Looking to visit the beautiful heritage city of Bath but stuck for places to eat and stay? Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered…
Bath’s already become a big name on the South West coffee scene with a good measure of independent coffee shops and cafes. If you’re visiting Bath by train, make your first stop Jika Jika, a quirky little coffee house in the old railwaymen’s showers at Brunel Square. Cornish Origin Coffee is complemented by burritos (try the breakfast burrito filled with bacon, scrambled egg, sour cream and guacamole), sarnies and pastries.
Caffeined up, head to the city centre Queen’s Square to track down Colonna and Smalls. This cathedral to the mightly bean is a destination for coffee geeks and the simply curious, as it’s owned and run by the UK’s top barista, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood. You’ll find three espresso beans and three single origin/estate filter coffees on any day. Prop yourself up at the brew bar, read the tasting notes and engage with the knowledgeable baristas. Just outside the centre is newcomer Repack Espresso, which is also worth the trip for a serious coffee experience. Owner Jonathan Prestidge gave up his university job last spring to open this simple, pared back shop where coffee is the star.
Another Insider’s Guide favourite in Bath is Society Cafe in Kingsmeade Square. One of two outlets in the city, this cafe is a great spot for people watching on the terrace. Inside or out, there are lots of places to relax with your coffee and cake, and you’ll find a small selection of speciality beans available with tasting notes, with coffee served from the aeropress as well as the espresso machine. Another coffee cafe, but one that’s also serious about good veggie food is The Green Rocket. ‘I’d rather shut up the shop than sell rubbish,’ says proprietor Phil Pearce. Everything is made in house by Phil including the ketchup and baked beans.
If your stomach is yearning for something with a little more substance pop into Wild Cafe for a well earned brunch break. Nestled down the cobbled streets of the city centre, this vibrant eatery is a great place to sit down and soak up the atmosphere, relax with a drink whilst watching (and smelling) your meal being prepared in the open kitchen, before tucking into free range eggs Benedict. Expect local, organic and homemade delights on the ever-changing seasonal menu.
For a spot of lunch head over to Jazz Cafe (pictured below), a vibrant family-run cafe in Kingsmeade Square featuring daily specials and fresh dishes ranging from seasonal meze to warm salads. The unique atmosphere make this one a memorable stop, make sure you take time to enjoy the art, jazz and coffee on offer in this little gem.
After a long day exploring this exciting city, treat yourself to a delicious slice of homemade cake from the vast variety of free range and locally sourced treats on offer at Boston Tea Party. The South West cafe chain showcases some of the best local arts, with seasonal events and galleries within its tearooms, so take in your surroundings while tucking into a well earned coffee and cake.
After a busy morning of exploring give your four-legged friends a rest and head to the dog-friendly award winning King William (pictured below) pub for lunch. A stone’s throw from the city centre, it was awarded Best Pub Food in Bath last year, and also has a good wine and local ales list. Or try one of Bath’s most popular foodie venues The Northey Arms which serves a menu of pub classics alongside inventive dishes and afternoon teas. The building, formerly the Box Station Hotel, was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Noel Coward was once a regular visitor, so there.
Another restaurant that revels in its typically Bath architecture is The Chequers (pictured below), a former coaching inn turned gastro dining pub situated between the Royal Crescent and the Circle. The menu has an appealing simplicity and majors on good pub food done impressively well. When the sun starts to set and the evening rolls in there’s nothing better than snuggling up by a warm fire and enjoying good quality comfort food. The Stable is perfect for such an occasion, with cosy booths matching delicious food with a friendly atmosphere. Choose from the exciting array of pies, pizzas and ciders, all infused with a local but contemporary twist.
For beer lovers, the Graze bar, Brewery and Chop House is a fantastic choice with its own micro brewery. The bustling restaurant pairs its local ales with a menu inspired by the simplicity of New York and London steak houses. Visit for British and European food with smoky flavours from Graze‘s Josper oven.
For a smart dining experience Allium restaurant, hits all the high notes, whether you’re looking for an a la carte dinner or afternoon tea. Head chef Rupert Taylor has a wealth of Michelin experience and crafts impressive dishes in an unfussy setting. Lovers of all things local should head down to Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, where one their ideals is ‘Incredible ingredients from local artisans’ and they certainly have that in spades. Rachel Demuth was the person behind this fantastic vegetarian kitchen which opened in 1987. If you want value good food, then you should stop by for a Sunday roast, light bite or a lunch dish.
Another great supporter of South West produce is Same Same But Different, a laid-back environment offers what the title says, as owners Antonia and Rob use only Bath suppliers to create a tasty menu. As day turns to night, this petite eatery is transformed with candles, a wine menu and Latino music.
If you’re looking for something a little different, award winning Menu Gordon Jones is a quirky but quality choice. Unusually, you don’t get to choose your menu options, you eat whatever Michelin-trained chef Gordon happens to be cooking that day – accompanied by hand-picked wines. Or, if it’s a lively atmosphere you are seeking for your evening out in the city, the Green Park Brasserie is the perfect destination for music and food lovers alike. The restored train station ticket hall provides a spectacular back drop to the tempting gastro menu, presented alongside live jazz and acoustic music evenings, making the Green Park Brasserie an ideal restaurant for that special occasion.
