Although Bath can be reached by public transport, for our second and third trips we have chosen to drive. From south-east London, the trip takes about 3 hours, depending on how bad the traffic is. The distance is about 110-115 miles west.
Bath is easy to reach from London, just follow the M4 either through the city centre or pick it up from the M25, at the Heathrow airport junction. After following M4, get off at junction 18 and drive for about 10 miles along A46/A4 to get to the city centre and car parks (or you can stop at one of the park & ride car parks around the city).
If you are travelling from other directions, Northern England and Devon/Cornwall are linked by the M5 motorway, while the M4 continues on to Wales so you can take it if you're travelling from there.
There are a number of Park & Ride facilities on the outskirts of Bath, and I would strongly recommend using them if you choose to drive here. Bath streets were designed for carriages not cars! Some are now pedestrianised, others are one way I think, and parking is difficult to find.
Have a look at the council's website for more information on Park & Ride locations, costs etc: www.bathnes.gov.uk/transportandstreets/Parking/parkandride. You can see a map of locations, check fares and download a useful leaflet.
We drove to Bath from London, which took less than 2 hours.
There is not a lot of on-street parking in Bath, and if you find a spot there is probably an expensive meter to be filled.
The best idea is to go to one of the long stay parking areas, which are sign posted throughout the town.
We parked in one that was only a couple of minutes walk from the action, and it cost only about 6 pounds for up to 6 hours parking - what a bargain!!
Refer to the website below for details of the parking stations and prices.
Jen's sister gave us a ride back to London from Bath, they found an inexpensive car park on the side of town that was walkable to the center, the charge was only L4 for over 6 hours. Traffic back to London on a Sunday early evening was fairly heavy, I can only imagine how horrible it is in the summer when tourism is in full gear.
When traveling into major cities or towns in the uk, use the Park and Ride facilities to avoid getting caught up in traffic congestion and parking nightmare scenarios. This is also a green and environmentally friendly form of travel. A list of park and ride sites around the country can be found at www.parkandride.net the National Park and ride Directory. Here you'll find timetables price information there is also an interactive map and route planner, to help plan your journey.