Bath will always hold a big place in my heart. My university city and an all out stunner of a place, there’s nothing not to love about it. Chris has already beaten me to it and shared his highlights from his trip earlier in the year, so I think I owe it to Bath to do the same! For this post I thought I’d share some of my all time favourite places to eat, drink and sleep, as well as some newer places that have made the list on more recent visits to Bath.
Where to eat…
Best for pies. Hands down. Get there at midday to secure a table upstairs and choose from a selection of delicious pies with your choice of mash or chips and three different gravies. Great Beer selection too or opt for a Cider in true West Country style.
A newer addition to the Bath restaurant scene but it’s leading the way in the popularity stakes. This Italian in housed in the depths of underground Bath in vaulted cellars which makes the setting as well as the food spectacular. Warning: book early, as in weeks (if not months) in advance especially if you are a big table and are looking for a weekend evening. Last time I booked you could only book over the phone, be persistent if they don’t answer!
Delicious tapas in another underground cellar setting very close to Sotto Sotto. They are also on TasteCard at certain times if you have this discount card. If not they do offers lunchtime mid week as well. There’s also Ola Tapas which is also meant to be great too in the centre of town just off Milsom Street.
Californian dining and seriously good chicken as well as some great and very unique pizzas – you won’t find your standard ham and mushroom here. Strongly recommended for lunch or dinner.
Where to drink…
The Canary Gin bar
Over 250 gins and the bar staff know their stuff. The cocktails are highly recommended or talk to one of the staff about what your dream gin might entail and they will be hard pressed not to find one that ticks all the boxes for you. It gets very busy and doesn’t open until later on in the afternoon so book ahead or squeeze yourself in but be patient because the bar can be slow but it’s worth it. They also have their own gin to buy with a great winking Jane Austen label that I highly recommend either as a present for someone or just yourself!
I need to be honest I haven’t been here since this bar moved to a new location at the top of town but based on the cocktails, interior and staff from the other location I’d be expecting good things. Circo has everything from a chilled out cocktail through to a proper night out so is definitely one for the list.
Another relatively new bar for Bath which has really upped its game generally in the drinking den stakes since I left. This bar is a little out of the way but it’s worth the hunt. Its very different with little areas decked out in one off furniture and a mix of eclectic ornaments.
The Montagu bar – Royal Crescent hotel
Want to visit the Royal Crescent hotel without splashing a lot of cash on a room? Head to the bar. You get to walk through the main entrance and courtyard gardens and into the bar and restaurant area. We’ve always been early doors and it is really quiet but what it perhaps lacks in atmosphere is made up for by the setting and it’s definitely one to tick off the bucket list.
The Crystal Palace
Actually after a good pub? There’s lots to choose from but the Crystal Palace wins it for me on location in a pretty square just off the main Cathedral square. With a small outdoor garden as well as cosy interior it’s good in Winter as well as Summer.
Where to stay…
Splashing the cash?
It has to be the original Royal Crescent hotel nestled in the middle of the famous Crescent itself. It’s definitely one for the bucket list and it also has a great spa if you can’t face the crowds at the Thermae spa in the centre of Bath. It does have some strong competition from the new luxury kid on the block, The Gainsborough, which also boasts its very own spa, so it will be interesting to see how these two big players compete.
Mid range prices in Bath are the same as splashing the cash in other parts of the country so keep that in mind. Bath accommodation is not cheap. But the Leighton Townhouse (previously One Three Nine) is worth every penny. Consistently receiving top reviews, they pull out all the stops for your stay. It is a walk into town and it does involve a hill on the way back which could add up in taxis if you didn’t fancy the walk. All rooms are unique, ours had a beautiful roll top bath as well as a shower room. The breakfast is also perfect with bubbles when we visited if you want to start your day in style (who doesn’t?). Book early as it gets busy and if you can be flexible you can find some good mid week deals.
If the hill and walk make the above a deal breaker and you want convenience alongside a good place to rest your head, then Harringtons right in the heart of the city opposite the Gin bar (no excuse not to go every night) ticks the box. It also has an apartment which my Dad stayed at during his trip. Harringtons is lovely, and half way between a hotel and a B&B, with quirky additions that make it special as well as a great breakfast offering.
You can get some relatively good deals on Airbnb so definitely look around especially if there’s a group of you, we stayed at the Admiral’s House (a grand Georgian townhouse) for my husband Josh’s birthday and whilst they might seem pricey initially, if you can fill it it works out pretty reasonably and you get your own lounge and the option to eat in.
Alternatively you could consider staying further a field, for instance Bristol is better value for money but still only a ten minute train ride into Bath (Bristol is a great city to explore too so you could do a joint city visit and a longer break). Otherwise there’s very pretty villages on the outskirts of Bath which make for a lovely stay but factor in taxis or parking which is not always easy in Bath.
Wherever you eat, drink or sleep – you are certainly in for a treat!