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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
“Come on Bath!!”