When my favourite author was finishing off her UK tour in Bath, I proposed the idea of a day trip becoming a weekend break for which the city was the perfect host.
To avoid the Clean Air Zone charges, parking worries, and trouble navigating the city centre, we used the Lansdown park-and-ride service. There were plenty of spaces and buses arrived every 15 minutes to take you into the centre. By midday, after an hour and a half drive, my mum and I were standing in the middle of Bath ready to explore.
The first place we visited was the Abbey which was free to enter though a small donation is appreciated. The staff were very friendly and we were given a little map which briefly explained what to see. There was more information at each of the stations allowing us to learn the history of the Abbey and of Bath. While the whole Abbey was beautiful and well looked after, for me, the most breath-taking part was the East Window which tells the story of Jesus’ life from birth to Resurrection in vivid colours. Bath, East Window which tells the story of Jesus’ life.
We then wandered Bath visiting Pulteney Bridge, exploring the market, and more generally trying t0 find our bearings in the busy city.
In the afternoon after sufficient wandering, we checked into a Travelodge a 15-minute walk from the city centre. It was a nice respite from the busy streets and gave myself and my mum a few hours to relax before the event in the evening which inspired the whole trip.
Saturday evening, I attended the talk and book signing of fantasy author R.F Kuang which was hosted by the independent bookstore Mr B’s Emporium at Saint Swithin’s Church. The church already has literary ties by being the place where Jane Austen’s parents married and her father was later buried. Mr B’s staff were patient and welcoming, offering sweets while we queued for the signing. This sentiment carried forward to the following day when we went to the bookshop itself which had a cosy atmosphere and a large repertoire of books, both popular and more obscure.
Sunday morning mum and I wandered around the shops. We bought some delicious fudge (which, as I write this not even a week after the trip, is very nearly finished!) and checked out a range of high-street shops as well as smaller independent shops.
Being an English Literature student, I couldn’t come to the city that Jane Austen lived in and not visit the Jane Austen Centre dedicated to her. Bath was not only her home for a few years but also the setting for two of her books: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Although my mum has not read Jane Austen, even she found the centre fascinating. The actors in period dress were charismatic, friendly, and incredibly knowledgeable. I over heard some of them having excellent discussions with visitors and answering any questions that were asked.
We also booked to go to the Regency Tea Room on the second floor of the building for afternoon tea. While admiring the portrait (though perhaps ‘shrine’ would be more fitting) of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, we enjoyed delicate sandwiches, scones, and cakes, served by the lovely staff. I absolutely had to buy a Colin Firth/Mr Darcy fridge magnet for my uni house on the way out to go with the little cardboard cut out Colin that my housemate made me for my birthday earlier in the year!
After this, we made our way back to the bus stop that we had gotten off at the day before and took the bus back to the park and ride, saying goodbye to Bath. It was a perfect destination for a weekend break, having architectural beauty and historic richness to discover with a range of shops and cafes to keep us busy between adventures!
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Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to
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