Buff Beauty: in Bath

It’s our 9th summer living in Bath and we’re still loving it. The decision to move here came, during a foodie pitstop, on the way back from scouting out another city. Ask me when you see me and I’ll tell you where. This other – somewhat larger – city just didn’t feel right. But sitting at the table of a buzzy little veggie restaurant near Bath’s beautiful Abbey really did.

Although born in Bath, I grew up 40 miles or so away. However, having a Bath Rugby-mad Dad and family living nearby, we spent many a weekend here and from a young age I was completely smitten.

Gem Bolton at the REC, Bath

Bath is a city of beautiful layers. Its obvious Georgian charms do a wonderful job in luring in the tourists and film crews each year. But, like any enduring beauty, it’s an added charisma that sees so many return for more. It’s the spirit of this creative playground, the continental feel, and the loveable quirk of its residents.

I really want to show you and the Free People crew what makes it so special. Come, I’ll take you on a photo tour. Thankfully, Bath is one of those rare places that still looks beautiful on an overcast day…

Bath map signpost

Any good tour starts with a spot of culture, so we’ll begin with this stunner of a building whose annual diary brims with interesting exhibits and workshops.

The Holburne Museum, Bath

As we’ve still got a lot to see, we won’t go inside. But you must take a mo to look back at its ultra modern – and somewhat controversial – glass extension. See what I mean about beautiful layers? I love how the traditional building is reflected in the new, until it’s all one and the same.

I also love how inside this glass house nestles a cafe perfect for a big slab of cake or a lazy lunch. I’ll warn you now my tours are always rich with food. But that’s a good thing, right?

If you opted for just the cake and you’ve found Bath on a sunnier day, I know just the place for a picnic. Around the corner from the museum, and away from some of Bath’s more bustling parks, we have the start of the canal path.

Canal path, Bath

A quiet place to throw down a rug, pop open a bottle and chat the afternoon away. You’ll have lots of friendly canal boat cats and smiling dog walkers passing you by.

OK, so you’re all fuelled up and in the mood for a good shop. Where to go? Start on the high street for the essentials, but do keep your eye out for all the indies dotted around the edge and along the side-streets of the city. There are plenty of places to pick up a gift or two (and something for you). Here are a few of my regular, purse-clamouring, haunts.

Shopping in Bath

I’m also really fond of Green Park Station; a former railway station now home to vintage and artisan markets, mini food festivals and all sorts of music events. Even when nothing’s happening, it’s the norm to see breakdancers and skateboarders practising their skills while kids and parents watch on. The Vintage and Antique market is on at just the right time for our tour.

Bath Vintage & Antique Market

I’m guessing you’re ready for some more refreshment? Or is this just me? We’re lucky to have one of the country’s – and world’s finest – champion baristas, whose specialist coffee shop is our equivalent of a ‘local’. If coffee’s not your thing, we also have an awesome little teahouse (a Moroccan-feel hideaway), where you can slurp to your heart’s content.

Coffee shop & teahouse, Bath

So, the light is starting to fade but we’re just getting started. Fancy a twilight spa session? Another fine example of old-meets-new, as Bath’s heritage has been brought back to life with a thermal spa.

This place will see you lounging in the rooftop pool in the chilliest of conditions, before dashing back to grab your robe. The aromatherapy steam pods are well worth a sniff. You’ve got to come back come Christmas to really lap up the eucalyptus after enjoying the nearby festive market.

Thermae Spa, Bath

Now you’re all chilled out, it’s time to wake up with one of my favourite nightspots. I’ve narrowed your choice down to the most charming little cinema you’ll ever find 0r its comedy club sister (which also offers a beautiful film experience). You pick.

Evening spots, Bath

This tour has gone by so fast and there’s so much more I want to show you. I’m just hoping you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have and will be back for more. Just ask if you’re planning a visit and there’s something you want to track down. I also want to hear what you most love about the city.

By the way Dad, this one’s for you…

Bath Rugby, The REC, Bath

“Come on Bath!!”



