The small, Roman city of Bath Spa lies in a soft vale in the south west of England and is the place I am truly proud to call my home. After travelling for as long as I have been, I breath a sigh of relief when I return to the buskers in Abbey square, the small boutiques that dot the high street and the slight smell of coffee that wafts from unknown places. The light stone of the Georgian architecture gives Bath its beauty and as you wander around, the underlying sense of history surrounds you. For you are in the town of Roman leisure, Jane Austin romance and British tradition.
So where does one start? The obvious attractions of the Royal Crescent and Roman Baths spring to mind for most tourists, yet Bath has so much more to offer. It is a place of culture, history and undeniable beauty and there are so many places, people and moments I wish I could tell you about. Most weekends are spend with a smoothie in my bejewelled hand, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the tourists in one of the squares. A particularly favourite place is the adorable Jazz Cafe in Kingsmead Square, a place that serves all day brunch. Perfect. I rarely have breakfast. A cup of coffee is breakfast, usually as I madly grab various files and items needed for the day. And lunch is pretty mundane. It doesn’t involve the interesting cuisine of breakfast, however it is a very necessary meal. So, to the super human who invented brunch, thank you! I love brunch. Even the word is perfect. Brunch. At the Jazz Cafe, you can drink coffee, giggle with girlfriends and eat the most amazing French toast, all in a crowded wood panelled room, with colourful jazz posters on the walls and very friendly staff. It is a truly refreshing experience where hours could be wasted away solving the worlds troubles. Sophisticated, tasty and wonderful.
As you walk around the rising streets, just past the Abbey, there is the Guildhall Market, open 6 days a week and a place for the locals of Somerset to come and sell their wears. A traditional sweet shop sits next to a vibrant fabric store, but the true gem in this covered maze of stalls, is the trinket and jewellery stand, run by the same decorated lady for the past 20 years. She offers brooches, bracelets and beads in strings of every colour. Bargains are sure to be found here that will perk up any outfit.
If you, like me, are a total book worm, a must-visit is Mr B’s Bookshop; An Emporium of Reading delights. This is no ordinary bookshop. Tucked away down a little side street, the cream and purple façade beckons you gently into a world of stories, printed pages and new friends. What makes this little shop one of my favourite places in the world (apart from the miles of shelving that support every kind of story), is the fact that upstairs sit comfortable armchairs where for half an hour, you can rest your weary feet with any novel that grabs your fancy. Complimentary tea accompanies this gracious break and ask any of the smiling staff in Mr B’s for a book recommendation, and you will be left making the tough choice between a dozen different titles, each promising to become your new best friend. Terribly frustrating if you are a broke book nerd like me. Make a small visit to this wonderland of fiction and fact and you shall not regret it.
In my personal opinion Bath has a style that is clean, crisp and fresh. Being a tourist city, the influx of money promises designer brands, whilst at the same time, vintage thrift shops can be found and fantastic bargains are hidden down every avenue. Bath is an infusion of bohemian chic and Upper East side smart, a hybrid of styles that surprisingly works.
Not only does the city of Bath offer a vast amount, but its proximity to places such as Bristol, Wells and Glastonbury mean that weekends can be spent at the fairs and flea markets of such places. While one might venture to the ‘big city’ of Bristol every now and again, the charm and flavour of Bath never leaves you. For although small, it has much character and will welcome any pilgrim to it’s sites. There is so much more to explore, learn and discover about this ancient city and it continues to inspire me upon every visit, through the conversations I have with strangers in Abbey Square, a dozen languages being spoken around me at once. The sound of a Spanish guitar evolving into the jazzy tones of a saxophone as you move from busker to busker. The culture, the history and the style will never cease to surprise and enthral you. I hope I have given you just a snapshot of the wonder of Bath Spa
Come visit me soon!