Hello all, I am pleased to come to you all with another travel blog post on my first solo day trip. Lately, I love the idea of day trips and since I have moved to Reading I was thrilled at the choices of UK cities that are easily accessible by train. The first city of my UK bucket list was Bath, Somerset (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). I was lucky to be provided with a complimentary pass from Visit Bath to explore Bath’s most iconic sights which helped with building my itinerary.
Saturday 16th November
My train was very early in the morning and unfortunately for me, I didn’t sleep much the night before. Luckily, the train ride was only an hour away so I arrived at was in Bath Spa station relatively quickly. Once I exited the station, I had some time to kill before collecting my pass and everything is pretty much within walking distance, so I took the opportunity to buy a backpack from Primark to spread the load of what I was carrying. After collecting my pass and grabbing some breakfast, I went on going about getting through my itinerary.
Firstly, if I didn’t go to the Roman Baths then could I really say I went to Bath? I was an avid lover of history in my formative years so going to see the Roma Baths was a must for me. However, your girl waited in the wrong queue for the Thermae Bath Spa for about half an hour unaware until I took a second look at my Google Maps realising my initial mistake. I quickly left the queue and eventually found my way to the Roman Baths. Once I got my ticket, it was pretty much a self-guided tour with adequate signposts directing throughout the different exhibits of the Roman Baths. As I was going around, I was amazed at the fact that actual communal baths used during Roman times have literally been sitting here in the UK all this time. It was also remarkable to see the flow of the water and the ability to preserve some of the remains of the temples used for various purposes such as worshipping and offering sacrifices. Towards the very end of the Roman Baths tour, you will have the opportunity to taste some fresh running spa water. I personally didn’t like the water because it had a bit of a metallic taste for me that I’m not used to but nonetheless it was all about the experience. After the water tasting, I wrapped up my time at the Roman Baths and made my way to the next attraction.
The next stop on this day trip was Bath Abbey, which was one of the first attractions I saw on my walk from the station to the main town centre. The Abbey is free for you to look around and the design felt reminiscent of a typical UK abbey like Westminister Abbey despite the renovation works going on. The trademark stain glass and vast altar were nice to see however, I have a thing for climbing towers just to get a view of the city I am in (see how I fared in Copenhagen and Prague). Therefore, I decided to go on a tower tour of the abbey which took quite a while because there was no lift at all. I must warn you that the ascending stairs are quite narrow and great in number so this may not be ideal for anyone with underlying health problems or those prone to becoming claustrophobic. However, there were some ropes that one could hold on to whilst climbing the stairs as a way to assist with travelling up the stairs. I must mention that the tower tour guide he was a really lovely chap who was really well versed in history and with his knowledge of the Abbey along with ensuring our safety. The first part of the tour showcases the bell room in which several ropes are arranged accordingly for 12 designated bell ringers to sound the bells during special occasions. Afterwards, the tour moved to the chamber where the bells actually kept and they are absolutely massive! It was by coincidence that our tour group were in the chamber as the clock struck 12 pm meaning that all 12 bells sounded in sequence from highest to lowest pitch. In the second part of the tour, we finally made our way to the top via more stairs will able to see the views of Bath which did not disappoint. One side I was able to see the main city centre and from the other side, I saw several green hills which combined to form a gorgeous countryside landscape.
The next stop for the day was the Victoria Art Gallery; it was named after Queen Victoria to celebrate 60 years of her rule. The art gallery showcased a variety of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts including some from British artists of both Irish and European art spanning from the 17th century to the present day. As always, I was particularly drawn to the artwork that was Roman Catholic-inspired and also portraits of protagonists which exuded a gothic-like aura. Whilst I wandered off, I stumbled upon a beautifully organised collection of Bohemian glassware which was organised according to colour (red, amber and blue). Upon adequate viewing and a brief rest, I made way to get some lunch at Revolution Club before heading off to the next attraction.
