Over Bank Holiday Eleanor and I headed South for the weekend. After a quick stop in Bristol to visit a friend (read about our trip HERE) we headed for 48 hours in Bath. Sightseeing, comedy and lots and lots of food was on the agenda…
Where did we park?
We arrived late on the Saturday, and after a nightmare trying to find somewhere to leave the car for two days, we eventually parked at Manvers Street Car Park. Although the city car parks suggest you can park for days, the pay machines don’t actually allow you to do this. Instead, I paid each morning via the mipermit.com app. This may be worthwhile if you are looking to park overnight.
Where did we stay?
We had left booking accommodation until way too late and as a result all the nice hotels were taken or so expensive they were out of our price range. As a result, we ended up staying at the Bath YMCA. Right in the heart of the city, the location was ideal! We shared a twin room rather than a dorm, and although the room didn’t have an en-suite it was fine. Neither of us are precious. The room was small with two single bed, a basin, wardrobe and chest of drawers but was light and airy. I have to admit that although the bedroom was clean and the bed was super comfy, the single sex female bathroom was pretty gross. I would recommend taking flip flops with you for use in the bathroom. The two nights, for two of us, cost just over £100 total. It really was fantastic value in a city where a usual room is at least £100 per night. A continental breakfast was included each morning, with toast, cereal and fruit available as well as tea, coffee and fruit juices. A cooked breakfast could be purchased for £3.75 but we didn’t have one.
After we arrived in Bath and dumped our bags, we headed straight out for food, finding a little tapas restaurant called La Perla. Check out what we ate HERE. The food was amazing and we left incredibly satisfied. We then headed back to the YMCA to get a good night sleep in preparation for our first full day.
Free walking tour
The first thing we wanted to do was to get an understanding of the city, so we headed out on a free walking tour, with the Mayor of Bath Corps of Honorary Guides. The tour is completely free and none of the guides will accept tips. this makes it so accessible to everyone, and is something we love to do when we go to a new city. It starts at 10am each morning outside the Royal Baths, in the square with Bath Abbey. You can’t miss it, it’s the enormous group of people! When we arrived we were overwhelmed with the amount of people awaiting the tour, not realising we would then be split into smaller groups.
Our guide, a lovely lady called Carol, explained the history of Bath in a two hour walking tour across the city. Seeing everything from Bath Abbey to The Royal Crescent and Circus we learned about the history of the city right from when the Romans founded it. We learned about the hot springs, the architecture and even the first toilet installed in a house! It was a fascinating tour. Here are some photos from our walk.
For lunch we headed to Chai Walla, an Indian Street food takeout place and ate our food on the benches outside. Find out what we ate HERE.
Housed within The Canary Gin Bar (2-3 Queens Street) is something really rather special. The Canary Gin Bar is on the ground floor and offers over 230 gins. The Distiller’s Bar is upstairs and offers over 40 gins as well as more classic cocktails. There is also a Gin Austen cocktail menu full of delicious sounding cocktails.
However, beneath all of this is their very own distillery, The Bath Gin Botanical Laboratory & Distillery, providing tour and gin making classes, as well as producing Bath Gin. Made in a 136L moonshine tub called Jane, it was a fantastically smooth gin. They also produce other Gins including hopped rhubarb, Sloe and Damson gin. They used to also sell my favourite, a cucumber and jasmine gin but unfortunately it is no longer for sale. It was incredibly fresh and I was sad I couldn’t take a bottle home with me. You can still gt it behind the bar though, so definitely try it out!
While in Bath, the Comedy Festival was in town. It runs from Tuesday 27th March – Sunday 15th April 2018, so if you hurry you can still check some of it out! Sponsored by Love Honey (which made us laugh in itself as there were giant pictures of sex toys adorning banners across the venues) multiple venues take part in hosting shows and all the comedy we saw was brilliant. We went to two shows at The Bath Brew House. We first saw Chris Chopping and Steffan Alun – Work In Progress tour, and it was mostly hilarious. All about insecurities and bisexuality, we didn’t stop laughing throughout. We then stayed for the next show, Sarah Breese & Tony Chiotti – Finger Moustache. Sarah has us absolutely howling with anecdotes and Tony was discussing his recent move to the UK, making it sound better than it must have been. I mean, who in their right mind would move here from America… oh wait… Donald Trump is there! Both shows were £5, or pay what you feel, making it a cheap evening out and we both paid over the recommended as they were so good. Check out what is on HERE until the festival finishes.
That evening we ate dinner at Koh Thai Tapas, one of the best tapas restaurants I have ever been to! We had attempted to walk in on Saturday night as we passed but it was fully booked so we made a reservation for Sunday evening. Check out what we ate HERE.
Thermae Bath Spa
On our last day, Eleanor and I queued from 8.40am to get into the Thermae Bath Spa. You can’t book, and doors open at 9am so if you want to get in, you best get queuing. There must have been 50 people ahead of us by the time we joined the back. The website says ‘Where past, present and future join for a special spa experience. Now, in the World Heritage city of Bath you can enjoy Britain’s only natural thermal waters, as the Celts and Romans did over 2000 years ago’.
We paid £36 per person for the Thermae Welcome, two hours use of the Open-air rooftop pool, Wellness Suite & Minerva Bath. It included robe, towel and slippers too. It is the first time I have been to a proper spa, and it was incredible.
The rooftop pool has views of the whole of Bath, and even though it was a drizzly grey day we could still see pretty clearly through the glass surround. It was a warm 34 degrees in the pool, but bloody freezing when you got out! It is absolutely stunning and a really amazing experience to be sat 6 floors up, overlooking Bath, in basically a hot bath with numerous other people ha.
The wellness suite houses both Roman and Georgian steam rooms, Infrared room, Ice chamber, amazing experience showers and a celestial relaxation room. Although the spa was pretty busy by 10.30am we still managed to get into each room and it wasn’t cramped or crowded.
The Minerva Bath has invigorating massage jet, whirlpool and lazy river. My favourite was the lazy river, just take hold of one of the floats and let the water move you around the bath.
The visit to the Thermae Bath spa was possibly the best two hours of my life.
*Photos from the Thermae Bath Spa Facebook Page (You are not allowed to take photos for obvious reasons)
After a relaxing couple of hours in the spa, we headed to Phat Yaks, a Nepalese street food restaurant in the heart of town. We had walked past this a few times during the weekend and were desperate to visit. I am so glad we did, it was sublime. Read all about it HERE.
After food, the last stop on our little break before heading home was to Pulteney Bridge. Apparently one of the most photographed examples of Georgian architecture in Bath, and one of only 4 bridges in the world to have shops spanning the length of the bridge on both sides. It was designed in 1769 by Robert Adam, and named after Frances Pulteney, wife of William Johnstone Pulteney, who was an important land owner in Georgian Bath. The shops are tiny and quaint and there is a gorgeous cafe called The Bridge Coffee Shop that you must visit. The window display of cakes and sandwiches were too tempting to resist so we popped in for a sausage roll and a millionaire shortbread to take away but I wish we had time to sit and enjoy the view over the river properly.
With that, we headed home. The journey from Nottingham to Bath is 160 miles and took just over 3 hours with a couple of service station stops along the way. It is definitely worth the trip.
To find out what we did during our stay in Bristol, click HERE