ELLE Escapes: Bath
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The only city in the U.K. to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bath is known for its Georgian architecture. Perhaps that’s why Jane Austen called it home for several years (we have to imagine it’s where she daydreamed about the handsome Mr. Darcy, too). Two of the writer’s novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are set there, and the upcoming Netflix adaptation of the latter featuring Dakota Johnson, slated to be released later this year, was recently shot there. In fact, Bath is pretty much the go-to location for many period films and series, including Bridgerton. Ever since the second season of everyone’s favorite scandalous series dropped, Downton Abbey’s new movie dates were announced, and the U.K. opened its borders for U.S. citizens, Bath, a city in the county of Somerset, has quickly become a top destination for Anglophiles. With that in mind, here’s a roundup of the must-visit, ton-approved places you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
The Roman Baths
If you’re interested in baths, it turns out, Bath is full of them (how meta!). The Romans built hot springs there back in 76 BC, after all. At the Roman Baths, you can see how people kicked back for some R&R centuries ago. Apart from the literal giant bath, the museum inside has interactive exhibits and CGI reconstructions with self-paced audio guides to take you through the legacy of the structures that support the city’s hot springs.
The Fashion Museum
Like the Costume Institute’s annual exhibition at the Met? Then you’ll love the Fashion Museum. A style haven in itself, it tells stories by showcasing what British people have worn in the last couple hundred years, as well as the creations of legendary Brit designers like Alexander McQueen.
If you’re on the hunt for a bit of zen, you can’t miss the No.15 spa, conveniently housed in the No. 15 hotel’s basement. Among the six tranquil treatment rooms are the Copper Room, set in an original vaulted cellar complete with a beautiful round copper bath, used for specialist rituals and couples’ treatments. Having read that Jane Austen favored powder blue as the shade for her undergarments, designer Martin Hulbert followed suit and bedecked the relaxation room’s floor with the elegant hue, mirroring the rare but coveted spring sky in Bath.
The Olive Tree
Having retained its Michelin star for another year, The Olive Tree, located inside the luxe Queensbury Hotel, is the only restaurant in Bath that’s won the esteemed food award. It’s known for its six-course and nine-course tasting menus, which, TBH, are flawless from start to finish. (Specifically, the chicken skin profiteroles and tiny slabs of monkfish with mussel cream are to die for.) However, the duck, which is served with a salty hazelnut crunch, speaks for itself.
Influenced by Mediterranean cuisine, Olio, the restaurant inside the beautiful countryside hotel Homewood, offers a mean fresh Cornish lobster. Known for using local ingredients from its own sustainable vegetable garden, diners can enjoy their food in dining domes that sit on the manicured lawns of the hotel. Chic!
Famous for its huntsman culture, The Elder brought two masterminds, Gavin Edney, whose experience includes working with Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, and renowned chef Mike Robinson, known for his sustainable hunting practices, to create magic in the kitchen. The result is baked Fowey river mussels in a well-seasoned velouté, topped with baked sourdough crumb—the sheer creaminess is bound to change your life forever, trust us.
An award-winning crockery-obsessed restaurant and bar, The Plate is a popular destination for locals. Bursting with quirky designs adorning the walls as well the tables, the wine perfectly compliments the food. Sample a selection of whites at the outdoor dining domes (two’s a trend), boasting sweeping views across the Bath skyline.
Set in the lush surroundings of the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel—a place frequented by Winston Churchill himself—The Colonnade is covered entirely with wallpaper in a book pattern, to give the illusion of literature stacked from floor to ceiling. With a comprehensive wine list, what stands out most are the cocktails. Our favorite? The Cosmopolitan with fresh strawberries and peaches.
The Brasserie, with its lounge area, bar, and restaurant at Lucknam Park, offers a great view of the sprawling grounds of the Cotswolds estate, reminiscent of Downton Abbey. It’s definitely a place for the fashion set, as one can spot Chanel bags on nearly every guest’s shoulder. We recommend a glass of champagne (or several) at nighttime.
Hotel Indigo Bath
Most of the décor at Hotel Indigo Bath gives guests that time warp feeling of living in the era of Bridgerton. The rooms reflect the culture and history of Bath itself, where abstract styling meets Georgian tradition. Not to mention, the hotel is in a neighborhood that’s well-known among the well-read, starting with the infamous debutante season in Bath.
Within walking distance of many filming locations, including Bath’s famous and most striking landmark, Royal Crescent, lies the flamboyant boutique hotel, The Bird. Colorful, with bold designs and statement artwork, the hotel oozes English charm with a creative and lively atmosphere. Many of the individually designed rooms offer views across Bath Abbey as well as the city beyond. Suites and rooms are flamboyantly decorated and offer all the glamour of luxury amenities and furnishings. An eclectic theme is at the heart of the interior design, in which unusual items up for auction are on display and arranged in an utterly unique way.
Homewood, a quintessential Georgian country house, is just 20 minutes outside of Bath, surrounded by the enchanting Avon Valley, with hedgerows and heavenly walks on the premises. The hotel features quirky interiors with creative artworks, unique dining domes (again!), an award-winning spa, and a heated outdoor swimming pool—a nice bonus, considering the climate. Lavish, with distinct personalities, bedrooms range from comfy doubles to cool suites with hot tubs, both in the main house and the ravishing Mallingford Mews.
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