3 Days In
Guides to Our Favourite Places
3 Days In Bath
Bath – it’s one of those cities that feels as good as it looks. With statuesque buildings akin to the Notting Hills of London, Bath was always designed to be looked at and seen in. However, much unlike London, and one of the reasons why it continues to be so appealing, is its English country village charm.
Of course, a city this old has quite the reputation, but is forging a new path. Simply put, Bath has always appealed to the antiquarians, and this neoclassical city is now attracting a neo audience. The fearless rise of the independent shop and restaurant, combined with its historical landmarks, has given Bath a new lease of life and legion of visitors. No longer “stuffy” or “pompous”, new artsy literary types go against the grain of the usual tourist, overlooking the Jane Austen Centre and The Pump Rooms for Persephone Books and Berdoulat (two places we elaborate on more below).
Regardless, this city is nothing short of sophisticated. A palatial city break for families and well-heeled groups of girlfriends, Bath has plenty of ways to spend 3 Days In.
But first, an honourable mention is Milsom Street. At the heart of the city, Milsom Street has all of Bath’s heritage right on your doorstep, including the entrances to The Roman Baths, Bath’s Abbey and the Pump Rooms, three tourist hotspots. So, no matter where you adventure, if you find yourself on Milsom Street – you will struggle to get lost.
Your first day anywhere in a new city is always about finding the favourite spots that you want to return to time and time again. And nothing rings truer here than at Berdoulat. If there is one thing that Bath loves – it’s combining great food, great interiors and a one of a kind browsing experience all under one roof. Berdoulat is a shop most simply described as selling beautiful things. The proud occupier of a magnificently renovated Georgian building, Berdoulat has a curated collection of artisanal furniture, kitchenware and knick-knacks. Perhaps more simply explained as a really really nice gift and homeware shop, Berdoulat connects the historic and the new, the maker and the buyer all under one roof. Whilst you browse, you can also treat yourself to coffee and wine in their onsite cafe too.
THE HOLBOURNE MUSEUM
No city break is complete without a smidge of culture. And, an afternoon at The Holbourne Museum is an afternoon well spent. Whilst you can easily spend a good few hours admiring the variety of 18th & 19th century art on display, which is their specialism, The Holbourne is more than just another local museum. Throughout the year, check out The Holbourne for its variety of drawing workshops, talks with curators and late night openings complete with DJ and drinks in its landscaped gardens.
DINNER AT SOTTO SOTTO
3 Days in Bath means 3 days of eating, drinking and thensome. From hearty pub grub and refined small plates, no matter the time of day you won’t find it hard to find somewhere to eat. The best part about Bath is that everything in the city centre is walkable (re-enter Milsom Street as your navigation point of view), making that extra glass of wine all the more sweeter.
Hidden within Roman cellars is Sotto Sotto, a Bath Good Food award winner for their honest and simplistic approach to Italian cuisine. It’s the type of place that doesn’t have the fanciest website, but don’t let that fool you as the food, flavours and atmosphere reign supreme. Our favourites include the vodka penne and linguine con gamberi – it’s pasta at its very best.
THE EGG & USTINOV STUDIO
Another one for the culture cravers with little ones in tow is the Egg Theatre. Tucked just behind the Theatre Royal, the Egg hosts limited show runs of children theatre productions in an intimate and homely space. And, if you are travelling with friends, the Ustinov Studio – also owned by the Theatre Royal, has top tier in-house productions from small touring theatre companies, bringing the latest plays, talents and artisan adaptations to the scene.
BOOKS & BUNS
For a peaceful morning coffee ritual, Bath has quite the selection of how you could spend an hour or two on your own or with company. This city is a treasure for literature. So, take yourself back towards the Egg Theatre and you will find Magalleria – a specialist shop selling independent titles of fashion, lifestyle, and art magazines. Another alternative is Persephone Books. This independent bookshop and publisher seeks the out of print, overlooked and underestimated women writers from the mid 20th century. Loved by modern writers and personalities like Elizabeth Day, it’s hard not to want to leave Bath or enter a coffee shop without your own copy.
But which coffee shop should you choose from?
Just like any city, coffee shops here aren’t in short supply. Luckily for you, we have made it easy. Head over to Sally Lunn, the originator of the Bath bun. Touristy? Possibly. Tasty? Undeniably. Here, you can have your Sally Lunn Bun french toasted, with sausages and eggs or lathered in cinnamon butter.
One of our favourite parts of city breaks are finding the special places to connect over food and drink – the places that the locals love to keep to themselves. Enter, Noya’s Kitchen, a Vietnamese restaurant that has captured the hearts and bellies of locals. Whilst this restaurant is a great spot for either lunch or dinner, they also host Vietnamese cooking classes too.
And if cooking classes are something which you want to get your hands and teeth stuck into, a special mention must go towards The Bertinet Kitchen. With their artisan breads stocked in supermarket giants like Waitrose, Bertinet Bakery’s quaint flagship bakery and cookery school is in the centre of Bath. From bread making masterclasses with Richard Bertinet himself to kids noodle and dumpling classes, there is something for the home cooks and miniature chefs.
BECKFORD BOTTLE SHOP
Our food adventures in Bath doesn’t stop here. There is nothing quite like a good wine bar, especially one that knows its way around a small plate, and luckily for you Bath has many. Beckford Bottle Shop, however, is just the spot for an afternoon glass of wine after a day of getting your steps in. And only in Bath could you find a place that would serve fermented barley and walnut ketchup green beans.
Whilst Bath is known for its prestige and pomp, there are plenty of laid back dinner options for if you crave something a little more laissez-faire. Casa de Tapas brings the Spanish flavour with crowd pleasing dishes and prices that can’t be argued with, another option is The Oven – a proudly neapolitan pizza restaurant.
DAY THREE – BRADFORD ON AVON
On the cusp of the rolling hills of Somerset countryside are Bath’s neighbouring sweet villages only a quick bus or car ride away. Here, you have the pick of the bunch, but if there is one that we think you should visit it is Bradford On Avon. Just on the edge of the Cotswolds and Wiltshire, Bradford On Avon is a beautiful town that is trapped in time. Canal boats, mediaeval barns and higgledy-piggledy weavers cottages are dotted amongst Michelin guide food spots and Hansel and Gretel style tea rooms. Every Thursday and Friday are weekly markets, and if a bit of browsing is your thing, find yourself amongst traditional cheese shops, ceramic goods, independent art galleries and wine shops.
The prestigious home and italianate gardens of Iford Manor are a jewel box waiting to be discovered, and if you are here on the right day and week, you can attend a Friday Night Supper Club crafted by their Head Chef Matthew Briddon. And in the summer, you can visit their Jazz festival for an equally sanguine afternoon.
LONGLEAT SAFARI PARK
Just a 30 minute drive away from Bradford On Avon is Longleat Safari Park. The perfect excuse for a day out with little ones in tow, Longleat Safari will bring you up close, but not luckily not personal, with lions and wolves, and you can feed zebras and giraffes. The crown jewel is the utterly breathtaking Longleat House, a 16th century manor poised within the park’s centre, with formal secret gardens that are primed for frolicking.
After your day of seeing just how wonderful the surrounding areas of Bath are, head back to the city for the last supper. Saving the best until last, here is Beckford Bottle Shop’s newest opening Beckford Canteen just around the corner. Established within a former Georgian greenhouse, Beckford Canteen is a laid back approach to British classics. Think fuss free nibbles of sardines on toast, followed by confit pork belly and caramelised apple sorbet to finish.