As is usual whenever we are about to set off on one of these day trips I didn’t sleep at all well, and was wide awake before the alarm had a chance to set off at 04.45am. A quick shower, wake daughter up from slumber, pack bag with food and drinks for our ‘on board the train’ lunch, a quick run through of our ‘must take with us’ and ‘don’t forget’ list before our exit out of the door at 06.00am and into the waiting taxi.
On arrival at our local station we found that we were the first arrivals but we were soon joined by others with merry greetings and hopes of a nice day weather wise. The Green Express arrived slightly early at 6.30am and we all quickly climbed on board and made our way down to our respective carriages to take our seats. We were in carriage D which was roughly half way down the train . Of course as its mostly the same people who tend to go on these railtours, everyone tends to know everyone else even if you don’t meet up on other occasions apart from these excursions, so there were lots of ‘Hello, how have you been?’ and ‘Hey nice to see you again, we wondered if you would be going today!’ greetings taking place at every pick up point.
We had a very pleasant journey down to Bath and kept fairly to time which is no mean feat as a train such as this has to be ‘fitted in’ amongst the normal traffic on the railways which of course must take precedence at all times. This often results during our journey of us having to stop and wait whilst the normal trains run through. We arrived in Bath at precisely the allotted time on our ‘timetable’ which every passenger is given when they board so that you can wile away the long journey checking off at each point along the route whether or not we are running ‘in front or behind’ the allotted time stated.
On arrival, we all piled off at Bath station clutching in our hands our 10% off leaflets for the Bath tour buses, and made our way out and along the road to where the tour buses were all parked waiting. K and I had decided to visit the Jane Austen Centre first, so we rode on the Tour bus until it reached that point and then we got off. By now it was really warm, and we didn’t need to wear our coats at all the whole time we were there. We had a good tour around the Jane Austen Centre (although I have to confess I was a trifle disappointed in this and wished we had stayed on the tour bus and continued on to the Abbey and the Roman Baths.)
We then got back on a tour bus (you can ‘hop on and hop off these tour buses with the same ticket) and had a very interesting and pleasant journey around some of the very attractive Georgian buildings to be seen in Bath and then we disembarked at the stop outside the Abbey and Roman Baths, but by now we were having to do some ‘clock watching’ as we had only been allocated about three and a half hours to spend in Bath. It actually sounds a lot, but when you haven’t visited a place before and therefore don’t know what you have time to incorporate during your visit, it just isn’t long enough. I had hoped to visit the Abbey AND the Roman Baths,but as it turned out we only had time for the visit to the Roman Baths before we had to begin making our way back to the Railway station.
We were allowed to tour the Roman Baths free (because of K’s disability, although we wouldn’t have had much to pay anyway as its a Heritage site.) You have to use these listening devices which look somewhat similar to a TV remote in appearance. They hang around your neck and Are called Audioguides. As you reached each item in the Roman Baths,there was a number allocated to it, you inputted the number into your handset, and then listened to the narrative which then told you all the information about that object or room. They were fairly easy to use and K soon got the hang of hers. I on the other hand kept forgetting how to turn the sound down with the result that mine was blasting out all the information to all and sundry!
I loved this part of our visit, and I took quite a few photographs in here. There was even a lady in costume who came and sat down at the side of the main Bath. She told you a little bit about what life was like in Roman times, and all of her make up was nearby on a table for you to examine. It was all really very interesting. You are advised to allow two hours to really see the Roman Baths properly but of course we hadn’t got that luxury and it was all too soon that we had to make our way back outside. I had also wanted to visit the Abbey but that had to be curtailed. A quick ‘splash out’ on some very expensive chocolates as a treat and then we began to make our way towards the railway station. We were slightly impeded in this because there was quite a lot of roadwork’s taking place and I had to ask a passer by which way to go, and after following her directions we eventually arrived back at Bath station where we had a very welcome cup of tea and a sit down before the train was due to arrive to take us home.
It had been a very enjoyable visit, and one that I would certainly do again, only this time we would just visit the Roman Baths and the Abbey which is situated right next door. The journey home was uneventful and we arrived back at precisely the allotted time of 21.45pm. We then caught a bus home, and after quickly washing and tidying away all our lunch containers, leaflets etc, we headed straight to bed as we were both very tired.
All in all a very enjoyable day made more so by the fantastic weather we had and we didn’t need to wear our coats all day!