Nestled in the valley of the River Avon and dating back to the first century AD, Bath is one of my favourite British cities. So when my husband suggested visiting Bath and the Bath Christmas Market last year, I jumped at the chance. Luckily, my photographer son was able to join us and he captured the day for us, mainly using a vintage film camera.
Bath Christmas Market
Every holiday season, the city of Bath hosts the Bath Christmas Market. It attracts visitors from far and wide. Last year there were over 170 traditional wooden chalets lining the streets surrounding the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, selling artisanal arts, crafts, food and drink. This year promises to be even better.
With more eighty-five percent of the stallholders hailing from Bath and the surrounding area, the Bath Christmas Market is also a great place to shop locally. This year the market is open from Thursday November 24th through Sunday December 11th. (Opening times vary, please see the Bath Christmas Market website.)
Before we started exploring the market properly, however, we decided to go to our favourite little tea shop in Bath for a spot of ‘elevenses’ – what we Brits call a late morning snack that can bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch.
Time for Tea at Sally Lunn’s
The house itself dates from the 1400’s but Sally Lunn’s Eating House was established in 1680. Ever since then, they’ve been selling light, fluffy, buttery buns still made from Sally’s secret recipe. You can even visit the original kitchens in the basement of the house after you’ve enjoyed their traditional treats.
Exploring the Bath Christmas Market
We then spent a pleasant couple of hours exploring the Christmas market.
We sampled artisanal liqueurs, food and drink and admired locally blown glass and handmade crafts. I bought some liqueurs, spiced nuts and honeys, but we had to be mindful of how much we had to carry as we were travelling on the train. I’ve got a whole collection of websites from the stallholders I was unable to buy from on the day.
After a quick pizza lunch, we visited Bath Abbey. Three different churches have occupied the site since 757 AD. The first King of England was crowned here in 973 AD in a ceremony that has informed all subsequent coronations, including that of our Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The current Abbey was built in the 1600’s, then restored and added to in the 1800’s. It is nothing short of awe inspiring.
As you walk over and past memorials and ancient tombs, you get a real sense of the history and faith contained in this beautiful building.
The Roman Baths
Then it was on to the Roman Baths.
Since the time of the Celts the hot springs here have been used for bathing and restorative purposes. The Romans built a temple and baths complex here in the first century. The self-guided audio tour takes you through ante-rooms and exhibits of stonework and artefacts from the baths.
Our visit to Bath and the Bath Christmas Market was a wonderful day out and a chance to step back in time as well as enjoy the best of modern Bath.
Bath is in Somerset, about an hour from our largest local train station, Reading in Berkshire, or about an hour and a half from London’s Paddington Station.
More British Travel
With thanks to our son, Alex, of 4Lex Arts, for the majority of the photographs in this post.