Best day trips from Bath: 9 amazing places to visit

While Bath is a striking city, many places around Bath are equally stunning and fun to explore. From the quaint villages of the Cotswolds to the eclectic city of Bristol and the jaw-dropping Cheddar Gorge, day trips starting from Bath offer a delightful escape to spectacular scenery and British quintessence.

While the places to visit near Bath are proposed as day trips, you can also take a short break and stay longer at each place, or turn them into a regional tour. Most suggested day trips are to the heart of the British countryside and are not easily accessible by public transport.

Contents:
1. The Cotwolds
2. Oxford
3. Lacock Abbey & Village
4. Bradford-on-Avon
5. Bristol
6. Cheddar Gorge
7. The Mendip Hills
8. Wells
9. Glastonbury

1. The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds offer picturesque villages, bountiful hills and spectacular scenery. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cotswolds are full of charming British quintessence. Bath is at the southernmost tip of the Cotswolds and you’ll find many Cotswold villages to visit near Bath. However, you simply won’t have time to visit them all in one day.

Picturesque cottages painted yellow in the Cotswold village of Badminton near Bath and Bristol
Quaint cottages in Badminton

Closest to Bath, the Cotswold villages to visit are Castle Combe, Badminton, Tetbury, Uley, Malmesbury and Painswick. If you travel a little further, the North Cotswolds offer the highest concentration of chocolate-box villages. The key Cotswold villages to visit in the north are Chipping Campden, Broadway, Snowshill, Stanton, Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter, Burford and Bibury. Find out more with the guides for the South Cotswold villages and the North Cotswold villages.

The Cotswolds are also a delight to explore on foot. From rolling hills criss-crossed by ancient stone walls to captivating valleys with lush woodland, the Cotswolds boast countless footpaths. Near the South Cotswold villages, you can enjoy the splendid scenery of Badminton, Uley and Painswick. Find Cotswold walk guides.

Views of the Cotswold escarpment from Uley Bury
Views from Uley Bury

How to get there

The picturesque villages of the Cotswolds are not easily accessible by public transport. The best way to tour the Cotswolds from Bath is by car. Most villages offer free parking, although some high streets may be pay and display. Count 30 to 45 minutes to drive from Bath to the South Cotswolds and 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours to drive from Bath to the North Cotswolds.

If you wish to travel to the Cotswolds by public transport, you’ll only be able to visit a limited number of villages at any given time and you’ll spend a lot of time travelling. You’ll find detailed itineraries in the guide about how to travel around the Cotswolds without a car.

2. Oxford

Located 1 ½ hours from Bath, the city of Oxford boasts striking medieval architecture. One of the best cities to visit near Bath, Oxford features the world-renowned Oxford University and a bustling high street. Other landmarks include a Norman castle, a Victorian memorial, an 18th century covered market and a 17th century botanical garden.

One of the stunning buildings of Oxford University
College building at the University of Oxford

Built in the 12th century, Oxford University takes centre stage in the city centre. The key attractions to visit are the Bodleian Libraries, the Radcliff Camera, the Bridge of Sighs, the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Tom Tower, Christ Church College, Magdalen College, All Souls College, Trinity College, any other college that takes your fancy and the university parks.

The best way to explore Oxford is to get lost in its medieval streets and university buildings. The River Thames runs through the city and adds charm to the enchanting centre. You can enjoy the river by walking along the river path or by punting.

The Castle Tavern, a medieval town house in Oxford
Medieval town house in Oxford

How to get there

From Bath, you can travel to Oxford by car or by train. Count 1 ½ hours to drive there. You can park in the city centre in off-street car parks and on the street. Please note that there is usually a time limit for on-street parking. If you’re travelling from Bath to Oxford by train, the journey takes 1 ½ to 2 hours and you’ll need to change trains at Didcot Parkway and/ or Swindon.

3. Lacock Abbey & Village

The magnificent Lacock Abbey and Village will transport you back through time. Located in Wiltshire, Lacock is one of the top attractions to visit near Bath. The landmark offers an enchanting escape to British quaintness and country tranquillity.

The majestic architecture of Lacock Abbey near Bath
Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey was originally built as a medieval nunnery and, later on, was converted into a Victorian house. As a result, the abbey is multi-faceted: its striking cloisters contrast and yet compliment the gorgeous Victorian home. The grand architecture of Lacock is nested in the heart of the rolling countryside and is surrounded by lovely gardens and grounds.

While the estate is full of wonders, Lacock village is also picture-perfect: its medieval streets and cottages are unchanged. With picturesque stone cottages, a characteristic parish church and an old-fashioned washhouse, the village is quintessential British. Explore the chocolate-box landmark with the Lacock Abbey & Village guide.

Quaint medieval cottage in the village of Lacock
Picturesque cottages in Lacock

The Wiltshire countryside around Lacock Abbey is also worth exploring. The Bowden Hill walk starts and finishes at the village of Lacock and enjoys gorgeous views, enchanting meadows, lush woodland, picturesque streams and tranquil sheep. Find the walking trail with the Bowden Hill walk guide.

