Rail itineraries – Southern Heritage & Maritime 5 day itinerary

This 5 day itinerary offers a glimpse into Britain’s heritage, with the city of Bath and its Roman, Georgian and Victorian influences. This is followed by Stonehenge, located near the beautiful city of Salisbury, then on to Portsmouth with its rich naval history. The tour finishes with Brighton – a regency era city with a vibrant history.

Start your journey

For centuries Bath has been the place where people came to in order to relax. The ancient Romans came here for the hot thermal waters, and the Victorians came here to take the healing waters and to shop. As a result, Bath today is a mix of ancient culture and refined boutiques, beautiful historic Georgian architecture and elegant eateries, with the Roman Baths still a centrepiece of the city.

For short trips, individual rail tickets can be booked in advance through the Trainline. For longer journeys, one of the easiest and most relaxing ways to explore Britain is with a BritRail Pass, which allows unlimited journeys and the freedom to explore.

Days 1-2

Bath

The train journey from London Paddington to Bath takes around 1 hour and 25 minutes.

City Sightseeing

City Sightseeing

One of the most famous images of Bath is those golden stone Georgian terraced houses. There’s the magnificent sweep of them at the Royal Crescent, and also a complete circle at the nearby Circus. After exploring the stylish shopping streets and arcades, the highlights of Bath are best discovered from on board the hop on hop off city sightseeing bus.

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Thermae Bath Spa

The natural thermal waters of Thermae Bath Spa offer visitors the modern equivalent of the ancient Roman Baths. There is no better way to experience the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters than by bathing in their rooftop pool overlooking Bath’s city skyline. Thermae is a 5 minute walk from the train station.

Website: Thermae Bath Spa

Supplier Information

Name Thermae Bath Spa
Category Attraction
Profile Thermae Bath Spa, Britain's only natural thermal spa, located in the historic city of Bath, offers traditional and state-of-the-art spa facilities. Guests can bathe in the warm, mineral-rich waters, enjoy the Wellness Suite and a range of spa treatments designed to ease the body & soothe the mind.
Phone 01225 331234
Email reservations@thermaebathspa.com
Website https://www.thermaebathspa.com/
Min - Max capacity: 1-10.
Frequency: n/a
Private tours: Yes. Tours must be requested in advance by calling Peter Rollins on 01225 328463
FIT or Groups: Small groups
Translation: n/a

Roman Baths

One of the best preserved ancient sites in Europe, the Roman Baths are a must-see. Admiring the collonaded pools and immersing oneself in the stories of the Romans at leisure shouldn’t be missed. The Roman Baths are a 5 minute walk from the train station.

Website: Roman Baths

Supplier Information

Name The Roman Baths
Category Attraction
Profile Walk in the footsteps of the Romans as you explore one of the finest spas of the ancient world. See the ruins of the temple where worshippers prayed to the goddess Sulis Minerva and the bathhouse where they took the waters.
Phone 01225 477785
Email romanbaths_bookings@bathnes.gov.uk
Website https://www.romanbaths.co.uk
Min - Max capacity: 20 minimum, 220 maximum (per tour operator)
Frequency: Private tours are available but must be booked in advance
Private tours: Yes. Tours must be booked in advance
FIT or Groups: Both
Translation: Audioguides are available in the following languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Extra information: Group rates apply for groups of 20 or more

No. 1 Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent is a sweeping curve of 30 terraced houses built between 1767 and 1774 and a splendid example of Georgian architecture. No. 1 Royal Crescent is a popular museum and No. 16 is the Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa.

Website: No.1 Royal Crescent

Supplier Information

Name The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa
Category Accommodation
Profile The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is a perfectly formed 45 bedroom hotel situated in the world famous Royal Crescent, one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK.
Phone +44 1225 823333
Email info@royalcrescent.co.uk
Website https://www.royalcrescent.co.uk/
Min - Max capacity: 8 guests to 90 guests or 4 Bedrooms to 45 Bedrooms
Frequency: As required
Private tours: Available on request
FIT or Groups: Available on request

Jane Austen Centre

The Jane Austen Centre celebrates one of Bath’s most famous residents. It offers a glimpse into the Regency period, when Jane Austen lived, the chance to discover how the city of Bath inspired her writing, and the opportunity to dress up in one of the many Regency era costumes available at the centre.

