Nestled in the rolling hills of Southwest England is the charming city of Bath. After a 90-minute train-ride from London, it became clear why this is a Unesco World Heritage site and a destination long-favoured by visitors from all over the world.
I was craving a coffee and set off up the hill in search of a good seat to watch the world go by. Tempted from the street by a counter laden with big bowls of salad and plates of pastry, Sam's Kitchen was my first stop. While sitting at their big scrubbed farm table I found myself chatting with residents Emma and Amy, co-owners of Owl in the Ivy. They suggested a visit to the Botanical Gardens in Victoria Park. Setting out for the gardens I stumbled upon The Fine Cheese Company just down the road from Sam's. Inside the door to the right is a pretty little tea room with black and white patterned floors and to the left are the cheeses, many made locally in Somerset, and a vast array of their own crackers, chutneys and honeys.
On my way to Victoria Park I passed row after row of Georgian style homes, their smart exteriors, built in Bath Stone, glowed golden in the late afternoon sun. I poked into a few of the independently owned stores. A highlight was the eclectic Owl in the Ivy with gorgeous homeware and art. Another favourite was the well stocked café and grocery The Foodie Bugle. I finally made it to the Botanical Gardens, its winding footpaths leading from one lovely spot to the next. I found a grassy patch perfect for a little picnic and enjoyed some local Perl Las cheese and a few cherry, rye and almond biscuits I had picked up at the Fine Cheese Company.
The next day I ventured out to The Pig, a little country house turned hotel and restaurant. I loved walking in the walled garden before lunch where they grow much of the produce for the menu. Everything served at the restaurant not grown on the property is sourced from within 25 miles.
Bath is a city with real spirit and its active artistic community creates a unique and rich identity for the city, away from the high street and tourist destinations. This creative community along with the delightful culinary culture and picturesque location have made it one of my favourite destinations.