Oh Bath, you Georgian honey-coloured gem, you! With its sweeping crescents, Jane Austen connections, natural thermal springs, independent shops and artisanal cafes, there’s plenty to see and do in this charming city.
If you want to know where’s best to bathe, eat, drink and amble around in this beautiful city, here’s a laid-back weekend itinerary, curated with foodies, book lovers & Bridgerton fans in mind.
Head to Mr B’s Emporium Bookshop for a reading spa
Within these walls, bookish chat is always on offer, as is cake. When can we move in? The award-winning bookstore offers a unique one-to-one book shopping experience, complete with tailored recommendations from one of Mr B’s well-read doyens.
Take a seat in one of the antique armchairs, chat about your reading preferences and your personal bibliotherapist (need one immediately) will handpick a teetering stack of reads with your name on it.
If you’d rather just while away the hours quietly thumbing through the bookshelves, then by all means, go get your blurbs girl.
Discover the historic Roman baths
No trip to Bath is complete without taking to the waters! Bathe as the Georgians, Celts, Saxons and Romans once did and take a soak in the relaxing hot springs from which the city derives its name.
The ancient springs were first discovered by Prince Bladud around 863BC, who was cured of his skin disease after bathing in the mineral-rich waters. These days, you can’t swim in the original Roman Baths but you can visit the museum, walk through the beautiful passages past the sacred springs and then take a swim just around the corner at Thermae Bath Spa – Britain’s only natural thermal spa.
Try a bunn at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House
Simply put, there’s no bun like a Sally Lunn bunn (yep, double ‘n’ so legend has it). It gets its name from creator Solange Luyon, a Huguenot refugee who came to Bath in 1680 after escaping persecution in France.
Part bread, part bun, part cake, this authentic regional Brioche-style speciality is served in the oldest house in Bath – the former home of Sally Lunn herself – and can be enjoyed with either sweet or savoury accompaniments.
Stay at No 15 Great Pulteney
If you’re looking to get some beauty sleep whilst in Bath, look no further than the whimsical No. 15 Great Pulteney. This dog-friendly boutique hotel is located on one of Bath’s grandest streets and the inherent beauty and authentic Georgian grace is carried right through to the interiors. From the former servant’s quarters transformed into bijou attic rooms and dreamy boudoirs boasting sash windows, tall ceilings and marble-topped washstands, you’ll feel like you’ve walked right into an Austen novel.
Dig in at Dough
As the name suggests, this is pizza heaven. Made on site by specialist artisans from Puglia, you can find everything from the classic multigrain sourdough base to trendsetters in the way of turmeric, hemp, black rice and seaweed. We just so happened to have sampled the turmeric and we can confirm, it’s all about that base.
Walk the Royal Crescent
This humble protagonist has featured in many a period drama, most recently the one and only Bridgerton (faints dramatically)
The Royal Crescent is one of Bath’s most iconic architectural landmarks, arranged around a perfect lawn with views overlooking Royal Victoria Park. No 1 is the most prestigious address on the crescent and is home to an immersive museum, decked out with historic furniture, pictures and objects that reveal how eighteenth-century Bathonians liked to enjoy the season.
Stop by for a scoop of Gelato at Swoon
Oh, you know how those Georgians loved gelato. We don’t know, but we’d wager that they’d want us to be fed and happy whilst dawdling around this creamy cobbled part of the country, dreaming about a townhouse we’ll never own. Stressed = dessert backwards, coincidence? We think not. For an afternoon pick-me-up, snap up this swoonable sweet treat. No doubt the Duke would approve.
Head to The Dark Horse for moody cocktails
Voted top 10 best bars in the world by Tales Of The Cocktail, this sultry and dramatic underground drinking den is the place to go for locally-sourced, well, sauce. Thirst-quenching tipples made with their very own syrups, shrubs and cordials go down a treat alongside some of their Somerset Charcuterie cider-cured pokers. Cheers to that, ol’ sport.
Get lost in the charm of Topping & Company
Let rolling library ladders and handmade wooden bookcases transport you to the land of fiction & fables. Home to over 60,000 titles, Topping & Company is one of Bath’s most cherished independents, so be sure to stop by for a read and a complimentary tea or coffee whilst you browse. It’s the little things!
Shop at Found
Just a short walk from Pulteney Bridge, you’ll stumble upon this gorgeous shopfront. Stocking a great selection of contemporary womenswear, menswear and lifestyle brands such as Meadows, LF Markey, Neom, YMC London and Hansel from Basel, Found is a wonderfully curated concept store, full of undiscovered goods and up and coming labels. Save some room in your suitcase, yeah?
Refresh your mags at Magalleria
Ah, the poetry of print. The smell of the ink, the quiet flicker of the newborn pages in your hand, it’s a sensory shopping experience that the online world simply cannot emulate. If you love nothing more than browsing those hard-to-find titles from art and design to travel, music, film and fashion, you’ll find yourself very much at home here.
Grab a bacon sarnie at Landrace Bakery
A favourite with the locals, this small but perfectly formed bakery focuses on fresh flour, organic British-grown stone-milled grains and naturally leavened sourdough bread.
Outstanding loaves may be their bread and butter (we couldn’t help ourselves) but their legendary bacon rolls and plaited cinnamon buns equally bring in the crowds. PS the cinnamon buns are so good they make Frozen Anna’s hair look pitiful in comparison to their ginger greatness.
Catch up on all the scandal this side of the crescent at The Abbey Deli
You might recognise the double-fronted bay windows of The Abbey Deli (previously called Pickled Greens) as Madame Delacroix’s dress shop ‘Modiste’ in Bridgerton. When it’s not playing Regency dress up, it’s a delightful deli just a few minutes walk away from the Roman Baths. Pop in for a slice of cake and all the latest tea from the ton.
Make a pit stop at Colonna & Small’s
And because all city breaks need to be punctuated with a series of intense little drinks, head to Colonna & Small’s for a real lesson in the art of coffee making. Speciality coffee doesn’t get much better than this, but you don’t need to be a caffeine geek to appreciate the sheer passion, brilliance and skill that’s gone into making this place so much more than just another pretentious coffee shop.