Absolutely London takes a trip to the historic city of Bath
By Abbie Schofield
Review: Francis Hotel, Bath
Just an hour and a half on the train from Paddington, Bath is the only World Heritage city in Britain. Its hot springs were used by the Romans as a spa, creating the famous Roman Bathhouse that visitors can tour today. Bath became fashionable once again during the Georgian period, when wealthy families would visit to ‘take the waters’ and attend high-society balls, card games and concerts.
Overlooking grassy Queen Square and a ten minute walk from Bath Spa train station, Francis Hotel couldn’t be in a more fantastic location — all the major sights are a short stroll away. The hotel’s grand facade is characteristically Georgian and made from Bath Stone, limestone that covers the entire city in a honeyed hue. Inside, decor draws on the Regency period but with a stylish twist, combining period features with modern amenities. Rooms are luxurious (elegant mirrors, poster beds and floor-to-ceiling windows) yet quirky, colourful and full of character, decorated with art inspired by Bath’s history, from Roman-style artefacts to illustrations of Georgian fashion.
Things to Do
A trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the Roman Baths. While you can’t take a dip, there are free audio guides which are well worth a listen as you explore. Nearby is Bath Abbey, a spectacular former Benedictine monastery set in a bustling square with street performers. Then walk over to the Royal Crescent and the Circus, two wonderful examples of Georgian architecture from the late 1700s.
If the weather is good and you fancy venturing further afield, the Bath Skyline is a National Trust route that takes you uphill and in a loop around town. It’s a good three to four hour walk through woodland, fields and country lanes, perfect for viewing Bath’s beauty from above and working up an appetite.
What to Eat
Bath has plenty to offer in terms of restaurants, from cosy cafes to fine dining. Sotto Sotto is an affordable and authentic Italian in a stone cellar just moments from the Roman Baths. For something more upmarket, head to The Circus where seasonal ingredients are used to create innovative yet comforting European dishes alongside an excellent wine list.
Bath is also known for its tea rooms, and Sally Lunn is one of the oldest in Bath, established in 1680. After you’ve sampled their famous Sally Lunn bunn, visit the kitchen museum to see how the first ever Bath bunn was created. The treats don’t stop there — for some proper west country fudge, head to The Fudge Kitchen where they serve every flavour imaginable, from salted caramel to lemon cheesecake, and even make the sticky sweet right in front of you.
Not a city known for its nightlife, Bath does have plenty of lively bars, although you’ll want to avoid any student spots. Have after-dinner drinks at Circo Cellar where a passionate team make creative cocktails in an atmospheric underground cellar.
Rooms rates at Francis Hotel, Bath start from £166 per room, based on two people sharing a double bed and on a B&B basis.
Check out more UK getaway inspiration