The 7 most romantic things to do in Bath England

Bath is the epitome of Georgian elegance and is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. It’s a pleasurable day trip from London (take an easy train ride on Great Western Rail from Paddington), or stay a night or two and truly indulge in all the romantic things to do in Bath!

Personally, I love Bath because it’s easy to get around but has the all the perks of the city (shopping, coffee, plenty to see and do); it’s rich in history (the buildings tell many lifetimes worth of tales, dating back to the Romans right through to Jane Austen, and even the birth of Royal Mail), and aside from anything, the city is strikingly beautiful!

It’s one for the romantics, for sure, and here are seven of our sweetest ideas for you to explore…

7 romantic things to do in Bath, England…

  1. Bath Abbey Tower Tour

Bath Abbey is the divine structure that makes for a perfect meeting spot in the town centre. It is an utterly surprising find as you’re wandering the old streets, and you’ll have your phone in hand snapping pictures before you even realise what you’re doing!

Indulge in some people watching in the square, and when you’ve gathered your breath, climb to the top for a bird’s eye view of the area.

If this idea takes your fancy, you can book exclusive personalised tours which take place out of hours – watch the sun set over this uniquely lovely place, away from the tourist crowds. More at bathabbey.org/towertours.

Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

2. Stroll along the Gravel Walk

This is fine for all, but Austen fans will especially rejoice because it is the setting of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth’s proposal in Persuasion.

Continue your wander through to Royal Victoria Park for a picnic, and wind up your exploration in the lovely woodland of the Botanical Gardens.

Be mindful after dark though, for although it might seem pretty at dusk it is said that a number of Bath’s former residents often also wander here. Particularly notable is a white haired man who will appear before you on the Gravel Walk, only to vanish back into the night. Spooky, although perhaps a romantic pursuit for the ghost-hunters (like me) among you… Boo!

Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

3. Take to nature – canal ride, row boat or horse drawn carriage ride

As you step off the train into the city of Bath, you’ll spot signs for visitor information centres. Drop in and enquire about one of the unique opportunities to interact with nature.

Particularly special on a sunny day, is the opportunity to hire a row boat or board a quaint vessel headed along the canals. There’s plenty of romantic little spots to stop at, like The Bathampton Mill pub, or choose a more remote countryside patch of green and relish in the serenity.

Back in town, we suggest skipping the cab line and instead take a horse drawn carriage ride around the city, just like in Austen’s romantic age. Be enchanted as you pass by grand spaces like the Royal Crescent, Royal Victoria Park and The Circus. Courtyard Carriages will make it happen.

Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

4. Stay overnight in a romantic hotel!

Bath is brimming with excellent accommodation options for all budgets, but if you’re willing to splash out for a special occasion and take full advantage of this city’s status as a centre for romance, this one looks nice – the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, centrally located with sublime views of the city! We’ve not stayed here, but sure would like to. Seems so very Austen-esque.

Another decadent property I spotted on our travels was Bath Spa Hotel, a five star stay overlooking the breathtaking Bath landscape. Romance aplenty (hint hint, Cooper).

 

5. Jane Austen festival in September

Yes, yes and yes! Indulge in regal splendour – performances, balls, workshops, promenades, fairs, lunches, breakfasts (and the odd Mr Darcy sprinkled around town for good measure)…

There are even short tours of the surrounding area on offer so you can get your entire literary and adventure fix with the least amount of effort. If you’re a fan of Jane’s, don’t miss visiting in September. More at janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk.

Note: there’s a plethora of Austen experiences open all year round too if you can’t make it in spring.

Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

6. Thermae Bath Spa

Bath is of course famed for its ancient baths and healing waters, and now thanks to Thermae, we can all take a dip.

After you’ve explored the interesting old ruins, step it up to contemporary times in an utterly indulgent and romantic manner. Thermae now boasts a sensational rooftop pool with sweeping city views. There’s plenty of other treatments you can enjoy too – the best of modern pleasures and old world lush blended into a sublime chance to unwind and feel the love. More details here.

