As you may remember from my last post, this week is reading week at King’s. Even though most of our time has been used to catch up on some additional readings and to write a few essays, Cameron and I thought it would be fun and relaxing to take a short trip. We chose Bath because its relatively close, absolutely beautiful, and has a variety of activities from sightseeing to the vibrant restaurant scene.
Looking for a place to stay I began with airbnb since we had such a positive experience when we stayed in London while searching for our flat, but decided to check out some other options just for fun. I’m so glad I did because I found a great little place called Brooks Guest House (there are two more, one in Bristol and in Edinburgh) which was the same price as the airbnb I’d been considering. A bed and breakfast, the rooms are small but nice, and the communal living room and honesty bar made it a feel especially homey. It’s about a five to six minute walk from the town centre which was great as it allowed for lots of exploring, and is quite close to the Royal Crescent, a park, and the botanical garden.
After we arrived we dropped off our bags and headed out to do some sightseeing. We decided to tour the Roman Baths first, which turned out to be even more interesting than I’d anticipated. I had no idea that their original footprint was so large, and really enjoyed the way the modern building snaked around and incorporated parts of the Roman ruins. It was amazing to walk over the same places where the Roman once did, and to see the features unique to the site, like the unusual male gorgon’s head in the pediment, the extensively routed water channels, and the structures added on top of the ruins in the middle ages, and later Victorian era.
On Tuesday we toured the absolutely gorgeous Bath Abbey, which I was amazed to learn contains around 60% of the original stained glass that was blown out by the blitz during the second world war. The Victoria Gallery was interesting and featured a temporary exhibit by a contemporary British artist depicts scenes from around the country, and the Pulteney bridge was definitely worth the trek in the rain, as the banks of the river were lined with trees whose leaves had turned bright yellow and orange making the whole thing even more beautiful.
Wednesday was our last day in Bath, and we had quite a bit of time as our train didn’t leave until the late afternoon. I really wanted to see the Holburne Museum, which houses quite a collection of 17th and 18th century paintings, as well as many different objects collected by Holburne over his lifetime. A temporary exhibit has just opened up featuring gold in religious, ceremonial, and decorative uses which we had to purchase tickets for, but was totally worth it. The objects ranged from illuminated manuscripts, to gilded furniture, and videos of how gold is shaped into wire, and how books and furniture are gilded. The knockout though, was the gold tiger’s head that confronted you as you entered the exhibit.
We hadn’t realised it when we’d booked, but Bath was wrapping up The Great Bath Feast, a celebration of local chefs and produce, and we managed to hit quite a few stops on our few days. My favourite was definitely the dinner Cameron had planned for us on Monday evening. After keeping the location a secret for at least a week and refusing to give me any hints about where we were going, I was absolutely thrilled when we arrived at Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, especially since we’d walked by earlier in the day and he’d very sneakily said that we should go for lunch the next day. Honestly I could write a full post about how fantastic our meal was– if you find yourself in Bath, this is definitely a must try!
If you have time on your visit and want a bit of a break from sightseeing, relaxing at the Thermae Bath Spa is a nice change of pace. Since it was mid-week, it wasn’t too crowded, and relaxing in the saunas and mineral baths was the perfect pick-me-up to recharge before we left.
I’ve detailed the rest of our visit in another post about things to do, eat, and see in Bath as this post could be at least three times as long if I’d included everything. In about two days we had plenty of time to see all of the things we’d wanted to, and managed to relax a bit as well– definitely a successful holiday!