How to get there

Lacock is a 30-minute drive from Bath. If you wish to travel to Lacock by public transport, the journey takes 1 to 1 ½ hours and you’ll need to take a train to Chippenham or Trowbridge, then the X34 bus to Lacock.

4. Bradford-on-Avon

Located 20 minutes from Bath, Bradford-on-Avon is a quaint town in Wiltshire. Featuring picturesque cottages, delightful shops and cafés, and narrow streets, the medieval town is one of the top places to visit near Bath. Bradford-on-Avon, like its name suggests, lies on the banks of the River Avon and is nested in a lush valley.

views of Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire from town bridge
Bradford-on-Avon from the town bridge

The best way to discover Bradford-on-Avon is to explore its charming cobbled streets, spot its prettiest cottages and enjoy its lovely shops and cafés. The Shambles is one of the oldest streets in town and worth a visit. The top attractions also include the remarkable medieval Tithe Barn and the imposing town bridge. Find out more with the Bradford-on-Avon guide.

Bradford-on-Avon also offers gorgeous walks along the River Avon and the serene Kennet & Avon canal. From the waterside, you can discover the town from a different viewpoint and enjoy the peace and quiet. The Kennet & Avon canal also runs through Bath and you can walk along the canal from Bath to Bradford-on-Avon. Find out more with the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk.

Canal boats and the Kennet & Avon canal on the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal walk
Kennet & Avon canal in Bradford-on-Avon

How to get there

From Bath, you can travel to Bradford-on-Avon by car, by train or by foot. Count 20 minutes to drive there. You can park in off-street car parks and on the street. If you’re travelling by train, the journey takes 15 minutes. You can also walk from Bath to Bradford-on-Avon via the Kennet & Avon canal path. The walk along the canal is 10 miles long and takes 4 to 4 ½ hours.

5. Bristol

The city of Bristol is vibrant, diverse and multi-faceted, and one of the best places to visit near Bath. Renowned for the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Banksy graffiti art, Bristol is both a historic and a cultural city. The capital city of South West England, Bristol comprises many eclectic neighbourhoods from the Georgian Clifton Village to the graffiti-painted Stokes Croft.

View from Bristol's Harbourside of moored boats and Hotwell's colourful houses
Views of Bristol from the Harbourside

The top attractions to visit in Bristol are spread across the city. You can admire the magnificent Georgian terraced houses of Clifton Village, spot eye-catching colourful houses along the delightful Harbourside area and walk through the cobbled streets of the Old City.

You can also enjoy stunning views of the city from Brandon Hill, gape in awe at the vibrant streets of Stokes Croft and shop in independent stores along Gloucester Road and Park Street. Explore this vibrant city with the Best of Bristol city guide.

Clifton Suspension Bridge, terraced houses of Clifton Village and the cliffs of Avon Gorge
Clifton Suspension Bridge

Banksy is originally from Bristol and many of his graffiti line the city walls. You can spot his artworks, from Mild Mild West to Well Hung Lover and Cat & Dog, across the eclectic Bristol neighbourhoods and discover the artist’s top spots in the city. Find the Banksy Bristol city tour.

How to get there

From Bath, you can travel to Bristol by car or by train. Count 40 minutes to drive there. You can park in the city centre in off-street car parks and in limited on-street parking spots. If you’re travelling from Bath to Bristol by train, the journey takes 10 minutes.

6. Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge offers majestic limestone cliffs and breathtaking scenery. One of Somerset’s top attractions, Cheddar Gorge is an arresting sight. Located in the Mendip Hills, the spectacular gorge is the largest gorge in England and one of the best day trips from Bath.

The cliffs of Cheddar Gorge and the spectacular views of the village of Cheddar and the Somerset Levels
Splendid views from Cheddar Gorge

To enjoy Cheddar Gorge to the fullest, follow the Cliff Top walk along the ridge of the cliffs. A dedicated path guides you from the village of Cheddar along both sides of the gorge. From there, you can enjoy fantastic views of the gorge, the Somerset countryside, the town of Cheddar, Glastonbury Tor and the Bristol Channel.

You can also drive or walk through the winding valley and marvel at the arresting cliffs. Unfortunately, there are no footpaths in the valley. From the bottom of the gorge, you’ll be awestruck by the imposing height of the Cheddar cliffs. Find out more with the Cheddar Gorge guide.

The impressive limestone cliffs of Cheddar Gorge
Limestone cliffs of Cheddar Gorge

How to get there

The easiest way to travel from Bath to Cheddar Gorge is by car. Count 50 minutes to drive there. You can park in pay and display car parks in the town of Cheddar or at the Black Rock lay-by for free. Please note that only limited parking spaces are available at the Black Rock lay-by.

Travelling from Bath to Cheddar Gorge by public transport is complex and lengthy. You can take the train to Bristol, then the X1 or X2 Excel bus or the train to Weston-Super-Mare, then the 126 bus to the town of Cheddar. Alternatively, you can also take the 173/ 174 bus to Wells, then the 126 bus to Cheddar. Both journeys take 2 to 2 ½ hours.

