How I heard of it: My brother Gabe, who lives in Cambridge, visited Bath with his fiancee a while ago and was talking about how awesome it was. I decided to go find out for myself. I was pleasantly surprised.
How I got there: For 7 pounds, I got on a bus from London’s Victoria Coach Station. I barely made the bus as I didn’t realize the station was nearby, not attached, to the underground and railway station. Luckily, someone gave me a quick direction and I made the bus in the nick of time. The bus ride was great, very comfortable and the scenery was lovely.
Where I stayed: I decided to go as budget friendly as possible so I stayed at the St. Christopher’s Inn hostel. St. Christopher’s is a chain hostel and is known for the partying—something I'm not really interested in. Luckily, I had a relatively peaceful and pleasant stay. As per the reviews, there was a ton of noise because the bar is located directly below & is open late, I think until 2am. They often have loud music or live bands and I think it's pretty much the only bar in Bath open that late. Also, our room didn’t seem to have any air conditioning or fans, so the only source of air was to leave the window open so it felt like we were right outside with the street noise and drunk people. They do supply ear plugs but are practically worthless - they do muffle the sound a little.
With that said, the rooms and bathrooms were very nice and very clean - it was a pleasant surprise. I was also in a room that seemed to have a lot of calm, clean, and courteous travelers - not a bunch of locals on stag. I was able to sleep relatively well since I would walk around the city all day. If you’re tired enough, you won’t have any problem getting rest.
Overall impression of Bath: I feel like a broken record, but I was pleasantly surprised about this city. It is tiny! Like, really, really tiny! You can walk around the whole city multiple times in a day. The people, generally speaking, are a lot friendlier in comparison to London. I basically made best friends with a couple of folks in a fantastic Thai restaurant called Koh - across from the hostel. I felt a bit odd being that guy that makes friends with the bartenders and waiters but they were so friendly, I’m not ashamed.
Speaking of food… what did I eat? Bath had some bomb food. Koh had awesome Thai (with amazing service). The spicy noodles and crispy beef were pretty damn tasty. Thoughtful Bakery had amazing pastries (also very nice people). They also have a bakery school that I really want to go back and do. Schwartz Bros burger joint is great for late night/inebriated junk food. Dough is located in an alleyway called the “Corridor” and they make incredible pizza. I had a calzone that looked bigger than my head (luckily, it was mostly air). I had a funny moment there… I asked for a side of tomato sauce and they interpreted that as ketchup...? I supposed there are people out there that make weird requests like that so they didn't question it.
What did I do: Other than walking a lot and drinking beer? I went to the Fashion Museum - it wasn’t the most grand, but it was interesting to walk through the history of dress. You can see where some of the design and style in our modern clothes trace back to the 1800s. I did the free walking tour and I highly recommend it. Adge was our tour guide and took us to each of the major landmarks of Bath while simultaneously giving a backstory and entertainment. He is a police officer who grew up in Bath and had also served in the British Air Force. The tour required absolutely 0 money and they didn’t even ask for tips - I would have gladly given a tip considering the experience but he simply asked us to buy a postcard so we could remember the experience and to leave a review on TripAdvisor. It was really quite nice.
Hedgemead Park is a really nice park to take a stroll and relax. It's on the edge of the city and has some really beautiful views peeping through the openings between trees.
Thermae Spa is the main spa operating from the old Roman baths. You can go to their website to see the different packages you can purchase - I went for the twilight and I would definitely recommend it. You receive a meal and beverage and 2+ hours use of the facilities. They have a treatment area where you can experience multiple specialty rooms - dry heat, steam, cooling, etc. It’s amazing! Then, there’s a lovely indoor pool and a rooftop pool - both of which are heated naturally from the earth! I came out of that place feeling like I was re-born. It's a must-go. I really did feel amazing afterwards...my skin and soul was refreshed.
Some pubs and cafes have minimums on cards
Visit the Thermae Spa - enjoy yourself (I recommend the twilight package)
Go take a walk through the parks
Drink lots of beer
Have some delicious pastries/ baked goods, check out Thoughtful Bakery
Unless you have a ton of luggage - I don’t think there’s any need for a taxi
Do the free walking tour, if you can, join Adge’s group
Thanks for reading! I'll be posting more about some of my other destinations soon.