To help you plan an unforgettable trip to the city, the Bath BID Welcome Ambassadors share their favourite lesser-known things to do in Bath…
Discover the Oldest Shopping Venue in Bath
“Bath’s architecture is stunning, and is always there to enjoy. But if the weather isn’t good, or you’d just like a change of scenery, then head to Bath Guildhall Market next to the Guildhall.
“Its nineteenth-century circular interior is unusual in itself, but the wide collection of stalls is equally attractive. These include a delicatessen, a second-hand book stall, a haberdasher, a hardware stall, and a lovely café. There are more stalls to browse and enjoy, and you can even get your hair cut!
“Bath Guildhall Market is a piece of Bath that is well-known and enjoyed by residents, and somewhere I would definitely suggest a visit.”
Try Some Local Craft Beer
“Bath is home to several top-notch breweries and craft ale shops. On a sunny Saturday, I enjoy walking out of the city along the river. A two-mile stroll in the sunshine sets you up very nicely for a couple of pints in the taproom at Electric Bear Brewery which has consistently good regular brews and always something new to try. On the way back, a meal in The Locksbrook Inn’s wonderful garden overlooking the river is also usually on the agenda.
“If your time in Bath is limited, try the Bath Brew House in James Street. It’s a popular, rustic-chic pub in the heart of the city, offering a selection of its own brews as well as brewery tours, a large sunny garden, good food and live music on Sundays.
“You can also buy local brews to enjoy at home at BeerCraft on Pulteney Street or sit outside in the sun and enjoy a freshly pulled pint from their taproom. Independent Spirit on Terrace Walk and Brewed Boy at the top of Walcot Street are also good ports of call.”
Root Around a Charity Shop
“I love exploring Bath’s charity shops! If you like searching for unusual bargains, there are plenty to choose from, but you have to know where to go.
“If you’re after books, we have three brilliant shops – Julian House in Walcot Street (the books are downstairs), Dorothy House in Broad Street, and Oxfam in Lower Borough Walls. All of them have ‘vintage and collectables’ sections of older and rare books, and also sell DVDs and CDs – it’s definitely worth looking through the racks of films and music for some great finds.
“Dorothy House and Oxfam both have shops selling general goods as well, both in Argyle Street. Other charity shops to make your way to are Shaw Trust and another Oxfam on the left towards the end of George Street, Save the Children at the bottom of Walcot Street opposite the Podium car park, and British Heart Foundation in Green Street. Happy hunting!”
Take a Riverside Stroll
“On a warm, sunny afternoon, with spare time on my hands, I like to stroll along the riverside path, from North Parade Bridge to Pulteney Bridge. The views to the west across the River Avon, with Bath Abbey prominently standing proud in the heart of the city, six metres above river level, reminds me of pre-Georgian Bath as it would have been seen by all who came before.
“When the Romans came to Bath circa AD 44, the river was the level of the land on which they constructed their now world-famous baths and spa. Following the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066, in about 1080, the construction of the huge Norman Cathedral was commenced and it would have stood even more prominently, with its east window high above what is now Terrace Walk, on the eighteenth-century Grand Parade.
“Also standing prominently across the river to the right stands Charles Edward Davis’, Empire Hotel, nowadays converted into prime retirement apartments.
“Sitting on one of the riverside benches taking in this vista, above Parade Gardens, formerly the eighteenth-century Harrison’s Walk located below his now long-since demolished Assembly Rooms, with Bath Recreation Ground behind, reminds me of the huge historical changes Bath has undergone over two millennia.
“To finish off my stroll, I climb the steps up to Robert Adam’s Pulteney Bridge and make my way around to Parade Gardens, to treat myself to a well-earned cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake from the refreshment hut, and take time to relax in a deckchair.”
Visit Newton St Loe
“Ten minutes’ drive or bus ride from the centre of Bath towards Bristol and you are in the small picturesque village of Newton St Loe, which dates back to the eleventh century. The majority of this village is now owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.
“There is the village shop, the Holy Trinity Church with its one-hand clock, the seventeenth-century dog-friendly The Globe Inn, and the beginning of several rural walks with stunning views. The award-winning Newton Farm, which has been run by the same family for three generations, includes cattle, pigs, sheep and grain, and an excellent café and farm shop – something for everyone! There is also plenty of parking and outside seating. When I am looking to escape the bustle of Bath for a relaxed hour or two, this is a favourite destination.”