There are few places that I will visit more than once. With so many different places out there, ready to be explored, I almost can’t justify ‘playing it safe’ and revisiting a town or city I’ve already been. But for the city of Bath, I would make an exception.
Here’s what we made of it…
We hadn’t made many plans for day one of our trip – having allowed plenty of time for travel. So we spent much of the day wandering around just taking in the sights. I was completely blown away by how stunning the architecture was, how well kept the streets seemed to be, how friendly and vibrant the atmosphere was, and generally just how pleasant whole city was.
The weather was particularly kind, making for a pleasant walk through the main shopping streets and up toward the famous Circus – a circular road of beautiful Georgian buildings. And it was certainly worth the walk up steep Gay Street. The houses were so pretty – we sat on a grassy area right in the middle, among a few leafy trees, taking it all in.
Back through the city there were more stunning buildings everywhere we turned including the impressive Bath Cathedral.
We headed down to perhaps one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, Pultney Bridge. When we got there it was like being in a picture postcard! Walking across the bridge itself you don’t actually realise you’re on a bridge – it is one of just a handful of bridges in the world that actually has shops built into it.
We whiled away the rest of the afternoon simply soaking in the warm atmosphere in the city until our long anticipated appointment at the Thermae Bath Spa. The spa had been one of the main reasons why we had picked Bath to visit in the first place. As you may have realised by now if you’ve read our other UK trip reviews, we tend to visit places based on just one thing whether that be a cool looking restaurant, quirky bar or in this case, luxurious attraction.
On entering the spa we were handed a fluffy white robe and towel and welcomed by that fragrent scent that so often accompanies a day spa. A mixture of oils and essences that waft through the complex, relaxing you almost instantly.
Once in our robes we headed straight for the top floor, with a plan to work our way from the top down. It was around 6pm in early September, so the sun was just about starting to cool, and the sky was filled with the romantic silhouttes of hot air balloons. As was promised from the pictures that had so inspired our trip, the steam rose from the heated pool. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.
Now I didn’t take any photos myself because of course cameras are not allowed in a spa for obvious reasons, but I did find this pic by Visit Britain which gives you an idea of just how relaxing this roof top pool is!
I dipped my toe into the pool and was pleasantly suprised at how warm it actually was. Sometimes you can be told the outdoor pool is heated but it’s only really luke warm. This was a perfect temperature. I grabbed myself a U-shaped float and bobbed along in my own little dream world for what felt like forever…
This time of night was clearly popular for thosing wishing to catch the sunset over the city rooftops, so after a while we headed inside to try out the 4 steam rooms and lower floor pool – which was almost empty having seen everyone make their way up to the roof.
The steam rooms were very modern, very simple circular glass structures each with their own beautiful scents and levels of humidity. In the centre was a large rain-style shower, which came on periodically and saw a race between fellow spa-goers to get a good position under the running water.
An outdoor relaxation area was available on a terrace overlooking the city. In the warm late summer air, this was the perfect place to complete our evening of self-pampering.
Feeling suitably rejuvenated, day two began with a trip to the Roman Baths. Having already experienced the modern day spa, it was interesting to see how the locals had done it thousands of years ago.
Beautifully preserved, the Baths offered a unique glimpse into an ancient world. We wandered through the buildings, quietly contemplating what life must have been like – facsinated that we too had shared in the relaxing benefits of Bath’s natural springs, like so many generations before us.
Our journey into English history continued with a visit to the Fashion Museum at the Bath Assembly Rooms. The highlight here was trying on a number of Georgian dresses. It was great fun! Although I did get a little embarrased when a sweet American insisted on taking my picture being a ‘classic english rose’…
(Stern faces for period authenticity!)
Before leaving the Assembley Rooms we decided to take a quick look around, and found ourselves in an empty ballroom. I don’t know whether it was the romantic setting, the giddiness from dressing up, the relaxation from the previous night’s spa – but there in the middle of Bath Assembly Rooms’ Ballroom, Andrew and I enjoyed a private waltz! (At least it was private until said amercian tourists walked in – but by that point we didn’t care, we just carried on!)
By this point we were getting pretty peckish so we ducked into the first place we could find. And what a gem it was! The Adventure Cafe Bar had a cool interior and a cosy patio. I was just in time to order breakfast (yes we managed to get all of the above done very early on) so I ordered pancakes and bacon – naturally. Boy were they delicious!
The weather continued to be kind, so next we made our way to Parade Gardens, and enjoyed more views of Pultney Bridge and Bath Cathedral. The gardens were beautiful, particularly in the sunshine, and we enjoyed them relatively all to ourselves as it was late morning on a week day so there weren’t many people about.
Wandering hand in hand through the streets of Bath we felt completely relaxed, and very in love. It is certainly one of the most romantic cities I’ve ever visited. With the sun shining down, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more than bob around on a U-shaped float on the roof of the Thermae Bath Spa – and so we went for a second helping!
That night we dined in a lovely little Italian restuarant right on the river side, called Joya. After a very tasty, well-priced dinner, served by very friendly staff, we wandered down to Circo Bar and Lounge for an evening of live jazz and delicious cocktails.
The cocktail menu was immense – they had something for every taste, as well as old-time favourites and new tipples for the more adventurous.
It would also appear that at some point during the evening I enjoyed a run around this garden maze – I would have assumed after said cocktails, but the picture shows it was still light so I’m afraid I have no explanation for this! Must have been the Bath air!
Being just under an hour away from the famous Stonehenge heritage site, we decided to swing by on our way home. It’s things like this that we can sometimes take for granted living in the UK. I’ve found that there are so many world famous sights that are within just a few hours’ drive from home, yet I’ve never seen them. Stonehenge was one of these places.
We parked up and piled onto a shuttle that took us a short way down the track to the site. When were first arrived I was a little disappointed at how far back the viewing area was – I had been under the impression we would be able to walk around the stones, but I suppose I should have done my research properly!
On the plus side there wasn’t really anybody tracking how long we were there, so we were relatively free to take our time and wander around the entire site.
For me, it was incredibly humbling. I found myself wondering about the time old mystery that surrounds the stones. Why here, who built them, what for, how did they do it? You don’t fully appreciate the magnitude of it until you’re stood in front of it yourself.
Although a slightly pricey attraction, it was definately worth it, and not just for the obligatory selfies that Andy and I managed to get.
Content and ready for the long drive home, we returned to our car, set off from the car park, and realised we had a flat tyre… That’s ok – just change it. Got a spare wheel? Yep, Got a jack? Yep Got a wheel brace? Erm… Cue 90 minute wait from the RAC, on one of the hottest days of the year!
Oh well, no better place to be stuck…