How to get to Bath: tips from a local!

Are you wondering how to get to Bath? This Somerset travel guide details driving directions, trains, buses and even the nearest airport.

Despite its worldwide fame (have you seen Bridgerton?!) and one of the most visited cities in the country, Bath is very small with just a population of 94,092.

This means that it’s not quite as accessible as other cities in the UK, but its proximity to Bristol means that getting there isn’t too bad.

I lived in Bath for a year, and travelled there by train, car and bus; and I’ve also flown into Bristol Airport, its nearest.

In this post, we’ll summarise all the possible transport options and look at the best ways to get to Bath.

How to get to Bath: all the options!

The best ways to travel to Bath are:

  • Driving: It’s on the M4, around 2 hours 15 minutes from London
  • Train: Bath has a GWR train station, it’s around 10 minutes from Bristol and less than two hours from London Paddington.
  • Coach: Coaches connect Bath with London, Birmingham and other cities throughout the country.
  • Flying: Most people won’t fly to Bath, but it’s not too far from Bristol Airport.

Driving to Bath

If you’re driving to Bath, you’re likely to reach it by junction 18 of the M4 motorway.

From here, it’s about a 20-minute drive in a southbound direction to the city.

  • Junction 4 of the M4 connects to Junction 15 of the M25 in West London (the Thorney Interchange). From the M25, you can access locations in London and East and South East England.
  • Junction 20 of the M4 connects with Junction 16 of the M5 at Bristol. From the M5, you can access locations in South West England, the West Midlands (including Birmingham) and it joins the M6 to reach locations in Northern England.

Other ways to reach Bath are via Cotswold country roads and the A303 through Wiltshire.

Driving times from various cities to Bath are: 

  • London to Bath: about 2 ¼ hours
  • Bristol to Bath: 40 minutes
  • Birmingham to Bath: about 2 hours
  • Manchester to Bath: about 3 ½ hours
  • Newcastle to Bath: about 5 ½ hours
  • Nottingham to Bath: about 3 hours
  • Plymouth to Bath: about 2 ¼ hours
  • Exeter to Bath: about 2 hours

There can be some traffic in Bath City Centre, so do be mindful of that if you’re driving.

Also, try to book accommodation with parking – it’s not that easy to park in the city itself!

Taking the train to Bath

There’s only one major train station in Bath; Bath Spa Railway Station.

Served by Great Western Railway (GWR), trains from Bath Spa go to cities including London Paddington, Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour.

Trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa take just under two hours.

Frequent trains run to Bristol, where it’s easy to connect to other cities elsewhere in the UK.

When I travel to Bath from Exeter, I change in Bristol Temple Meads to connect to Bath. The train from Bristol to Bath takes only 10 minutes. 

Two tips for rail travel

Use Trainline: I would highly recommend using the Trainline app to book your rail tickets in the UK. Not only does it offer a great user interface and will let you know about any delays or last-minute platform changes, but you can also use its Splitwise feature to book tickets, which splits the journey up and can be budget-saving. Click here to read more about it.

Get a Railcard: If you’re under 30, over 60, are a veteran, have a disability or frequently travel with one other person, purchase a Railcard. It’s affordable and you’ll immediately save 30% off all of your rail travel for a year. Click here to take a look at it.

Taking a coach to Bath

National Express serves coaches to Bath; they stop at the bus station not far from the rail station (Google Maps location here).

Coaches leave from London Victoria, Reading, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and a few of the larger towns in Somerset and Devon.

Coach travel is generally much cheaper than train travel, but of course, takes a lot longer and isn’t quite as comfortable!

The coach from London to Bath takes 3 hours 30 minutes.

I’d recommend purchasing your tickets on the National Express website in advance; they do dynamic pricing, so tickets can be as low as £7 when purchasing in advance.

Flying to Bath

There’s no airport in Bath; the closest is Bristol, around a 45-minute drive away.

Bristol Airport has flights to airports across Europe and limited cities in the UK including Newcastle, Edinburgh and Belfast.

I’d only recommend travelling to Bath by plane if you’re flying from one of these cities and live right tin the centre of that city; otherwise, it’ll be too fiddly to get to and from each airport.

What is the best way to get to Bath? 

It depends where you’re going from and your budget.

Because you don’t need a car in Bath centre: it’s tiny and parking can be difficult.

This means that you don’t really need to drive from Bath unless you want to take some day trips from the city. (Top tip: If you’re driving, check that your accommodation has parking).

The coach from London isn’t too painful if you want to save some money; you can’t argue with rates starting from £7!

From other cities, you might want to look at the convenience of either taking a direct train or getting a train to Bristol and changing for a train to Bath there. 

How to get around Bath

If you are able to, Bath is easily walkable.

The town centre is compact, and most of it is flat (there are hills on both sides, but not in the city centre itself).

Buses do travel around the city, but much of the centre is pedestrian-only.

Taxis and Uber are also available, and there is a City Sightseeing Bus if you want to tour the city’s main attractions and take yourself around at the same time!

I hope this has helped you to get to Bath!

Whether you’re driving, taking a train or a coach, hopefully, these tips on getting to Bath have helped your journey here!

Check out the rest of my Bath archives for more tips on visiting this city – and feel free to drop me a message on Instagram if you have any questions!

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