Recently we waved goodbye to our daughter as she headed to the UK for travel & study, her first trip to Europe that is not a buying trip! As we talked about places to visit a spark of inspiration for this post flickered. For lovers of a good bonnet drama (which she is) a visit to Bath is a must do; here’s what we found…
Bath had always been on our bucket list and it was worth the wait – with our buying trips centered in France and Belgium neither of us had spent much time exploring the UK despite having family and friends there.
If you have read Persuasion or Northanger Abbey it will all seem so familiar, The Royal Crescent, The Circus and the endless cups of tea. As 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, there are many events planned in Bath and Hampshire click here for more of Jane. Despite the rather inclement weather it was a joy to wander the city and marvel at the well preserved 18thC architecture 🙂We joined the Mayor’s Walking Tour of Bath, which are held twice daily and are free! It was an easy way to get an overview of the history, politics and romance of Bath – the 2 hour walks are hosted by locals with a passionate love and knowledge of their city.
A few solid hours are needed to explore the Roman Baths & Temple Complex. For history buffs and lovers of good audio guides this one is great. There is so much back ground as to how the Romans lived and managed to build around these natural thermal springs thousands of years ago. It’s best to go in the early morning or the later afternoon if you want to avoid groups of rosy cheeked English school children.
Having stayed overnight in Bath, we chose the tiny village of Mells to be our base. It was an easy drive from Bath, and close enough to the towns of Bruton, Frome & Wells. We found a great B & B named Jericho which was hidden (seriously) amongst the wheat fields…
our second choice would have been The Talbot Inn which had all the charm of a typical English country pub with gorgeous low ceilings and stone floors + we can confirm the gastro part was excellent.
A sojourn to the English country side would not be complete with out a visit to a National Trust property. As we approached Stourhead I couldn’t help but think I would find myself in an episode of the Antiques Roadshow…queuing up with something I had just found at the local flea-market!Alas, that did not happen. Stourhead, an 18th Century Palladian mansion with a fascinating history (don’t they all) had impressive library and magnificent grounds, dotted with grottoes and folly’s by the lake. Our timing was good as many of the flowers were in full bloom, the sun was out and I had my very own Mr Darcy with me 🙂
In Bruton, after visiting Hauser & Wirth we stumbled up this picturesque and quaint structure known as the Bruton Dovecote. A limestone tower that had a variety of uses in its 500 years of standing, you can read a little of the history here. (A previous post on Travel & Art covered the art gallery Hauser & Wirth )
Delightful discoveries, happen when you travel. And in Frome, we came across the textile felt artist Gladys Paulus, her creations of wonderful whimsical animal masks were otherworldly and I ‘felt’ in love with them!
En-route we pass impossibly picturesque thatched roof cottages and travel along tiny streets and lanes lined with hedgerow…
It’s all so very English !
And back to Bath, i forgot to mention there was a bar, with an open fire and many varieties of gin…it was called the The Canary Gin bar, chin-chin! Happy travels x Brooke