Flying to Bath
Bath doesn’t have its own airport (for a start they’d never be able to find a flat piece of ground to build it on that wasn’t stuffed full of historical artefacts), but the city is within easy reach of both Bristol and Heathrow airports.
Where are the airports?
Bristol airport is 31km from Bath city centre and it takes between 45 minutes and an hour to get there depending on traffic (although always leave more time than this). It’s out in the countryside, but is well-served by public transport.
Heathrow, 131km away, is the closest of the London airports and is 90 minutes to two hours drive from Bath city centre. It’s easily reached by car down the M4 motorway or by public transport – although if there are more than two people travelling, a private transfer could work out cheaper.
Getting to the city from Bristol Airport
Located south of Bristol, the airport is small but is served by both domestic and international flights.
Buses: The Bristol Flyer Airport Express (http://flyer.bristolairport.co.uk/) runs every 10 minutes at peak times and takes 30 minutes to reach Bristol city centre. It stops at the train and bus station and costs £10 return. Catch the X39 bus to Bath from the bus station – it takes around 30 minutes to get to Bath bus station and runs every 12 minutes at peak times.
Trains: Catch the airport express bus to Bristol Temple Meads train station and it’s a 15 minute ride to Bath Spa railway station, where you can pick up a taxi or local bus for the onward journey.
Getting to Bath from Heathrow
Either go via London Paddington or Reading to reach Bath by public transport from the airport terminals.
Coach: National Express runs coach services from Heathrow central bus station to Bath (+44 (0)871 781 8181; www.nationalexpress.com). Journeys take two to five hours depending on stops – book ahead for discounts. RailAir coaches run every 20 minutes from Heathrow to Reading station for trains to Bath. The journey takes around 45 minutes and costs £13 single and £21 return (+44 (0) 118 957 9425; www.railair.com).
Trains: The Heathrow Express takes 15 minutes to get to London Paddington and costs £18 single and £32 standard return – buy online or onboard. The slower Heathrow Connect train takes 25 minutes to Paddington, goes every 30 minutes and costs £7.90 for a single (www.heathrowconnect.com). The Underground’s Piccadilly Line will take you from Heathrow to London Paddington for around £4 (every 10 minutes, takes around an hour) and then pick up a train to Bath Spa from London Paddington; an off-peak return costs around £50.
Taxis: Black cabs cost around £250 for a one-way journey into Bath (www.heathrowtaxis.org), mini-cabs from Addison Lee (www.addisonlee.com) cost around £170 and a chauffeur-driven car with Tristar (+44 (0)1895 43218; www.heathrowairport.com) costs around £380 one-way.
How to get around Bath
For information on getting around the city once you're there, check out my How to get around Bath guide.