If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I have a soft spot for Jane Austen. Pride & Prejudice is my favourite book and Mr Darcy ruined me for other men. Austen lived briefly in Bath and that was reason enough for me to be desperate to visit.
Several years ago, I visited Bath with my mum and yep, you guessed it, I fell head over heels for it’s curving Georgian streets, stately townhouses and – of course – its literary connections. Almost since the moment we left, I’ve wanted to go back. It’s the kind of city that pulls you in and welcomes you like an old friend. It’s similar to Edinburgh in its architecture and I immediately felt at home there.
When we were invited to stay at Widbrook Grange, the first thing I did was Google how easy it would be to get into Bath from the hotel. As it happens, it’s incredibly easy – we just hopped on a train and spent a glorious (if rainy!) afternoon wandering the city’s streets.
We only had the day in Bath so I made a beeline for my favourite places (and made a few new discoveries!) It’s been said a million times before, but you really can’t visit Bath without taking a stroll along Royal Crescent. It is the most magnificent curving Georgian street and I defy anyone not to feel a bit like an extra in an Austen adaption!
The Roman Baths
These are a little bit of a tourist trap, I must admit. We got particularly unlucky with a huge school group who went in just ahead of us, but the history here is incredible and justifies the trip (and the ticket price!) It’s not really a trip to Bath without learning about its Roman history and, of course, taking the waters.
The Assembly Rooms
A must for Austen fans and chandelier lovers alike, the Bath Assembly Rooms was one of my highlights from the trip. They’re free to enter (provided there isn’t a private event on) and we had the place to ourselves more or less. These elegant rooms were the place to be seen in fashionable eighteenth century society. You can almost hear the gentle swish of fine fabrics, lilting music and whispered gossip of days gone by.
I totally missed out on Pulteney Bridge the first time I visited Bath. It’s one of the most photographed locations in the city and very popular on Instagram, so I was determined to see it for myself on this trip! It really didn’t disappoint. Look familiar? You might recognise it from the film Les Miserables!
Topping & Company
It wouldn’t be a weekend away without a trip to a bookshop! Toppings & Company Booksellers are a St Andrews institution who have made their way to Bath. They’re opening a new shop in Edinburgh this summer which I am beyond excited about and it was such a joy to browse their Bath offering. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and Beauty & the Beast worthy step ladders make this place a haven for bookworms. I had to be dragged out! If second-hand books are more your thing, I also loved Bath Old Books.
I put out a plea for Bath recommendations on Instagram and I was met by so many incredible café suggestions. It turns out, Bath is a haven for coffee lovers. Confession time: I failed as a blogger and forgot to take pictures but I’ll put a list below of the most popular suggestions and the places we loved:
- Colonna & Small’s
- Society Café
- Cascara Bath
- The Green Bird Cafe
- Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House
Bath is a paradise for independent shops. Bookshops aside, there were so many gorgeous boutiques I could’ve spent hours browsing! Sadly, we were really short on time so shopping wasn’t top of the list for this trip but these were the places I thought looked particularly lovely.
- Rossiters of Bath
Beautiful Bath.. It really is the only city (other than my beloved Edinburgh!) that I could see myself living in. I absolutely love it there and cannot wait to return as soon as possible. I hope this guide is helpful – and please do share your Bath favourites in the comments. You can bet I’ll be keeping a note of them for my next trip!
Until next time…