Visiting Bath for the first time? Here’s your super quick 24 hour guide. Includes mostly what to avoid, because I have now discovered, I am a terrible planner.
Moving to England has been one of the highlights of my life. I’ve had the opportunity to explore, to travel, to see and do new things. It’s a life that I really never thought would be possible growing up. But here I am! The thing is, I love living in London. Which means that sometimes, you know, we forget about the rest of the country.
And that’s why we’re making an effort to see more of what the United Kingdom has to offer. It’s time to take advantage of everything we can see with quick overnights around the country.
I’ve started putting together a long list of places we need to go to properly explore. Some we’ve been to ever so briefly, but most will be first time visits: Peak District, Cotswolds, Cornwall, Margate, Dover, Windsor, York, Cambridge, Liverpool, Lake District and Bath.
That’s how we ended up hiring a car and setting out from the centre of London and off through the scenic countryside.
Well, if you hadn’t guessed from the title of this blog post, we were heading to Bath. After visiting Budapest and being totally enamored with the hot springs and baths there, I thought, well, why not? Let’s check out Bath itself. We’ll do a tour of the Roman Baths, maybe find a cheeky coffee spot, go out for a proper dinner and well… of course, the best laid plans never work out. So instead, you guys are getting the guide of what to do when you completely didn’t book anything in advance and just have to wing it.
Sound good? Sure! It’s not really, but keep reading!
Where to stay: No. 15 Great Pulteney
Let’s start with the good. We booked our hotel with Secret Escapes. We’ve booked Joe’s parent’s a couple of trips away through them before, but had yet to go on one ourselves. I was excited to test it out. They always have such fantastic looking places on offer. So we settled on an overnight at the No. 15 Great Pulteney. Recently refurbished, the hotel is in the centre of the city, and easily accessible with everything in walking distance.
There’s only one way to describe it. Cool. The bar could be plopped right into Chelsea or Knightsbridge tomorrow and you’d be like, well sure. Here’s a peek:
Pretty right? You can order their cocktails from a deck of playing cards. Tedious to go through, but also, kind of fun if you’re in that kind of mood. We picked the Old Fashioned and Lavender Sour. The lighting in the bar near the windows is other level excellent, so bloggers, take note.
We only had one drink at the bar as we wanted to head out and explore before it got dark. We also had yet to pick a place for dinner. It’s one of my downfalls of trip planning, where I somehow think we’ll be able to waltz right into a restaurant without a reservation. I do it every time, and the lesson from this is worth noting. Don’t follow my example. Book something excellent. Rumor has it that Sotto Sotto is incredible. Go there! We couldn’t get in, fairly sure they thought I was hilarious calling them on the exact day for a booking. LOL to me!
So if you don’t book somewhere, you’ll end up like me, who ran into a Pret to grab a sandwich because I couldn’t take it anymore I was so hungry. I am not fun to be around when I’m hungry. Like the Snickers commercial.
Places you can just stumble upon? Pubs!
We ended up on a bit of a crawl through the city, like little lost wanderers. We went to the Huntsman and Bath’s smallest pub, The Coeur de Lion.
The nightlife kind of dies around 8pm. It could have easily been midnight. We ended our night at Hunter and Sons. Apparently, it’s epic for brunch. Instead, we had a wine, beer and their end of the day sausage rolls. The staff inside however, are brilliant. So I’d say it’s a must for brunch or early evenings.
So, the first night was a bit of a dud, kind of our own fault there. But hey ho, there was always tomorrow.
Our hotel breakfast was a complete winner. No. 15 Great Pultney has the cutest dining room ever and you won’t want to miss it. We loaded up on coffee, because the walls were paper thin and I hear the man next door snoring all. night. long. So, yeah, needed the caffeine in a big way. But the staff couldn’t have been lovelier, and anything we needed, we got.
Just look at that brekkie!
The Roman Bath(s?)
Post-fuel, we checked out of the hotel and went onto the Roman Baths, power walking in front of a large group of school children who looked like they were also on their way there. Over my dead body would they beat us to that queue. It needed have mattered, apparently groups are in a separate line anyways. Small children avoided. Hoorah!
Clearly, once again, research not well completed. Because before you pay £15 per ticket to go on a tour of the “baths” I can spoiler alert this for you. There’s only the one giant bath. It’s gorgeous, of course. And then there’s one other small bath off to the side. Two active, filled with water baths. For whatever reason, I had visions of Alice in Wonderland type mazes of water that we could walk around. Not the case.
You can however, walk around the very dry ruins, where you get a feel for what it once was, alongside an audio tour. I know you’re probably saying, ‘Kelly, you sound like a spoiled brat’ but you know what? I was kind of disappointed. As a couple on a budget, we paid £30 total for the tickets. It felt like a lot to part with for the overall experience. I’m glad we did it, because I’m always game for trying something once. But I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Maybe I am a brat. But maybe I should have done a little more research ahead of time.
Moving on from there, we went to Alexander Park to get views of the city. It’s a super tiny park, and we drove up some crazy hills to get there. We were greeted with these views. I think it would be fun to come back around Christmas, once the leaves have fallen and the lights are dazzling.
The Royal Crescent
This famed street we just had to stop by to have a wander around. We didn’t stay for too long, but there are also some side streets with cute cafés, restaurants and shops. I’d absolutely recommend this area.
The pub that’s worth the trek
Lastly, we decided to make one last stop in Bath. The Hare & Hounds pub. A short drive up from the city centre, you’ll find yourself perched at the cutest country pub with views for miles. It was a good way to end the Bath experience. A cool glass of wine in hand, sitting outside, wrapped up in a chic blanket.
I know what you’re thinking. Why the hell have you done a guide to Bath like this? It wasn’t at all inspiring. Sorry! I know it’s not your usual, look at this fantastical amazing place.
But I think there are some good takeaways.
It’s a beautiful city with cool little cafés and bars to visit. I just found it to be quieter than I’d expected. Living in London might have ruined the way I view the world a little bit.
But for an easy night away? With like, an hour’s proper planning, there’s plenty to do, and some pretty interesting hotels to stay at. From the No. 15 Great Pulteney for a quirkier boutique stay through to more luxury stays. I’ve read that The Gainsborough is amazing.
It’s worth a visit for sure. I just think that I totally failed as a blogger planning a trip. I did get some great photos though AND had a fantastic night away with Joe. So even with poor planning, we were together, so it was always going to be good.
Have you ever been to Bath? What should I have done while there?