Attractions Nearby Bath, Day Trips and Excursions

(Bath, North-East Somerset, England, UK)

Day trips from the city of Bath can be extremely rewarding, although many of the outlying attractions should really only be considered for fine days. One of the world's most famous and most mysterious attractions, Stonehenge is to be found just outside of Salisbury, next to the A303 and some 64 km / 40 miles from Bath.

Additional popular excursions include Dyrham Park and Westonbirt Arboretum, both of which reside to the north of Bath, being best reached via the Gloucester / Stroud Road (A46). The historic half-timbered buildings and old-fashioned attractions in the village of Lacock may appeal, and those with children will find that the playground at Bowood Gardens is nothing short of superb. If old manor houses are your bag, then Great Chalfield Manor, Stourhead and Westwood will likely all appeal, with each offering a different scale of grandeur and impressive gardens.

Image of Stonehenge at sunrise


Address: Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 7DE, England
Tel: +44 (0)1980 624715
This ancient circle of stone monoliths is believed to have been formed some 4,500 years ago, being created as a temple for sun worshippers. Today, Stonehenge draws enormous crowds during the annual Summer Solstice celebrations, being visited by many druids. Keen photographers will enjoy the challenge of taking an arty photograph of the henge, avoiding the tourists and fences often in the way. If you are in Bath without a car, then regular buses will provide the best bet for reaching Stonehenge and these depart several times each day, being best arranged at the tourist centre next to the abbey.
Mid-March to May - 09:30 to 18:00 / June to August - 09:00 to 19:00
September to mid-October - 09:30 to 18:00 / end of October - 09:30 to 17:00
November to mid-March - 09:30 to 16:00
Admission: charge

Photo of Autumn foliage at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum

Address: Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS, England
Tel: +44 (0)1666 880220
Established almost 200 years ago and covering around 600 acres / 243 hectares, Westonbirt Arboretum is sited approximately 33 km / 20 miles from Bath and features an extremely diverse collection of mature trees, spread around the Old Arboretum and the somewhat younger Silk Wood. In total there are around 17 miles / 27 km of pathways, meaning that visitors can easily spend an entire day here, stopping along the way for a picnic, or heading back to the entrance, where a restaurant is on hand for lunch. When autumn arrives, the arboretum is at its most spectacular, although the winter sees many of the trees floodlit to dramatic effect.
Open hours: daily, seasonal variations
Admission: charge

Castle Combe Race Circuit

Address: Castle Combe, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 7EY, England
Tel: +44 (0)1249 783010
Relatively close to Westonbirt and 24 km / 15 miles from Bath, the Castle Combe Race Circuit is a famous motor racing track which opened in 1950 and once actually served as the perimeter track of an old airfield used during the Second World War. During its life, many renowned drivers have zoomed around the circuit, including the likes of Coulthard, Hill, Mansell and Senna. Regular track days allow members of the public to drive around the track in their sports cars, while Castle Combe also offers a skid pan course, off-road driving, and fun go-kart racing for adults and children aged over ten years old.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge

Dyrham Park

Address: Near Chippenham, Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire, SN14 8ER, England
Tel: +44 (0)117 937 2501
Photograph of Dyrham ParkDyrham Park is a National Trust estate just 14 km / 9 miles from central Bath, being roughly a 15-minute drive from the city via the London Road (A4) and Gloucester Road (A46). The grand mansion is especially interesting and it doesn't take much imagination to see how a relatively modest country house was extended a number of times over the years, taking on its present-day stately appearance, surrounded by just under 275 acres / 111 hectares. The orangery is an elegant addition and features many large lemon trees, which can often be seen flowering and fruiting. During the summer months, concerts are staged in the grounds, with Jools Holland being a regular performer in the past.
Open hours: February to December, Friday to Tuesday - 12:00 to 17:30, seasonal variations
Admission: charge, discounts available for families and children

Westwood Manor

Address: Off the B3109, Westwood Village, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 2AF, England
Tel: +44 (0)1225 863374
Westwood Manor is a noteworthy 15th-century stone mansion, approximately 1 mile / 1.5 km southwest of Bradford on Avon, off the B3109 and some 28 km / 18 miles from central Bath. This is a National Trust property with a strong Jacobean character, regular guided tours and landscaped gardens. Attractions include period antique furnishings, fine Jacobean plasterwork and old paintings.
Open hours: April to September, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday - 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge

View over Stourhead Garden lake

Stourhead House and Gardens

Address: Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 6QD, England
Tel: +44 (0)1747 841152
Owned by the National Trust, the Stourhead estate is less than one hours' drive from central Bath, being roughly 43 km / 29 miles to the south, where it boasts some of the most spectacular gardens that you are ever likely to see. Landscaped many years ago by the famous designer Capability Brown, the grounds are based around a large lake and comprise mature trees, rhododendrons and camellias, grottos and temples, and even a grassed bridge. The gardens of Stourhead are known for their century old Japanese maples and resultant autumnal colours, while the summer months often bring festivals, with live music and fireworks from the main island in the lake. Close by and still a part of the overall estate is King Alfred's Tower, where 205 steps lead you to the very top and some breathtaking views as far as the eye can see.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 19:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors and children