Jane Austen Centre
The Jane Austen Centre is situated at 40 Gay Street which is of a similar design to 25 Gay Street where her family lived for a few years after her father’s death. The purpose of this attraction was to gain an insight into the history of Jane Austen and her literary journey whilst she resided Bath. The tour started off with a brief summary of her family tree; she was the second to last child and youngest daughter. After this, the tour moved to downstairs where there were 6 different portraits of Jane Austen. However, only half of those portraits are rumoured to be a true representation of Jane Austen’s identity whilst the latter half have speculations surrounding them. From this point on, you are free to roam throughout the rest of the centre which showcases significant events and items surrounding Jane Austen’s life and her career as an author. What struck me was despite the fact she is a well-renowned author today, during her lifetime her name was never published as an author. She gained her recognition posthumously upon the publication of her books Northanger Abbey and Persuasion thanks to her brother Henry. Once I had finished seeing everything in the centre, I saw it fit for me to purchase the novel Emma from the gift shop as the blurb spoke to me (your ticket entitles you to a 10% discount).
Herschel Museum of Astronomy
I also have a thing for astronomy so I did not hesitate to visit the William Herschel Museum. Similar to the Jane Austen Centre, this museum is situated in a house in New King Street where Herschel and his sister resided. The museum centred around the life of William Herschel and also some of his to top discoveries that changed the face of astronomy. It is well documented that it was, in fact, William Herschel who discovered the planet Uranus in 1871 from his garden. The various instruments Herschel utilised are also on display in the museum such as a plethora of telescopes and variations of an orrery as well as general family heirlooms representing his family life. The museum is situated in a little quaint house meaning that one will navigate through the museum pretty quickly but nonetheless any astronomy novice or even expert would still find the museum somewhat beneficial and educational.
Bath has a lovely collection of parkas located in different areas of the city however, I particularly chose to go to Green Park because it was very close to the previous attraction. My main aim was to find a backdrop to take some pretty cool pictures and also just have a chance to be to rest from all the walking thus far. I actually managed to get some really good decent pictures considering I didn’t have a tripod or have the help of somebody to take the picture for me so I was really chuffed. My time in Green Park ended with the sun beginning to settle in the sky to transition to night time. I was also wary that time was of the essence because attractions were closing pretty soon.
One of my favourite shots
Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge
By the time I had left Green Park, it was approximately 4:30 pm and a lot of the attractions were due to close at 5 pm. Sadly, I wasn’t able to enter any other attractions however I was able to take some nice cool pictures of the Royal Crescent as the sky was preparing for night time. After taking my pictures I decided to make my way to Pulteney Bridge which is quite a bit of a walk but nonetheless a very really great bit of cardio. Along the way, I walked past the Fashion Museum at Bath Assembly Rooms, Museum of East Asian Art and Gravel Path. I chose not to venture down Gravel Path because it was pretty dark and I was also alone. I walked pretty much through the town where I was previously during the day before reaching Pulteney Bridge where I briefly walked along a sidewalk to view the bridge in all its entirety from a distance. Lastly, I made my way back to the town centre for me to grab some dinner at Absurd Bird before I do you are close to my Bath travels.
Overall, I loved my experience and I honestly can’t wait to come back to explore the places I didn’t get to explore this time in Bath. The house designs and streets reminded me of some of the cobbled streets in European destinations like Copenhagen and Prague. Even though I was in the UK, I felt like I was in another country due to the atmosphere and the quaint nature of the city along with some of the views of Somerset. Day trips have become my new hobby as a way to visit other cities without having the extra hassle of booking a hotel. Similar to my Dublin post, I recommended planning your itinerary thoroughly before arriving due to the limited time frame. One thing I have started doing is visiting the official tourist site of individual cities like Visit Bath in order to pinpoint the true gems of each city whilst compiling my itinerary. This is because they are solely focused on presenting the culture and historically-rich aspects of the respective city for prospective tourists. The only thing I will do differently for my future UK day trips will be to book an earlier train back as I had to wait for quite a while before getting my train back to Reading so I had no choice but to prolong my dinner and then wait at the station. Surprisingly, I walked around Bath all day because it is quite a small compact city meaning that the attractions are not too far of a walk away from each other. Lastly, I want to say a huge thank you to Visit Bath for contributing to my Bath experience with your pass!
Until my next adventure,
*Disclaimer: This post contains a product/service I was gifted with. All views are my own*