Spontaneity is fun, but hard to fit in when every day seems to be super busy and planned so far in advance. So last week when my boyfriend suggested we head to the British city of Bath two days later, I jumped at the chance. A quick search for an available hotel, a sharp intake at the price of booking last minute and we were all set to go. Up early-ish on Wednesday and we were off.
Sadly, before we even left we realised there was traffic on our intended route, with a delay of over an hour. Not wanting to spend our day soaking up the sights of the M4, we opted for a different route that would take us past Stone Henge. More traffic loomed as we neared the landmark, so we took a slight detour through the most charming village Shrewton, before rejoining the main road and finally nearing Bath. As I was driving, and Bath is really pretty, I began to get annoyed with the regular ‘oh wow, look!’ comments from my boyfriend, so finally pulled over to snap a few photos before we arrived in the main city centre. With just a short time in the city, we had a quick refresh once checked into the hotel, then headed off to explore the city. When I’m staying somewhere for such a short time, I like to stay as central as possible so I’m not spending too much time getting to and from the sights. Thankfully, the hotel was located just a few minutes’ walk from the main centre of Bath and so within minutes of leaving our room we were wandering through the charming streets of the city centre.
The whole city is steeped in history and has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, so it’s really interesting to just wander around 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, we bypassed the museum and headed straight to the spacious green in front of the houses to snap a few photos.
A relaxing stroll back, guided slightly by Google Maps as we’d had no idea where we were, and it was on to one of the main reasons we’d come to Bath: Thermae Bath Spa. Since returning from Iceland, I’ve been desperate to find a more local thermal bath similar to the Blue Lagoon. The closest I could find was Thermae Spa, reportedly the only thermal spa in the UK, and after carrying our swimming stuff around all afternoon we were off for a hopefully relaxing spa session. I know, I know…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. As such, we 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.
Change of plan and we instead joined the queue for the Roman Baths. 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’s 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. Apparently lunch hadn’t been enough for my boyfriend, as he picked up another bunn there to eat on the short walk to the abbey.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, so we decided to fit in 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 our journey home was much quicker and smoother than the journey to Bath.
Until next time Bath, you were great!