Luxuriate in hot Bath
Modern lateral flats behind a classical Georgian façade tempt Londoners to this heritage city. By Cathy Hawker ‘Perfect blend of country and city’
ROYAL CRESCENT in Bath, the famous sweep of honey-coloured stone terrace houses, is 250 years old this year, while the Georgian city itself marks 30 years as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Bath’s reputation for beauty and history makes it a huge draw for exiting Londoners and commuters.
It has long attracted Londoners to Somerset in search of a slower pace of life, says Giles Harling, 38, who works in sales and left the capital two years ago for a one-bedroom ground-floor flat in Camden Crescent, one of Bath’s five Georgian crescents.
“I knew I wanted to leave London at some point and return to the West Country where I grew up,” he says. “I have a 10-minute walk to work and for me that is priceless. My partner and I start the weekend with a boot camp fitness class in Victoria Park, play tennis in the afternoon and meet friends in the evening. Everything is on our doorstep.”
At 11 square miles, Bath is easy to walk around as long as you are prepared for its seven steep hills. Tourist buses add to traffic queues that are severe at times, with parking also a headache. The 88,000 population is swelled by students at two universities, there’s a world-class theatre, a good mix of high street and boutique shopping and a flourishing schedule of festivals and Christmas WRITER Vishaka Robinson and her computer animator husband Dean, in their thirties, moved to Bath from London last year. They live in the city centre with daughters Olive, four, and Ruby, one.
Says Vishaka: “We just fell in love with Bath. It has the perfect combination of a laid-back countryside vibe and the charms of a small, bustling city. Super-friendly locals, dreamy architecture, tons of independent shops and great state and private schools. I don’t know anyone who didn’t get their first choice of school this year. And the city has a strong culture of markets. Elegant Bath has always been sophisticated but now it’s more cultural, too.
That also goes for property choices, with some interesting new build . Fitzroy House, launching this autumn, is in Great Pulteney Street, the longest, widest and most prestigious Georgian residential street in central Bath, lined on both sides by terraces of stately Grade I-listed homes built in 1789. Developer Longacre has turned five entire houses into 28 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats priced from £495,000 for 505sq ft.
Behind the classical Bath stone façade the flats are all different, some with gardens or roof terraces, some with their own front door and most including parking. “Many people love Georgian architecture but want contemporary and comfortable interiors and lateral space,” says Anna Fairman of Savills Bath. “That’s always been a rare combination to find.
“Fitzroy House has lifts, parking and sleek openplan interiors with Bulthaup kitchens and classical mouldings and shutters, under 10 minutes’ level walk from the train station and two from the city centre.”
Service charges are £750 a year and homes are on a 999-year lease.
Savills: savills.com independents, making it a vibrant place to live.” Dean works in London so Vishaka appreciates being central, with cocktail bars, coffee shops and the Royal Crescent all within five minutes’ walk. “For a small city Bath hits above its weight culturally with reams of cool festivals and interesting museums and theatres. We visit Egg, the children’s theatre, every month.”
The canal path from Bath to Bradford on Avon is a favourite, either by boat or bike, and Frome and Bruton, home to Hauser & Wirth art gallery, are “brilliant quirky towns nearby”.
In love with Bath: Vishaka and Dean Robinson, with daughters Olive and Ruby, quit the capital for Bath last year
From £495,000: flats carved from five entire townhouses in prestigious Great Pulteney Street, Bath