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Everything you should do in Bath if you’re on a daytrip from London.
When an entire city is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can expect something spectacular. The Georgian architecture, well-preserved Roman ruins and abundance of day spas in Bath make it just the spot to escape the (wonderful) craziness of a stay in London. It’s quicker to jump on a train at Paddington Station and go through to Bath Spa than to drive (around 1.5 hours versus over two) from the capital. Watch the English countryside whiz past as you plan your day’s itinerary – though if you do drive, you might want to detour via Stonehenge, too…
Stop at the ancient Roman Baths
The Romans were masters of the spa. The Roman Baths (Abbey Church Yard) and the associated temple were built around 70AD and added to over the centuries. The public baths featured the Great Bath, a massive pool filled with hot spa water, cold plunge pools, saunas and heated rooms – all of which you can see on a walkthrough of the complex.
Learn about the life and times of Austen
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a visitor to Bath must be in want of a trip to the birthplace of one of England’s most famous authors. The Jane Austen Centre (40 Gay Street) is a permanent exhibition for the hardcore fans: costumed guides share anecdotes about Austen and the era in which she was writing, plus guests can dress up in Regency costume for novelty snaps and watch a short film starring Mr Wickham (actually Adrian Lukis, who played the cad in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice).
Nab a seat at the city’s smallest pub
When in England, you need to dine at an English pub. The Coeur de Lion (17 Northumberland Place) is the smallest establishment of its kind in Bath. Now under the control of a local brewery, Abbey Ales, the two-centuries-old building ticks all the boxes for ambience: stained-glass windows, a quirky name and red velvet stools. Order a pint and choose between a steak and Bellringer Ale pie (served with chips and green beans) and a ploughman’s lunch for a proper pub experience.
Insider tip: pay for your meal with your own money and save while you’re abroad. With Qantas Cash, you can load and spend up to 10 foreign currencies (including British pounds) or load Australian dollars and spend in local currencies.
Amble around the city
When you only have a few hours, a guided walk gives you a feel for the city as well as a chance to take snaps of the most-visited spots. The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides take visitors on two-hour free walking tours (and won’t accept tips) that check off key attractions: Bath Abbey, Great Pulteney Street, Pulteney Bridge, The Circus and the Royal Crescent. Find a guide outside the Roman Baths at 10.30am and 2pm, Sunday to Friday, and 10.30am on Saturdays – just look for someone wearing the official badge.
Take a dip yourself
Could you really leave without taking a bath in Bath? The Thermae Bath Spa (Hot Bath Street) is a natural thermal spa where you can swim in the mineral-rich waters or even book a massage to take the pampering next level. But the best plunge is in the open-air rooftop pool, where you can gaze out at the spires of Bath Abbey as steam from the 33.5°C water rises up around you. A two-hour pass gives you access to this pool as well as the Minerva indoor bath, plus a towel, slippers and robe.
Insider tip: with Qantas Cash, you can lock in exchange rates before you leave Australia. That way, you’ll avoid hidden conversion fees and high exchange rates, leaving more money for "treat yourself" experiences.
Pick up a snack for the trip home
The Sally Lunn Bun has been a Bath institution since its namesake developed the secret recipe in the late 1600s. While variations of the baked good – often called Bath Buns – have been created, the original can still only be sourced at Sally Lunn’s (4 North Parade Passage). It’s a light bun, similar to a brioche, and can be topped with savoury or sweet flavours. Stop in and take tea with your treat or walk through the attached bakery museum and pick up a box for your train ride.
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