What to do in Bath at Christmas

As you may remember, I used to live in Bath. As a rule, while it’s incredibly beautiful, I don’t generally miss it, but at Christmas I really do. There’s something about Bath that is really magical at Christmas time. So, to ease my Bath-sickness, here’s my top tips for what to do in Bath at Christmas, whether you’re a local or a tourist.

Bath Christmas Market

The Markets

Bath’s Christmas Market is pretty famous, and with good reason. Nestled right alongside the Abbey and in the surrounding cobbled streets, the market is beyond pretty, with a staggering array of beautiful things to buy. With locally made jewellery, food, homeware and more, you’re sure to find something for the most awkward person on your present list. Tip, if you’re local, lots of the stalls offer a residents discount with the Discovery Card. Once the crowds have got too much for you, there are other great markets to be found just off the beaten track. Green Park hosts a variety of regular markets, which I always loved when I lived there.  With a market on every week day, and specialist farmers, vintage or artisan markets at weekends, do not pass this by in favour of the Christmas Market.

Bath on Ice

Bath on Ice

Fancy some ice skating? Bath on Ice appears with a rink every year in the gorgeous Royal Victoria Park. Along with the pretty surroundings, there’s a full licensed bar serving mulled wine, hot cider and local beers, as well as the usual spirits and hot chocolates. You can also order wood fired pizza, loaded fries, soups and cake. Spot on. It does get crowded at the rink, so try and avoid peak times if you can, and I suggest booking. I also hear that this year, they’ve added glow in the dark Crazy Golf…

Christmas shopping in Bath

Shopping

As well as the markets, Bath’s standard shopping is really good. There are some fantastic independent shops in Bath, so you can find something a bit different. If you want high-street shops, the main high street and the newer South Gate development have everything you could want. I highly suggest exploring the smaller independents or boutiques in Northumberland Place, Milsom Place, Walcot Street and The Corridor (one of the world’s earliest shopping arcades, dating from 1825). A full guide to all the shopping areas can be found here. Oh, and if you really want to get festive, there’s a shop called December 25th. Open all year round, the place is an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful Christmas decorations.

Theatre Royal Bath

Pantomime

I love panto. I used to work in a theatre and it was always my favourite time of year. Theatre Royal Bath is gorgeous, and this year has a full-scale pantomime in the main house and two shows for littles on in their smaller space, the Egg. Bath has a great reputation for theatre, so whatever the show, it’s sure to be good.

Bath Abbey

Sight-Seeing

I’m not sure why, but I always found Bath extra beautiful in Winter. There’s something about the architecture that really works with those crisp, cold days. The Christmas lights in Bath are always fantastic as well. Make sure you wrap up warm and go and check out the sites. The classic tourist spots in Bath are classics for a reason. I used to live a few minutes walk from the main ones, like the Abbey, the Royal Crescent and the gorgeous parks. I never got used to seeing them, and was still stopping to photograph them after living there for a year.

Eat and Drink

Forget the chains (although Bath has a great range of those too) and refuel at some of the fabulous independent bars, cafes and restaurants around the town. Have afternoon tea at Bea’s Vintage Tearooms, have a Bath Bun at Sally Lunn’s, grab a coffee at Jika Jika, grab a pint at Bath’s smallest pub the Coeur de Lion, treat yourself to brunch at Hall and Woodhouse, have great cocktails at the Adventure Cafe and then round it off with dinner at Gascoyne Place.

 

Want more Bath suggestions? I’ve previously written guides on my favourite places in Bath, and where to buy vintage in Bath. These were both written a while ago, so some things may have changed since I lived there! I also wrote about the Roman Baths and the Fashion Museum!

 

 

Vintage Shopping in Bath

Bath is known for it’s fantastic vintage scene. When I lived there, I was always lusting over beautiful vintage gear from the various markets and shops that spring up all over the city. If you’re a visitor, it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. Here’s my guide to the best vintage shopping in Bath.

Yellow Shop
Yellow Shop Bath

I used to work just up the road from Yellow Shop on Walcot Street and it was an endless source of temptation. The front of the shop is mostly new clothing, with some cute vintage inspired and repro gear if that’s your thing. Head to the back for the actual vintage. The rails are rammed full, with a particularly large stock of vintage sports jackets and some brilliant bags and footwear too. I always found Yellow Shop much more reasonably priced some of Bath’s other vintage offerings. If you visit on a Saturday, walk a little way down the road, towards Waitrose, and you”ll find an excellent little market, where you can find records, crockery and vintage clothing.