7. The Mendip Hills

Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Mendip Hills offer rocky hills, stunning scenery and fabulous walks. Enjoying remarkable views of the Somerset Levels, the Bristol Channel, North Devon and South Wales, the Mendips are one of the best walk destinations near Bath.

Views of the Somerset Levels on the Wookey Hole and Ebbor Gorge walk in the Mendip Hills
Views of the Somerset Levels from the Mendip escarpment

The highest peak in the Mendip Hills, Black Down offers an escape to wild moorland, charming valleys and striking landscapes. Black Down also features breathtaking views of the Mendip Hills, the Somerset hills, the Bristol Channel, and on a clear day, South Wales. Find the Black Down walk guide.

Starting at the village of Wookey Hole, the Wookey Hole & Ebbor Gorge walk explores the limestone hills of the Mendip Hills, the breathtaking Mendip escarpment and the Ebbor Gorge nature reserve. This Mendip walk enjoys spectacular views of the Somerset Levels, Glastonbury Tor, the Polden Hills, North Devon and South Wales. Find the Wookey Hole & Ebbor Gorge walk itinerary.

View from Crook Peak in Mendip Hills
Views from Crook Peak

The Crook Peak and Wavering Down walk is one of the best walks in the Mendip Hills. This walk leads you through quaint villages, verdant fields, lush woods and along grassy ridges to the rocky peaks of the Mendips. From there, you can enjoy fantastic 360° views. Find the Crook Peak and Wavering Down walk guide.

How to get there

The easiest way to travel from Bath to the Mendip Hills is by car. Count 50 minutes to drive there. You can park in one of the many free car parks and lay-bys. Travelling by public transport is complex and lengthy. From Bath, you can take the 173/174 bus to Wells, then the 67 bus to Wookey Hole. Alternatively, you can take the train to Keynsham, then the 683 bus to Blagdon or Priddy. Expect journeys to take 1 ½ to 2 hours.

8. Wells

Located south of the Mendip Hills, the medieval city of Wells features striking architecture and charming British quintessence. The medieval city is another top place to visit near Bath and ideal for a day trip. The top attractions to visit in Wells are the majestic Wells cathedral, the enchanting gardens of the Bishop’s Palace and the captivating Vicar’s Close.

Medieval lane and quaint cottages of Vicar's Close in Wells
Vicars’ Close in Wells

Located in the heart of the city, the 12th century Wells cathedral boasts a striking façade of detailed medieval sculptures, unique scissor arches, a characteristic honeycombed ceiling and typical Gothic cloisters. Located next to the cathedral, Vicars’ Close is one of the most enchanting streets in England. The 14th century lane was built for the choir men and enjoys a double row of chocolate-box cottages.

Flanking Wells Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace features a delightful moat and ramparts, the romantic ruins of a great hall and the city’s natural springs, from which the city derives its name. Wells also offers charming market town streets, quaint town houses and beautiful countryside just waiting to be explored. Discover the medieval city and its striking architecture with the Wells city guide.

Front facade of Wells Cathedral
Front façade of Wells Cathedral

How to get there

From Bath, you can travel to Wells by car or by bus. Count 50 minutes to drive there. You can park in off-street car parks and on the street. Please note that there is usually a time limit for on-street parking. If you’re travelling from Bath to Wells by bus, the journey takes 1 ½ hours and you’ll need to take the 173/174 bus.

9. Glastonbury

One of the best places to visit near Bath, the town of Glastonbury is known as a place of pilgrimage. The medieval town offers stunning medieval architecture and beautiful country charm. The top attractions to visit in Glastonbury are the arresting Glastonbury Abbey, the mysterious Chalice Well and the breathtaking Glastonbury Tor. The town also gives its name to the world-famous Glastonbury festival, which takes place in the nearby countryside.

Glastonbury Tor surrounded by the lush Somerset countryside
Glastonbury Tor and the beautiful Somerset countryside (National Trust)

Located in the heart of the town, Glastonbury Abbey is awe-inspiring with its open-air structure, bare windows and empty halls. The 7th century abbey claims to be the earliest Christian foundation in Britain. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Chalice Well is another spiritual place to which many travel.

One of Somerset’s key landmarks, Glastonbury Tor is located outside the town. Set atop a conical hill in the heart of Somerset, the 14th century tower can be spotted from the Mendip Hills and enjoys splendid 360° views of the town of Glastonbury and the Somerset Levels. Glastonbury Tor is steeped in myths and legends, and is said to be King Arthur’s burial site. You can easily walk to the tower from the town.

Views of the countryside and Glastonbury Tor from the outskirts of Wookey Hole
Views of Glastonbury Tor from Wookey Hole

How to get there

The easiest way to travel from Bath to Glastonbury is by car. Count 1 hour to drive there. You can park in off-street car parks and on the street. Travelling by public transport is complex and lengthy. From Bath, you can take the train to Bristol, then the 376 bus to Glastonbury. Expect this journey to take 1 ½ to 2 hours.

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