Great Western Railway operates several daily services to Bath Spa. Direct trains from London Paddington take less than 1.5 hours and start at £42.50pp return. http://www.gwr.com
National Express offers good-value fares and regular coach services to Bath from locations all around the UK. A return ticket from London Victoria starts at £15.50pp. Journey time is 3.5 hours. http://www.nationalexpress.com
Visit Bath is the local tourist board’s online resource and is packed with practical advice and inspiration for your trip. http://www.visitbath.co.uk
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (Penguin, £5.99) tells the story of a young girl who leaves her rural home to enter the sophisticated world of Bath in the late 1790s.
During Georgian times, Bath was considered the most fashionable and elegant city in England and it retains its badge as one of the UK’s nest today. The grand limestone buildings are home to a diverse collection of museums and a thriving arts scene, while Jane Austen made the city her home for six years. The surrounding streets, such as Beauford Square behind the Theatre Royal have barely changed since her day. It’s easy to imagine Mr Darcy making scathing remarks in the Assembly Rooms or Anne Elliot, the heroine of Persuasion, taking a constitutional about the Royal Crescent. Check out Bath Fringe from 27 May-12 June and the Japan Festival at The Museum of East Asian Art on 18 June.
What to do
The sweeping avenues and quiet streets of this pocket-sized town are best discovered on foot. A Savouring Bath tour savouringbath.com is a great way to meet artisans and taste their wares while learning about the area’s past. Its Local Flavours tour includes a traditional Bath bun from The Thoughtful Bread Company and a shot from The Bath Coffee Company. The Roman Baths http://www.romanbaths.co.uk were constructed in 70AD and are still in such incredible condition that you can vividly picture bathers plunging into the various pools and throwing in coins as an offering to the goddess Minerva, who they believed was responsible for the natural hot springs. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, so a visit to the Jane Austen Centre http://www.janeausten.co.uk is a must. The exhibition looks at the influence Bath had on her work and personal life. The nearby Royal Crescent is the best-preserved example of Georgian architecture in the UK. At No.1 Royal Crescent museum http://www.no1royalcrescent.org.uk get a sense of the elegant lives led by the wealthy in 18th-century Britain.
Where to stay
No.15 Great Pulteney 01225 807 015, http://www.no15greatpulteney.co.uk is the newest and coolest kid on the city’s hotel scene. Spread over three Georgian townhouses, its whimsical decor includes chandeliers made from vintage jewellery, kettles hidden inside dollhouses and larders packed with free snacks on every oor. The Gainsborough 01225 358 888, http://www.thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk is a luxurious five-star in the centre of town with enormous beds and art deco-inspired interiors. Its spa is the only one that taps into the original thermal springs. The Bath Priory 01225 331 922, http://www.thebathpriory.co.uk has a lovely terrace, while Apsley House 01225 336 966, http://www.apsley-house.co.uk was built by The Duke of Wellington as a country home.
Where to eat and drink
Make the most of long summer evenings by basking in Thermae Bath Spa’s http://www.thermaebathspa.com rooftop pool. Soak up city views while enjoying the mineral-rich water, heated to 33.5C.
The West Country’s natural larder is among the richest in the country. Lush pastures result in creamy milk and cheese, while ancient apple orchards and traditional techniques passed down through generations create the best cider in the world. Dan Moon, head chef at The Gainsborough Restaurant approaches local ingredients with a consistently fresh eye. His six-course tasting menu is as innovative as it is toothsome and includes the likes of diver scallop with king prawn and yuzu caviar. The Zen-like atmosphere at Comins Tea House 01258 475 389, http://www.cominstea.com encourages visitors to linger over the loose leaf teas that owners Michelle and Rob Comins source from small growers around the world. The menu features dishes designed to pair with them. Chef Rob Clayton gained Michelin stars at Hunstrete House Hotel and Bath Priory but his latest venture is more relaxed. Clayton’s Kitchen 01225 585 100, http://www.theporter.co.uk specialises in exceptional roasts in a homely atmosphere. The Dark Horse 01225 282 477, http://www.darkhorsebar.co.uk is a stylish cocktail bar found in a basement on Kingsmead Square. Before ordering, ask which ingredients have been freshly foraged that day.
Time running out?
Don’t miss Bath Farmers’ Market http://www.bathfarmersmarket.co.uk held every Saturday at Green Park Station. Look out for Keith Goverd’s cider stall and game trader Ted Clancy, recognisable by the long partridge feather in his cap.
Average daily temperatures and rainfall
This article was published on 21st June 2017 so certain details may not be up to date.