A couple weeks ago, while in London, we took a weekend trip to Bath, England. I had heard amazing things about the city from so many people, so it was one of the places I wanted to visit. It seemed that no matter who I asked, Bath was a must-see place in England. Little did I know before this trip, it was also a very special place to my family. John and Rachel, my family & our hosts, had begun dating in the city and were huge fans of Bath Rugby. So needless to say they were more than happy to show us their beloved town. So on a Saturday morning we fought the London traffic and headed into the countryside, toward Bath.
Relatively speaking, England is that it isn’t that large. You can drive two hours and be almost at the border of Whales, and we did just that. Along the way, we drove through countless adorable English towns that were hundreds of years old. We stopped only a few of the towns to grab some photos, but I would have loved to have stopped at them all. I mean how can you not, when it is so quaint and cute?
As we drove through the countryside, I was taken by the rolling hills of the country. Oddly it was exactly what I am expected the countryside to be but at the same time we were in awe of the reality of its beauty. From the colors to the sheep, to the gray skies, to the changing of the leaves on the trees, it was all just magical. You just cannot beat the English countryside in the fall.
All along the drive there were a few other key landmarks, one of which was Stonehenge. We were running a bit late, so we didn’t stop, but we saw it from the car. Recently, there have been a couple similar rock stacks being unearthed in the area, which means other Stonehedge’s could be buried in the fields. Kind of cool right? There was so much I didn’t know about the area. It was fun to hear about the history as we drove into Bath.
As we drove through the hills and into Bath, the architecture took on a very different style. For centuries, Bath has been known as one of the most beautiful cities in Britain, and I can see why. The buildings are masterfully constructed with stacked limestones and adjoining rooftops. The long expanses of adjoined homes creates and iconic silhouette that follows the banks of the river and the city hills.
Bath is a pretty walkable city, so we drove to our quaint B&B in the city, Villa Magdala, and unpacked first. It was the perfect walking distance from the city center and all the hot spots we planned to see while in the city. The walk from the villa to the city was lined with classic rowhouses of Bath, that have been made famous by so many English movies. I just couldn’t get enough of the painted numbers over the doors or the different colors of each door. It was even more adorable than I expected.
After getting settled, we wandered through the city with John and Rachael, to grab lunch at a pub. All along the way, they gave us a history lesson on Bath and what it has meant to England over the years. My favorite view was this of the bridge over the river that goes through the city. The buildings that sit right over the bridge are very tiny storefronts, which completely surprised me. I could have stood and watched the water flow under the bridge all afternoon. We have heard, that in times of celebrations the students will jump off the bridges and into the water. I don’t think I would ever be that brave.
After we grabbed some lunch John and Rachael took us around the city to see the shops and other areas of the city they loved. In comparison to London, Bath felt like a single neighborhood. As we walked through the city, it felt like we might actually be able to see everything in day, or two. It made it really fun to wander through the city.
After exploring the city a bit, we walked over to the rugby fields to watch Bath take on the Exeter Chiefs. England’s national rugby team was playing in the Rugby World Cup that same evening, in a different city, so we ended up watching two matches that night. Sadly Bath didn’t win their match, a large section of the Bath starters were playing for the national team, so that night we got to see the B-Team, which was still amazing! I have always enjoyed going to soccer and hockey matches, but this was our first Rugby game. I loved the game and it was so fun to watch how ingrained rugby is in the culture of Bath and in England. Rachael is a huge fan, so it made it even more fun to watch her excitement for the sport as well.
The next day, we had a proper English breakfast at the hotel and then John and Rachael wanted to take us to a few more spots in the city. We explored all of their favorite places when they were dating and had fun hearing about their lives together. We had planned on eventually making our way to the historic Roman Baths.
On our way, we swing into the Abbey for a quick look through. I have always been fascinated by the cathedrals in European countries. We try and experience one of them in each city we travel to.
The entrance to the baths is right by the Abbey, so we immediately went from Abbey to the baths. We took the tour and slowed down to learn about this amazing place. These baths, in particular, are no longer used for bathing, they do still allow you to see every area of the ancient bathhouse. The water that fuels the Roman baths is heated deep underground and remains consistent all year long. I can only imagine how magical this must have felt to the Romans who really had no clue why the waters were warm, but they did create an amazing building around the pools.
Standing near the water, you could smell the minerals, see the bubbling of the water from the Earth below, and see the steam rising from the surface. They do give you a chance to drink the water, I personally passed because of being pregnant, but I hear it quite an interesting flavor to say the least.
After, we toured the baths we did some more wandering around the city. Since it was a Sunday the city was full of people doing their shopping and enjoying the day out. It was a beautiful day and perfect for wandering the city and enjoying fall.
Part of our tour of Bath was John sharing some his favorite pubs and shops with us. So many of the pubs included a fond memory from their dating life, or an exciting Bath Rugby game. It was so fun to hear their stories and how the city played such a huge part in their love story.
Before we began heading back to London, we soaked in some last bits of the city and enjoyed the beautiful architecture one last tiny bit. John and Rachael had one last stop for us before we made it back home.
Right outside of London sits Windsor, where the Queen lives. Rachael lived in Windsor for a little while and had her own stories to tell about the city. We arrived at dusk so we couldn’t visit the castle, but we got to peek at the outside and were blown away by how beautiful it is.
We closed out the trip by meeting up with a very good friend of John and Rachael’s at a local pub before we headed back to London to enjoy the final week of our trip. We were so glad we took this trip to see another whole area of England, and to experience the town that has meant so much to John and Rachael.
If you don’t have a local to show you the way, we highly suggest checking out a couple city guides on Bath.
Have any of you been to Bath? What are some places you would suggest in the area?