7. Country walks and quaint villages

When we visited Bath recently, we actually took the Hop on Hop off bus tour, which features two routes through Bath – one travels around the city and explains the local history, and the other highlights the outskirts upon the hilltops overlooking the city’s skyline. This is an excellent way to get your bearings in the city (helpful too, because Bath is very hilly so it’s easy to get tired making your way around). An option like this makes it simpler to identify the places you might like to go back to, and the skyline journey in particular showcases some lovely walks.

Suggested places to visit include the ‘prettiest village in England’, Castle Combe (accessible from Bath), Kennet and Avon canals which are some of the loveliest waterways working their way through England. The tour guide also pointed out walks you can try nearby to stops on the tour’s itinerary such as around Middle Hill Lodge.

Words can’t describe how lovely it is here, although many writers have attempted to do so throughout history. Why not visit and see for yourself. You may find the Visit Bath website useful, and book your train tickets in advance for the best deal, try Great Western Rail or nationalrail.co.uk.

If you’ve found this helpful or have a tip to add, please let us know in the comments.

-Sarah

Grand designs – visit Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle

Rolling green hills, pretty ponds, and sheep calmly grazing across vast expanses of English countryside − it was all very dreamy, but we’d been driving along a quiet winding road for a while and wondered where it was.

“If you tilt your head to the left, Miss, just over the tops of those trees, you’ll see it in a moment,” chimed the jolly cab driver I’d met just 15 minutes ago in the nearby village of Newbury.

Downton Abbey Highclere Castle

As he spoke, indeed, it appeared! I couldn’t help the welling feeling of excitement as we rounded the corner past more manicured greenery, and all of a sudden, England’s most famous stately home, Highclere Castle arose, grand as ever; just like in one of the world’s most-watched series’, Downton Abbey (sadly, final season will air from September 2015 (UK) and January 2016 (USA)  – *sob*).

 

You too can play out your Crawley family fantasies, as do thousands of others who visit annually during the lavish property’s open periods (usually UK’s spring/summer). The Jacobethan-style country house is set on 5000 acres (five times bigger than New York’s Central Park), and it’s an opportunity to step back into another world altogether.

Downton Abbey Highclere Castle

The library is magnificent, housing over 5000 classic editions; pause a moment in the posh dining room and ballroom (where many a romantic Downton moment has been stolen), and the bedrooms (there’s over 50!). You can wander the formal gardens, plus enjoy a spot of tea and scones. It’s very special, that’s for sure.

When Downton filming is done, Highclere hosts expensive events and celebrity weddings. It’s also home to Lord and Lady Carnarvon, and the property has been in the Carnarvon family for over 300 years.

Back in its heyday, an army of 60 servants catered to the Carnarvons’ every desire. However, it costs around $1 million to maintain such a stately home these days, with just 20 full time staff.

It’s an easy day trip − around an hour’s train ride from Paddington to the quaint town of Newbury, then a friendly cab driver will ferry you to Downton… er, I mean, Highclere (but don’t worry if you get it wrong, they’re used to it!). Good news for those fretting over the end of our favourite show – you can still make a pilgrimage here and enjoy ever more of England’s charms.

Take a look at our photos here, and discover more on how you can visit here at the official site.

7 awesome reasons to travel from London to Edinburgh by train

Last weekend I was enjoying a nice chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc over dinner with friends (don’t you love the bottles with twist tops?!).

I mentioned excitedly as I emptied the last of the contents (a bottle doesn’t go far between four people), that I was heading to Edinburgh for the week. Anyone who’s ever been to Scotland will enthusiastically agree it’s a beautiful, friendly country with a long history. Scotland offers amazing scenery; castles, lochs and even a monster!

Suddenly I was asked what I thought to be a bizarre question, “How are you planning to get there?”

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“How else, but by plane”, I commented, “What other way is there?!”.

“Have you ever thought about catching a train?” replied a soft voice.

“Why would I waste my time on a train when a plane can get me there in a third of the time?”

