-Shop the Look-
It’s been quite a while since I last visited Bath and I think it’s time to escape from the big smoke and catch some of the country air. Don’t you agree? You would be surprised how easy it is to get there by train – only two hours and you find yourself in completely different scenery, all thanks to this Great Western Railway, able to whisk you away to another destination in such a short amount of time. And did I mention the amazing views of the countryside from the carriage window, simply taking my breath away? Yes, I can tell you what a fantastic city London is, but once you are in the shoes of your daily life, it’s exhausting and you will long for some unwinding time.
Bath is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful this spa town is. If you have never been, you ought to visit, especially at this time of the month when the town is transformed into a wonderful winter theme. Also, it takes us back to a time gone by, where Jane Austen spent most of her life writing her well known and much-loved books such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
You may have heard of Bath, with its historical links to ancient Roman times, its famous thermal spa and row after row of glorious Georgian townhouses, especially the one at Royal Crescent. How remarkably the town has changed over decades and, incredibly, still looks wonderful today.
It is only a short 15-minute walk from the train station to this spectacular independent boutique situated at Great Pulteney Street, known as one of the grandest streets in Bath. No. 15 Great Pulteney Street is to be found at the very heart of Bath fashionable society and close to all these excursions. I enter the hotel with Victoria, a fellow friend of mine, looking forward to this short getaway trip. How impressive is this expansive hallway! Well, to be honest, such a hallway always knows how to charm its guests with its sweeping staircase, dazzling chandelier and its walls adorned with so many fabulous objects. My mind is spinning, just wondering what the other rooms are going to be like.
You may wonder how the townhouses would have looked in the past, I always have this thought too – four storeys high and with what seems to be an endless number of rooms. Time to check in! Opening the door to the Henrietta Junior Suite, my first impression is the chandelier and three sash windows which flood the room with natural light – I’m in pure delight! Much of the beautiful interior was designed by Martin Hulbert Design, bringing a peace and tranquillity, enhanced by the views of the rolling hills in the backdrop and classical Grade-I Georgian façade.
Before long, we empty our cup of coffee and we are refreshed and recharged for some excursions. Frankly, there are tons of things to do and see, easily filling up your itinerary for a night or two.
A visit to the Great Bath, the magnificent epicentre to the complex, is a must, going back in time as you walk on the same ancient pavements as the Romans did 2,000 years ago. The Great Bath, as it lies below street level can also be viewed from the Terrace, which is adorned with statues and shadowed by the great Abbey. Other chambers to explore include the remains of the ancient heated rooms and changing rooms as well as tepid and plunge pools. Bath was founded upon natural hot springs with the steaming water playing a key role throughout its history. Lying in the heart of the city the Roman Baths were constructed around 70 AD as a grand bathing and socialising complex. It is now one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world.
No. 1 Royal Crescent is a museum which has been decorated and furnished just as it might have been during the period 1776-1796. The rooms feature historic furniture, pictures and objects that reveal what life was like for Bath’s fashionable residents – both upstairs and downstairs.
A must-see for every fashionista, the Fashion Museum is one of the world’s top 10 museums of fashionable dress. You’ll see everything from historic Georgian gowns to cutting-edge fashions by some of today’s leading designers. The museum displays chronicle the story of fashionable dress over the past 400 years and feature more than 160 dressed figures. There’s a dressing-up room (for both children and grownups!) where you can try on coats, hats, corsets, dresses and bonnets and have your photo taken against a Victorian backdrop.
There is nowhere else quite like Bath Abbey. Magnificent stained-glass windows, columns of honey-gold stone and some of the finest fan vaulting in the world, create an extraordinary experience of light and space. But there is more to it than that. There has been a place of Christian worship on this site for over 1,200 years and the Abbey remains very much a living church today with services taking place throughout the entire week. Come and experience the special atmosphere and rich history of this holy and uplifting place.
The fascinating pieces that adorn one of Bath’s most beautiful buildings vary from Renaissance treasures to masterpieces by Gainsborough. There is so much to see and explore, even if you’re a regular visitor you can discover something new with the continually changing temporary exhibitions.
After all these wonderful activities, dinner is calling. Time to head back to the hotel and change into our best attire. It’s a good thing that we won’t need to bring our coats, as the bar and restaurant are below – life is blissful, sitting on the bar stool at the elegant Bar 15, which surrounds a very beautiful, modern statement in its classical Georgian building. This is a perfect opportunity to enjoy a glass of bubbly served in cut crystal glass and the bartender on hand to carefully-curated your drinks. I’ve opted for Lavender Sour – absolutely delightful.
Cafe 15 restaurant is the perfect classic-meets-contemporary hub for a relaxed and delicious meal in the centre of the city. Vibrant sharing plates and seasonal dishes with influences from around the world. One of the most delicious meals we’ve had in ages and definitely worth a visit if you are coming this way for lunch, dinner and perhaps Sunday Brunch which I plan to do next time.
Just 36 hours of escape in Bath and it feels as if you have been away for few nights or so. Soon, we are back on the platform and train is calling, where shall we head off to next?
Photos by Victoria Metaxas