In almost every city centre in the UK there are a few shops that you can expect to find. Most cities have their own branch of Boots, Marks and Spencer, WHSmith and Waterstones. On a similar note when it comes to eating out you don’t have to travel far to find a pizza hut, and it’s been shown that wherever you are on the UK mainland, you’re never further away than 85 miles from a McDonalds. But one reason we love being in Bath is the fact that our city has so many great independent alternatives. When you need a good coffee or you want to go clothes shopping there’s no need to be limited to the same old chain stores. After all, visiting a new city is all about new experiences. These are just a few of our suggestions.
When you want something to read:
Toppings bookshop regularly hosts signings, talks and events with various prominent authors; but our favourite has to be Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. It’s tucked away down a side street and is one of the only bookshops we know of that has a Reading Spa with coffee, cake, and bibliotherapists (like a personal shopper, only helping you choose the best books rather than clothes).
Having said that, if you’re a fan of clothes shopping:
Hampstead Bazaar on Pulteney Bridge is a favourite of the likes of Dame Judi Dench. They specialise in elegant flowing designs that flatter just about every woman who puts one on. Another recommendation is Channi B; an independent boutique shop on the ground floor of Milsom Place (a shopping area just off from Milsom Street). They sell unique clothes and accessories, and their shoes in particular are stunning statement pieces that you won’t find on the highstreet.
If you’re in need of a stationers:
Woods stocks everything from inlaid fountain pens to Filofaxes to iPad accessories, and they have been a feature in Bath for over 200 years. The other place to go, especially for art puzzles and the most beautiful advent calendars, is Maythers card shop.
Looking for a good old-fashioned pint:
The Raven on Queen Street has a wide range of local beers and real ales. It’s a family-run pub in a pair of conjoined Georgian townhouses with plenty of atmosphere and happily no loud music, TVs or arcade machines. Every second Monday they also host a scientific debate. Worlds away from a commercially driven chain-pub.
Keen to see a film:
While you could visit the Odeon, which has all of the latest releases, there are few cinemas we like more than The Little Theatre. This is a small (as the name suggests) and intimate cinema still set out as they used to be in yester-year; with tiered padded seats, balconies and a ticket seller on the door in a ticket booth.
When you’re looking for a great pizza:
Bath does have a Pizza Express but our recommendation is to try either the Ponte Vecchio, which is only a five minutes stroll from Dukes Hotel and has amazing views as it is right next the weir. Or for modern and atmospheric, try The Stable on Kingsmead Square.
We hope Dukes Hotel can welcome you for an explorative visit in Bath soon!