Website: the Jane Austen Centre

Supplier Information

Name The Jane Austen Centre
Category Attraction
Profile Situated in an original Georgian townhouse, The Centre tells the story of Jane’s time in Bath, including the effect that living here had on her and her writing. Permanent exhibition featuring costumed guides, film, waxwork, a lovely Tea Room and impressive giftshop, the Centre is a must see on any trip to Bath.
Phone 01225443000
Email contactus@janeausten.co.uk
Website https://www.janeausten.co.uk

Fashion Museum

This museum is a must see for fashionistas and is in the world’s top 10 museums of fashionable dress. The Fashion Museum displays over 400 years of costumes, offering the perfect opportunity to dress up and be photographed against a Victorian background!

Website: the Fashion Museum

Supplier Information

Name Fashion Museum Bath
Category Attraction
Profile The Fashion Museum Bath is one of the world's great museum collections of historical and contemporary dress. It is housed in the magnificent Assembly Rooms.
Phone 01225 477789
Email fashion_bookings@bathnes.gov.uk
Website https://www.fashionmuseum.co.uk
Min - Max capacity: 20 minimum, 220 maximum (per tour operator)
Frequency: Private tours are available to book
Private tours: Yes. Tours must be booked in advance
FIT or Groups: Both
Translation: Audioguides available in 12 languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish
Extra information: Group rates apply to groups of 20 or more
Day 3

Salisbury

Catching the train to Salisbury early the next morning, gives a full day in the city. The journey takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes, after which we suggest leaving luggage at the hotel and exploring freely.

Salisbury is one of the best known of Britain’s many cathedral cities, and its historic cathedral is one of Britain’s finest. Beyond this, the city has a wealth of historic pubs and beautiful rural scenery.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge can be reached by bus from Salisbury station. Dating back to about 3100BC, the original purpose and method of construction of this ancient stone circle remain a mystery to this day, though theories suggest everything from sun temples to musical instruments. It is particularly worth taking time to watch the brilliant time lapse recreation which shows the life of the monument from its construction.

Website: Stonehenge

Old Sarum

Old Sarum was where the earliest settlement of Salisbury was located, 2 miles away from the modern city on a hilltop. There’s evidence of habitation here dating back to 3000BC, and the Normans built a great cathedral and a motte-and-bailey fort here in the 11th century, signs of which can still be seen today.

Website: Old Sarum

Day 4

Portsmouth

The train journey to Portsmouth takes around 1 hour 15 mins to 1 hour and 30 mins.

Situated on the south coast, this is the UK’s only island city with an incredible naval heritage and it’s also the birthplace of Charles Dickens.

Portsmouth has numerous museums, galleries and a beautiful waterfront with great bars and restaurants, ready to be explored.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Visitors can drop their bags at the hotel and then get exploring! Portsmouth is a historic town famous for its maritime past. The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, in particular, is a fantastic and unique way to explore some truly iconic ships.

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Supplier Information

Name Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Category Attraction
Profile The world class maritime heritage attraction housing Lord Nelson's flagship HMS Victory, Queen Victoria's HMS Warrior, the First World War Battle of Gallipoli survivor HMS Monitor M33, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Action Stations and the highly popular Harbour Tour.
Phone +44 (0)2392839766
Email groups@historicdockyard.co.uk
Website http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/
FIT or Groups: Both
Extra information: Trade contact: Emma Abrook

Spinnaker Tower

Built to resemble a wind-filled sail, the Spinnaker Tower is a 150m viewing platform which offers fantastic views over Portsmouth and out to sea. It’s two and a half times as tall as Nelson’s Column in London, and well worth a visit to get a great look over South East England.

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Supplier Information

Name Emirates Spinnaker Tower
Category Attraction
Profile Experience the south coast’s most spectacular view at Emirates Spinnaker Tower.
Phone +44 (0)23 9285 7520
Email groupbookings@spinnakertower.co.uk
Website https://www.spinnakertower.co.uk/
FIT or Groups: n/a
Extra information: For group bookings, please email: groupbookings@spinnakertower.co.uk or tel : 023 9285 7520 opt3

HMS Warrior 1860

HMS Warrior was the largest and most powerful warship of its era launching in 1860. Powered by steam and sail it was the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet. Warrior is a survivor of the once formidable Victorian Navy and now serves as a museum ship and visitor attraction.

