No matter how many times you visit Bath, you will always be delighted to see Pulteney Bridge, the Roman Baths and the Bath Abbey. This heritage city lives up to its name, and best of all, it is so compact yet offers many activities. I skipped the Roman Baths this time, having visited it before and quite frankly, discouraged by the long line and crowd. But if you’re visiting for the first time, do make sure you book before arriving. My friends visited the baths and I joined them after to visit the Abbey to linger around. This 15th century Abbey used to be a Benedictine Monastery and forms the center of this town. It took 120 years to build this gothic masterpiece and has since been the place where some kings and queens of England were crowned. The facade is adorned with ladders where angels seem to be either going up or down, the stained glass windows beautifully streaming light onto the Abbey floors, and the ceiling such a fine example of fan vaulting.

We’re lucky to have joined a free walking tour of Bath organised by the Mayor’s Office. The very knowledgeable volunteer guides toured us for all of 2 hrs giving us valuable history lessons, and obviously made known how much they love their town. After all, Bath is one of only 2 European cities ever inscribed as a World Heritage Site in its entirety. (The other is Venice in Italy). The tour was free and no tips solicited. It’s 100% gratis for a very good tour! We walked from the Bath Abbey and Roman Baths area, around the Pump Rooms and Cross Baths towards the Theater, the Queen Square, the Royal Crescent and the Circus. It was a very pleasant walk despite some rain showers and the guide made sure we were all brought back to where we started, now equipped with more history lessons and a few legends.

The honey coloured stone buildings, the cobblestones, the lovely Pultney Bridge are enough to make it a worthwhile trip. We did the boat tour too but honestly speaking, I think one can skip that and instead spend that hour enjoying some of Sally Lunn’s buns. This is the oldest house in this heritage city made famous by its “Bath buns” spread with cinnamon butter. It may seem like a touristy thing to do but I dare say Sally Lunn’s breads are truly delicious. We had them with homemade vegetable soup and steak with mushrooms. We bought more buns to take back to our hotel too!

After a few visits, I am still fascinated and charmed by how the city has preserved its low-rise centuries-old structures. Some buildings have been repurposed like the former residence of local celebrity Beau Nash which is now a Theater, and the house of his mistress Popjoy right next to the Theater which is now an Italian restaurant. Right across it is a magnificent building which has been converted into an Asian bistro called “Giggling Squid”. Sans reservation, we luckily dined here and enjoyed one of our best meals (with rice!) in Bath. We were not as lucky in The Scallop Shell who flatly rejected us πŸ™„ yet accepted another group who similarly had no reservation. What gives?

On our last night in Bath, I toyed with the idea of joining the 8pm “Bizarre Tour” which claims to be a fun, comedy walk. A pity we ran out of energy and decided to stay in. For all of you visiting Bath, do tell me about this irreverent, hilarious walking tour. I missed it and would love to hear from you!