Getting around Bath
The historic centre of Bath is pretty compact, and you can easily reach all the key sights and attractions in the city centre on foot. Several pedestrianised areas in the shopping routes also make walking the easiest option. Pop into Bath Tourist Information Centre (www.visitbath.co.uk) for city maps and details on walking tours around the city.
If you do fancy some help getting around, Bath does have a good and reliable bus network covering both the centre and stretching out to the city's leafy environs. First (tel: +44 117 244 4040; www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/bristol_bath) is the largest bus operator in Bath and northeast Somerset, operating city, inter-urban and rural services. For its services within Bath, the company sells single tickets, day tickets, 10-journey tickets and week tickets (the latter being a good option for visitors staying more than three days).
Bath’s taxi companies include Abbey Taxis (tel: +44 1225 444 444), V Cars (tel: +44 1225 464 646) and Smart Taxis and Minibuses (tel: +44 1225 442 200).
Driving in Bath can be a nightmare for the impatient and the uninitiated. Avoid it if you can. In places, streets are narrow and easily congested, and there are several one-way streets that can prove a pain if they take you by surprise.
If you're going to Bath for a whole day or more, a good option is to use the city's four Park and Ride facilities, ie leave your car in a car park outside of town and use one of the frequent bus services (at least every 15 minutes) connecting these car parks with the city centre. These out-of-town car parks shouldn’t be too tricky to find as they are all signposted along the roads leading into Bath. It is recommended to avoid the university one unless it is a Saturday as it fills up quickly during the week. In the centre, there are 13 car parks; see www.visitbath.co.uk for their location. Many city centre hotels have free parking for their guests.
Drivers require a valid driving licence to hire a car in the UK. In most cases, this can be a national driving licence, although an International Driving Permit may be preferred if the licence is not in English. Separate proof of address is often required. A credit card is also essential. It is important for visitors to check what level of insurance is included in the price of car hire. In general, drivers have to be over 23 to hire a car.
Car hire in Bath is available from Enterprise (tel: +44 1225 443 311; www.enterprise.co.uk), Hertz (tel: +44 843 309 3004; www.hertz.co.uk), Thrifty (tel: +44 1179 867 997; www.thrifty.co.uk) and Europcar (tel: +44 371 384 9985; www.europcar.co.uk).
Bath Bike Hire, Sydney Wharf, Bathwick (tel: +44 1225 447 276; www.bathbikehire.com) is located 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre; here, budding cyclists can hire out bikes for either half a day or a full day.
Bike in Bath (www.bikeinbath.com) is an on-street bike hire scheme, with four cycle stations designed to accommodate 55 hire bikes. To use the service, you can either register for a Bike in Bath card online or buy one at the Bath Tourist Information Centre; daily, weekend and annual cards are available. The first 30 minutes of cycling is free, then you pay for subsequent hours.