Bath boat trip from Pulteney Bridge to Bathampton
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Did you know you can take a leisurely 30 minute Bath boat trip right from the centre of town, up to a delightful riverside gastropub? Neither did we so we took a ride to find out what it was like.
While spending a weekend break in Bath at the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel we wanted our little group to try something new! On previous trips we’d been to The Royal Crescent, The Circle and The Roman Baths, as well as strolling along the canal so what next? What came next was a leisurely cruise and right from the famous Pulteney Bridge wier.
Where do you get on the boat?
Head down to Pulteney Bridge in the centre of town. On the eastern side of the bridge is a set of steep(ish) stairs taking you down to Riverside Walk. Follow this around the corner and just 20m away you’ll see one of their two boats. They’re moored up adjacent to the weir ready to take you up to Bathampton Mill.
The black sign on the railing says: “RIVERSIDE WALK” Disabled persons can obtain access to the Riverside Walk via Grove Street on the opposite side of the road”
What’s the boat ride like?
Very chilled … exactly what you want from a relaxing boat trip. The boat staff collect your money either while boarding or once you’ve sat yourself down inside/upstairs. There are small bouts of commentary as you slowly make your way upriver but nothing to disturb the utter tranquility. Up towards Bathampton you pass under the busy A4. It seems a world away compared to the calmness of the river flowing underneath it.
Maybe it was due to all the rain we’d had but the riverbanks looked amazingly lush and green. We spotted sizable fish in the clear waters beneath and even the iridescent blue of a passing kingfisher. They really are a lot smaller than you think in real life!
On board there’s a small menu for you to order drinks and snacks from. The group at the front of our boat treated themselves to a nice cup of tea each. We intended to have a late lunch at the turnaround point at Bathampton Mill instead.
On the way out make sure to check out all the gardens backing onto the river. Some of them look quite ornate, others ramshackle, but all in their own way wonderfully idyllic. It must be a beautiful spot to relax on a fine summer’s evening. In at least half a dozen of them we saw people busy gardening with a few giving us a hearty wave.
Bath boat trip frequency and cost?
It will depend on what time of year you are visiting so it’s best to get an up-to-date idea on the Pulteney Cruisers Ltd website timetable page. We took a photo of the noticeboard just in case we had too many cocktails in The Bathampton Mill and forgot to head back in time. As it happened we alighted the penultimate boat quite returning safely at 17:05.
At the time of writing (June 2019) our Bath boat trip was £10 there and back, £5 for children, £8 for OAPs/students, and £5 for everybody if you were only going one-way. They do not do return fares and advised us that if the weather turned, or the river became inaccessible then we might have to take a 10 minute taxi ride back to Bath instead.
Stop off at Bathampton Mill for lunch/cocktails!
Do like we did and break up the journey by having a bite to eat at the riverside gastropub ‘The Bathampton Mill’. We arrived late afternoon on an overcast Monday morning, but I imagine on a weekend it would be a fair bit busier. We chose a cosy little nook in the corner of the restaurant and enjoyed celebratory cocktails for a successful voyage (so far). The food was tasty and the chocolate dessert bomb “won” out of the four puddings we selected.
The Mill has a large outdoor space too which makes for a lovely space next to the weir during the summer.
While your there pop over the Bathampton toll bridge just the other side of the weir. It’s an arch bridge built in 1872 and actually charges a small fee for motorists to cross; 80p for cars but free for pedestrians. Walk over it and back again, feel like you’ve saved £1.60 and then put that towards dessert.
A different view on the boat trip back …
… in case you missed it on the way out. On the return leg you’ll certainly notice the Pulteney Bridge which you might not have fully appreciated on the way out. If you’ve been fortunate enough to visit Florence you’ll think the bridge has a striking resemblance to the ‘Ponte Veccio’. Immediately after the bridge the boat does a tight turn back to shore. This is a great chance to take a close-up photo of the Pulteney Weir.
All in all it was a delightful little boat trip, even though for us it was on a cloudy Monday afternoon. On a sunny weekend it would be even more special I’m sure. However this is one trip we’ll definitely do again on our return to Bath!
So are you now tempted to take this boat trip after reading up on our little cruise? If you’ve done it already did you get any good photos of the wildlife too? 🙂