More of Bath, England!

If you go to England, Bath has to be high on your list. It's an easy train from London (1.5 hours) so you can do a day trip like I wrote about here - the baths, The Pump Room, the Royal Crescent, Prior Park, Sally Lunn's, and more. I fell in love with this lovely, Georgian city and wanted to stay over.

This time, I had my parents in tow and we booked one night at The Abbey Hotel and I'd definitely stay again. There are fancier/more luxurious places in Bath, but this hotel has the BEST location literally around the corner from Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, and an 8-minute walk from the train station. For a one-night stay, I want to be in the center of it all.

It's actually part of the Best Western umbrella but is independently owned (Best Western in Europe in general is much nicer than its U.S. counterparts). The people are so nice and the rooms are comfortable and big.

Lovely BathThe Royal CrescentI had long heard about a pub called The King's Arms in Monkton Farleigh, five miles outside of Bath, and decided that would be our dinner spot because we had a rental car. It's now called The Muddy Duck (big controversy with locals when they refurbished & renamed it) and definitely worth the drive or taxi out of town.

It checks off everything you want an English pub to be - funny, warm bartenders, local familes bringing their dogs for dinner, a crackling fire, good eats. In the summer months, there are tons of tables outside to lounge around on.

Parents at The Muddy DuckI'd add a few more recommendations from my last post - Stop by The Raven or Saracens Head for a drink after dinner, visit The Fine Cheese Co. for some tastes and treats, and just wander around the giant Waitrose in the center of town (I love foreign grocery stores!). I also went back to Highgrove, a shop that sells wares from Prince Charles' estate, and picked up a copy of his book, The Elements of Organic Gardening.

Highgrove Shop in BathHave you been to Bath? What did you love?

2012 to 2013: Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Oh, The Places You'll Go! There's no better book for a graduation gift than this Dr. Seuss classic. I've cherished my three copies for years and love reading it at the end of each year. And oh, what a year this was! Here's to more adventure in 2013 - Happy New Year!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!”

San FranciscoPenzance, Cornwall, EnglandIsles of Scilly, EnglandLondonCoworth Park, EnglandChewton Glen, Hampshire, EnglandBath, EnglandStratford, EnglandThe Cotswolds, EnglandHighclere Castle aka Downton AbbeyColonial WilliamsburgFlorence, ItalyVenice, Italy Ravello, Amalfi Coast, ItalyScottsdale, Arizona (hometown!)Kiawah, South CarolinaMiddleton Place - Charleston, South CarolinaNevis, Caribbean

Gold Coast, AustraliaO'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, AustraliaHamptonsLake George, Adirondacks, New YorkThimble Islands, ConnecticutNewport, Rhode IslandMission Hill, British Columbia, CanadaLas VegasLos Angeles (twice!)Cusco, PeruMachu PicchuSacred Valley, PeruBarcelonaZurichHudson Valley, New YorkBudapest, HungaryVienna, AustriaPrague, Czech Republic

Washington, D.C.New York City - Home

The Many Pleasures of Bath, England

For a city as well-known as first-century spa town Bath, I wasn't expecting to really love it.  Thought I'd enjoy it, see the baths, and get out of town.  But I found myself wanting to linger in Bath, to walk through the streets admiring the perfect Georgian architecture and duck into one of the many newer cafes and shops. Next time, I will stay overnight.

Things I Love About Bath:

The Royal Crescent, BathLunch at the Royal Crescent Hotel - For views of the hills, an expansive park in front to frolic, and inventive food in a wonderful English setting. The hotel is the most luxurious option in town and just removed enough from the city center, but within walking distance to everything.

Lunch at The Royal CrescentThe Roman Baths - Brace yourself for crowds, especially large throngs of high school students, but you have to come here in Bath. You have to follow a certain route, and I darted through most everything at the beginning to get to the actual baths quickly. To me, that was the most interesting part.

The Roman BathsTea at The Pump Room after touring the Roman Baths - The Pump Room has been a gathering place for 2,000 years and still is today. Afternoon tea is wonderful. You can also try a glass of the hot spa water, with 43+ minerals (one sip was more than enough for me).

The Bath AbbeyHire a Blue Badge Guide for walking tour when you first arrive - This gave me the best overview of the city's history and what I shouldn't miss in my day there. Plus, they're like rock stars in town and can get past lines at popular attractions.

The Fashion Musuem - You won't need more than an hour - it's small but interesting to wander through the exhibits celebrating over 400 years of fashion

The Fashion MuseumThermae Bath Spa - I'd choose the 2-hour session at the "new" Roman bath where you can relax the morning or afternoon away in warm spa waters.

Thermae Bath SpaVisit Sally Lunn's for a famous BUN! They are gigantic - but get one to try it! 

The architecture! Just soak it all in - the style is predominantly Georgian and gorgeous.

Georgian homes in BathThe Jane Austen Centre - Another quick stop for me & a must for Jane Austen lovers - She's from Bath! 

The Bertinent Kitchen Cookery School - When I return to Bath, I'm allowing time for a cooking class here.The location is perfect. See?

The Bertinent Kitchen Cookery School, BathBrowse at the Highgrove Shop - Prince Charles' estate sells a large selection of items at this shop, all high-quality and a great reminder of your time in England.  He has always believed in business operating on a larger social level, serving the community and environment. 

The Highgrove Shop, Bath

Shopping in BathStop into Topping & Company Booksellers - A charming independent bookstore that always has complimentary tea & coffee at the ready.

Topping & Company BooksellersPrior Park - I thought this park was a short walk away, but it took me 45 minutes to walk there from the center of Bath and much of it was uphill. I had my rental car and should have driven it. It's so worth finding it - a peaceful park in a deep valley with stunning views of Bath. The Palladian Bridge is especially beautiful.

Prior Park, BathPrior Park, Bath

The Palladian Bridge, Prior Park, Bath