Chew Valley Lake

Address: 92 Bridgewater Road, Bristol, BS99 7DQ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1275 332339
Chew Valley Lake is to be found roughly 20 km / 13 miles to the west of Bath, off the A368, and is a particularly scenic and peaceful spot. Lakeside walking trails connect a cafe and gift shop, where cream teas (scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with a fresh pot of tea) are the order of the day. There are also picnic tables, a playground for young children, fishing, sailing and a variety of friendly wildfowl, such as ducks, geese, coots, moorehens and swans, which are often waiting to be fed.
Open hours: daily - 10:30 to dusk

Berkeley Castle

Address: Near Stroud, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BQ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1453 810332
Berkeley Castle is situated 56 km / 35 miles from central Bath and dates back more than 900 years. This old castle not only offers a lengthy history, but also an interesting one, since it was here in 1327 where the murder of King Edward II took place. Berkeley was also the spot where the Barons of the west met prior to the Magna Carta, and where Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream play was actually performed for the very first time. The principal attractions include valuable antiquities, old paintings and tapestries, a large collection of silverware, a well-maintained bowling green where Queen Elizabeth once played, and attractive landscaped Elizabethan-style terraced gardens.
Open hours: April to May, Tuesday to Sunday - 14:00 to 17:00, June and Sept, Tuesday to Saturday - 11:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 14:00 to 17:00, July to August, Monday to Saturday - 11:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 14:00 to 17:00, October, Sunday - 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors and children

Snapshot of architecture at Lacock Village

Lacock Village

Address: Lacock, Wiltshire, England, SN15 2LG
Tel: +44 (0)1249 730277
Lacock is an especially scenic and historic village, being located around 23 km / 14 miles from central Bath and close to Chippenham. This charming village draws a steady flow of tourists all through the year, with visitors coming here to admire the fine architecture and enjoy the seasonal events, which include a summer scarecrow trail and Apple Day in early autumn. Owned by the National Trust, Lacock Abbey dates back to the 13th century and famously made an appearance in two of the Harry Potter movies.

Bowood Gardens

Address: Off the A4, Between Chippenham and Calne, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 0LZ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1249 812102
Bowood Gardens are located 30 km / 18 miles from central Bath and this sprawling estate covers around 2,000 acres / 1,240 hectares of stunning grounds. Originally shaped by the hands of Capability Brown, who laid out much of the estate in the middle of the 18th century, Bowood is an extremely popular family attraction. Children will be particularly taken by the adventure playground, where tree-top walkways, slides, trampolines and a giant pirate ship are just some of the offerings. The gift shop is located within Bowood House itself, next to the main Italian terrace. As you stroll around the grounds, you will encounter a large lake, a hermit's cave, a rocky valley and plenty of quiet places to picnic. During the summer, many events are staged here, including concerts and classic car shows.
Open hours: April to October, daily - 11:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors and children

Courts Garden

Address: Holt, near Trowbridge, Bradford on Avon, North-East Somerset, BA14 6RR, England
Tel: +44 (0)1225 782340
Another of the area's popular National Trust attractions, the Courts Garden resides in Holt, being approximately 16 km / 10 miles from Bath, to the south of the B3107 and especially close to Trowbridge. This charming garden is divided into a series of themed areas, with a large lily pond, many flower borders, a vegetable garden with an apple tree tunnel, a small arboretum, old clipped yew trees and a restaurant with a selection of mouthwatering cakes. A car park is conveniently located just across the road.
Open hours: April to October, Sunday to Friday - 13:30 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

Great Chalfield Manor

Address: Off B3107, via Broughton Gifford Common, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 8NJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1225 782239
Owned and managed by the National Trust, Great Chalfield Manor is to be found roughly 18 km / 11 miles from the centre of Bath. This extremely historic manor house dates all the way back to the late 15th century and comes with landscaped gardens, period antiquities and old paintings, being encircled by a moat and fronted by a gatehouse. Guided tours of the house allow visitors to learn all about its interesting past and the extensive restoration work that has ensured its preservation for future generations. Plants propagated from the gardens are often found for sale at a stall by the entrance.
Open hours: April to October, Tuesday to Thursday - 12:15, 14:15, 15:00, 15:45 and 16:30 (guided tours)
Admission: charge

Cricket St. Thomas Lakes and Gardens

Address: Chard, Somerset, TA20 4DB, England
Tel: +44 (0)1460 30111
Formerly a hugely popular Wildlife Park, Cricket St. Thomas is to be found roughly 82 km / 51 miles from central Bath and makes for a worthy excursion. The estate is now owned by Warner Leisure Hotels, who offer all kinds of themed breaks, although for adults only. The grounds remain open to members of the public. Look out for the front entrance to the old manor house, as it might seem familiar - many years ago it featured in the hit BBC television comedy series, 'To the Manor Born'.
Open hours: Easter to October, daily - 10:00 to 16:00 (all year for hotel guests)
Admission: charge for day visitors and dogs, free to hotel guests, over 21 years old only

Other attractions nearby Bath include: