Lets face it- as much as we all love a holiday it's not always possible. This Easter in our household looming exams wrote off any travel plans, but sometimes the itch to get away from 'normal' life still needs to be scratched, and it's not always the duration of a trip, but the refresh of the new, even if only fleeting. Hence an eleventh hour family overnight trip to Bath- positioned as a 24 hour power battery recharge, with food, sights, a car full of Easter chocolate, and yes of COURSE a spot of shopping. Here's how we did it- by no means a definitive city guide but proof that short can absolutely be sweet, even with three kids in tow. Here's what we did:
Robe of dreams at Bath popup independent Haus. *Adds to birthday list.
Bath is heaving with chic Georgian airbnbs, the dream for a romantic mini break. However when you are attempting said mini break with kids (particularly teens) this recipe might not always achieve best results. If like mine, your familial utopia now features a gym, swimming pool and buffet breakfast, do not despair. Yes it narrows choices, but it's entirely possible to tick all boxes with a bit of booking.com filtering. I am tempted by the Georgian luxury of The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, but we opt for the budget-friendly-but-modern-and-chic Apex Bath, minutes away from everything, and with a satisfyingly high level spa. The promise of a swim/gym session facilitates good (child) humour that allow (me) exploration of Bath's gorgeous lanes of excellent independent stores.
To Eat and Drink
24 Hours doesn't leave time for errors of dining: we need to get it right. We are tipped off by a local friend, who directs us to the no bookings Pintxo- a total delight of an authentic Spanish bodega: All thin rustic wooden tables, blue tiles and jugs of sangria. (* Immediately asks waitress for link to sangria jugs and adds to birthday list) Admittedly this a non child friendly gamble, but one that pays off, with meatballs, prawns and potatas bravas satisfying even a fussy nine year old. Dinner aside? Bath is heaving with independent coffee shops like the gorgeous Bertinet Bakery , the famous Mrs Potts Chocolate House, and ice cream parlours at every turn. Plus I spot several gin bars for a return minus kids. All the ticks.
Small and perfectly formed, Bath is perfect for a flying visit, with a soaring Abbey, the world famous Roman Baths and romantic street musicians playing classical music, all within meters of each other. A slightly wider radius allows a peek at the envy inducing royal crescent leading me to immediately start looking at house prices on right move (eye watering), plus for more organised entertainment the Mary Shelley House of Frankenstein, the Jane Austen Centre look fun. Or if less sightseeing and more green space is what you're after I am given a tip off that Victoria Park is the place to be. More than ample pickings for a short and sweet stop.
To Shop: Independent...
And finally, back to my specialist subject. Time is tight so it helps that the multiple boutique independents are all within the maze of narrow streets in the old town centre. My eye is caught by pop up Haus, a global marketplace of a store with excellent indonesian robes and pyjamas mixed with jewellery and homewares. Just down the road in Union Passage is Botanica Studio- the maximalist houseplant store of my actual dreams. Found lifestyle store is earmarked for a future trip.
For second hand I spot Sobeys, which offers preloved and reworked vintage ( including an entire rail of brilliant dungarees made from vintage fabrics) plus gorgeous retro blankets which I am now having mass regret for not buying. Plus on the subject of second hand the charity shop game in Bath is strong - I loved the double fronted Mercy in Action full of vintage glass, party wear and a fabulous (if niche) embroidered chess table.
So- a tiny snippet of what Bath has to offer- but in terms of a 24 hour stop it was a total treat for the whole family- and proof that you don't always need a flight, sunshine and a lounger to feel refreshed. See you next week for a dive into the minefield of fashion rental!
Thank you for reading! Please do comment with your thoughts or requests for future blogs. All these suggestions are my own. Do subscribe to receive a style led article delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning.