Each of Bath’s neighbourhoods has its own unique atmosphere, but all of them are filled with independent spirit.
Kingsmead Square and Saw Close
With coffee shops, restaurants, street food and a world-famous cocktail bar, Kingsmead Square is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and watch the world go by. Just around the corner from Kingsmead Square is Saw Close, the centre of Bath’s theatre district, which is home to the Theatre Royal Bath and also boasts a plethora of eateries, from wood-fired pizza at The Oven to the Bath institution that is Schwartz Bros.
Green Park Station
Green Park Station is a former railway station that is now a unique shopping venue, lined with independent shops and stalls, as well as the popular Bath Pizza Co. The beautiful cast-iron roof not only provides year-round shelter, but also houses regular bustling markets.
Milsom Street Quarter
The stylish Milsom Street is well-known for being home to one of the world’s oldest department stores, but you will also discover some independent gems on your wanders. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Milsom Street is Milsom Place, where you will find an array of shops and restaurants, including Chanii B, the home of internationally-renowned shoe designer Chantal Pilon, and Le Vignoble, a wine lounge offering self-service beverages.
The Walcot Street area of Bath has held the informal title of Bath’s Artisan Quarter since the 1960s, and brings together a vibrant collection of characterful independent shops and restaurants. Whether you are looking for quirky second-hand clothes or classic comics, Walcot Street has you covered. There are some lovely restaurants lining the street, and you will also find one of Bath’s institutions, the community-owned Bell Inn.
Abbey Green is a historic cobbled square that is home to a nineteenth-century London Plane tree. Wander around the Abbey Quarter and you will find a wonderful selection of independent shops and eateries, and on the last Sunday of every month, you can explore the vibrant Abbey Quarter Market.
Incorporating Union Passage, Northumberland Passage and Northumberland Place, The Lanes make up one of the city’s best kept secrets, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets but just seconds away from Bath’s tourist destinations. Described by Jane Austen as ‘“this interesting passageway”, the characterful area is crammed with quirky cafes, jewellers, pubs, and gift shops.
The place to visit in Bath if you have an interest in art and interiors. Tucked along Brock Street between the Circus and the Royal Crescent, this area is a treasure trove of specialists in silverware, antiques and glass. Astonishingly there are 6 art galleries in this area, so it is a perfect spot to go browsing for inspiration. There is also a range of great independently owned eating places with Green Bird Café also running evening events.
Head over the footbridge behind Bath Spa Station and you will find Widcombe Parade, offering everything from coffee houses to gift shops, and even a gin distillery. Just up the road, you will find Widcombe Social Club, a community-focused venue offering live music and comedy nights.
Sitting on the edge of the city, Larkhall’s village atmosphere is bolstered by independent shops including Larkhall Butchers, a farm shop, delis, florists and even a co-operative printing workshop.
Based in the popular Oldfield Park area, the bustling Moorland Road is home to independent retailers aplenty. Find a wide range of hardware products at Francis DIY, which first opened in 1967, stock up on essentials at Bath’s first refill store, Newleaf Healthfoods, and tuck into out-of-this-world burgers from Magu Diner, or award-winning fish and chips from The Oyster Shell.
Named the second-best place to live in the South West by the Sunday Times last year, Bear Flat has a tight-knit community and an impressive range of independent shops and eateries, including the Good Bear Café, where 2014 Masterchef winner Ping Coombes hosts supper clubs, and Menu Gordon Jones, a stylish contemporary restaurant with a long waiting list.
Originally a separate village, Weston is now a suburb in north-west Bath that is home to cosy cafés, takeaways, and a friendly pub.