19th August, 2015
We recently headed to Bath on a recce mission, scouting out routes, hotels, and of course hidden gems, for some new cycling and walking holidays which we plan to launch next year.
What a lovely city it is. Even if you're not into cycling or walking, we highly recommend Bath as a weekend getaway destination. It's such a charming place to stroll around, with lots of independent shops and cafes, bucketloads of history, impressive architecture, fantastic food, and yet an all-pervading sense of calm and serenity.
Here we share our favourite hidden gems and top tips for a good time in the city:
Eat at The Circus. They serve seasonal, locally sourced, freshly-cooked food with a British bias, all at a very reasonable price. They get extra points from us for having interesting vegetarian dishes (no mushroom risotto in sight) and for filtering their own water rather than selling the bottled stuff. Eco-friendly and tasty! Featured in The Times as one of 20 secret restaurants that foodies love - it's a must.
Visit the Royal Crescent. An obvious one but it never fails to stop us in our tracks. It's a truly beautiful sight: 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent shape. Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom and is a Grade I listed building. Although some changes have been made to the various interiors over the years, the Georgian stone façade remains much as it was when it was first built.
Shop at Found. A wonderfully independent and original 'concept store', Found sells a mixture of womenswear, menswear, accessories, stationery, homeware and jewellery. We loved browsing their wonderfully curated collection of goods, and the staff are really friendly too.
Take a day trip to Cheddar Gorge. Sadly parts of the place are over-commercialised (tip: do not be cajoled into paying £11 to go into the caves which includes a "free" (non-negotiable) COSTA coffee and cake) but it is still possible to visit and avoid having a overly touristy experience. We recommend the National Trust route, avoiding the Jacob's Ladder ascent. It's Britain's biggest gorge, with the dramatic cliffs rising to 450ft, so there are some spectacular views to be had.
And... relax at Bath Spa. If you're into spas, then of course your visit wouldn't be complete without a trip to Thermae Bath Spa on Hot Bath Street. It’s the only place in the UK where you can bathe in naturally heated, mineral-rich water. And you can visit the historic Roman baths, where people were doing the same 2,000 years ago.
In our opinion, the best way to arrive in Bath is on foot via the Cotswold Way, or on a cycling holiday that begins in Oxford, travels through the Cotswolds, and finishes up in this magical city. It's one of our most popular routes!