The city of Bath is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year but during Christmas the UNESCO world heritage listed site is a real treat. Throughout December one of Bath’s main attractions, Bath Abbey, is flanked by more than 180 Christmas Market chalets which line the surrounding streets. Festive tours of the church are available and carol singers are strategically placed around every corner. The stunning Georgian architecture in the city seems even more pleasing than usual when smothered in liberal amounts of festive cheer. Visiting Bath at Christmas is a quintessentially British experience and one which we highly recommend. A few days of shopping at the Christmas markets makes an ideal festive break and there are plenty of excellent quality hotels to choose from in the city. We stayed at Grove Lodge, where we lived the high life, experiencing all the trappings of upper class Georgian living.
During December Christmas markets seem to pop up all over the place. High streets across the UK are transformed into tiny villages with wooden cabins selling all kinds of festive treats. Although, not all Christmas markets are created equally and some towns offer nothing more than a row of sheds covered in tinsel. Mulled wine, festive gifts, Christmas decorations and for some unknown reason German sausages are the staple goods on sale. Bath, we are pleased to say, is one of the places that hits the festive nail right on the head. The great thing about the Bath Christmas Market is the emphasis they place on local traders and their produce. Rather than shipping in vendors with merchandise from across Europe, the city of Bath have decided to keep things local. You can buy locally produced cheese from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company. You can shop for gifts with local craft makers like Felt So Good and get a much needed sugar rush from The Bath Waffle Co. There are locally brewed beverages from Bath Ales and Severn Cider. You can even celebrate Christmas in style by visiting the pop up gin bar from local distillers Bath Gin. With all of the excellent local produce on offer we were happy to overlook the obligatory German sausage stall.
One of Baths greatest tourist attractions is No1 Royal Crescent, a beautifully restored 18th century town house. The house is crammed with original features, period furniture and interesting artefacts. During the festive period No1 Royal Crescent is decked out in style for a Georgian Christmas, complete with traditional decorations in the grand hall way and a sumptuous feast laid out in the dining room. If you have ever watched a Downton Abbey Christmas special this is everything your dreams are made of and you will not be disappointed. Strolling around the streets near Royal Crescent at Christmas time is a magical experience. Large holly wreaths cover wide doors with elaborate knockers and giant pine trees stand proudly behind sash windows. Walking the cobbled streets made us feel like we were in a Dickensian novel, we even toyed with the idea of buying a top hat and bonnet. Alas, we did not, bah humbug!
If you are feeling festive and would like to experience a magical British Christmas, the city of Bath is an excellent choice for a festive mini-break. Check out our post about Paris at Christmas for more suggestions.