This is when the conversation previously focussing on sport, politics, work and the usual banter steered towards the new topic of train travel, and each guest explaining – with enthusiasm – their experiences travelling around the UK on the world’s oldest railway system.

After emptying the contents of a second bottle of Australia’s finest, I felt inspired, excited and a little curious by the prospect of travel to Edinburgh from London by train (4 hours and 20 minutes). So inspired, actually, that I changed tack.

Scottish town Cooper

7 awesome reasons to travel from London to Edinburgh by train

  1. Door-to-door
    Unlike airports which are located anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes from a city, most major train stations are located in the centre of the city. Avoid rush-hour traffic and an expensive taxi ride. I didn’t feel stressed travelling to the train station but I always have a small sense of anxiety when I travel to an airport. Our travel from London to Edinburgh by train commenced at the centrally-located and well appointed King’s Cross station in London.
  1. Hassle Free
    What I really like about train travel is that you don’t have to arrive several hours before departure and then wait in a long security line. When I arrived at King’s Cross 30 minutes before departure, everyone was relaxed, no one was rushing and I didn’t encounter any impatient passengers pushing and shoving waiting for the gates to open. No exorbitant prices for food and drinks either. I grabbed a latte, checked from which platform my train was departing, visited a few shops and even had a chance to explore the Harry Potter exhibit (as one does).

Scottish cow

  1. Baggage and expenses
    We’ve all experienced that anxiety about having to pay excess baggage fees, and that sheepish feeling of guilt when you know your bags are flirting with being slightly overweight. Thankfully, conductors who I found friendly and helpful, didn’t even check how many bags I had or more importantly how much they weighed. No angry and surprised passengers standing helplessly when staff remove bags and demand a fee.  On the price side, if you’re familiar with the UK, you’ll know there are of course discount airfare options, but, did you know you can score a train ticket travelling from London to Edinburgh for as little as £25 if you book in advance? Check either direct on Virgin Trains website (which I travelled on to Edinburgh), or visit National Rail or Train Line for best deals. Three months in advance is when you’re likely to secure the best deal.
  1. Comfort and relaxation
    My core complaint when flying is the lack of leg room and being boxed-in amongst strangers. On trains there are seats in pairs, or sets of four (two either side), and some with the option of a table in the middle. Plug a laptop in, catch up on blogging (or the latest episode of Arrow…; read, write, daydream). Did I mention you don’t have to wear a seat belt and there’s no line for the toilet!? Winning! Trains can be a little bumpy in a soothing way (like being rocked to sleep); nothing like when you hit turbulence and fear grips your body.

Scottish town

  1. The real bonus – scenery
    Trains offer the chance to be engaged by spectacular scenery, unlike planes where, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of a landmark during take-off or landing. I love watching in wonder the rolling green fields, lazy grazing farm animals, charming villages and historical castles standing proud. A kaleidoscope of images, and the landscape of the United Kingdom is really so special, particularly when you travel from London to Edinburgh by train. The time really does fly by, because the adventure is a travel experience in itself, rather than feeling like a ‘drag’.
  1. Meeting travellers and making friends
    A cafeteria and bar offering all the essentials was positioned up the back of my train. Making my way to this oasis felt a bit like imitating a trapeze artist on rope, but, my reward for a delicate balancing act, was that I found this spot to be a great place to meet fellow travellers. We shared tips and a few jokes over a cold beverage. That said, if you prefer to enjoy a little quiet time, staying in your seat is a perfectly convenient option too, because a trolley of hot and cold delights makes its way through the carriages at intervals through the journey.

Scottish lake

  1. Environment
    An important fact, trains are less damaging to the environment and more energy efficient. Trains require half the energy per passenger per mile than air travel. Anything that is great for the environment is a winner in my books.

Sure, we all live active, busy lives and travelling by plane is less time consuming, but there comes a time when we must all stop, relax and smell the roses, so to speak. I’m discovering train travel in the UK is the chance to experience real travel adventure; you can score tickets at low prices, and view the world while travelling comfortably. The time really does fly by (no pun intended). Definitely worth considering when you’re in our neck of the woods.

−Cooper