2016 is going to be an awesome year and with so many wonderful destinations, you simply can’t go wrong! However, there is one country that I didn’t mention.
Ye olde England.
The land of Shakespeare, punk-rock and meadow-stricken poetry. Steam trains, historical ships and windy beaches. That country of quaint rose-budded cottages, fairground dodgems and draughty castles. The land of Hope. And Glory.
Roman History to be exact, and which can be found all the United Kingdom.
Even my own original home-town of Manchester began with a civilian settlement and was once known as Mancunium established sometime around 79 AD, so is it any wonder that I often find myself drawn to old cities rather than the new. Cities that by merely stepping on them, you know you are encroaching on the heads of many civilisations before us.
Cities such as Bath.
If you recall, at the end of 2015 I went to Bristol, and whilst there, I decided to avail myself of the opportunity to visit the city of Bath too. For Bath, I wasn’t comped but was given press passes for Visit Bath.
Thanks so much!
Now Bath isn’t a new destination to me, in fact, I’ve probably been there three (3) or four (4) times previously, but it was years ago. And you know what they say about people and cities changing…!
Surprisingly, it had hardly changed at all except for one or two rather marvellous things. Read on to find out what they were!
Bath is in England.
It’s a city in Somerset, in a county in the South West of the country, and has a population of about just 89,000 people.
Bath really became famous when it turned into a spa and was known as Aquae Sulis or the waters of Sulis by the Romans, who built sophisticated baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, sometime around AD60. Like Budapest, the hot springs and waters were already known to have magical properties way before the Romans ever came on the scene!
Don’t you want to know more?
WHY GO TO BATH?
Bath is simply, quite English. I’m going to give you ten (10) incredible reasons why!
- It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The city of Bath is one of the only few places in the world that includes that of the whole city. Yep! The complete city of Bath is the Heritage Site itself! Isn’t that marvellous?
- It’s an architectural feast: Bath has an impressive showcase of Georgian architecture, such as the very famous No.1 Royal Crescent, the Circus, the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms,
- Roman spas: Bath has the steaming remains of Britain’s most beautiful Roman spas and you can still drink the waters too and I did. It was warm but slightly salty!
- History: When you think of the Georgian era in England, that era begins from the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain who were all named George: George I, George II, George III (otherwise known as Mad King George!) and George IV. This most splendid era covers periods from 1714 to 1830 and is typically used in the contexts of social history, architecture, the introduction of the Gothic Revival style, and a golden age of building design. This era also brought about massive social change not only in Britain but also abroad, as this was the birth and beginning of the Industrial Revolution, British world domination in the colonies, and the new British Empire!
- It’s small: Just imagine, genteel strolling down wide streets, bonnets, breeches….and other things! Bath is so small that you can practically walk everywhere, there’s a lot of pretty things to see and there’s really no need to use public transport at all!
- It’s famous for films & television shoots: I’m sure there’s not one person among us who hasn’t fallen prey to the romantic gestures of the gorgeous Mr. Darcy or the heaving bosom of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice. How about The Duchess or the very English tragi-comedy of Vanity Fair? All filmed or shot in Bath.
- Bath’s most famous writer: You can’t even think about Bath without first mention of the most talented Jane Austen who found Bath not only lively and fashionable, but quite romantic and exciting! Think Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and of course, Pride & Prejudice. Jane Austen even has her own museum which is based in a house on her old street where she used to live! The museum is actually a Centre in which you get a tour, watch a film, wear the clothes and stay for tea!
- Because the first (1st) ever postage stamp in the world, known as the Penny Black, and with the profile of young Queen Victoria, was sent from Nr 8, Broad Street, on 2nd May, 1840 in Bath!
- Bath Abbey: The beautiful Abbey Church was founded in the 7th century and even though Bath is a city, it doesn’t have a Cathedral! In fact, if you ever get lost, just look for the steeple tower of the abbey!
- Fashionable Bath: Bath became most fashionable and the place to be, in the 18th century and this was reflected in it’s shopping. It still is, as Bath is the official residence of the famous Sex in the City shoe-maker and designer – Manolo Blahnik!
- Bath has a river: You know how much I love rivers having been born in Manchester previously lived in Prague as an expat, and now living in Berlin. Bath has the River Avon and the Avon Canal running right through which you can walk, cycle or canoe through.
- The Sally Lunn Bath Bun: Bath is famous for a popular local speciality known as the Sally Lunn Bun. It’s one of the things that you must try when in Bath. The Sally Lunn can only be found in Bath’s oldest historic eating house from the 17th century! The Sally Lunn Bun is a light and airy semi-sweet bread-like bun and is sort of a cross between a scone and a traditional bun which is only baked and sold, in Bath.
- Culture: There are so many museums in Bath that you’ll leave far cleverer than when you arrived! There’s the Museum of Bath Architecture. the Museum of Bath at Work, The Herschel Museum of Astronomy, The Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum, The Postal Museum, The Old Theatre Royal & Masonic Museum, The Motor Museum and the American Museum in Britain. There’s even a Fashion Museum which I enjoyed very much!
- It’s genteel: Bath is polite. It’s clean. It’s respectable. It’s refined and cultivated. It’s England.
- Because Bath: Where else can you find a city with a name like a bathtub!
TAKE ME THERE?
If you recall, even though I was a guest of Visit Bristol, I paid my own way for Bath.
