Britain’s Coolest Spa Town is just 30 minutes away. Home to a phenomenal premiership Rugby Club, ultimate Bath houses, superb Georgian architecture, many quirky independent boutiques, well-known high street shops and a great range of different eateries and bars.
What isn’t there to enjoy here with its fabulous Georgian architecture, go and have a look around No1 Royal Crescent to see a restored Georgian home showing off the splendour of the Regency age.
Enjoy the mix of independent, high street shops and markets such as Green Park Farmers market where you can pick up an array of delicious local produce or the try the bi-monthly BathVA Vintage Market for something unique?
There are a vast array of restaurants, cafes and pubs notably Clayton’s Kitchen at The Porter, a bistro serving refined pub classics. The Dower House restaurant at the exquisite Royal Crescent Hotel for elegant fine dining or sumptuous afternoon tea or maybe try Aqua, Wild Cafe and Sotto Sotto for a variety of delicious eats. Acclaimed chef Chris Staines rolled in to town to open Allium Brasserie at the Abbey Hotel. The cooking is outstanding and shows subtle Eastern influences. For lunch head for Walcot Street and the café and deli Sam’s Kitchen,where the menu features a different roast each day, along with a variety of super-fresh salads. (The caramelised lemon, parmesan and little gem was our particular favourite.)
For the more active there’s the Bath Skyline walk, download the map and it will have you walking through history from an Iron Age hill fort to 18th-century follies and strolling through hidden valleys, woodlands and patchworks of small meadows, all rich in wildlife. It’s about 6 miles long and dog friendly, check this list of things to see while on the walk.
The Theatre Royal, Bath comprises three auditoria, the Main House, Ustinov Studio and the egg theatre for children and young people, a wonderfully varied programme of top quality entertainment is on offer all year round.
Check out the Bath Festival site for a variety of events held throughout the year, especially the Bath Music Festival (May/June), Bath Folk Festival (Aug), Children’s Literature Festival (Oct), Comedy Festival (Springtime), Bath Fringe (May/June) and The Bath Christmas Markets (Nov/Dec).
I cannot recommend the Thermae Bath Spa in the centre of town enough. It’s an ultra modern complex of healing pools and treatment rooms for you to get totally indulged in. You can buy a package which includes a treatment of your choice, the full use of the facilities and a delicious lunch too. It is so well done as they offer you robes and slippers to walk around in (everyone else is dressed the same so you don’t feel silly) and the lockers and shower facilities are meticulously clean. On a rainy or sunny day this is a perfect choice and you can go as a group or as a couple but remember to book ahead.
An absolute must as you cannot visit Bath without touring the incredible Roman Baths. Audio tours are offered for children and adults in a host of languages and guide you through these well preserved Roman ruins. There are also hourly tours where guides talk you through the fascinating history while actors dressed in costume of the time make it feel even more realistic. The evening tour might be quite good to avoid the summer crowds. You can eat at the Pump House for seasonal menus and the Little Madhatters Afternoon Tea Party for the younger ones. Check out their website as there are always events going on throughout the year.
Komedia is an atmospheric club venue staging live comedy and music gigs, with a cinema, cafe-diner and gallery. Saturday nights play host to the sell-out Krater Comedy Club featuring comedy from three top stand-up comics every week. This is followed every Saturday by Motorcity, a refreshing mix of Motown, Soul, and Funk to get you moving.
A famous Bath resident was Jane Austen, though she only lived there for five years she used Bath as her back drop to two of her novels Persuasion and Northhanger Abbey. The Jane Austen Centre gives you costumed character guides to show you around this informative exhibition and while you’re there indulge in a proper English afternoon tea in the Regency Tea room where you will be served delicate offerings by staff in full regency costumes. The Jane Austen festival is held every year (September) celebrating this incredible woman through workshops, theatre, music and walks. The gift shop is also worth having a look around.
Bath has a new self-service bike-rental scheme, with multiple pick-up/drop-off points: nextbike.co.uk – The best ride is the 13-mile Two Tunnels Circuit (sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/bath-two-tunnels), which leaves the city via former railway tunnels re-opened last year, and returns along the pretty Kennet and Avon Canal.