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Bath

5 Very Merry Reasons To Visit Bath This Festive Season

Golden glitter gift box and star decorations
Faded golden globe lights in the background with a simple nativity scene of Mary, Joseph and baby in fore ground.

Photo Credit: Gareth Harper on Unsplash

Bath is completely magical at Christmas – the winding streets and beautiful old buildings are transformed with twinkly fairy lights, there are cosy, welcoming cafes and pubs on every corner, and the fabulous independent boutiques make it the perfect Christmas shopping destination. The Bath Christmas Market is, of course, legendary, but what else is not to be missed during the festive season? We asked local blogger Sal Godfrey to round up her favourite things to do in Bath at Christmas…

1. Apres-Ski Bar, The Abbey Hotel 

A wooden chalet, with tables and chairs in front and lit up with pretty lights

Photo Credit: The Abbey Hotel

Every Christmas, this pop-up bar appears as if by magic outside the Abbey Hotel, and is the perfect place to warm up and chill out after a serious shopping spree. Inside the rustic log cabin you’ll find a snug alpine ski lodge, beautifully decorated and lit by lanterns and candles, with lots of comfy corners to take a load off your feet, and a bar serving mulled wine and winter comfort food. Entry is free but it can get quite busy as the evening goes on, so bear that in mind when you plan your visit.

2. Kingsmead Square Festive Street Food Market 

Ribs being barbecued

Photo Credit: Kingsmead Square Festive Food Market

Freshly made chilli dog

Photo Credit: Kingsmead Square Festive Food Market

This is a brand new event for 2017, but it looks like it’s going to be amazing! A whole host of local food stalls will be in attendance, providing everything from alpine-style mac and cheese to Valencian paella, as well as the square’s fabulous resident foodies (I particularly recommend a visit to Swoon Gelato for their famous Italian hot chocolate), and there’ll also be live music and plenty of covered seating. The market will be running alongside the Bath Christmas Market, so why not pop along to Kingsmead Square for lunch – it’s the perfect excuse to explore a little more of the city.

3. The Gourmet Picture Company, Victoria Park 

Big red sofa style movie seating with tray table

Photo Credit: VisitBath

Another new event for 2017, the Gourmet Picture Company will be creating an incredible pop-up cinema in Victoria Park, from the 14th of December to the 7th of January, where you can enjoy classic movies with a fabulous three-course meal (created by either Tom Kerridge or Rick Stein) for just £45 per person. Big squashy red sofas, amazing comfort food dishes, an interval with ice creams, and some of the very best Christmas films make this the ultimate night out with friends. Booking online is essential.

4. Shoppers’ Carols, Bath Abbey 

Night view of Bath Abbey

Photo Credit: Bath Abbey

For anyone who gets a bit stressed out and fed up after too much Christmas shopping, Bath Abbey have the perfect solution – informal, 20 minute services with traditional Christmas carols, guaranteed to make you feel all warm and festive again (as well as providing a welcome opportunity for a sit down, of course). The services take place regularly during the day on weekends, whilst the Christmas Market is running, and there’s no charge or booking required – just pop in and soak up the glorious atmosphere of the ancient Abbey at Christmas.

5. Christmas Mini Golf, Victoria Park
Bath’s miniature golf course is transformed at Christmas into a winter wonderland, with festive lighting and music – and that’s not all. Head down there in the evening once darkness has fallen and play a glow-in-the-dark round! Kids of all ages will love playing this pretty little mini golf course with light-up balls and a whole new set of glow-in-the-dark golf rules… booking is available for parties of 10 or more, or just turn up on the day.

To be honest, Bath is blessed at Christmas – the events above are but a fraction of the festive fun available. Are you visiting Bath for Christmas this year? Send us a comment and tell us what you’re planning to do while you’re there!

Treat Yourself to the Ultimate Girls’ Weekend in Bath!

