A winter break at the Christmas Market in Bath
Many people make a trip to see the Christmas Markets of Germany and Eastern Europe at this time of year - think Cologne and Prague - but if you live in the UK or are more nervous of overseas travel post-Covid, many cities are now hosting similar markets to get people in the Christmas spirit. In the West Country, one of the best known is the Bath Christmas Market held in the square outside picturesque Bath Abbey, which I visited this week.
In the main square and the smaller adjoining ones, you’ll find over 100 traditional wooden chalets with handmade gifts, jewellery, decorations and artisan food products. Of course, there’s plenty to eat too and the smells of sausages, sweet nuts, and mulled wine fill the air – what would a Christmas Market be without a range of street-food to tempt you?
If you’re visiting with the family there’s an old-fashioned Carousel and a large Christmas Tree in front of the Abbey and Pump rooms where carol singers and street-entertainers will be performing. Hurry along if you live in the West of England, as the market is only on for 10 days and finishes on 6 December - it’s a shame they make it so short. Next year, you might like to use the market as an excuse to plan a winter break in Bath, to enjoy some of the indoor as well as outdoor attractions in this UNESCO World Heritage city. These are my favourite things to do on a cold winter’s day in Bath;
The Roman Baths are the city’s major tourist attraction and after examining the different Roman plunge pools and hot springs, you can have tea in the Georgian pump rooms where, in the 18th century, fashionable society came to socialise, and if Jane Austen is to be believed, to catch a rich husband.
The Thermae Bath Spa is very close by if you want to enjoy the hot spring waters in modern surroundings, and I suggest spending a relaxing half-day in their baths and saunas – there’s even an outdoor roof pool although perhaps save that for a warm summer day.
I always love the Museum of Costume in Bath which has displays of costume through the ages and ever-changing exhibitions featuring modern designers. It’s set in the old Assembly Rooms of Bath and you can take a look at the reception rooms if they’re open for free. I love having tea in the cafe there, which has lovely Georgian surroundings and is nowhere near as expensive or touristy as the Pump Rooms.
If you’d like to see a slice of life in Georgian England, you can visit No 1 Royal Crescent, a townhouse in the famous Royal Crescent which is now a museum furnished in the period of the late 18th century when Bath was the fashionable place to visit.
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