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Travel to Bath

Flying to Bath

Bristol Airport is 32km (20 miles) from Bath, and is its closest airport. It serves over 100 short-haul destinations, and it is possible to get cheap flights to Bristol from a wide range of European destinations, all year round. Airlines serving Bristol include Aer Lingus Regional, Brussels Airlines, easyJet, KLM and Ryanair. The Airport Flyer Express coach runs from the airport to Bristol Temple Meads railway station, where there are frequent trains to Bath.

For travellers arriving from long-haul destinations, the best airport to fly into is London Heathrow.

Flight times

To Bristol: from Belfast - 1 hour 5 minutes; Edinburgh - 1 hour 15 minutes;  Amsterdam - 1 hour 10 minutes; Paris - 1 hour 15 minutes.

To London Heathrow: from New York - 7 hours; Los Angeles - 10 hours 30 minutes; Toronto - 7 hours; Sydney - 23 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Traffic drives on the left in the UK, and drivers must be at least 17 years old. Speed limits are 113kph (70mph) on motorways, 97kph (60mph) on single-lane main roads and 48kph (30mph) in built-up areas. Overseas driving licences and International Driving Permits are valid for up to one year. Insurance is mandatory. Overseas visitors bringing their own cars should bring registration documents and check with their insurance company as to whether a Green Card is needed.

Breakdown service, traffic updates and general motoring information are available from the AA (tel: +44 121 275 3746; www.theaa.com), the RAC (tel: +44 844 891 3111; www.rac.co.uk) and Green Flag (tel: +44 845 246 1557; www.greenflag.co.uk).

Emergency breakdown services

AA (tel: 0800 887 766, in the UK); RAC (tel: 0800 828 282, in the UK).

Routes

It's easy to get to Bath by car. The city is only 16km (10 miles) along the A46 from junction 18 of the M4 motorway coming from London and Heathrow. The M5 motorway provides excellent links from the North and Devon and Cornwall, while Bristol and Wales are just a short drive west on the M4. The local council recommends that people going to Bath for a whole day or more should use the city's Park and Ride facilities, ie park their car in a car park outside of town and use one of the frequent bus services connecting these car parks with the city centre. These out-of-town car parks are all signposted along the roads leading into Bath.

Coaches

National Express (tel: +44 871 781 8181; www.nationalexpress.com) is the main coach operator linking Bath with all other major towns and cities in the UK. The bus station is on Dorchester Street next to Bath Spa railway station.

Time to city

From Bristol - 30 minutes; Cardiff - 1 hour 20 minutes; Oxford - 1 hour 35 minutes; London - 2 hours 30 minutes; Brighton - 2 hours 50 minutes; Manchester - 3 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Bath is well connected to the rest of the UK by frequent rail services. National Rail Enquiries provides timetables and fare information (tel: 03457 484 950, in the UK or +44 20 7278 5240; www.nationalrail.co.uk). The city's railway station, Bath Spa, is located on Dorchester Street in the city centre.

Operators

First Great Western (tel: +44 345 700 0125; www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) operates frequent high-speed connections from Paddington Station in London, the fastest taking 1 hour 25 minutes.

South West Trains (tel: +44 345 600 0650; www.southwesttrains.co.uk) runs numerous connections across the region.

Major cities like Birmingham and Manchester have frequent services to Bristol, which is just under 15 minutes by train from Bath. The south coast ports of Southampton and Portsmouth both have direct services by train.

Journey times

From Bristol - 15 minutes; Cardiff - 1 hour 10 minutes; London - 1 hour 25 minutes; Southampton - 1 hour 30 minutes; Portsmouth - 2 hours 20 minutes.

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Featured Hotels

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The Royal Hotel

Housed in a property designed by Brunel, The Royal Hotel has been around since 1846. The present owners took over in 1995 and initiated a refurbishment programme that has transformed the hotel into a modern, attractive and comfortable establishment. The hotel has two bars and a restaurant with steaks as its speciality.

The Queensberry Hotel

The Queensberry is a boutique town house hotel that is both intimate and stylish. Located in a residential street near the Circus, it is an elegant hotel with many of the original Georgian architectural and decorative features intact. The service is superb, and so is the hotel's Olive Tree restaurant, which offers contemporary British cuisine.

Duke’s Hotel

Boutique Duke's, located on Bath's grandest street, somehow manages to make grand Georgian proportions homely as well as chic. Vivid décor, four-poster beds, delicious breakfasts that linger in the memory, and personable hosts that genuinely seem to care – Duke's is the complete package.

The Royal Crescent Hotel

It is hard to beat The Royal Crescent Hotel and Bath House Spa in terms of location, which is situated in the very middle of what is perhaps Europe's most elegant crescent. The hotel occupies two of the Royal Crescent's buildings, both of which were built by John Wood the Younger. The hotel is one of Bath's very best and has beautiful gardens and an excellent restaurant.

The Pulteney Hotel

The Pulteney Hotel is a large, elegant Victorian house set in its own picturesque south-facing gardens, with fine views of Bath Abbey. There are 17 rooms, all with en-suite facilities, colour television, tea- and coffee-making facilities, hairdryer and central heating. All rooms are tastefully decorated.

Lucknam Park

15 minutes' drive outside of Bath, 5-star Lucknam Park has established itself as the destination for those seeking a weekend immersion in luxurious hospitality. Set in a 17th-century Palladian mansion marooned in 202 hectares (500 acres) of listed parkland, the hotel boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, an equestrian centre, and a cookery school.