Originally, Lior was supposed to be in Paris the first week of December. I floated the idea of joining him, so he took Friday, December 6 off from work, and we planned to spend the weekend. The work trip fell through, but we thought that we would still take the long weekend. I really wanted to go to Rotterdam, but the train tickets were expensive. Eventually we decided to “just” go to Paris…but then we didn’t book anything. In the end, Lior moved the day off to the following week.
When planning my mom’s time in London (she basically let me pick whatever I wanted us to do, and I gave her veto power), I settled on a trip to Stonehenge. Many tour groups also offered a trip to Bath on the same day, but my mom didn’t want to do a 12 hour tour. (Now I have the Gilligan’s Island theme song stuck in my head…) But I kept hearing about how cute Bath was, and since it’s only 2 hours away by train, it sounded like a very reasonable weekend trip. I floated the idea by Lior, and he was interested. However, the hotel prices were insane when I checked (or…just not in our budget). Not wanting to miss out, we decided to make a day trip of it. Lior is crazy busy with work, so I was put in charge of the planning. My only guidelines were:
No races (He was safe, there’s none in the area that weekend)
No farms–there’s a small farm in the area–luckily for him, it’s not in the city center
After some googling about things to do in Bath and looking at the map, I decided to keep us in the city center, and made a list of things to do:
Eat Bath Buns. Apparently these are special to the area (hence the name), and I found a great place to go for breakfast
Walking tour–I found a cheap walking tour that covers most of the sites I want to see
Christmas Market–’tis the season, and there are 150 chalets (stalls?) with things to see/buy/eat
Roman Baths–pretty sure it’s obligatory to go!
(More Christmas Market viewing?)
I also made a dinner reservation and a reasonably-priced restaurant with good reviews
The plan is to do everything in the above order. We booked our train tickets according to our plans: 8:30am train from London that gets to Bath at 10:00am, (we have an 11:30am walking tour), and a 10:00pm train from Bath (after an 8:15pm dinner) that gets us back to London a bit after 11:30pm.
our day trip to bath!
We made the 8:30am train with plenty of time–so much that even I, who am compulsively afraid I’ll be late and miss a train/flight/whatever, was perfectly calm. Our train left from Paddington Station, and since Lior knows the station well (his office is there), he brought me to a surprise:
Needless to say, I loved it!
Once we arrived to Bath, I was immediately overcome by how cute the town is:
Our first order of business upon arrival was eating. We went to Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, which claims to be the oldest building in Bath:
We were seated immediately, and the place was so stinking cute. Here, we ate the local specialty, Bath Buns! A few places claimed to have the original Bath Bun. I don’t care who has the original, what we ate was tasty.
You are obligated to appreciate this picture of Lior, in a sweater that may or may not be teal
Top: salt beef Bath Bun Bottom: lemon curd Bath Bun
Our tummies full but not stuffed, we checked out the tiny museum in the basement that showed how the buns were baked in the 1600s. Afterwards, we met up with our walking tour, to learn about Bath.
Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is unique because, like Venice, the entire city is a heritage site, not just a specific building or monument. The city was founded by the Romans, who built the Roman Baths for which the city is famous. Bath was always a resort town, with people coming mostly during the winter months to bathe in the hot springs, which were though to have healing powers, curing infertility, alleviating gout, what have you. Jane Austen lived in Bath (she hated it), and Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein here. Lots of history! The architecture is a bit of a mish mosh (but lots of Georgian architecture, which it turns out, I like), but all in Bath stone.
Filled with knowledge, it was time to eat again! We wandered around a bit before heading to a food market our guide recommended. We got dumplings and a tasty hot dog/brisket sandwich, and were very happy.
We then tried our luck at the Roman Baths. The line wasn’t very long, so we went in!
The Roman Baths were created by the Romans (duh) and dedicated to the goddess Minerva (Athena in Greek mythology). They saw the bubbling, steaming water and were convinced that it had magical healing properties. They built the baths, people were happy, yay! Eventually the baths were forgotten, only to be rediscovered in the late 1800s. There were lots of people there, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Definitely go! At the end of the tour, we got to taste some of the water (not from the picture above–the water there is green due to algae from the sunlight hitting the water)…and it was gross.
After visiting the Roman Baths, we braved the Christmas Market. It was great, but too crowded. Shame on the people who brought their dogs there! We ate delicious, freshly made donuts and browsed a little. Then, we went to The Canary Gin Bar, for tasty drinks. I tried some local rhubarb-flavored gin (both on its own and in a drink)–I couldn’t taste the rhubarb much, I prefer it in the tonic instead.
We were supposed to go to dinner at 8:15pm, but at 5:15pm we were tired and didn’t feel like killing time for three hours…so instead we went home! On the way, Lior took a nap:
We did everything we set out to do today and had an absolutely amazing time in Bath! If you’re ever in the UK, I highly recommend that you come for a day trip. You don’t need more time than that to see most things, and it’s a very doable day trip from London.