I adore Bath. If I ever wanted to move out of London, I would probably pick Bath as the second place I’d most want to live in the UK. In fact, I’ve already had friends who have made the move from London to Bath, quitting their Magic Circle law firms to find a gentler pace of life in the charming, architecturally stunning city. I don’t blame them!
Although I’m generally a planner, sometimes there’s nothing more fun than spontaneously exploring a city and seeing where your whim takes you. I’ve visited Bath several times in the past and have seen the majority of its tourist attractions (Bath Abbey, the Fashion Museum, the Roman Baths, The Jane Austen Centre, the American Museum in Britain etc), so this time I decided to enjoy the city with no set plans other than a general idea of some shops and cafes I’d like to visit.
We arrived in Bath just in time to start thinking about lunch. I’d discovered The Foodie Bugle via instagram and thought it looked just the right spot and was conveniently located just around the corner from the Royal Crescent. We climbed our way up the streets of the city, admiring its beautiful buildings as we went and rejoicing in the incredible weather – it felt like summer!
The Foodie Bugle proved a good choice: we enjoyed asparagus frittata and a delicious selection of fresh salads, followed by orange and almond cake for me and chocolate cake for the others. I felt like a kid in a candy shop as I browsed the carefully curated selection of home goods in the shop downstairs and the tempting arrays of jams, chutneys, chocolate, fresh produce and local delicacies upstairs.
The Foodie Bugle is located on Margaret’s Buildings, a particularly charming street, which is home to many interesting shops and cafes. Next time, I’d like to try The Green Bird Cafe for lunch, and it’s well worth popping into Bath Old Books and Gallery Nine. After a thorough explore, we headed on to The Royal Crescent, which I can never resist for its stunning Georgian architecture that makes me feel as though I’m a Jane Austen heroine and the beautiful view of Royal Victoria Park.
A tip worth knowing is that The Royal Crescent Hotel, which is located in the middle of the long row of terraced houses, has a gorgeous garden, which is perfect for afternoon tea or sipping a glass of wine on a lovely day (non-hotel guests are welcome). We decided a glass of white wine was just what we fancied so hot-footed it to a shady table in the tranquil garden.
We felt blissfully on holiday as we sipped the cold, crisp wine and basked in the warmth of the day, chatting about where to go next. As I can never resist a bookshop, I suggested we make our way to Topping & Company Booksellers, which I’d read about and thought sounded excellent.
The bookshop was indeed excellent, overflowing with books and friendly staff, who offered free cups of coffee or tea as we browsed. We could have stayed much longer, but another passion of mine was calling to me – stationery – and I wanted to check out Meticulous Ink, a little shop on nearby Walcot Street.
Walcot Street is home to Bath’s artisan quarter and is a must visit if you fancy an amble amongst quirky independent shops and restaurants. If I hadn’t been so full, I couldn’t have resisted drinks and nibbles at The Fine Cheese Co (I still regret not buying some cheese to take back on the train!) and Sam’s Kitchen (a clear local favourite). Instead, we contented ourselves window shopping, although we did dive into Meticulous Ink (which is minute, but very sweet) and Avenida Home. The latter had a gorgeous selection of trays, coasters and other homeware featuring beautiful designs commissioned from artists. I recognised many of them as being stocked in places like Liberty, and was told by one of the owners that a lot of their business is done wholesale to London shops. If you’re ever in the area, I recommend popping in!
After touring the shops, it was time to head to the station for our return train to London, but spending such a pleasant afternoon made me realise just how easy it is to plan days out from London, and I really should do it more often. I hope to return to Bath again very soon to see the Bloomsbury Rooms exhibition that David Herbert is co-curating (it opens June 11th) and to have some more spontaneous fun!
Have you been to Bath before? Where are your favourite places to go in the city?