If you’re an international tourist, you can either fly directly into Bristol Airport or fly into London and take the train from London Paddington into Bristol Temple Meads which takes just 90 minutes. Bath is just 15 minutes away by train.
Just like Bristol, there’s an Airport Air Decker Bus which goes to and from Bath to Bristol Airport and takes about 1 hour, has a frequency of every thirty (30) minutes, and costs £20.00 for an Adult Return ticket!
If you’re already in England and looking for a cheaper way to get into Bath, the bus-coach is the way to go with the National Express or Megabus. It’s not the quickest way being almost 3 hours, but it runs straight from London Victoria Coach Station, London Heathrow and London Gatwick and if you book waaaay ahead, tickets can be as little as £1.00!
IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?
It can be!
Bath is a popular destination not only for international tourists but British ones too.
WHAT IS BATH LIKE?
Bath is very nice.
With just 89,000 people, it’s also quite small.
I was there for only two (2) days but I found plenty to do.
Bath is appealing and easy to get around. It’s full of history that is out there and alive, is of pleasant charm, and packed with a fabulous mix of independent shops and top high-street names.
I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL.
Not. A. Problem.
Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles ready to help you.
AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?
Ha! Ha! It’s England. We’re cultured and civilised!
I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Bath isn’t London but it isn’t known for being your cheap destination either!
Being that I was on my own dime, I found “acceptable” accommodation more difficult to find within my budget, as when travelling solo I’m a lot more flexible and prefer to spend less, rather than more lol! Happily, I found something that fitted my requirements.
As a lifestyle travel blogger, it’s necessary to try a variety of outlets but as you know, I prefer the more quaint boutique, the art design or classy establishment, but from time-to-time, I go back to basics and give my custom to the more traditional place who have never even heard of a blogger, and since it was my “rest-I-have-no-appointments-and-I-don’t-have-to-be-anywhere-or-do-anything” days, I paid full price for it lol!
I decided to stay at a B&B called Pulteney House.
I chose Pulteney House not only because the price was right but ‘cos it was a large 1852 Grade 2 listed Victorian house and a family business located in a leafy residential area, and just a 10 minute brisk walk from the Bath Abbey.
I loved the walk as you have to pass the river and the cricket club is just 5 minutes away. Pulteney House is very convenient, safe and clean.
I booked the Single Room (sigh!) with a private bathroom and although my room wasn’t en-suite, my private bathroom was across the hallway opposite my room, and was exclusively for my sole private use. Phew!
British bedrooms are small and this one was no exception, but fitted my needs and had a large flat screen TV which I tried to use, but fell asleep watching, wardrobe, sink-in-room, desk and table, tea and coffee-maker, dressing gown and fast free WiFi.
The dining room was a little 1970’s with the grandfather clock and the red-patterned carpet, but the daily breakfast of fruit, cereal, croissant, toast, varieties of teas, mustard, brown sauces, and traditional English breakfast, plus bowls of porridge was quite lovely and really, to be highly recommended!
The owners were friendly and helpful. It’s not the Ritz Carlton by any means, but if you’re looking for the “real deal” then the Pulteney House B&B is one to try.
For a Small Single Room with Private Bathroom, I paid £60.00 a night. Double en-suites are between £80 to £120 a night. With a full English breakfast.
For Bath. Quite the bargain!
I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?
Book with the boutique Bed and Breakfast (B&B) – Brooks Guest House. I had already stayed with them in Bristol and I was awfully pleased however, it was necessary to try a variety of outlets so the traditional B&B it had to be!
WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?
Honestly, Bath is so small that there’s really no need to use public transport at all which I found out on the first day! I arrived in the evening and being that it was winter, it was also very dark, so I took a taxi. The taxi driver charged me £7.00 for effectively taking me one (1) minute around the corner! Both the bus and train stations are about 10 minutes away so I could have walked!
Oh, and he took the long way too!
Take a stroll and run along the field of Nr. 1 Royal Crescent.
Don’t even think of missing the Roman Baths.
Have a sip of the waters.
If you’ve got some time, get yourself some traditional fish n’chips with mushy peas, gravy and a good old meat pie!
Switch off the heating in your room as it can get rather stuffy and open the window. If you can. Just don’t forget to close it…..!
Oh yeah, there’s some sort of bizarre comedy walk in Bath. I was too tired to venture into “town” again but if you’re up for it, I hear that they’re quite hilarious!
I’m a great fan of Bath.
It’s got art, culture, a sense of humour, great history and a vibrant cosmopolitan vibe.
WOULD I COME AGAIN?
Bath is impressive. I hope to visit again very soon.
Go Visit Bath!
This article is not sponsored and even though I was given press passes for Visit Bath, all opinions and the wonderful Sally Lunn Bun I devoured, are my very own!
If you have any questions about Bath, the UK, Germany or anywhere in Europe, don’t be shy, I’m an expert! Go ahead and ask me!
I have so much to share with you so next week you can read what I did at Fashion Week Berlin!
It’s January. Yippee!
Berlin Fashion Week is coming up and will take place between January 19th and January 23rd, 2016. Save the Date!
The Conference on the Future of Fashion will take place at #FASHIONTECH BERLIN on January 20th. Tickets are free!
The British Shorts Short Film Festival will take place between January 21st and January 25th. It’s going to be really cool. I went last year & enjoyed it very much plus, there’s a festival workshop & a 48 hour film project absolutely free of charge, but you have to hurry!
If you’re not in Berlin in January, where the hell are you.
January is going to be exciting!
Watch this space!