I’m a Londoner through and through but sometimes, another city will capture your heart and imagination enough to think, “Who needs the tube anyway?” – it’s a big deal, because I friggin’ love getting on the tube. It distils that London feeling perfectly. It’s a permanent reminder of how vast the city is and how many mental/weird/amazing people you share it with.
Anyway. Bath. I went to Bath. It was my second visit and although it was rainy and miserable it was still an amazingly immersive city. Bath is perfectly suspended in time to ogle at all of the Regency architecture, which is everywhere, and the old world etched typefaces for the street names into the stonework give me weird amounts of joy. Walking through the city, I didn’t come across an ‘old’ town (although I am sure there are some newer parts of Bath!) because the entirety of the city centre is as it was originally built and is a World Heritage Site, with most of the city being Grade II listed.
Our visit to Bath was in aid of my father-in-law’s 70th birthday and so, an afternoon tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel and dinner at The King William made for the perfect celebration. Sadly, my photos of both the afternoon tea and dinner are totally lacking only because I was enjoying myself so immensely, like some sort of Marie Antoinette, drowning myself in tea and cake.
But, Bath is a versatile city where you can come for a romantic weekend away (that was my first visit to Bath) or have a break away with family or friends. I’m lucky that both my visits to Bath have included a visit or stay at the Royal Crescent Hotel. If you can stay, do. The Hotel has an easy luxury without being pretentious and the interiors and gardens are in keeping with the Regency feel. It’s luxurious without being decadent and oozes ease and comfort. The Hotel has it’s own Spa – when we stayed, we were the only people in there! There is nothing that fills me with more glee than an empty hotel spa. Hello Lady Luck. The Spa is relatively small but immaculate. Well worth a trip if you don’t fancy bathing with the hoards at the public Bath Spa.
The afternoon tea at the Royal Crescent is mega. There were 8 of eight of us and there was plenty left afterwards. There’s something about finger sandwiches and mini cakes that makes, both men and women (well, certainly the men in our party), go giddy at the delicacy of it all. This is such a delightful treat for anybody and is almost a must-do if you can.
If you’re looking for a solid pub or a beautiful dinner out then The King William Pub & Dining Rooms has both. It has a small, charming drinking space on the ground floor and an intimate, candle-lit dining room on the first floor. I would imagine it’s almost essential to book for dinner given the quality of the food. We were informed that most of the kitchen are comprised of ex-Michelin chefs from London who have since migrated to Bath. You can tell. The food was out of this world good. I still fantasise about it now. And before, you think it was all tiny bits of posh food where you’re gagging for Maccy D’s after, it couldn’t have been further from it. The food was predominantly British, seasonal and crazy delicious to the point where I’m considering booking a ticket back to Bath right now.
It takes a lot to get me to venture into the country (by country, I almost certainly mean anywhere that isn’t London) – I’m not ‘outdoorsy’ and never really feel the need to ‘get out of London’. But Bath is a city that’s so immersive and evocative of a former beauty that you’re just grateful it even exists and that the architectural vision for this city has been so perfectly preserved. To walk around an entire Regency city that is so consistently awe-inspiring at every turn, I could definitely spend a lot of time here…perhaps they could extend the tube a little further?
Have you visited Bath? If so I would love to hear your tips for my next trip!
Royal Crescent Hotel, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath, BA1 2LS
The King William Pub & Dining Rooms, Thomas Street, Bath, BA1 5NN
Photography by Shireen Dhaliwal-Davies