Travel options to the University of Bath.

By car, with parking on-site.

International delegates arriving at Heathrow airport and hiring a car will need to take the M4 west for about 100 miles to the Bath exit (A46, Junction 18) from where the directions to Bath are clearly signposted. Those from Gatwick airport will need to take the M23 north to the M25, follow it west until near Heathrow then turn onto the M4 west as above. Those from Bristol airport will take the A38 north, A4 east for about 15 miles total to Bath.

It will be necessary to park in the East Car Park; see the map. The conference will take place in the East Building which is on the south side of the car park, while the university accommodation is on the north side.

Anyone wishing to drive to the conference should contact Andrew Rees (email: who will arrange for a permit to be sent, or to be picked up on registration. The cost will be £5.50 for the week.

From central Bath to the University.

Most arrivals in Bath will either be at the railway station or at the bus station. These are situated next to one another on the edge of the city centre; see the map on page 3 of this document.

There are two bus companies which travel to the campus: the Bright Orange Bus Company (which are bright orange, and have service number 18, occasionally 418) and Wessex Connect (which are dark blue, service number U18). These services leave from a bus stand outside (i.e. on the main road side of) the bus station. Tickets are not transferrable between the two companies. The bus stop on the campus is close to the East Building.

Alternatively, a taxi may be taken from the forecourt in front of the railway station. This is a two mile (3km) journey.

London Heathrow to Bath Spa.

Travel from Heathrow to Bath can be either (1) by National Express Coaches, or (2) by railway and each may be booked online. [The National Express Coaches are more direct and cheaper].

National Express Coaches

The website is here. Typing Heathrow in the "From" box will give you the options for the various airport terminals. When typing Bath in the "To" box, you will need to choose the Bath Spa option.

You may wish to waive the extra £1 travel insurance charge. Upon purchase, tickets will need to be printed.

The cost is usually about £30 each way. Although early booking can result in smaller fares, late bookings can be more expensive. Unfortunately American Express is not welcome!

The journey time is roughly 2 hours.

A few of the Heathrow to Bath options run via Bristol where you will need to change to a new coach; these may involve a lengthy wait at the Bristol Bus Station and should be avoided.

Notes: At Heathrow the coaches leave from the Heathrow Central Bus Station, which is within walking distance of Terminals 1, 2 and 3. There are coach stops at both Terminals 4 and 5 for transport to the Central Bus Station; please see this page for details.

While the tickets are non-transferrable between services at different times (as might be needed should the flight be late) they usually honour the ticket when the flight has arrived late subject to space being available on the coach, and they will also allow travel on an earlier coach for an early arrival. In the past, there has not been any extra charge although this cannot be guaranteed. However, note that the company makes the following statement.


Tickets may be purchased from the National Rail Enquiry website.

The journey will either involve a coach transfer from Heathrow Central Bus Station to Reading railway station, and then rail to Bath Spa, or a rail journey on the Heathrow Express to London Paddington station, where one will need to change for the service to Bath Spa. The total journey time is between 2 and 3 hours. The price depends very much on the time of day of the journey, the day of the week (Fridays are slightly more expensive while weekends are cheaper) and how well in advance the ticket is purchased. Tickets are not transferrable to a later service.

When typing in the "From" box, it is best to use Heathrow.

London Gatwick to Bath Spa.

Again there are the two options: (1) by National Express Coaches and (2) Railway.

National Express Coaches

Essentially the same details as for Heathrow, above. This coach service generally runs via the Central Bus Station at Heathrow. Journey times are between 4 hours 5 minutes and 4 hours 45 minutes. The fare is roughly £38 each way, i.e. £76 for the return journey, if tickets are booked sufficiently well in advance. Other details of the locations of the ticket office and the coach stand may be found here.


Use the above-quoted link to the National Rail Enquiry Website, typing Gatwick in the "From" box.

Journeys will either require a change of train at Reading Station, or else they will have two changes, where the second of the three parts of the journey will involve using the London Underground network.

Bristol Airport to Bath Spa.

This may be a preferred option for travellers from some European countries, and the airport is used by Easyjet, for example, for travel to and from many European destinations.

Transport by taxi is one option, which will take approximately one hour, depending on the time of day. Taxis may be found outside the terminal building and belong to the firm, Checker Taxis. There is no need to book and the current fare is £48 for 1 to 4 passengers.

Otherwise, transport to the University is a three-stage process. (1) Take the Bristol Flyer Coach from directly outside the terminal building to Bristol Temple Meads railway station. The service is very frequent and is £6 for a single journey and £10 for a return ticket. Journey time is about 30 minutes. (2) Take the railway from Bristol Temple Meads to Bath Spa. Single tickets are currently £6.30 and the journey time is between 11 and 22 minutes. (3) Local bus or taxi to the University, as detailed above. For the lone traveller this is the cheaper option.

London Stansted to Bath Spa.


Tickets may be purchased from the National Rail Enquiry website. This journey will typically require two changes of service to include the London Underground. At off-peak times this service is slightly cheaper than the coach service given below.

National Express Coaches

The website is here. Again, roughly the same details as for Heathrow, above. This coach service runs via the Central Bus Station at Heathrow where you will need to change coaches. Journey times are approximately 4 hours 50 minutes but may be slightly more during the morning and evening rush hours. The fare is typically under £30 each way, i.e. £60 for the return journey, if tickets are booked sufficiently well in advance.


The above information is correct to the best of my knowledge on 19th August 2011.

Andrew Rees
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Bath.