Zoe Bishop

Unexpected Bath

Zoe Bishop
Unexpected Bath

There’s more to this beautiful city than just history and architecture

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It would be a crime to visit the historic city of Bath without seeing its most famous tourist attractions – the stunningly well-preserved Roman Baths, the beautiful Abbey and the famously curved Royal Crescent residential street. But there are so many other things to do...

 

Why go?

Bath is a great place to enjoy a tipple. The Fidel Rum Bar is a cool, unique little joint, while the Canary Gin Bar, with its cocktails of “gin” Austen – author Jane Austen lived in Bath, and there’s an annual festival to celebrate the city’s most famous daughter, with streets full of people in early 1800s costumes – is lively, welcoming and great for a girls’ night out. 

Le Vignoble

Le Vignoble

Don’t miss Le Vignoble (Levignoble.co.uk) for a thoroughly modern wine-tasting experience. Sit in the lounge area, order a few dishes – we had the Chilean chorizo and French cheese selection, which were delicious – and taste wines from around the world. It’s fun too, as you buy a card that you can use in self-service dispensers to try the wines you fancy. Staff are on hand to advise or you can go your own way. They also offer wine-tasting classes and private tastings, and you can buy your favourite wines by the bottle. A great, non-intimidating way to get involved.

 

Food, glorious, food 

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Enjoy a Savouring Bath tour, where your knowledgeable guide takes you to several independent food and drink places, and talks you through the city’s history and architecture. Our first stop was the Thoughtful Bakery, an artisan shop with mouth-watering bakes (try the croissants, they are heaven) and a school downstairs where you can learn to make sourdough, savoury soda muffins or filled brioche buns. 

The Bath Farmers’ Market is full of wonderful produce, including Greek pink pistachios, chocolate frogs, spelt and wholemeal breads, cheese, and honeycomb, all lovingly and locally grown or sourced. Everyone is happy to talk to you about their wares and give you a sample, so don’t be shy!

Our last stop was the Comins Tea British Fine Tea Merchants (Cominstea.com), which offer dozens of “fine single-estate teas” and show you the proper, relaxing ritual of making tea. Food-wise, you can choose freshly prepared gyoza to accompany your Japanese green tea or homemade blueberry scones with local clotted cream for a resolutely British bite. The owners have travelled to Japan, India and Sri Lanka to explore and source different teas. They also offer a tea school and steep sessions, and it’s fascinating.

 

Varied nightlife 

In the evening, check out Komedia (Komedia.co.uk) – a buzzing entertainment club with live acts and an arts café with great seasonal food. On a Saturday, the Krater Comedy Club features top comics (Jenny Éclair and Russell Howard are among those who’ve performed there) and comperes. After the laughs, there’s a mix of Motown, soul and funk to get you up on your feet. 

For the funniest tour of Bath, we recommend joining the Bizarre Bath Comedy stroll – we promise it won’t disappoint. The comedy-on-the-move tour runs every night at 8pm and lasts around 90 minutes, from April through to early November. 

 

Adventure and relaxation 

You can cycle, go boating, walk or play golf. Personally, we’d prefer to kick back and go to the Thermae Bath Spa instead, an award-winning natural spa where you can bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters. By day and at night, you can relax in the indoor Minerva Bath and open-air rooftop pool, with spectacular views over the city. There are also lots of wonderful treatments and spa packages.  

 

Where to stay 

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Luxury B&B Grove Lodge is second to none in terms of service, décor and stunning views over the Bath countryside. The married hosts have thought of everything and can’t do enough for you – it’s a real labour of love. The breakfast in bed was excellent, with homemade marmalade, jams, granola, yoghurt and their famous potato cakes. All three of the beautiful en-suite bedrooms have a different theme connected to Bath – we stayed in the spacious Georgian suite with luxurious free-standing bath and a separate sitting area. It’s a 15-minute stroll down a picturesque canal towpath into the city centre. Honestly, do not stay anywhere else!

 

Need to know

·       One night at the very stylish Grove Lodge costs from £110. To book, visit Grovelodgebath.co.uk

·       Savouring Bath tours costs from £40 per person. To book, visit Savouringbath.com

·       To book the Bizarre Bath evening tour, visit Bizarrebath.co.uk

·      For more information on Bath, see Visitbath.co.uk