Welcome to Bath
If you are driving to Bath for the first time we hope you'll find this blog helpful to find a parking space and also avoid any fines for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not a great experience if you receive a notice a few weeks after your memorable visit to the city.
The last few miles
You may have travelled hundreds of miles to reach Bath but it's our experience that the last few miles can be the most stressful. We have tried to give a simple narrative of the best way to find a car park so that blood pressure stays at a normal level and relationships are less fraught.
From London or M4 (Green Route)
Arriving from London it’s likely you will leave the M4 at junction 18 and drive south down the A46. (Fosse Way) You will pass Dyrham Park, a National Trust site (read more here ) on your right and also the Tollgate Café. No tolls required though!
As you see the signs for the Bath turn off don’t miss the fabulous view of the city and Bath Abbey which is off to your right. Your journey into the city with then be along the A4, the London Road. It’s often slow but does keep moving, stay out of the bus lanes and keep to 30mph! The obvious car park to head for is Charlotte Street. You get there by keeping straight and following the road via The Paragon, George Street and the amazing Queen Square. Drive 3 sides of Queen Square and turn left, Charlotte Street car park will be on your right. After parking it’s an easy stroll (10mins) to the Abbey Churchyard and the centre of the city.
Cleveland Bridge is undergoing extensive repairs and this will cause long delays on the London Road leading into Bath on this route. You may wish to consider entering the city via Landsdown. This will mean turning right at the roundabout on the A46 just past Niblet and then following your sat nav through some narrow lanes which eventually will take you past Bath Racecourse and down into the city.
From the South via A36 (Purple Route)
If you are approaching Bath from the south using the A36 following the valley of the River Avon, crossing the Limpley Stoke viaduct you will enter Bath at Sydney Gardens. (Sydney Gardens was a pleasure garden during Georgian times and a favourite of Jane Austen, who lived opposite at No4 Sydney Place. It’s on the right hand side with a plaque. Don’t forget to ask your guide about it.)
Just before you reach Sydney Gardens you should veer left off the A36 and down the hill. Turn left at the junction and pass St Marys, Bathwick, a perpendicular gothic church. Keep going straight and turn right just after the railway bridge. There is parking at the Cricket ground and Sports Centre. If you continue over the River Avon, passing the Toll Booth (in our picture) you will need to turn left into Manvers Street, towards Bath Spa Railway Station. At the station turn right and pass the bus station on your left. You are now heading to park in either Southgate or Avon Street. Bear left and then immediately right.
Follow the road around. Avon Street car park is accessed by veering left and Southgate by veering right. Avon Street is at street level and Southgate is an underground car park.
From Bristol via A36 (Blue Route)
Entering Bath from Bristol is very straightforward. You will be travelling out of Bristol on the A4, Bath Road. You will by pass Keynsham and eventually join the A36 at The Globe roundabout. The A36 becomes duel carriageway at this point and you have a choice to make at the next set of traffic lights. If you turn left and follow the road you will come across Charlotte Street Car Park on your left handside after about 10 minutes driving. If you carry straight on you will travel into the city on the Lower Bristol Road. After numerous sets of traffic lights and a large roundabout you will emerge with the river on your left and railway arches on your right. It's at this point you should turn left, across the River Avon. If you follow the road you will see Avon Street Car Park on your left and if you merge right you'll see the entrance to the Southgate Car Park on your left.
Where to park in Bath
Podium Car Park - the closest car park to our meeting point
Smaller car park but ideal for a trip into town, located by Waitrose and is right in the centre of town.
Location: Postcode: BA1 5AL
Opening times: 24 hours
How to pay: token system. Upon entering the car park, press the button on the machine to your right, this will administer a small yellow token, the barrier will then lift. You need to keep this token safe perhaps in a purse/wallet. Find a car park space on one of the three levels. Find a pay station located on each floor, enter your yellow token and the amount due will appear. You can pay by cash or card. Then your token will come back out, you need to keep this and enter it at the exit point.
Charlotte Street Car Park
Location: Top end of town but a short walk to central shops, 1056 spaces. Postcode: BA1 2NE.
Opening hours: 24 hours a day, ideal for a longer stay or multi-day parking. Charges apply 8am-8pm. Overnight £1.50
How to pay: the app called ‘MiPermit’. Some machines take coins, but the system seems to change regularly.
Enter car park and find a space, ensure you are not parked in any spaces that are reserved for local hotels or businesses. Then find a pay station to check the code required for the app.
Southgate Car Park
Underground car park (3 levels), with 876 spaces (including disabled, rail area, parent and child and motorbike).
Location: Postcode: BA1 1TP
Opening hours: 24 hours a day. Ideal for short stay or long stay
How to pay: It is a ticketless system, as you drive down the ramp the barriers will lift, proceed and find a space. When you have finished in town, find a pay station (located by car park entrances in Southgate) and enter your registration number, pay the required amount. Alternatively, you can pay with the Glide app on your phone. You will then have at least 15 minutes to leave the car park.
Location: Southgate end of town but within walking distance of all the key central sights. There are two elements to this car park, outdoor spaces and multi-storey spaces (total of 628 spaces).
Postcode BA1 1UF
Opening times: 24 hours, length of stay can range from 2 hours to 7 days.
How to pay: pay and display machines (card, coins, or MiPermit app). Here you have to select the duration of your parking and pay accordingly before you start your visit.
Manvers Street Car Park
Smaller car park with 159 spaces
Location. Postcode: BA1 1JZ
Opening hours: 24 hours, length of stay can range from 2 hours to 7 days.
How to pay: Can pay with coins or with the MiPermit app (pay before start of shopping/sight-seeing).
Parking on the roadside
Roads in the centre of Bath are likely to be permit parking only (for residents who live in that area only). However, if you are coming to Bath in the evening you can park after 7pm on many of them for free (check the Bathnes website for details on the different permit zones,
Examples of areas where you can park for free after 7pm:
Laura Place | Great Pulteney Street | Walcot street
Bath Clean Air Zone
Bath is a designated Clean Air Zone (CAZ). You will need to pay a fee to enter the city if your vehicle is not exempt. To check the position you can use this website, simply enter your registration number and take it from there.
You will be fined if you don't pay in advance - so please check
A bus gate is a section of road that is only accessible for buses and taxis,
Do not drive through during the hours stated as you will be fined.
There are plenty in Bath and their locations can be found at: Bus Gates
Pulteney Bridge and Northgate Street are notorious for catching people out!