As a surprise, my husband arranged a last minute anniversary break, in Bath. The weather was grey and the traffic was slow but as we arrived the magnificent Abbey was bathed in sunshine and there was an exciting buzz of Saturday shoppers and party starters. We checked in to our hotel, the Apex, which is a relatively new hotel in the centre of town. The hotel staff were lovely, really welcoming, and we were upgraded to a superior room with a couple of drinks on the house as it was our wedding anniversary. Our room was spacious, modern, bright and comfortable but there was no time to hang around the hotel with so much to explore outside! Ignoring the lure of the spa in the basement we dumped our bags and headed off into town.
We spent the afternoon wandering the bustling high street which had a great mixture of shops, both familiar names and more independent boutiques. After admiring the stunning Abbey close up we treated ourselves to a couple of 2-4-1 cocktails in the slug and Lettuce. Bath is a bit of a hen and stag destination - there were plenty of large groups sporting blow up dolls, tiaras and sash’s and other wedding paraphernalia, most of which seemed to be in the Slug and Lettuce!! It was noisy but great for people watching!
After much debating the choice of great restaurants (Rapheal’s - Authentic French Bistro, Peking - sophisticated Chinese Cuisine, La Perla - Modern Spansh Tapas, there is also the Ivy and the infamous Sally Lunn’s - Bath’s historic tea house) we were starving and ended up eating in TGI Fridays! Yes I know BUT it was easy and right next to the hotel and we both agreed it’s hard to get better ribs!
Once back at the hotel we decided to check out the spa. It was beautifully quiet at that time of the evening and we enjoyed the steam room, sauna, waterfall and, good sized, pool. Feeling wonderfully refreshed we headed back to our room to claim our free drinks and sprawled out to watch Saturday night TV!
On Sunday morning we got up bright and early as we wanted to visit the Thermae Spa and the Roman Baths. At the Thermae spa we had to queue for a bit to get a two hour window but it was well worth the wait. The rooftop pool has the most amazing views of the town and even on a dull day was deliciously warm. We then visited the Minerva bath which is largest of the thermal baths and has a lazy river with invigorating massage jets and whirlpools. We could have stayed all day and enjoyed some of the treatments and the wellness suite but we had too much else we wanted to see!
With such limited time we felt that a trip to Bath would not be complete without rolling back history and visiting The Roman baths. There are four main areas to see, the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath house and the museum itself. It really is an astonishing place when you remember that the Roman designed and build such an impressive place so long ago and without so many of the resources and technologies that we have today. They have even discovered evidence of people visiting the natural springs over 7000 years ago! This is definitely one place to return to with my children who I know would be awed by so much history.
We finally dragged ourselves back into the 21st Century and had a quick wander around Bath Abbey, which is so beautiful and definitely worth checking out, before heading back to the car to return to London.
Thanks for a lovely weekend, Bath, we will be back!
Notes to Self for the next trip!
Get the train - parking was a pain and expensive, it's only 1.5 hours from Paddington and Bath station is very central.
Things to do next time - Museum of Astronomy, postal museum, Aqua Theatre of Glass, Bath's Original Theatre Royal and Masonic Museum, Jane Austin Centre.