National Geographic Traveller (UK)
What not to miss in Bath
It’s the history that draws most visitors to Bath — be it the city’s Roman baths or the buildings of the goldenhued Georgian era. But venture beyond the best-known attractions and you’ll find proudly independent shops and top-quality food and drink. And, thanks to its river and canal, Bath oers a wealth of waterborne activities, too.
A saunter through Bath’s less-heralded attractions might start in the city’s BOTANICAL GARDENS. Here, THE LITTLE COFFEE CART sells refreshments between magnolia boughs. Next to the gardens, in the northwest corner of Royal Victoria Park, the GREAT DELL has a walkway among majestic redwoods and conifers. Nearby, behind the sweeping arc of the Royal Crescent, MARGARET’S BUILDINGS is a quaint shopping parade that’s worth a potter: browse GALLERY NINE for jewellery and ceramics, then step back in time at BERDOULAT, which sells wine, tea, spices and furniture, and recently had its 19thcentury shop counters splendidly restored. Also worth admiring are the majestic sweeps of CAMDEN CRESCENT and LANSDOWN CRESCENT (the latter oers views across the city). galleryninebath.com berdoulat.co.uk
WALCOT STREET, meanwhile, is where you’ll find a host of local artisans. Take a calligraphy class at METICULOUS INK, try on scarves at KATHERINE FRASER — handwoven on the shop’s loom — then stop for a cra beer at BREWED BOY. Nearby, LANDRACE BAKERY uses organic, stone-ground flour for its baked treats and also in the pasta dishes served at its relaxed upstairs dining space. meticulousink.com katherinefraser.co.uk landracebakery.com
A number of Bath’s museums focus on Georgian life and fashion but its smaller museums are also worth a look. Few people know that William Herschel discovered Uranus from a Bath garden in 1781; the HERSCHEL MUSEUM OF ASTRONOMY displays his telescopes, globes and workshops in his former home. Just outside the city, the AMERICAN MUSEUM & GARDENS at Claverton Manor, meanwhile, tells stories from US history through its decorative objects.
Alternatively, visit The Cider Barn at DICK WILLOWS, a cider maker, for similar views accompanied by street food and chilled tunes. herschelmuseum.org.uk americanmuseum.org dickwillows.com
There’s fine art and decorative art on display at the HOLBURNE MUSEUM, and from here you can drop down onto the Kennet and Avon Canal. The city is well set up for adventures on the canal or River Avon, and options include hiring a punt, canoe or ski at BATH BOATING STATION, or a standup paddleboard from ORIGINAL WILD. Alternatively, the canal can be explored in a canoe or on a bicycle, hired from BATH NARROWBOATS. holburne.org bathboating.co.uk originalwild.com bath-narrowboats.co.uk
Pub lunches and a walk go hand in hand, and the golden-stone hilltop village of South Stoke, just south of Bath, oers both. A roundtrip walk from THE PACKHORSE passes overgrown trenches that were once the Somerset Coal Canal, and the pub itself oers seasonal dishes and a garden. On the same hill, CASTLE FARM is home to a restaurant and supper club where the roti canai is a brunch favourite. packhorsebath.co.uk castlefarmmidford.co.uk
For dinner in the city centre, CORKAGE has top-notch small plates. Oering something more substantial,
THE ELDER is an elegant, wood-panelled aair focusing on game and traditional English cuisine, served up by chef Mike Robinson. corkagebath.com theelder.co.uk
Taco bar DOS DEDOS brings more far-flung flavours, alongside more than 100 mezcals and tequilas. THE HIDEOUT is a former highwayman’s den that goes big on world whiskies. dosdedos.co.uk hideoutbath.co.uk
Need to rest your head? THE YARD IN BATH is a boutique hotel with a wine bar showcasing organic tipples from local merchant WOLF WINES. Alternatively, NO 15 GREAT PULTENEY has 37 elegant rooms just minutes from the Pulteney Bridge, and a copper bath built for two in its basement spa. theyardinbath.co.uk wolfwine.co.uk guesthousehotels.co.uk visitbath.co.uk NATALIE PARIS