If there was a town built for de-stressing, it’s Bath. A wellbeing destination since Roman times, Bath is steeped in history and is full of independent shops, museums, galleries, eateries and watering holes and, of course, has the only natural thermal hot springs in Britain you can bathe in. A two-hour train journey from Paddington takes you into Bath train station, a pretty easy journey taking in the stunning Somerset countryside. It feels good stepping off the train and ready to explore. Here’s our round up on the best things we experienced over a weekend to help you plan your next staycation.
Where to Stay
With 166 rooms inside an 18th-century Georgian building, Hotel Indigo is a boutique hotel that offers contemporary design with a traditional twist and is a super short walk from the train station. The hotels oozes character from every corner, with huge statement modern chandeliers, chunky framed gold portraits purposely defaced with splashes of colour, plush velvets, and wood panelling. It’s eccentric, exciting and all inspired by the local neighbourhood. We checked into the newer part of the hotel, one of the garden rooms out the back with floor to ceiling windows and an outdoor table and chairs for that morning sunspot. The room is fun, with splashes of colour everywhere, super cool lighting and all the practicalities you need with a Nespresso machine, Egyptian cotton linen, super-comfy Hypnos bed and spa-inspired bathroom. This felt like a stylish mini apartment connected to the hotel. Excellent in every way.
Hotel Indigo, 2-8 S Parade, Bath BA2 4AB
Food & Drink
It’s all tequila and tacos at Dos Dedos, an authentic Mexican restaurant that is all about the fun and with over 100 mezcals and tequilas behind the bar, it’s easy to see why. The Mexican cantina is found on the cobbled streets of Edgar Mews and inside it’s a party everyone is invited to. With upcycled wood, peeling paint and exposed brickwork, Dos Dedos has an eclectic mix of weird and interesting knick-knacks that add to its charm and charisma. The food is banging too, with their signature soft corn tacos filled with familiar faves; the slow-cooked pork shoulder immediately put us in a dream-like state and the three-bean chilli nachos pack a punch and really helps soak up that tequila. On the drinks side, the Tommy’s margarita is superb and they also do a mezcal version as well as a mezcal negroni. We love this place and you will too.
Dos Dedos, 8 Edgar Mews, Bartlett Street, Bath
Opening in 2017 in a beautiful Grade II-listed building on St James’s Parade is the homely Vietnamese cafe Noya’s Kitchen. Noya left Vietnam when she was seven years old, and her passion for food started to grow as she learned how to cook from an early age bringing her roots from Vietnam to her UK life. Fresh, flavoursome dishes that are packed with aromatic herbs and spices is what Noya’s Kitchen is all about. We tucked into amazing crispy pork dumplings with chilli jam and nuoc dipping sauce along with a sensational chicken curry with jasmine rice and pickles. If this was our local we’d be on their Christmas card list for sure. Super tasty food in a smart, informal yet beautiful setting, it’s a great spot.
The Elder at Hotel Indigo
The Elder is the restaurant at Hotel Indigo, and along with the bar is independently run and owned by restaurateur Mike Robinson, who is also co-owner of London’s only Michelin star pub The Harwood Arms. Gavin Edney is the Executive Chef and he’s created a menu that showcases Great British cooking, wild food, and a ‘field to fork’ ethos – they even manage the land that their wild deer comes from. The dishes here include the likes of roast chicken & ham knuckle ploughmans with Keens cheddar, pickled onions & mushroom ketchup; cod cheeks with English peas, guanciale, bacon cream & black garlic: roast salt-aged duck with leg & liver sausage roll, spring cabbage & sour cherry gravy; and 45-day aged sirloin of Hereford beef with grilled allium, hash brown, garlic butter snails & cep caramel. Excellent food hearty food that is beautifully presented with great service, our kind of place.
The Edler, Hotel Indigo, 2-8 S Parade, Bath BA2 4AB
What To Do
If you’re looking for an artsy fartsy day out in Bath it doesn’t get much better than the Holburne Museum. Found in the Sydney Pleasure Gardens, the Grade I-listed building is the city’s first public art gallery and home to fine and decorative arts built around the collection of Sir William Holburne. You may also recognise the museum as it was featured heavily as Lady Danbury’s home in period drama Bridgerton. At the time of our visit, the gallery was showcasing Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, a brilliant and insightful dive into the playful world of Perry engaging in political and social conversations of the time. Keep an eye out for their current and up and coming exhibitions here.
The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath, BA2 4DB
Thermae Bath Spa
Britain’s original thermal spa is a place where you can rest and in unwind in their naturally warm, mineral-rich waters. The building is a mix of old and new, where stone and glass meet light and water. The main thermal bath is named after the Roman goddess of health & wisdom, Minerva and it’s where you can enjoy their massage jet, whirlpool and lazy river, something the Roman’s didn’t have. The open-air rooftop pool, complete with air seats and bubbling jets, is pretty special and can be enjoyed day and night, giving amazing views over the city. The Thermae Bath Spa also offer a range of treatments to further add to the experience. With each massage tailored to suit what you have in mind, we couldn’t have enjoyed this more. Fully recommend starting with a massage and then enjoying the thermal baths. Go on, treat yourself.
Thermae Bath Spa, The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath Street, Bath, BA1 1SJ
The Roman Baths
Not paying a visit to the Roman Baths would be like opening the fridge and not taking a cheeky square of chocolate from an already opened bar. Steeped in over 2,000 years of history, the Roman Baths is one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe, preserving the remains of one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world where the baths still flow with natural hot water. Walking around the site on the original pavements you can see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva and the bronze head of the Goddess Sulis Minerva. There’s the Pump Room Restaurant on-site and keep an eye out for special events like their torch-lit summer evenings.
Roman Baths, Abbey Church Yard, Bath BA1 1LZ
For more information on Bath, check out visitbath.co.uk