Off the Modern British trail is Yak Yeti Yak where you’ll smell the exotic aromas of this Nepalese restaurant before you see it. Set in the basement of three listed 18th century buildings is a variety of dining areas, a bar and two courtyard gardens. Another exotic choice of note is The Mint Room, a contemporary, award winning Indian restaurant that cleverly fuses Indian flavours with the finest British ingredients.
Overlooking the famous Royal Crescent is The Royal Crescent Hotel, offering five star accommodation , 45 luxurious rooms and a spa to relish. A must-visit for fans of fine dining, head chef David Campbell works his magic to provide exquisite dishes produced at the highest standard in the Dower House Restaurant.
Smart, contemporary decor and a golden stoned Georgian building, an easy stroll from the city centre,makes The Queensberry another attractive proposition – but foodies will also want to visit for its Olive Tree restaurant. Trencherman’s standard cooking with three AA rosettes from Chris Cleghorn and an award winning wine list make it a fave for locals and visitors alike.
Away from the hustle bustle of the lively city centre, surrounded by luscious gardens is The Bath Priory Hotel. An elegant location and Michelin-starred dining makes this Trencherman’s Guide restaurant a culinary delight. Chef Sam Moody’s impeccable dishes are full of flavour with exciting combinations. In addition to the formal restaurant, there’s also The Pantry serving everything from cake and coffee to mussels in cider and parsley with a bowl of pukka fries on the side. 33 bedrooms include those overlooking the beautiful grounds, and there’s an in-house spa too.
A short distance from Bath, The Manor House Hotel (picture above) is a stunning country house near the village of Castle Combe, set in 365 acres of grounds. It’s home to the Michelin-starred Bybrook Restaurant headed up by Richard Davies, and if you like gin you’re in for a treat – the bar has a growing collection which currently stands at 140 bottles. Also situated on the outskirts of Bath is The Pig (pictured below), a newbie on the foodie retreat radar. Nestled in the hills of Mendip this hotel boasts a unique kitchen garden dining experience, with an exclusively seasonal and self sustained menu, served within the stunning, authentic Victorian greenhouse.
Emcompassed by acres of rolling park lands Homewood Park is a delightful Georgian hotel, in a truly picturesque setting. If not for the beautiful views, this luxury hotel is worth a stay for the fantastic Lime Restaurant which holds three AA rosettes and showcases the best of modern British cuisine. For something a little more intimate , the charming Wheelwrights Arms offers fantastic seasonal dishes created by head chef Matthew Brooks. Sit outside in the garden or cosy up by the fire in the winter. There’s seven stylish ensuite rooms upstairs should you wish to stay.
Shopping and cookery schools
Bath is a gastronomic haven and proudly boasts a fantastic range of cookery shops and activities to indulge your inner foodie. The Bertinet Kitchen cookery school offers cookery tuition to cooks of all abilities, teachings skills from complex patisserie to mastering the perfect Asian spice combination. In addition to the cookery school you can also stock up on its freshly baked pastries at the store on Brunel Square. Alternatively, Demuths overlooks Bath Abbey and is an exclusively vegetarian cookery school led by Rachel Demuth. Her team of experienced cooks have created a range of courses to inspire home cooks to make the most of local and home grown produce.
The beautiful Lucknam Park estate has broadened its hotel and spa propsectus, opening a new cookery school within the grounds. The school provides innovative classes for food lovers looking to improve their cookery techniques, whilst enjoying a break in the Somerset countryside. Courses are led by Hrishikesh Desai and are overseen by Michelin-starred chef Hywel Jones, assuring the best quality tuition.
If you can’t resist a little deli shopping indulgence, give our fave shop, Chandos Deli in George Street, a visit to stock up on a quality selection of cheeses, meats, antipasti and deli treats. Manager Henry also sells great wines including his weekly personal pick. You can also eat in or take away sandwiches, wines, coffee and ice cream. Just around the corner, home cooks will love the treasure trove of equipment that’s to be found at Kitchens. From top-end mixers and food processors to toffee apple sticks and cup cake paraphernalia, everything – and we mean everything – you could ever need for the warmest room in the house is to be found in this wonderland.
The Bath Fine Cheese Co. (pictured below) is a must visit for any cheese fanatic whilst in the city. This charming little shop offers a massive selection of quality cheeses, with a special range of local cheese from the Bath and Somerset area. If you’re feeling creative you can devise your own taste sensations, matching speciality flavoured crackers with your favourite preserves and cheeses. Alternatively you could pick owner Ann-Marie Dya’s brains for her best flavour combination, as she’s been in the industry for over twenty years and is proud to stock over 100 types of hand-made, British cheeses. Once you’re bags are full to the brim with cheese, head over to The Thoughtful Bread Company where you’ll find delicious baked goods to accompany your purchases. The artisan bakery, based just outside of Bath, is passionate about local food and even includes foraged ingredients within its produce.