Spontaneity is fun, but hard to fit in when every day seems to be super busy and planned so far in advance. So when the opportunity came up to head to the British city of Bath for a couple of days, I jumped at the chance. A quick search for an available hotel, a sharp intake at the price of booking last minute and I was all set to go.
The first day didn’t start so well, with over an hour of delays showing on the drive to Bath. Not wanting to spend the whole day soaking up the sights of the M4, my friend and I opted for a different route that would take us past the famous Stone Henge. More traffic loomed as the landmark made an appearance, so we took a slight detour through the most charming village Shrewton, before rejoining the main road and finally nearing Bath.
Before long, we had arrived, checked in to the hotel, spruced up and were back out to see the city. Although it had been a last minute booking, I’d managed to find a hotel in the centre of the city. We didn’t have long here, and wanted to make sure the time there wasn’t spent trekking to and from a hotel far out. Within minutes of leaving the hotel, we were wandering through the charming streets of the city centre. Perfect!
Bath is steeped in history and has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, so it’s really interesting to just wander through the streets and check out the architecture. Walking with no real direction or purpose, we found our way to the Circus – a cool roundabout surrounded by stunning houses – and on to the Royal Crescent. Short on time, the museum there was bypassed and instead it was straight to the spacious green in front of the impressive stretch of houses to snap a few photos in the sunshine.
Up next was the main reason we’d come to Bath – a visit to Thermae Bath Spa. Since visiting the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and noticing the difference to my skin, I had been on a mission to find other thermal spas to visit. Some of the results I was keen to try were Thermae Bath Spa and another in Pisa. Reportedly the original thermal spa in the UK, we were off for a hopefully relaxing spa session for the after. I know, so fancy!
Once we’d finished with our time slot in the spa, it was off for a bite to eat for dinner. We’d somehow missed lunch because of the traffic, and had ended up sharing a stroopwafel to tide us over. As such, my friend and I were both now super hungry, and made our way through the empty streets of Bath to The Stable, a restaurant dishing up pizzas and pies. Yum! Unfortunately for me, the headache I’d been carrying around all day had developed into a full blown migraine, so it was then straight to bed as I waved goodbye to the fun evening out I’d hoped for. Never mind!
Up bright and early the next morning, feeling a lot more chipper than I had the day before, we packed our bags, checked out and were off exploring again. After a mooch around the shops, stopping for a cuppa and a quick look in a Yankee Candle outlet – I resisted purely because I didn’t want to have to carry one of their candles around all day! – we made our way to Bath Abbey for our first sightseeing stop of the day. As we neared, we noticed that there was communion on at 11am on Thursdays.
Time check: 11.05am.
Thankfully the cathedral is right next to the Roman baths, so we instead joined the queue for that as it would have been next anyway. They say the tour takes about an hour, but I hadn’t realised you get loads of background information about the Roman lives in a museum downstairs too, and we actually spent much longer there as it was so interesting. Definitely my favourite thing in Bath!
By now our bellies were rumbling again, and we were off to the oldest house in Bath – Sally Lunns. Thinking it was a bakery with a museum, the plan was to grab a ‘bunn’ and sit in the sun before going back to the Abbey. What we actually found was a restaurant/tea room that was full of character, sloping floors, low ceilings and wonky walls. Taking time to sit and enjoy a delicious bunn – a large brioche-style roll – that the place is famous for, we had such food envy for the dishes everyone else had ordered before ours were brought out.
There is a museum attached to the restaurant, though ‘museum’ is used in the loosest of terms, as it’s just a room with some models of the bakery and more bunns on offer to buy. It took all of 5 minutes to see everything and buy another bunn for later.
I am a huge fan of churches. Not because I’m religious, but because I love the architecture. Arriving at Bath Abbey for a second attempt, we popped some money in the donation box for our tickets and made our way into the main church. The first thing I always do in a church is take a seat, and soak up my surroundings. Although there was no advertised service, I saw the priest head up to the front to begin a service. Ah, not quite what I had planned, as I don’t feel comfortable sightseeing when people are trying to partake in a service.
Thankfully for us, he just said a few words welcoming everyone to the church, encouraging people to have a chat with him before ending with the Lord’s Prayer and mingling with the visitors. Bath Abbey is a delightfully light and airy church, with interesting architectural detail on the ceiling and huge stained glass windows – one of my favourite things! After having a good look around we took a walk around the outside before heading to see Pulteney Bridge, Bath’s version of the Rialto Bridge.
By now it was late afternoon, and there was just enough time for a quick visit to the market before heading back to the car to try and get ahead of the rush hour traffic. We didn’t, but at least the journey home was much quicker and smoother than the journey to Bath.
Until next time Bath, you were great!