A Cultural Escape
Bath is one of the best places to take a weekend retreat in the United Kingdom. The small city has become a sanctuary for city dwellers due to its gorgeous Georgian architecture, tranquil atmosphere, and thriving independent business culture.
A trip to Bath serves as a much needed break from the hustle and grind of urban living - a short moment to reflect, read, walk, and find pause. In Bath, one can indulge in slow living and return to one's daily routine with a refreshed mindset. Visit Bath and you may discover that one's most memorable experiences don't have to occur in distant places; they may be a 2-hour train ride away.
Exploring Bath's History
Formerly a hotel, the Holburne Museum is certainly an accommodating place to while away the afternoon. Step inside its temple-like Georgian architecture to discover an extensive art collection featuring British masterpieces from the 18th and 19th centuries including stunning decorative arts and fine Old Master Paintings by the likes of Gainsborough. The Holburne is also home to a theater and an impressive outdoor setting, the Sydney Gardens. The well-manicured gardens were once frequented by Jane Austen, who was so impressed by the Holburne that she wrote its grounds into scenes of Northanger Abbey.
ROYAL CRESCENT & THE CIRCUS / Architectural Site
Georgian architectural sites are at the core of the Bath's historical and aesthetic identity and have become synonymous with Bath itself. Stroll along the neighbouring paths and absorb the graceful and precise ordering of the honey-toned facades - a testament to the beauty of Georgian architecture and historic England.
GREAT PULTENEY STREET / Architectural Site
This street is another exemplar of Bath's architectural beauty. Tradition and serenity are the ideals that capture this street's charm. The best time to visit is at dawn or dusk when the golden light graces the buildings - perfect for a photo opportunity.
HENRIETTA PARK / Park
At the foot of Great Pulteney Street lies one of the most peaceful places to visit in Bath. As one walks through the small park, all evidence of urban civilisation fades. The only thing to be heard is the melodic chirping of birds and the gentle swaying of trees. It's the perfect place to reflect or a read a book. Afterward, reintroduce yourself to the city with a walk along Henrietta Road - a quaint street lined with stately Georgian villas.
Cafés and Restaurants of Bath
CAFÉ LUCCA / Café
Enjoy a light lunch at this centrally located casual restaurant and café. It's the perfect spot to people-watch or flip through your favourite magazine. The ambience is very open and relaxing - thanks to the natural light that seeps through the floor-to-ceiling windows. After your meal, have a look through the neighbouring concept store for an eclectic offering of furniture and homewares.
COLONNA & SMALL'S / Café
Head over to this independent coffee shop for some of the best specialist coffee in the UK (Colonna & Small's has twice been a world finalist for the UK Barista Championship). One gets to select their desired variety of coffee bean along with a variety of eye-catching baked goods. Insider tip: the carrot cake is a must!
SOCIETY CAFÉ / Café
As the third specialty café to be mentioned, it is clear that this small city has anything but a shortage of good coffee. Located on the lively Kingsmead Square, this locale is notable for the ever-changing art on its walls, hand-selected by its aesthetically minded staff.
HUNTER & SONS / Bar and Café
Get a round of drinks at this nearby yet secluded spot in Milsom Place, which "celebrates the culinary culture of both coffee and craft beer". The establishment has an admirable, understated sophistication and manages to imitate the atmosphere of a rooftop bar without actually being one.
HUDSON STEAK ON WALCOT STREET / Restaurant
Settle into a hearty steak after a long trek from the park. The impeccable service makes the experience. Walcot Street is also known to be a hot spot for the city's most renowned independent retailers; we recommend you take a quick browse before dinner.
Innovative Boutiques of Bath
HAY DESIGN / Design Store
One can find some of the best (and even affordable) Scandinavian design in this distinct retail space, located on Bath's iconic Milsom street. Expect very attentive service and a glass of champagne while you browse the colorful, minimalist goods.
TOPPING & COMPANY BOOKSELLERS / Bookshop
There's often this romanticised fantasy of getting lost in a bookshop - especially in the English countryside. A visit to this bookstore measures up closely. Here, one finds a wide range of fiction and non-fiction on offer with a special section at the back dedicated to art and design. Even better, visitors are offered tea while they contemplate their options (or simply indulge in a book on site).
Where to Stay: Countryside Living
BATH PRIORY / Hotel
Spend the rest of the day at one of Bath's best luxury hotels. The restaurant - the only Michelin starred restaurant in Bath - offers a reasonably priced £30 three-course lunch menu. The dishes, while not particularly memorable, are well executed and of great value. After a satisfying lunch, head to the hotel's Garden Spa; the spa's meditation room features views of Bath's lush gardens. Here, you can live like the aristocracy who - as early as Roman times - retreated to Bath for its therapeutic thermal waters.
About the Author: Kojo Abudu
Kojo Abudu is a writer and aspiring curator based between London, New York and Lagos, currently working in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art division. In 2013, he launched Kojo London, a cultural online space dedicated to cultivating a slower lifestyle for young, reflective minds through select aesthetic, culinary and travel experiences. Recently, he also launched @nmoderno_ , an interdisciplinary social platform showcasing a curated selection of art, fashion, architecture and design. Kojo is a graduate of Duke University where he studied Philosophy and Political Science, and served as Editor-in-Chief of FORM Magazine, the premier art and culture publication in Durham, North Carolina.
(All Images Courtesy of Kojo Abudu)