice creams. So if you want to treat yourself after a long day of walking around Bath, I'd recommend coming here and indulging a little bit.
I'm not a vegetarian, but the food at Acorn Restaurant was amazing and it's easy to see why it's a Michelin star restaurant. It's situated in a very cozy building and is close to the Abbey as well, making it an ideal restaurant to visit during your day trip to Bath. Check their opening times before visiting as they're only open certain days of the week, and they get booked up quite quickly too.
Where To Stay in Bath
If you're planning on staying overnight like we did, the next question I need to answer is: where is the best place to stay in Bath? While doing some research I came across SACO Bath - St James's Parade, who offer serviced apartments right in the heart of Bath. This is a great option if you want to have a kitchen readily available to use, as well as a living room to relax in. We stayed in their One Bedroom Apartment and loved everything about it. Click here to read about our stay.
Price range: £94.80 +
Bath is a fantastic historical city to visit in England, with lots of incredible attractions to explore. Even if you only plan to visit Bath for a day, there's more than enough to keep you busy, and with so many free things to do as well, it's a great option if you're travelling on a budget. My one piece of advice would be that you can't spend a day in Bath without visiting The Roman Baths, so plan ahead and make sure you've secured yourself a ticket! Check out Visit Bath for more information on the city itself. I heard that the Jane Austen Centre is really interesting to visit, but unfortunately we ran out of time during our one day in Bath, so that's where we'll be heading to first the next time we return to Bath!
If you're thinking of heading up to Manchester at some point, SACO Apartments also have accommodation right in the city centre there as well which I would recommend staying at. You can also check out my posts covering where to eat in Manchester as well as what to do in Manchester. And don't forget to follow me on Instagram and get in touch!