  1. andrewgardiner@hotmail.co.uk'
    andy gardiner

    always stop through bath on the return journey to cardiff from my parents house in shaftesbury. a stop off at wild cafe followed by a visit to bo-lee gallery [rip] and beaux arts is a common theme. havent ventured to the roof top pool as of yet but then there’s always next time

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      Some great spots there Andy! I also love the Wild Cafe – it hasn’t disappointed yet. Def try and make it to the spa on your next visit! x

  2. sugarpuffish@yahoo.com'

    I’ve been to Bath a couple of times for long weekends and always enjoyed it, a beautiful part of the country :)

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      I’m so glad you think so Sarah. It’s got that mix of scenery/culture/things to do that I’d always look for in a weekend getaway too. :-) x

  3. ria_gane@yahoo.co.uk'

    I’ve lived in Bath for three years and never once regretted the move! It’s so beautiful and there are so many lovely things to do and see here – you’ve picked out some of my personal faves!

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      So good to hear you’re loving life as a fellow Bathonian, Ria! It feels that there are still so many places/things to discover. So many restaurants left to try, the Rondo Theatre, the Skyline walk… x

  4. jenniferkateday@gmail.com'

    Bath is such a beautiful city! I always imagine if I didn’t live in London, I would live there. Brilliant pictures Gem, nice to see some new surprises and little nocks and crannies to be found in Bath! I’m particularly fond of the vintage markets underneath the old station! x

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      Thanks Jen! I could definitely see you living here. There are still a few places you’ve been in Bath that I haven’t, including the King William. Must get there soon, it has such a great rep! x PS, still remember our lovely shop at the Christmas vintage market that year. Some real treasures! x

  5. e21sharling@hotmail.co.uk'

    I moved from London to Bath nearly 10 years ago now. The main difference for me, not coming from the most scenic part of London was how pretty it all was. My walk to work,
    to the shops, to the park or to the pub i couldn’t quite believe how beautiful my new surroundings where. Still now 10 years on i find myself stopping to look where i’m at and thinking how lucky we are to live here. Pubs are great, as are the restaurants and shops
    ( independents still strong here ) and if you don’t fancy town we are surrounded by some of the best countryside for dog walkers going, as public footpaths reign supreme. Favourite pubs – The Bell and The Salamander for atmosphere and ales.
    The Salamander does great food. Also try the White Hart in Widcombe, one of my favs. XX

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      Hi Liz, thanks so much for your wonderful comment! I feel exactly the same way – the beauty of the place just doesn’t stale for me. It amazes me how you can live here for quite a time and still spot something new, especially if you look up at the rooftops and old signs dotted around. Love the pub tips, still haven’t tried the White Hart but also very fond of The Salamander. x

  6. bellagotsoul@hotmail.com'

    What wonderful pictures gem! Beautiful and colourful! I love the ones of the coffee shops, i think bath has some of the best cafes and so many more i haven’t tried yet. Bath is such a pretty place with loads of new things to see every time i visit. Looking forward to future surprises bath has to offer xx

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      Thanks for your lovely comment Els. Really pleased you like the pics. We had good fun taking them, despite a grey, drizzly day! Especially like what you said about the surprises – it does seem that Bath springs them up all the time. You’ll have to visit again very soon! xx

  7. mettebrice@gmail.com'

    Thanks for your lovely and very picturesque trip around Bath Gemma. It really is a beautiful green city surrounded by soft hills and charming villages. We’ve lived here now for 7 years and love it more and more every day. The icing on the cake however, is the warm friendships we’ve made here! xx

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      Hello Annemette, thank you so much for your comment. It’s lovely to hear that your own love for the city and its surroundings continues to grow. We feel the same – it’s the wonderful people and friendships that really make it home. xx

  8. ayanmohamed@hotmail.co.uk'

    Loved reading this. Its on our list of day trips from London and i agree even on a grey day it looks great.

    • gem@buff-beauty.com'
      Buff Beauty

      Thank you Ayan. Sure you would love it here! Victoria Park would also be well worth a visit with your little one. I have fond memories of playing there as a child. x

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