This weekend, we ventured outside London for a day-trip to Bath – and I’m glad we did, because apparently all the sunshine was in Somerset, whilst London was gloomy and wet!
We started the day with a trip to the Roman Baths, which are extensive remains of a religious spa, built by the Romans around Britain’s only hot springs. It’s a wonderful way to start your visit – the entry price of £13.50 includes a free audioguide, so you really feel you are getting to know how the Roman’s lived and used the baths as you wander around the massive complex. They’ve done a great job of juxtaposing the old with the new, so you can get the feel of what the area you’re standing on used to look like.
This temple and bathing complex still flows with natural hot water, and the highlight of the visit is sitting by the large pool, surrounded by columns, and imagining the people that have gone before. Obviously we stuck our hands in the water to feel how warm it is (Answer: hotter than a swimming pool, cooler than a bath. You’re welcome), but this was before we saw the (too small) sign telling you in no uncertain terms not to stick your hands in the untreated and bacteria-filled water.
I’m still here though, so hopefully there’s no long-term damage.
We of course ended our visit by taking the water. I’d got over excited and guzzled the bottle of tap water (London’s finest) I’d brought with me, as I had visions of filling it up with free spring water, which I’d drink throughout the day as my skin cleared miraculously, and my eyes sparkled with the health of the fresh and natural water straight from the heart of the earth.
Turns out, spring water is a) weirdly warm and b) minerally. Not pleasant.
So of course we had to go and get the taste out of our mouths with a bit of lunch (and cider) at the lovely Boater pub overlooking the river.
Feeling refreshed we then continued our wandering, visiting The Royal Crescent and Royal Victoria Park, via quite a few little shops and boutiques. Bath really is the perfect place for perambulation and pottering. I avoided the many craft shops because of my indulgences at the Knitting and Stitching Show – although I did pop into The Makery, which is delightful, and has many many floors for workshops and crafting, and I could have spent a fortune there if I wasn’t already bankrupt. (Kind of regretting not getting the sew your own advent calendar though, I keep thinking about how cute it would be. And every day could be filled with another sewing treat, like pins or thread or tailors chalk…! Anyway. I digress)
Then, obviously, we rounded our trip off with tea and scones at the rather funky Bill’s, on Cheap Street. Their scones were amazing, but they only did fruit scones, which are obviously the work of the devil.
What’s more, I can’t comment on Somerset vs Devon cream teas, as I don’t do Jam. That’s right. No jam for me. Just all the cream.
Look at this heresy:
(I have no shame).
Alas, all too soon it was time to roll onto the train and homeward bound. I hope to go back to Bath again one day soon, it’s so close to London but so different it could be worlds away.
Today’s quote is from Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen.