Frome (pronounced ‘Froom’), is a picturesque market town an hour’s bus ride from Bath in Somerset. Becoming popular over the last couple of decades as a cheaper, quieter alternative to living in Bath, Frome attracted a largely unpretentious set of bohemian and arty residents. Now it is a fashionable and interesting destination with a dual nature: a strong alternative vibe (increasingly moneyed and expensive) existing side-by-side with the good and bad of a traditional rural Somerset centre. With photogenic lanes, handsome historic houses, welcoming cafés, good markets and enticing independent shops, Frome makes an excellent destination for a day trip from Bath, or for a longer stay.
Frome tourist information
If you are visiting for the day from Bath and using public transport, it’s worth noting that Frome can make a more time-consuming outing than some of my other suggested destinations. The bus from Bath to Frome may take an hour or more, depending on traffic – though in compensation, the route is a very scenic one. Trains can be quicker, but since the local railway station is outside the centre of town, the overall journey time won’t necessarily be much faster. You can read more about travel between Bath and Frome further down this page.
When you’re planning a visit to Frome, I’d recommend checking if any markets are on during your trip. From local cheeses to artisan crafts, you can find some real treats, as well as the fun of browsing, the chance to speak to producers and creators, and a buzzing atmosphere. The monthly Frome Independent is varied and interesting, busy with independent makers: food, drink, crafts and collectibles. There’s a farmers’ market, also monthly, a weekly antique and flea market, and the twice-weekly general market. Note that markets can affect parking, roads and public transport. It’s still worth visiting on market days (probably more so), just be prepared for delays. The official website of Frome Town Council is the best resource for up-to-date info on markets: Discover Frome – Markets.
Things to see and do in Frome
The most appealing activity in Frome is simply pottering. Browse the market stalls and intriguing little shops. Take your pick of cafés. Explore along narrow lanes and around secretive corners to discover charming terraced weavers’ cottages and large elegant historic homes.
The heart of Frome is the Market Place, where you’ll find a few modern chain shops and cafés. You don’t have to go far, though, to discover independent and locally-run businesses. Projects Kitchen, a vegetarian and vegan café with a few pavement tables for fine days, is a good stop for hot drinks, breakfast and light meals.
Branching off Market Place is Cheap Street, one of Frome’s most picturesque lanes and one with an unusual water feature: a stream running along the lane through an open gully. Lined with a mixture of shops including an independent bookshop, it’s also a good shopping destination.
From the bridge across the River Frome, a lane named Willow Vale leads past rows of picturesque riverside dwellings and on to Rodden Meadow, a green stretch of countryside in the middle of the town. For views and an extra appreciation of the green spaces, climb one of the flights of steps to the Millennium Green.
Once you’ve seen the sights around the river and Market Place, it’s time to head uphill into the town’s network of historic streets and dwellings. One of Frome’s great pleasures is climbing Catherine Hill to shop at the quirky independent boutiques lining this pretty sloping street. Whether you’re window shopping, browsing or ready to spend, the variety of businesses here is very appealing.
Frome is a good place to buy gifts, and I’d recommend it highly as a Christmas shopping destination. I like The Haunts Curiosity Shoppe, an unusual fragrances-and-more little emporium where you can find scents, candles, teas and other curiosities inspired by spooky concepts, from the sweet Cemetery Air to woodfire and parchment-inspired blends. More conventional shopping opportunities include clothing boutiques, antiques shops, and homeware stores, often with the quirky or alternative twist that is characteristic of this off-beat town.
At the top of the hill is one of Frome’s delightful oddities; a gas lamp reborn as the Valentine Lamp. With colourful love-themed decorations, a convenient ‘love-seat’and a historic postbox for your romantic Valentines cards and love letters, it’s a good destination for a special moment or photo-opportunity if you’re in the area on a romantic break. Every Valentine’s day (14th February) a special lamp-lighting ceremony is held here. More on the history of this attraction and tradition: Frome Times Article (2023). Website: Frome Valentine Lamp.
If you’re interested in historic buildings and architecture, I’d allow half an hour or more for wandering around the lanes and streets, where the range of buildings is both varied and impressive. Formula One fans may also want to take a walk over Jenson Button Bridge, a footbridge over the River Frome named after the racing driver, who was born in the town.
Frome has a vibrant community and there is quite a lot on in the town. From gigs at the Cheese & Grain to guided town walks, visitors planning a longer stay or timing their trip strategically will find a choice of activities and entertainment. Black Swan Arts on Bridge Street hosts art exhibitions as well as a housing a café, and over the road the Frome Heritage Museum (seasonal opening) is the place to learn more about the town’s history and past lives.
Best places to stay in Frome
- Find accommodation in and around Frome (please note my accommodation links are affiliate links, and bookings made will earn a small commission to support this site. Thank you.)
There aren’t a lot of places to stay in the centre of Frome, so I’d recommend booking as far ahead as you can, especially if you want to stay more than one night. The popular Rook Lane House B&B is one of the best options in a central location, with bright guest bedrooms in a 17th-century building, and a welcoming host.
On the Market Place itself, and as central as you could get in Frome, is thehistoric George Hotel & Granary, a pub with guest rooms which makes a practical base – but note that the location may come with noise. With a similar set-up and very nearby, the Old Bath Arms is another good choice for a town-centre stay. Holiday rental cottages and apartments in the heart of Frome include the stylish Merchants Town House and convenient The House on the Hill, both on Catherine Hill for maximum quaintness.
Outside Frome, good options include The Foresters in the pretty village of Beckington (on the bus route from Bath), and the delightful Lullington House, B&B accommodation with a lived-in, period feel (and four-poster beds) in an old rectory in the village of Lullington, around 3 miles from Frome.
If you choose to stay in or around Frome to enjoy the town’s atmosphere, good excursions and days out from the town include Bath, Bradford-on-Avon, the moated ruined castle of Nunney and the White Horse at Westbury, the villages around Frome or (for public transport users) on the bus route to Bath. There is good walking in the area (I’ve done a very attractive linear walk from Beckington to Bath) and the chance of river swimming in the countryside in summer.
Frome by bus, train or car
There are two ways to reach Frome from Bath by public transport: bus or train.
Bus D2/D2X runs from Bath bus station on Dorchester Street and stops in the Market Place in Frome. It’s a convenient journey but can seem a long one. Check the timetables when you’re planning ahead: the D2X is a direct service and quicker, but skips some of the villages served by the D2.
At the time of writing, the D2X runs several times a day on the weekday (Monday-Friday) and Saturday timetables. It takes around 45-50 minutes and stops in Beckington and Frome. The D2 takes a different and route and stops in more villages, including Hinton Charterhouse, Norton St Philip and Rode. It takes a little longer; around an hour, but it is scenic, and works well if you want to fit a village into your day’s itinerary. On arriving in the outskirts of Frome, both buses take a detour around residential areas before reaching the Market Place. Note that the route of the D2 is changed on market Sundays. Bus travel is a cheap option at the time of writing thanks to the £2 bus fare cap in the UK; this is subject to change, though. Check the latest timetables: First Bus timetables.
Trains from Bath Spa station to Frome take varying lengths of time starting from around 35 minutes. Direct services currently run several times a day, on a route via Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge; other options require a change at Westbury. Travellers should note that Frome railway station is a walk of around 15-20 minutes from the town centre. Train timetables and tickets: GWR.
There are a number of car parks in Frome for travellers visiting with by car. The largest is the Cattle Market car park in the heart of town on Bridge Street, by the Cheese & Grain, where there are also convenient public toilets.