We recently got back from a little Christmas market break in Bath and after having the loveliest, most festive time, I wanted to write up a post featuring our antics and what we recommend. I just personally love everything and anything Christmassy. Christmas is by far the most magical time of the year for me and I love the general December buzz – a little busy as people get things sorted, a lot of excitement for what’s on the horizon and (for the luckiest of us!) getting some time off work and seeing family. Any reason to drag out this season and feel those feels even more, is a yes from me. For this reason, we decided to visit the Bath Christmas markets. As you will know by now if you’ve spent literally any time on the blog(!) we love to explore new places – big or small, and learn new things. For that reason, the deeply historical, bloody beautiful and conveniently Christmas market-ridden Bath was top of our list. We booked a hotel for the opening night of the markets; which was on a Thursday so was a lot cheaper than the weekend, and we liked the thought of seeing the markets in full swing as they launched.
We drove down from our house in Brighton. This took over three hours with the traffic and so as we arrived it was starting to get dark. With that being said, Christmas markets are absolutely the best in a chilly old evening, where you want to cosy up with hot chocolate and good food. All the lights shine a little brighter and actually, it was no hassle at all to miss the markets in the sunshine, as we would be able to see them this way the next day too. We stayed in the Apex city hotel and it was lovely – beautifully decorated with cheery staff, and a really decent sized room for a cheap price. It was just around the corner from a public car park, which offered overnight parking for the cheapest price in central Bath. We settled down for a little while in the hotel after checking in (I had a power nap as a long drive always tired me out! Well, and generally being a human comprised of sleep,) and then got ready and headed out to explore the markets.
Out of all the Christmas markets we’ve visited before, we tend to see a pattern of a large open area taken up by the stalls. In some cases they’re lined up with pathways between them, but generally, you’ll find them in the same radius. What we absolutely loved about Bath’s markets is how they blended in perfectly with all the cobbled streets, nooks, cranny’s and alleys over the city. There were hundreds of stalls set all around the lanes and it was really special to explore; there was more and more each corner you turned. The stalls comprised of food, drinks, locally made homeware, decorations, wood and glass stalls, consumables, toys and so much more. Everything you’d expect and hope for was here, all lined up in story-book wooden huts lining the street edges. We even saw random little performers like the snow queen-esque lady that came rolling by in a snow globe. Amazing hahahaha!
We had a search through all the stalls, sampled different drinks and nibbles and bought a whole bunch of brownies from different stalls, some decorations, and then watched the carollers singing. Bath itself is decorated gorgeously at this time with lights and Christmas trees everywhere. Paired with the often gloomy English Winter weather, a lot of the floor was shimmery – luckily not raining on us – which showed the lights twinkling reflections and the reflections of entire trees at times. It sounds borderline silly and like an advert doesn’t it!? But it didn’t bring anything down at all. It was pretty busy on opening day, but it was nice to see everyone milling around, having a good time and feeling the spirit. Whilst there were lots of people you never had to go out of your way due to crowds.
After spending a few hours wandering, eating, chatting and laughing the evening away, we grabbed some drinks from a nearby pub and continued the night with cocktails and rambles. It’s so lovely being able to spend time like this with the people that mean the most, and Jack and I had such a cheery, happy night. We finished it all off with a takeaway pizza and chips at the hotel. (My life is just food central what can I say!)
The next day we started exploring by getting entry to the Roman Baths. I had visited as a child but Jack had never seen the place, and I wanted to see it all over again being older and – I feel like – being able to appreciate things even more. It was so beautiful! We decided to use the headsets that tell you all about the history and meanings of different parts of the baths – what they were used for and who would go where. Overlooked by the gorgeous Abbey and nestled between the Christmas stalls, we had a great time walking around and hearing about the history.
We did a little shopping (having inadvertently gone over black Friday so it was 100% PACKED on this day!) and walked around the stalls again in the daylight. I think there’s a much sweeter, festive vibe with everything lit up at night, and if I had to choose just one visit it would be night time. However, it’s also lovely seeing it all in the day and if you get the chance to do both I would absolutely recommend it. Just maybe be more aware than us when Black Friday falls! The deals were great in a lot of places but the crowds were heaving and not easing. After seeing everything in the daylight, we walked along the river (which was far more quiet than the town,) and went to Prezzo for an early dinner.
I hadn’t had a Prezzo in such a long time! It’s our favourite Italian chain (you can never beat a good independent restaurant, but when you need a familiar face Prezzo is the one!) and often has amazing deals. This time we visited we had a buy one get one free deal on mains. Keep an eye on their website as they always have offers to choose from. It was bloody be-a-u-tiful, so after stuffing our faces and having one last cheeky wander, we hopped back in the car for the three hour drive. We will absolutely be visiting more Christmas markets around the country and hopefully abroad too, and we would love to visit the magic of Bath again one day.