This year for Rich’s Birthday we headed down the M4 for a couple of days in Bath. Calum had been previously but this was Rich’s first visit. It is safe to say we loved the city, and seeing as it is only a couple of hours away I am sure we will be heading back soon. There is lots to do in the city, here are some of our highlights:
Things to do
Audio Walking Tour
The City of bath is a UNESCO world Heritage site. To get a sense of the city we downloaded the free audio guide and went on a walk around the sites. We really recommend this, it very interesting and helped us understand more about the history of what we were looking at. The tour takes about an hour, and you can stop off at many of the sites on the way round, or use it as a tool to get a sense of the city and then head back to your favourites later. They also have a Jane Austin themed audio guide if that is your thing? Download here.
A trip to Bath wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the baths! We headed here later in the day, after the crowds have dispersed, and it was very enjoyable. The main attraction is the great baths in the centre of the complex but the accompanying museum and audio guide really help you get a sense of the place Find out more.
Built as an abbey church rather than a cathedral, but no less impressive. Most of what you see was constructed in the 16th Century in the perpendicular style, making it one of the last flourishes of the medieval gothic style. The Abbey bridges the gap between the Roman and the Georgian history of the city. Find out more.
The Circus & The Royal Crescent
The jewels in the crown of the Georgian city, and for good reason! These two complexes were built for wealthy visitors to the city that came to take the waters at the baths. Well worth wandering up to. For a peek inside go to No1 Royal Crescent where they have decorated in a style from the late 18th century. Find out more.
A short walk to the south of the City is Prior Park Landscape Gardens. You may wish to take the bus out there as it is uphill and there is no parking at the site. The gardens were developed for wealthy local businessman Ralph Allen in the 18th Century in the fashionable landscape style of the time. The gardens are situated in a sweeping valley, with views of the city beyond. One of the highlights is the Palladian Bridge, which is one of only four remaining in the world. Find out more.
Food & Drink…
As we just had a couple of days in Bath we didn’t really get to explore as much of the bars and restaurants as we would have wanted. There is a huge range to choose from, here are our thoughts.
Burger & Barrels
A short walk from the centre, over the river is Burger & Barrels. A tiny place that serves the best burgers in the city (officially they won the Bath Food Award!) and has a good range of beers. Suited us down to the ground!
Boston Tea Party
So it turns out that the Boston Tea Party is an independent chain of cafes originally from Bristol and now with branches all over the west country. We went to their newly refurbished Alfred Street location for breakfast. Good atmosphere, good food, good start to the day!
The Griffin Inn
A small pub on Monmouth Street, The Griffin Inn has an excellent selection of craft beers, and very enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. Well worth stopping off for a pint.
Bath Brew House
A large craft beer pub with an excellent selection of beer including some they brew themselves. The Bath Brew House also has a brewery tour if that takes your fancy. It also has a large garden if the weather is nice.
Another chain that I had never heard of before (mainly because they don’t have any locations in the South East), Pierre Bistro is a light and airy French style bistro on George Street. Open from Breakfast to dinner, we headed here for lunch. The food was fantastic, as was the service; it was very good value for what you get!
We didn’t really have enough time for shopping, but on wandering around the city it is clear that Bath has lots to offer. The High Street chains are clustered around Southgate, there are a good selection of high end interior shops on Milsom Street, and dozens of independent shops scattered around the place catering for every taste. Might have to head back here for our Christmas shopping!
Have you been to Bath? What were your thoughts, do you have any tips? We’d love to hear them.