What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Bath? Based on the name alone, it’s the Roman baths of course, a great reminder that ever since AD43 Bath was a city made to enjoy.
Then it’s the Georgian Bath. Strolling through the elegant streets of the Royal Crescent, almost as if wandering the pages of Jane Austen novels – the city’s most famous resident – is another picture that jumps to mind.
But there’s yet another, slightly more unexpected side to the city – one you’ll find once you look beneath the historical heritage and focus on what Bath has to offer today.
I boarded the train at Paddington on a particularly gorgeous, summer day. The sun was shining in a very un-London-like manner and, as the countryside landscapes blurred when the train picked up speed, I smiled at the thought of the adventures ahead.
Visit Bath has ever so kindly invited me to explore the unexpected side of the city and, remembering how much I loved it the first time I visited, I jumped at the opportunity.
THE UNEXPECTED ADVENTURES
The first stop, following a quick stroll through the city centre, (I couldn’t help but stop every couple of minutes to take photos of all the beautiful Georgian buildings!), was Electric Bear – a microbrewery with a bold, modern take on beer. I’m not much of a beer fan so I was a bit skeptical, but you can’t really say no to coffee-flavoured stout, especially when the ingredients include chocolate and toffee!
Following a sunshine-filled lunch at the lovely Lockbrook Inn and an ice cream break at Swoon Gelato, we went on to explore the city before enjoying a bit of wine tasting at Le Vignoble. Located inside a gorgeous Georgian building in the upmarket quarter of the city, the wine lounge combines a restaurant/bar with wine tasting classes.
A few glasses of wine later, once we felt appropriately tipsy…er, educated, it was time to grab a quick dinner at Framptons, right by the famousPulteney Bridge. Make sure to stop by if you’re ever in Bath. The dark oak floors and grand fireplaces coupled with delicious food make it a lovely place to enjoy in the evening.
The highlight of the day was a little paddle boarding adventure with Original Wild. As someone dangerously accident-prone, I was slightly concerned about how this may turn out but luckily, I managed to stay on the board rather than underneath it, and happily paddled away into the sunset!
The paddleboarding session started right at the wake of the golden hour, when the buildings and bridges surrounding the river turned the prettiest shades of yellow. At only £15/hour, it’s a real treat!
UNEXPECTEDYLY AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION
Last but not least – the accommodation! Now, this really took me back as we stayed at The Quads – one of the student accommodation blocks at the University of Bath. Catering to first-year undergrads, the dorms turn into a hotel during the summer months, with rooms starting at just £50/night!
I was very lucky back in my undergrad days, as my dorms were brand new, however, I still remember the horrors of visiting the accommodation of my not-so-lucky friends, (think windows missing glass and rooms that haven’t seen a lick of paint since the 60s). As I quickly found out, The Quad complex couldn’t be further away from the gory images.
A modern contrast to historical Bath, the complex is only four years old. Each room is complete with a TV (which immediately made me question my accommodation choices back in my student days), mood lights (I mean…) and a private ensuite bathroom (a luxury I never had the chance to experience as a student!).
Not only that, The Quad complex is part-catered (a stark contrast to my memories of microwaved pizza from Tescos). There’s also Limetree – a lovely canteen space just a few minutes down the road. The food there is just wonderful, and the cafe caters to those who rent a room over the summer.
READY TO DISCOVER THE UNEXPECTED?
With Bath only 90min away from London by train via Great Western Railway, and a short drive away from Bristol, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t explore what this gorgeous city has to offer. If you do end up visiting, I’d love for you to let me know what you got up to in the comments!