Leaving London saw us up very early, before breakfast was even ready, getting a bus to Victoria Station before walking a little bit to Victoria Coach Station (not the same place, fair warning) for a bus to Bath. The bus was delayed twice on the road by sudden accidents or diversions, so three hours was closer to four, but we eventually made it. Getting off at Spa Station, we walked the short jaunt to the water where we were staying in the Parade Park Inn. My parents and their friends were already there, so we all tucked our bags away and went to get lunch while waiting for check in.
Of course we were in Bath at the same time as the Christmas Market, which basically fills all the streets. Bath itself is not an overly large town, so it isn’t hard to fill it when there are so many stalls that weave through the streets and around the massive Bath Abbey. This plus the holiday lights made everything so beautiful at night. But that first day we found ourselves out of luck for lunch, so we got drinks at The Huntsman, eventually making reservations there for a very late lunch/early dinner, then went back to check in and have drinks with some local family friends at the hotel before eating. It was Sunday, so that meant full roast at The Huntsman, and for me a pastry-feta sweet potato pie roast, which was so good. It was a lot of food, which resulted in most of us turning in very early that night, but not before a few more drinks at the hotel (a common Vacation-in-England theme) and a quick wander through the closed market for Boyface and I before grabbing dessert at The Real Italian Ice Cream Co.
The next day was spent mostly shopping or wandering through the market stalls after grabbing some coffee at this cute little place called The Columbian Company. We were hampered by luggage space, which despite only filling half my bag was already full from a few souvenirs in London and a lot of Christmas gifts that were delivered unto us. But we did stock up on some Christmas pudding fudge, new knitted accessories, and cookies. Of course. The Bath Market can get quite crowded, because the streets are old and not very wide, plus a lot of people come into Somerset for it, but I would say no more so than the average Christmas Market from my experience. We followed this up with lunch at the smallest pub in Bath, Coeur de Lion, with my mum before meeting back up with everyone else who had done the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour.
That night we had a big dinner at Martini Restaurant, an very nice Italian place, with family friends who live in Bath or nearby, visiting and catching up over great food and wine. The walk back was beautiful with all the Christmas lights and Abbey lit up, though most stalls were closing or closed, so Boyface and I went back with everyone for a last drink before going out and walking along the water and to Pulteney Bridge, which he had never seen before as this was his first visit to Bath.
Oddly we only seemed to see part of the city, but that was likely due to the market blocking everything off. We didn’t go in the baths this time, but saw part of them from the outside between stalls. We did go into the indoor market which is open year round, but overall didn’t stray too far from this one central area of town. We only had the one full day, so we prioritized, and I think we did it right (and I’d already seen all the Jane Austen stuff, which I don’t think Boyface would care much about at all).
It was sort of a whirlwind, but travelling at the holidays alters plans as different things are open and available at that time. Add in family and friends and you tend to be booked up, but it was nice to see everyone and enjoy a lot of good classic pub food and a full Christmas market. And we got a good workout, because the inn had about a million stairs… But that counteracts all that rich food and ale, right?