Bath is a city in Somerset and probably most famous for its Roman baths. We recently spent a Christmassy weekend there with the primary purpose of wine tasting!
Bath is just 90 minutes by train from London Paddington, which for us made a pleasant change from driving. Similar to our recent Cotswolds weekend, Bath was also freezing cold!
We made our way the short distance from Bath Spa train station and towards the city centre. The closer we got the the centre the more crowded it became. We reached the edge of the Christmas market and had to jostle our way through the throngs of high-spirited shoppers. Despite this hustle bustle there were some delicious smells of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts floating around in the air!
There was a wonderful Christmas atmosphere but if you are like us, and are not keen on massively crowded touristic places where you are pushed and shoved and can’t actually get to the stalls you will be somewhat relieved to escape! Thankfully this relief came in the form of the Roman Baths, a unique historic site we were planning to visit in any case. And even better the Baths were not too crowded and we didn’t have to queue at the entrance.
The Roman Baths have been well preserved and in 2011 a £5.5 million re-development project was completed.
As mentioned on the Visit Bath website over one million litres of natural spring water fill the baths every day whilst reaching temperatures of up to 46 degrees. This has been the case for at least 2,000 years when back in the day the Romans used to bathe in the warm waters. Back then they used to make their way through the different baths with different temperatures and finish with a cold plunge pool at the end. They enjoyed treatments and massages much in the same way people do today.
Above is Pulteney Bridge, a picturesque bridge which crosses the River Avon. The bridge was completed in 1774 and is lined with little shops and cafes. We had to cross this bridge to make our way to our bed and breakfast which was only about 10 minutes’ walk from the City Centre.
Onto the wine tasting…
Following our historical afternoon in the Roman Baths we later checked into our bed & breakfast, got ready and were excited to attend the wine tasting event at 6 pm! This was hosted by Laithwaites and was a Christmas 2016 gift from my daughter 🙂
The event took place in the rather impressive Guildhall, a grand Georgian building in the heart of Bath.
On arrival (following the welcome Prosecco) we were handed a booklet which listed all 30 wines with the idea being you sample each one and make notes in your booklet! The wines were organised in country order which enabled us to sample wines from familiar wine producing favourites including Portugal, Spain, Argentina, France and New Zealand.
We made our way around the tables mixing red, white, rose and sparkling wines. As you might imagine, the atmosphere was decidedly jovial! We sampled about 19 different wines until we couldn’t possibly manage any more. It was a most enjoyable experience 🙂
Once the wine tasting event had ended we had a cold (and somewhat sobering) walk around the city centre. By now it was gone 8 pm and, with the day trippers gone, it was much more pleasant to wander through the Christmas market stalls just before they closed.
There was a lovely atmosphere especially when we came across an outdoor Christmassy play, Bath’s version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ next to the Abbey. We had a stop in a coffee shop and then had a late dinner in the highly recommended Koh Thai Tapas restaurant… delicious!
On the Sunday morning we awoke to torrential rain, and as much of England and Wales including our home town had received several cm of snow, we ventured back to the train station a bit earlier than planned. Sure enough, just to finish our festive weekend, the train was soon speeding through beautiful snowy English countryside.
If you really want to get into the festive spirit, visiting Bath a couple of weeks before Christmas is to be recommended!