We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pre-book train?

San Diego
Level Contributor
165 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Pre-book train?

We are arriving in Bath in the late afternoon on a Friday (in late September) and will be taking the train into London in the late afternoon/early evening the next day, Saturday. Should we buy our tickets on line ahead of time, or wait until we arrive in Bath?

Also, any suggestions to maximize our time in Bath? A suggestion for dinner our first night and places to see the next day before leaving for London.

Thanks

London
Level Contributor
10,749 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Pre-book train?

An 'advance' ticket for this route can be as low as £10, though it's likely the very cheapest 'advance' tickets for September have already sold out. The walk up 'super off peak' fare (valid on any train at the weekend) is £30.50. If you do buy an 'advance' ticket note that it completely inflexible, if you don't catch the train specified on your ticket then it's a worthless piece of paper.

Budapest, Hungary
Destination Expert
for Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
11,128 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Pre-book train?

My two suggestions for eating are Woods or the Circus Restaurant, both offer fairly classical food in elegant surroundings. Woods is going through on eof those periods restaurants sometimes have when the team in the kitchen just clicks. If they are too pricey, there are umpteen places to eat in Bath.

http://www.woodsrestaurant.com/

http://www.thecircuscafeandrestaurant.co.uk/

I would suggest a visit to the Roman Baths first thing - they open at 09:00 and can get busy on Saturdays so go early. Allow at least 90 minutes, make sure you get an audio guide.

Bath, United Kingdom
9 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Pre-book train?

I would definitely recommend pre-booking, and if possible, reserving a seat. Bath is still very busy in September and you may find yourself having to stand for part of the journey if you can't immediately grab a seat. It is especially bad on Fridays. The ticket may be cheaper is you pick specific times to travel there and back but as rcspeirs said, if you miss the train, your ticket is not transferable to another journey.

You may be able to get discounts with your train tickets: visitbath.co.uk/things-to-do/2-for-1-offers

As you are short on time, I would definitely recommend going on the City Sightseeing tour bus to get an overall sense of the city. There are two routes - a city tour which stays in the centre and a "skyline" tour which goes a bit further out and has some lovely views. I believe the one ticket is valid for both tours and it is valid for 24 hours so you could get on in the afternoon then use it the next morning. Each tour lasts about an hour but you can hop on and off at any attraction you want.

The main places to visit are the Roman Baths and the Jane Austen centre.

For evening entertainment, try a play at the Theatre Royal, a show at Komedia, or a comedy guided tour with www.bizarrebath.co.uk/

More suggestions can be found here: http://visitbath.co.uk/ideas-and-inspiration

There are a lot of chain restaurants, particularly around the train station. A "must do" is Sally Lunn's. It's a bit touristy but the food is good and it's the home of the Bath Bun. afternoon tea at the Pump Room is also fab. I'd recommend the Guildhall Market as well. The '50s style snack bar makes the best milkshakes! There are also some nice stalls: www.bathguildhallmarket.co.uk/

For French food, try Brasserie Blanc in the Francis Hotel on Queens Square is fab and surprisingly affordable, with impeccable service, or if you like Moroccan, try Cafe du Globe which is very atmospheric.

Cafe Lucca and The Jazz Cafe are lovely cafes with great food but if it's a put and a pint you want, try the Pig and Fiddle http://www.pigandfiddle.butcombe.com/

San Diego
Level Contributor
165 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Pre-book train?

Thank you for your suggestions--we have a lot to look into!

San Diego
Level Contributor
165 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Pre-book train?

Just a follow-up question about the trains from Bath to London. I have looked at Direct Rail and National rail and The Trainline.com. All fares on these sites are the same price: 28.80 GBP for 2 people one way. Does it matter which web site I use to book? Are they all on the same train line?

Southampton
Level Contributor
4,780 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Pre-book train?

The trainline will add a booking fee. National rail will simply direct you to the website of the train company which run this route (which is almost certainly the best place to buy tickets from). Never heard of Direct.

London
Level Contributor
10,749 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Pre-book train?

The train company on that route is FirstGreatWestern. If you intend to buy advance tickets, I'd go to their site directly.

Budapest, Hungary
Destination Expert
for Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
11,128 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Pre-book train?

Avoid Sally Lunn's, there are far better places to have afternoon tea.

Rhode Island
Level Contributor
159 posts
97 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Pre-book train?

I was able to book a train from Bath to London for a discounted advance fair in September. I just checked the various websites and chose one that didn't have a booking fee. My credit card company tried to block my purchase thinking my card was stolen but they said it went through. It was under $30 USD for one person.

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,119 posts
121 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Pre-book train?

bath to or from on Fridays is def a must do to book a ticket with a seat resvn,

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/ no card fees, trains to/from London Paddington

trains are often full and standing... the later you go the easier it is

as mentioned advance fares are cheapest and first class can be a bargain if you can get one

but you must travel on train booked no changes allowed unless there is disruption

also south west trains have limited services from bath to Waterloo

http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/ you cannot reserve seats though but train starts in Bristol so as Bath is next stop so should have space

Edited: 3:57 am, August 17, 2013