For hundreds of years, Bath has been the place to come to treat yourself. The Romans knew just how to do it, with everything from fine food to the ultimate spa experience, and Bath carries on the best of both traditions today – so it’s quite simply the perfect location for a girls’ weekend away. Whether you’re on a hen party, catching up with old friends or just taking a little mother-daughter time, Bath has something for you to enjoy. We asked local blogger Sal Godfrey for her top three recommendations…

For Dining: Chez Dominique

This elegant, understated French restaurant on Argyle St will whisk you away to Paris for a few hours. The menu changes regularly but is always full of irresistible dishes – I’m still daydreaming about their pork steaks with pickled walnuts and Roquefort butter weeks later. You absolutely must save room for the dessert menu too. If you’re in a bigger group, then you can book their private dining room (with beautiful views of the weir) and have your own space, or simply reserve a table in the main restaurant – booking is definitely recommended. They have a fantastic set menu too, with two dishes for just £14 before 7pm, so have an early dinner and leave yourself plenty of time afterwards for my next recommendation…

Chez Dominique Chocolate Treats

Processed with Snapped. Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey

For Drinking: Sub 13

This chic bar makes some of Bath’s best cocktails, including a whole menu based around the dream team that is gin and tonic. You wouldn’t know it from the discreet frontage on George St, but Sub 13’s stylish lounges are spread over several floors and highlights include a snug, candlelit champagne bar in the vaults and a beautiful courtyard garden at the back. You can book your own vault in the late night club downstairs, where drinking and dancing goes on until 3am at the weekends, or even arrange your own mixology class. The best bit? Sub 13 offers a huge range of their award-winning cocktails at 2 for 1 until 10pm, every single day.

Sub 13 Enticing Cocktail Treats

Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey

For Pampering: Radiance Wellbeing Day Spa

Radiance Spa Pamper Treats

Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey

For a much more tranquil, original alternative to the Thermae Spa, treat yourself to a little pampering at Radiance Wellbeing. Their philosophy is all about making guests feel good, so there are no brutal beauty treatments here – instead, perhaps enjoy a champagne manicure with hand and arm massage, a nourishing wrap, a whole range of facials or a fabulous choice of massages. Tucked into an old Georgian townhouse right in the centre of the city, every room at Radiance Wellbeing is different, from the grand drawing room (big enough for couples’ treatments) decorated by Bristol artist Alex Lucas, to the cosy snug where you can lounge on giant beanbags for your Indian head massage.

And there’s more… if shopping is your thing, then Bath is the place to pick up something no one else will have. Visit Grace & Ted for gorgeous designer resale and find something fabulous at a fraction of the original price. Seek out pocket-sized jewellery boutique Bill Skinner’s for exquisite, quirky gems, and find stunning, original shoes and handbags at Chanii B. And after all that retail therapy, you’ll need to refuel, so visit Didi Cakes for Bath’s most beautiful cupcakes or treat yourself to a waffle cone at Swoon Gelato.

Whatever brings you to Bath, we’d be delighted to welcome you to one of our properties, from gorgeous apartments for two on one of the city’s grandest addresses, Great Pulteney Street, to beautiful houses like Monmouth House and The Governor’s, both of which sleep 10 people. With so much to pack in to your visit, it’s wonderful to have your own space to relax as well. For extra special occasions, get in touch to find out how our carefully chosen partners can add those perfect little details, from fresh flower arrangements to a personal chef.

Beyond Scones – The Best Afternoon Teas in Bath

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Ah yes, the afternoon tea. As soon as you mention England to anyone who has been, it’s often memories of scrumptious scones and piping hot tea that come up. But a great afternoon tea is so much more than that. It’s about the setting, and about the ambience. A really memorable afternoon tea also needs more than just scones to stand out. After all, the afternoon tea ceremony has a long and hallowed history to live up to.

Afternoon tea as a tradition had been around since the mid-1800s. It is often credited to the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, who elevated it to a substantial afternoon meal in upper class circles. The contents of the menu at an afternoon tea has changed over time, but the decadence of the tradition remains. Below we list some of our favourite places in Bath to have afternoon tea like an English nobleman or woman.

Hiplets_Afternoon_Tea

 

The Pump Room

The Pump Room is a great place to stop for tea in Bath, as it’s part of the Roman Baths, one of Bath’s most popular attractions. After you learn about the fascinating history of the Romans in Bath, you can sit down for a well deserved break with a nice cuppa. The room itself is stunning; columns along the walls and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, whilst a pianist plays for your enjoyment.

Their afternoon tea menu is nothing short of divine, with plenty of savoury as well as sweet options. How does a poached salmon shot with crisp bread or roast beef & watercress sandwich sound? Or how about a chocolate & coffee opera cake or a raspberry choux pastry? You may want to skip dinner after this!

Don’t forget to “take the waters” by trying a taste of the mineral-rich spa water which you can drink from the fountain. It’s an acquired taste, but it’s meant to be good for you.

