Our first trip to Bath was on a day bus tour in 2015. We had all of about 2 hours to explore Bath before spending most of our day at Stonehenge. So of course we did the touristy things like cream tea at The Pump Room, watching the entertainers near the Abbey and walking around the Royal Circus and Royal Crescent. This time in April 2017 we stayed with our friends who shared some great local knowledge with us!
- Go to Sally Lunn’s and try her world famous bun (thank me later!)
- Bizarre Bath night comedy walk is a great way to see Bath at night and have a laugh
- Lacock and Castle Combe are pretty English villages near Bath well worth a visit
- If travelling in a group between Bath and surrounding towns by train, buy a group ticket to save money
- If you’re into photography, you’ll really enjoy Lacock Abbey where the man that invented photography used to live!
Saturday – Sally Lunn’s buns and Bizarre Bath night comedy walk
Bath Spa is a short 1.5 hour train journey from London. Slightly less than actually. Even shorter for us getting off at the stop before – Chippenham. We were staying with a fellow volunteer that cared for rhinos in Africa earlier this year and I was looking forward to reminiscing about our adventure over a few glasses of wine.
After reuniting on the platform and our other halves meeting each other for the first time, we met Humphrey the dog (not Humphrey the bear!) Fitting name for a royal springer spaniel. He didn’t know it yet but he was my new best friend for the weekend. But first our host was our best friend, cooking up a full English breakfast better than we’ve eaten in some cafes! If any Care For Wild volunteers from our time there are reading this, you’ll know how good her cooking is and how lucky we were! Yum!
Living nearby to beautiful green parks and waterways and leaving Humphrey soon for our trip into Bath meant a long walk and game of swim and fetch. We even walked by a fun fair in the park (as you do!) and had to put Humphrey on the lead to avoid a game of fetch and eat!
Mid afternoon we caught the train into Bath which from Chippenham only takes about 15 minutes. First stop – large glass of wine with a view of hen’s and buck’s party-goers (and Bath) below from the balcony at Graze. It was the perfect spot to continue our catch up. They have a micro-brewery on-site and I was almost convinced to try their pie but we had only ventured about 20 metres from the train station!
Our favourite things to see in Bath were the weir, Abbey, Quiet Street and the Royal Circus. And I’m not talking about the fun fair type of circus. This area of Bath is where you lived if you were wealthy in the past. And in the future too! During our last visit to Bath on a day bus tour we were told that Nicolas Cage used to live there. Another area with beautiful Georgian architecture is the Royal Crescent and is definitely worth a look.
It was time for a snack and to allow for more exploring, we decided on a traditional pasty from the West Cornwall Pasty shop. If you’ve never had one of these, they’re essentially a warm pastry with fillings like meat and vegetables. Or for my Australian readers, a pie that looks like a calzone. I’m going to miss these when we move back to Australia!
With the sun still peeking through the clouds we continued to explore Bath until we found our next drinking spot. Outside at The Huntsman pub is great for people watching and soaking up the sun (if there IS any). It’s also the start and end point for the Bizarre Bath night comedy walk that we were doing later. But first – dinner. Just around the corner from The Huntsman there was a line up for Sally Lunn’s, the oldest house in Bath (c. 1482). While the house was interesting, I’m pretty sure they were lined up for the world famous Sally Lunn bun. It didn’t look very appealing but I was in heaven during every bite. It’s also only £13.50 each for a set starter and main (with a few choices) and glass of wine between 5 and 7pm. Get in there!
We had just enough time to squeeze in another drink at The Huntsman before the Bizarre Bath night comedy walk started at 8pm. It was the third time for our friends and they enjoyed it as much as the first two times. It’s a great way of getting to see different areas of Bath, at night and laughing at a few jokes along the way. Our guide and comedian even had a few tricks and illusions that involved a stuffed rabbit being thrown into the river, members of the group attempting to win £300 and a ring that one of the ladies in the group offered to include in a disappearing act. Thankfully it reappeared! But I won’t spoil the rest of them for you. Recommended if you have a sense of humour.
Unfortunately our train home was delayed so we crossed the road to the Royal Hotel and enjoyed a final drink of the evening to kill some time. The delayed train and the next train (last one around 10:45pm) didn’t arrive until quite a while later due to a signalling system failure and blocked track. Everyone cheered as the train finally pulled up at the platform and after seeing midnight in, we were soon fast asleep in the very quiet suburb of Chippenham.
Sunday – Lacock Abbey and village, the man who invented photography and cream tea!
This morning we started the day with breakfast outside. It was lovely in the garden! Our adventure for the day was visiting Lacock Abbey. It’s in rural Wiltshire and is part of the National Trust. Tickets are around £14 for adults and it is absolutely worth it if you’re interested in history, photography, old English buildings and woodland grounds. Lacock Abbey was even in the Harry Potter films! Back to photography. Ever heard of William Henry Fox Talbot? Well, he was the man who invented photography! And this house, was his!
Before exploring Lacock village, we treated ourselves to a cream tea. It’s an english tradition made up of scones, clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea. I’m still not sure what the right way is… jam first then cream or cream first then jam! We all did it differently!
The village itself is picturesque to stroll around. We were invited into a small art exhibition and asked to mark down our three favourite photographs on a sheet of paper. It was bustling with people and their clipboards and I enjoyed the challenge of selecting my three favourites. No hard sell or request for contact details either which was an added bonus!
As we walked towards a small bridge and shallow water for Humphrey to play in, Humphrey was unleashed and raced off towards a stall outside someone’s house. They are very trusting here! There were plants and home-made dog treats on sale. No shop owner anywhere to be seen. If you want anything you just have to put your money through their letterbox. Well, the dog treats were the perfect height for Humphrey. Lucky they were only £1 per bag and could be coaxed out of his mouth seeing as they were in a plastic bag! There are actually lots of stalls here without people serving. You can even help yourself to sweets like meringues and herbs!
Headed towards the car park, we saw a dog running around frantically in different directions. He almost got hit by a car before he ran back towards our direction and straight toward Humphrey’s treats in the hands of our friend. Thanks Humphrey! After a phone call to the number on Spooner’s name tag, the dog was reunited with his carer and hopefully back to the safety of his owner!
With our good deed done for the day, we headed off for a drive through Castle Combe. It’s a pretty village where movies like Doctor Dolittle and War Horse were filmed. If you’ve got a car for your visit to Bath, definitely take a drive through Castle Combe. If you’ve got time, stop for a coffee or wander through the village to take in your beautiful surroundings.
Before our train back to London, our friends poured us a glass of wine and spoilt us to a home-cooked meal with apple crumble and custard for dessert. Thank you both for a fantastic weekend!