Our Girls Trip 2022 to the UK began with a few fabulous days in Bath before we immersed ourselves in the bustle of city life in London. Bath is one of those cities that requires time set aside for wandering the quaint cobblestone lanes and squares while imagining the past where couples promenaded along the river in their finery. Be sure to watch Bridgerton before you visit Bath as they film portions of the series there!
Flying into Heathrow, we had a private car service pick us up and take us straight to Bath, a two-hour (depending on motorway traffic) car ride through the countryside. Along the way we saw Windsor Castle in the distance, standing very majestic in the surrounding fields, and caught up on our journeys so far to get there. Patti and Becky flew in from Indiana, where we grew up, and I had an even longer flight from Idaho. Since the pandemic, we have made a pact to explore new places together at least once a year despite our busy schedules and some push back from our spouses. Last year we went to Florence. So fun! For our 2023 trip, we are thinking about Paris. Girls got to get out and see the world! YOLO, amirite or what?
Checking into our ARBNB townhouse (so many steep stairs!) in the heart of Bath, we quickly settled in and then went off to enjoy pizza and salad at a café next door. Yum! I do think ARBNBs are great for longer term stays and for groups like us, three girls who need more bathrooms and beds than a hotel room would provide, plus we like having a kitchen. The weather was fine (even in November!) so, we sat outside and did some people watching while we ate, drank and enjoyed being together again.
The bookstore across from our ARBNB, Topping & Company Booksellers on York Street, is the bomb, spread over several floors and many rooms. I love bookstores and this one is both extensive in its assortment and a cozy, intimate book experience with numerous nooks to sit and peruse whatever book you may be looking for. I was surprised by all their signed first edition books. I asked one of the book clerks and they said they do get a lot of book readings there and I don’t doubt it. This bookstore is an author’s dream. Who wouldn’t want to come to historic Bath to this lovely place to read their books? The bookstore sent us down the street for the best coffee in Bath at The Columbian Company at 6 Abbey Gate Street to get the day started.
After some coffee for me and hot chocolate for the ladies, we set off to be the first customers of the day at the Roman Baths. Last time I was here in September with Thom, we didn’t have time to see the Baths so this was a “must see” for me. I would recommend you buy timed entry tickets in advance to avoid standing in line. For $20BP we got entry and a free audio guide so we could learn all about Bath history. They had different channels you could listen to including author Bill Bryson telling you stories about the exhibits. Everyone who visits Bath goes to visit this site (except Thom and I because we went to Stonehenge instead for a day trip from Bath) so plan ahead. The facility is well done with lots of interactive exhibits and historical details. They even have characters in period costumes that are scattered throughout and will chat with you and share historical details if you ask them questions. Also, the Baths are a beautiful place to take some photos. Definitely worth the entrance price. Plan to take a few hours to walk through and experience it all. You can even drink from the spring at the end of the visit. And the gift shop is enticing with a wide array of souvenirs to take home. I scored a Roman warrior duck for our collection that our grandkids will enjoy in their baths. Of course, like any proper UK museum gift shop, they sold a variety of hard alcohol, all local, including everything from gin to brandy. Cheers!
After visiting the Baths, we enjoyed a private tour of the city with Daniel from Bath Insider Tours, who provided us with three hours of fun storytelling and expertly driving around us Bath in his van covering all the historic facts and taking us to Bridgerton filming sites. Starting with a drive up to the highest point overlooking the city across the river, we began by learning from Daniel all about the prince who got leprosy and was kicked out of his castle by his dad. Wandering the countryside as a pig herder, he stumbled upon a place (now called Bath) and discovered the hot mineral springs feeding the mud where his pigs with skin wounds would wallow looking for acorns. The mud miraculously healed his pigs. The legend is that he applied this miracle mud to his leprosy, which went away and thus allowed him to return home. As we explored Bath, our tour guide pointed out the acorns scattered around the city that architects used in sculptures on building cornices to honor the acorn’s place in Bath history. After the transformed prince spread his tale far and wide of the legendary healing properties of the mineral hot springs, Bath became famous and prosperous.
The Bridgerton film sites we visited included:
- The Modiste now a deli
- The Tea Shop
- The Royal Crescent
- Lady Danbury’s house
Happily tired after our tour, we settled into a proper British Roast at the Huntsmen pub close by our ARBNB. While they were already out of the beef roast, the ladies had the port loan roast along with Yorkshire pudding (which is like a light pastry you pour gravy over), potatoes, carrots, cauliflower with cheese and potatoes. A light meal! I had a spicy chickpea salad for my main as I don’t like meat. Of course, after that “light” meal, we had to have gelato because it was right next door to our place. Was it better than Italian gelato? Well, all gelato is pretty good, and we appreciated the tasty treat to end our busy day. We took our gelato and walked over the Bath Abbey, a gorgeous cathedral where you can take a tour, ring the bell or just wander in and check it out. It’s right on the main square where you can get a hot chocolate at Mrs. Potts, a Bath Bun sweet or gelato all within a few blocks. Everyone hangs out there munching and listening to street musicians. Afterward, stretch your legs with a walk over the Pulteney Bridge (shops line the bridge) and along the path by the River Avon. Channel your inner Jane Austen (they have a Jane Austen festival every year in Bath) and soak in the beautiful sight of the Pulteney Weir directing the water in the river since 1603 to protect Bath from flooding.
What else is there to do in Bath? Well, my husband and I were there a month earlier and enjoyed the Thermae Spa very much. Both the outside rooftop pool and the inside pool were delightful. When you are in the inside pool, let the strong current take you away and float around the pool. Just be careful not to bump into other patrons-it is a very strong current. Outside, you can enjoy the view of downtown Bath from the roof (no cameras allowed so no pics of the view) and let the waterfall at one end of the pool soak you. Make your reservations in advance and enjoy the warm waters. Do they have healing properties? Who knows but you will definitely relax and enjoy this unique experience. When in Bath, a soak is a must do!
I love Bath and would highly recommend you visit for a few days. One day is not nearly enough time to soak (literally) in the waters and wander the charming streets. Enjoy the journey!