 

The Royal Crescent Hotel

Tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel is a truly grand affair, an occasion fit for any lord or lady. But you may have trouble choosing what to have, as there are five different afternoon tea menus to choose from. There’s even a special afternoon tea for the little ones!

The menus are adventurous and delicious, with surprises such as brie, truffle & ham tart, lamb kofta with an Asian glaze, and gin & kaffir lime panna cotta. You’ll also need to choose between the wide selection of carefully selected teas, and maybe add a cheeky glass of champagne to the spread? As if the food wasn’t enough, you can choose to have your afternoon tea in the splendid garden belonging to the hotel. The setting is sure to elevate your experience to another level.

 

Indulgence Café

Indulgence Café, in Bathwick Street, is a very popular spot with locals, and it’s easy to see why. Started by passionate patisserie chef Katherine Small, this place serves up some of the freshest and tastiest baked goods in the city.

Luckily, they have also decided to be part of the afternoon tea scene in Bath. This means you can come here to enjoy your finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and get a taste one of the cakes from their daily selection, all washed down with with a pot of tea or a glass of prosecco.

 

Bailbrook House

For a tea in sumptuous, traditional surroundings, look no further than Bailbrook House. Situated just outside of Bath in the beautiful countryside that is spread all over Somerset, this grad II listed building will make you feel like you have been transported to a different time and place.

There are two different rooms for you to choose from when having your afternoon tea. Both are decorated with grand window drawings and luxurious soft furnishings. The loose leaf tea is brewed to your liking and, apart from the usual spread of sandwiches and cakes, you can also enjoy the traditional Bath Bun with your tea.

 

Comins Tea House

For something completely different, you should try an afternoon tea at Comins Tea House in Monmouth Street. Here, the focus is truly on the tea, as they only source the best tea from far flung corners of the world. There’s a feeling of taking part in an ancient tradition as you sip these unique beverages.

However, this doesn’t mean that the edible accompaniments are to be sniffed at. You will start with something savoury, in their delicious open sandwiches on farmhouse bread. The toppings are always fresh and flavourful. This will be followed by a selection of Comins cakes and blueberry scones with clotted cream and jam. All washed down with top quality tea of course! The exciting thing about afternoon tea here is that the flavours will be unlike anything else you’ve experienced at a traditional afternoon tea.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of options if you want to have afternoon tea in Bath. And we’ve only scratched the surface! To book your next stay in Bath, please go to our listings page for Bath.

Ghostly Stories from Bath

As Halloween draws nearer, you may be looking for ghoulish stories to thrill your nearest and dearest with. Bath, with its rich history, offers a wealth of material for scary stories. Here are just a couple of local legends that have kept people up at night for centuries.

The Grey Lady

Hiplets_Ghost_Bath
The Theatre Royal in Bath is a spectacular theatre at the heart of Bath. It was completed in 1805 and is thus one of the oldest theatres in Britain. An old building like this, which has been filled with so much emotion from its many plays, is the perfect setting for a tragic ghost story.

And so it is said that the Theatre Royal is visited by The Grey Lady, who sits and watches plays from one of the boxes. There are various accounts of her back story; some believe she committed suicide after her husband killed her lover while others believe she killed herself out of an unrequited love for one of the theatre’s actors.

Whatever the true story may be, it’s sure to leave visitors to the Theatre Royal scanning the surrounding boxes extra carefully. After a visit to the theatre, you can go to the nearby Garrick pub which has its fair share of unexplained happenings too.

Admiral Phillip

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Admiral Arthur Phillip was an admiral in the Royal Navy and the first governor of New South Wales in Australia. When he retired he returned to England and lived out the remainder of his days in Bath.

He may have had some unfinished business though, as several people have reported seeing him walking by the Assembly Rooms on Bennett Street. He is always seen wearing a black hat and a long black cloak and is considered Bath’s most sighted ghost.

It would seem that members of the Royal Navy have a pre-disposition for haunting, as both Admiral Howe and Admiral Robinson are said to be haunting homes in Pulteney Street and Henrietta Street.

But don’t let these stories scare you away! Bath is a friendly city and even these ghostly apparitions seem to be harmless.

So have you got an appetite for the paranormal? Or do you simply want to do something a bit different while in Bath? Book a walking ghost tour here: http://www.ghostwalksofbath.co.uk , their special Halloween Tour is particularly popular.