Located in the beautiful Avon Valley and “bathed” in history dating back to the Romans, the city of Bath is a perfect quick getaway from London. A mix of old and new--famous for its natural hot springs and elegant architecture, yet modern with buzzy bars, restaurants and boutiques. And just out of town, plenty of pretty villages and beautiful countryside to explore. My friend Sue’s family has a house outside of Bath and here’s her way to spend an ideal day in the country.
If you liked Bowood House…more garden tours can be found at Longleat and Stourhead.
The English are a country of walkers, check the Walking in Wiltshire website for detailed walks around the countryside.
Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801-1806 and both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion take place here. Visit the Jane Austen Centre if you’re a fan. Both novels have been made into films, downloading either before the trip makes for timely entertainment on the plane flight.
Stay: When we have more visitors than we can handle at the house I suggest Lucknam Park or the Royal Crescent. I have been hearing a bunch lately about The Pig near Bath, a restaurant with rooms and want to check it out on my next visit.
Half Day Family Entertainment: When the kids were little it would have been unthinkable to not visit Bowood House, it was mandatory on every visit. This is a Georgian country house with over 100 acres of landscaped gardens designed by Capability Brown. There’s an adventure playground, ideal for ages 5-12. We spent many an hour there, the death slide is terrifying--I mean exciting.
Prettiest Village in England for lunch: We have a few favorite places for lunch; one is the White Hart, near Castle Combe. You can sit next to the banks of the stream (in summer) eating great pub food. If you want to take a walk you can park your car there and then walk to Castle Combe. (It less than a half hour walk) Castle Combe is often used as a location by filmmakers; most recently Stephen Spielberg shot War Horse here. It is a beautiful place to visit and if you fancy a casual but delicious lunch right in town, I suggest the Crown Pub in the center of the village. Spend time after lunch wandering the village and admiring the typical Cotswold type village houses dating back hundreds of years and beautifully preserved.
Upmarket Afternoon: If you fancy a chi chi stylish market town then a visit to Tetbury is mandatory. The town is filled with beautiful antique stores. Prince Charles and Camilla live close by and a sighting of them is not unusual. For a more authentic and typical market town visit Marmsbury.
History and Spa: Do not miss a visit to the Thermae bath spa in Bath. This is built on top of the roman baths and it has the same healing warm waters of the original baths. The rooftop of this building has a pool where you can sit in beautiful, warm, healing waters while watching the sunset over the rooftops of this incredible city, birds flying around you. A truly magical experience and it is definitely necessary to book. Either before or after make sure you look around the Roman baths and hear the history of this incredible site. Top it off with dinner at The Acorn vegetarian restaurant though non-meat, it’s delicious-I promise it’s a satisfying dinner.
Have more time: Outside Bath to the south, some 30 minutes more or less, there are two places worth a visit. Stop at the Mulberry Factory shop where you can pick up sale items and seconds. Nearby is a truly stunning new gallery called Hauser and Wirth, a combination of art and architecture set in the beautiful Somerset landscape. Upon it’s opening the Guardian newspaper asked is this the next Guggenheim? Have lunch at the on site restaurant Roth Bar and Grill with simple, seasonal truly local food from Durslade, the working farm on the property. An added plus is eating surrounded by incredible works by the gallery’s artists.