Website: HMS Warrior 1860

Day 5

Brighton

Brighton is one of Britain’s most exciting coastal cities and takes approximately 1hr 20 mins (direct) from Portsmouth. It is full of culture, great shopping, and surrounded by the magnificent South Downs countryside.

After spending the night in Brighton, it’s back on the train to London Victoria, taking around 1 hour. For those who have not have a chance to see everything they wanted to, they may choose to spend another day by the sea before catching the train back in the evening.

Royal Pavilion

King George IV’s magnificent pleasure palace is known, rather understatedly, as Brighton Pavilion. Built with grand Indian-style architecture on the outside, its interior is decorated like a Chinese palace, with golden dragons and brilliant colours. A guided tour is the best way to reveal its fascinating history. The Pavilion is a 10 minute walk from Brighton station.

Website: the Royal Pavilion

Supplier Information

Name Royal Pavilion
Category Attraction
Profile The Royal Pavilion is an exotic palace in the centre of Brighton with a colourful history.
Phone 03000 290900
Email visitor.services@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Website https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion/
Min - Max capacity: Groups of 15 people or more are eligible for our discounted group rates and must be booked in advance. Groups of less than 15 can simply arrive as and when, and purchase their admission tickets on the door. We can welcome a maximum of 75 pre-booked visitors per entry time slot. Groups of more than 75 people are split across consecutive time slots.
Frequency: Entry time slots occur every 20 minutes, starting from opening. These time slots are only of relevance to those who have or are planning to pre-book for a group. Individual walk-up customers can arrive at any time they like and purchase their ticket on the door. In the summer (April-September), our doors are open 9:30-17:00, with the building closing to the public at 17:45. In the winter (October-March), our doors are open 10:00-16:30, with the building closing at 17:15.
Private tours: Guided tours must be pre-booked some time in advance. The range of guided tours that we offer can be explored here: http://brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion/visiting/travel-trade-and-groups/plan-your-group-visit/. We are happy to organise guided tours for groups of less than 15 people but in this instance, a minimum fee applies.
FIT or Groups: FIT & Groups.
Translation: Audio guides in English, Easy English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and Hindi. We offer guided tours in English, Easy English, French and German, and can organise BSL interpreters.
Extra information: Business Hours: October to March 10am–5.15pm (last tickets at 4.30pm), April to September 9.30am–5.45pm (last tickets at 5pm), Closed 24 December (from 2.30pm) and all day on 25 and 26 December

Brighton Sea Life Centre

Home to sharks, stingrays, seahorses, turtles and more, the SEA LIFE Centre is the perfect place to learn all about life underwater, conservation and the animals’ feeding habits. It is just 10 minutes from the train station on foot.

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British Airways i360

At 138 metres,  the futuristic BA i360 is the world’s tallest moving observation tower. From the tower’s glass viewing pod there are fantastic views of Regency Brighton, the beautiful landscapes of the South Downs and, on a clear day, of Beachy Head, the Seven Sisters and the Isle of Wight.

Website: British Airways i360

Supplier Information

Name British Airways i360
Category Attraction
Profile Take to the skies to see Brighton and the beautiful south coast as you have never seen them before. Glide up gently to 450ft in our futuristic glass viewing pod, which was conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye.
Phone 03337 720360
Email traveltrade@britishairwaysi360.com
Website http://britishairwaysi360.com/
Min - Max capacity: No minimum and maximum of 170
Frequency: Tours every 30 minutes.
Private tours: Yes private tours are available.
FIT or Groups: FIT & Groups.
Translation: Yes alternative languages available via the British Airways i360 app.

Britrail Pass

For those exploring Britain by train, a BritRail Pass is the easiest and most cost-effective way to travel. For a single fixed price, pass holders can make unlimited train journeys around the whole country or a region of their choice. BritRail tickets are exclusive to overseas visitors so they will need to buy their ticket before they arrive in the UK.

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