Bath is one of the top city destinations in Britain, with over 6.25 million visitors a year, according to the latest tourism data!
However, whenever you plan a city break, it’s a great idea to have some guidance about organising your day trips and the best ways to travel so you don’t end up stuck in a congestion zone or unable to park.
Swoop, as the newest ride-hailing app specific to Bath and Somerset, has compiled some tips and advice to ensure you have a fantastic stay in our historic city.
Getting to Bath
First and foremost, let’s talk about travelling to Bath, which might vary depending on whether you’re visiting from somewhere with a direct travel link.
By car, Bath is found off the M4 and M5 motorways. If you’re flying, you can travel to Bristol Airport and hire a car there – it’s a 19-minute drive, although we’d strongly advise you to avoid rush hour!
A lot also depends on where you’re staying.
Few of the hotels in Bath city centre offer off-road parking:
- The Hampton by Hilton has no car park: your nearest option is Avon Street, which costs £15 per day.
- The Gainsborough (a luxury spa hotel) does have a car park, but it is very small, and some guests report having to drive into the centre, paying £35 for a weekend stay.
- Bath City Centre Premier Inn doesn’t have any visitor car park – the closest is Southgate Shopping Centre, which charges £16 per 24 hours.
If you plan to drive to Bath, we recommend you check the parking situation with your hotel or Airbnb before you set off since it is likely easier to take the train or park outside of the city and book a Swoop to take you to your destination.
Bath isn’t deliberately difficult to drive around, but it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and simply isn’t designed for lots of traffic, so the parking situation is a little tricky!
Travelling From Bath Spa Station
Many visitors to Bath arrive by train (it’s a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the countryside rather than battling motorway traffic!).
You’ll find a taxi rank outside when you arrive at Bath Spa.
During busier times, you’ll need to be quick – if you stop for a snack or to pick up a drink from the station kiosk, it’s normal to find that all the taxis have left, and it can take a good half-hour wait.
Some commuters also pre-book taxis since there isn’t a huge volume of cabs in our relatively petit city, so be sure to check with the driver before you jump in the back.
Of course, we’d recommend you download the Swoop app to avoid inconvenience!
You can download and register anytime, order a cab at your leisure, and pay via PayPal or a card – no cash needed.
Moving to and From Your Hotel
Travel guides will often tell you that Bath is small enough to walk around, but we’d give you a word of warning – some of the hills are steep, and if you have shopping bags, a buggy or aren’t wearing comfy shoes, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
As a quick guide, we’ve listed a few of the most popular attractions in Bath and the walking distance between them:
|From||To||Estimated Time||Walking Distance||Swoop Travel Time|
|The Roman Baths||Royal Victoria Park||14 minutes||0.7 miles||Five minutes|
|Royal Victoria Park||Bath Abbey||14 minutes||0.7 miles||Eight minutes|
|Bath Abbey||Little Solisbury Hill||Over one hour||3.3 miles||17 minutes|
|Little Solisbury Hill||Bath Street||Over one hour||3.4 miles||18 minutes|
|Bath Street||Theatre Royal Bath||Three minutes||0.2 miles||Eight minutes|
|Theatre Royal Bath||Hungerford Castle||Over two hours||7.2 miles||22 minutes|
|Hungerford Castle||Bath Soft Cheese||Over three hours||11 miles||32 minutes|
|Bath Soft Cheese||Holburne Museum||Over one hour||4.3 miles||16 minutes|
|Holburne Museum||Prior Park Landscape Gardens||36 minutes||1.5 miles||Five minutes|
|Prior Park Landscape Gardens||The Circus||41 minutes||1.8 miles||11 minutes|
As you can see, the trek between some of the attractions is a lot less walkable than might appear, and we’d not recommend walking some of the routes offered by Google Maps since some are alongside major roads such as the A36!
Parking in Bath City Centre
If you’re visiting Bath for the day from a relatively nearby destination in Somerset, Avon or Devon, you might wish to travel by car since not all rail links connect directly to Bath Spa.
In that case, we’d suggest using the Park & Ride – although note that there is a wait between buses, and it takes around ten minutes to get into the city centre.
There are a few public car parks, but they are expensive and often over-subscribed, so you may struggle to find a space if you arrive late morning onwards.
- Bath Sports and Leisure Centre, Broad Street, Cattle Market, Green Park Road and Kingsmead Square allow you to park for a maximum of four hours for £6.40.
- Claverton Street permits parking for up to two hours, with 11 spaces, and a charge of £3.20.
- Avon Street, Charlotte Street and Manvers Street offer longer-stay parking, up to seven days, for £105.
You can find more details about disabled-accessible parking, spaces and charges through Bath & North East Somerset Council.
Pre-Booking Travel Around Bath
Preparation is key since waiting for a taxi or standing at a bus stop are unlikely priorities for your weekend break!
While most of the popular spots in Bath city centre are relatively nearby, some of the other famous places to visit aren’t so close, and often not possible to walk to.
To get ready for a relaxing trip to Bath, download the Swoop app today – you can either book your cars in advance or let us know as and when you need us.
All of our drivers are fully vetted, local cabbies who know the fastest, easiest way to travel around the city, so you can sit back, make the most of all there is to see, and perhaps pick up some tips about hidden gems along the way!