A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year, but none so popular as the Christmas time. The famous Georgian sandstone that the city is built in twinkles like pillars of gold when the decorative lights are up, and while the bustling crowds can put some people off, the rush and throngs of merrymakers can be exhilarating if you like a party atmosphere. In this article, we will look at some of the top reasons to visit Bath in the winter, and what you can do there at the festive time of year.
The Christmas Market
The top reason that people flock to the city at this time of year is for the Christmas Market. The festivities in Bath are known to be some of the best in the country, and with over 160 Nordic-style chalets to visit, you are sure to make a great start on your Christmas shopping. From candles to candy, gourmet cheese to stocking fillers, winter woollies to delectable snacks, the wooden huts are scattered throughout the town. Look at the website for maps, opening times and lists of which chalets will be there that year. My personal favourites include the Snowdonia Cheese Company (always located on Abbey Green), the Chou Chou Nuts Over You stalls (various locations) and all the crafty art stalls.
While this festive forest is a 40-minute drive from Bath, it’s well worth a day trip if you’re spending a while in the city. The enchanted Christmas exhibition is a spectacular illuminative display which sees towering tree branches filled with coloured lights. Wrap up warm, take a thermos of cocoa and enjoy a stroll under the dazzling lights.
For more information on the Arboretum, please click here.
Bath on Ice
Partial to ice skating? Bath on Ice is the city’s winter ice skating event. Located in the Royal Victoria Park, the rink gets bigger every year and always attracts a crowd. A great event for families or for winter hen/stag parties.
The Guildhall Market
While the market is in operation all year round (selling everything from books and jewellery to wool and Cornish pasties) it’s worth popping in there at Christmas for their special seasonal displays. This is the oldest trading place in the city, and as it isn’t well known by tourists, it could be a great place to escape from the wind (and possibly, rain!) and grab a coffee in their quiet café. The little jewellery shop is wonderful (it’s where I bought trinkets for my wedding outfit!) and there are plenty of shops and stalls to stock up on stocking fillers.
Carols at the Bath Abbey
The Abbey in Bath is magnificent, and if you get a chance, make sure you book yourself onto one of their tower tours. The abbey has various events taking place over Christmas, and the carol service is well attended – you couldn’t pick a more atmospheric location!
Street Food Market
Bath is one of the best places in this part of the country to eat cosmopolitan – Chinese, Thai, Indian, French… whatever you want, you’ll find it in Bath. The Festive Street Food Market in Kingsmead Square is a top place to sample some different cuisines from local restaurants – and of course, you can always find somewhere to grab a mince pie and some mulled wine, too!
What could be more traditional than a visit to the theatre at Christmas? As well as the usual Christmas panto on at the Theatre Royal, Bath also has a smaller theatre (The Ustinov), a theatre for children (The Egg), and the Little Theatre, which is actually a cinema! Ballet, theatre, comedy, musicals, stand-up… there’s plenty to choose from!
For more information on the what to look out for at Theatre Royal Bath, please click here.
About the blogger: Celia Jenkins grew up on a small island and always knew she wanted to travel to far off places. After graduating from university (first-class honours in creative writing), she spent over five years working abroad in Asia (China and Japan), which is when she built her career as a freelance travel writer. Now back in the UK, Celia freelances on different subjects and ghostwrites books for children. Having been bitten by the travel bug, she cannot wait to shoulder her rucksack once more but, in the meantime, she feels excited by travel writing, which is a great way to visit fantastic places all over the world.