I challenge you to find an English town that commands as much instant affection as Bath. Situated a picturesque 3 hours west of London, you can sense what’s awaiting as you wind through the vibrant green fields and surrounding towns of sandstone. As you approach closer Bath opens out in front of you, a honey colored collection of buildings from another time, nestled within the lush, leafy valley. As my bus inched toward the town centre the roads shifted from tarmac to cobblestone and shop fronts teased with the goods that lay behind the glass. I was in love.
I’d been wanting to visit Bath since reading a beautiful spread in Cereal Magazine, and after mentioning to everyone I was Bath bound I was sure I was in for a good day, nobody has a single bad word to say about the place.
Bath is easily accessible from London, the cheapest option taking the bus, at about £16 return. The train also runs here, for a touch more of your hard earned dollars but a touch less of your time. When you arrive you will be right in the heart of the old town, and the best way to explore this small city is by foot, not the tourist trap hop on hop off bus. First head to the main town square, browsing the shops, both high street and boutiques along your way which is a refreshing reprieve from the crowded shopping in London. Here, you will find what Bath is known for, in both name and beauty, its Roman Baths. This historic wonder seems distinctly out of place here in the English countryside, with its Roman pillars and Greek symbols it’s easy to forget where you are. Although no longer able to enjoy bathing in the thermal waters here the £5.5 million restorations and development have turned this into an incredibly interesting and informative lesson in history, and more importantly how bathing pools should look (take note modern pools). It’s also amazing to think England can possess such warm thermal springs, in a country so dreary and grey.
Only a jump across the courtyard you find the Bath Abbey, a much smaller, yet equally beautiful sister to Westminster. Here entry is by donation and the again, this place has been fantastically restored with the walls and floor lined with old gravestones.
Outside make your way up to The Circus which would have to be easily one of the most desirable addresses in the UK, with the perfect curve running along the naked sandstone fronts, entrances sitting sternly behind the black iron gates. Then head west along to Royal Crescent, which is the perfect reflection of its name. It stretches out with the imposing homes sitting atop Victoria Park, which provides a 52 acre oasis of green parkland for public leisure.
The other must see is Putney Bridge, spanning across the calm River Avon, connecting central Bath to the surrounding countryside. Completed in 1774, this historic bridge is one of the few to have shops built within, atop you will find beautiful cafes and boutiques such as Found, with on point homewares, stationary and clothing (including a bunch of Kiwi labels!).
All your coffee dreams will come true at Colonna and Small’s, which might even rival the wank of the Melbourne coffee scene, with every cold brew contraption and a list of beans to tempt, the staff know their stuff here, I got a thorough run down on the bean choices for my perfect flat white and the UK’s reigning barista champ calls this place home (or work, probably work).
If you want some real food hit up Acorn, The Green Rocket or Chapel Arts Café, admittedly they are all vego, but even if you’re not of the herbivore variety such as myself I’m sure you’ll still fall in love with these spots to dine since the food is all sorts of good.
Head up to Alexandra Park south of the bus terminal, a steep and sweaty 20 minute hike through the real Bath, where people actually live, to this lush park. The view is to die for as the historic town displays itself below in full glory.
I hope you’re all convinced of this little treasure x