Scarlet Vintage
Scarlet Vintage Bath

Scarlet Vintage has a totally different feel to Yellow Shop. The shop is small, tucked away on Queen Street (by the rather excellent Magpie pub, and a gin bar, so while you’re there…) and has a very chic, boutique feel. The shop is always immaculate, with carefully selected vintage items from a range of eras arranged by colour inside. Their stock is always very high quality, no cheap tat here! Friendly, knowledgeable staff, and reasonably priced when you take into account the quality.

Vintage To Vogue
Vintage To Vogue Bath

Vintage to Vogue wasn’t a regular haunt for me, as it’s more expensive than other Vintage offerings, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The shop is just off Milsom Street, and is a bit of TARDIS when you get inside. From a small alleyway entrance, you get into a pretty big shop, stocked with a variety of eras. Vintage To Vogue has a very good men’s selection, which can be trickier to find in Bath. They also have a massive range of accessories and is the best spot to visit if you’re looking for vintage hats or gloves.

Bath Vintage and Antiques Market
Bath Vintage and Antiques Market

Bath Vintage and Antiques Market was always my favourite place to shop vintage. The market is held the first and last Sunday of the month in Green Park Station, an old Victorian train station. Green Park hosts different markets throughout the month, which are all worth a visit, but Vintage and Antiques is the best one. Furniture, clothing, homeware, records, jewellery, you name it, someone is selling it. Prices vary across the stalls, but it’s rarely unreasonable. Most of my collection of vintage teacups came from various stalls here. I miss this market a lot, actually. Excellent for a Sunday potter.

Grace & Ted
Grace and Ted Bath

Previously The Frock Exchange, Grace & Ted is an excellent designer resale store. Located on Kingsmead Square, amongst some of the best cafes in Bath, Grace & Ted stock pre-owned designer fashion for men and women. Run by a mother and daughter team, the shop has been a dress agency for 25 years, making it something of a Bath staple. With stock covering Chanel, Mulberry, Prada, and many more, you’re bound to find a gem in here! Great range of shoes too…

Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms
Bea's Vintage Tea Rooms

Now, clearly Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms is not a place for vintage shopping.  However, trust me when I say Bea’s is a must visit for any self-respecting Vintage fan. The Tea Rooms, on Saville Row, are beautiful, decorated in authentic 1930s/1940s style. Every detail is perfect, with music of the time, beautiful mismatched china, and waitresses in landgirl bandannas and red lipstick. The food is gorgeous too. All freshly prepared homemade fare, the tearooms serve breakfasts, lunch options including soups, pies and sandwiches, and they keep the patisserie cabinet heaving with incredible cake. They also serve the best Afternoon Tea in town. I’m obsessed with this place, and anyone who came to visit me in Bath was usually taken here.

Charity Shopping
Again, not strictly vintage, but worth a mention. If you’re a thrifty sort, Bath’s charity shops are excellent. Because Bath is a very affluent place, you can grab some fantastic brands if you dig into the racks in most of the charity shops. I picked up some great designer bits for pennies in the Save The Children shop near my old work. Always worth an explore; you never know what you might find.

Wishlist: French Connection

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All words, thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and entirely honest. If you’d like to know more about my disclosure policy, you can read about it here.

French Connection is not somewhere I generally shop, but I think that might have to change. Perusing their website had my virtual basket full to the brim in no time, with classic pieces in great cuts, made all the sweeter by the fact that they’re having a massive sale right now. French Connection isn’t cheap, but there’s some great bargains on real quality items to be found at the moment. Here’s some of my favourites:

I found lots to love in the dress section.

 Apparently, all I want is the fit and flare shape. All these beauties are in the sale, and I think are pretty excellent wardrobe staples. Wearable shapes, but great details, like the bright prints and the neon strips. Depending on how formal your dress code is, I can see these working for the office, as well as for fun. These three are pretty good examples of the whole dress collection. The dresses are all in flattering shapes that most women could wear, but they’re kept interesting with gorgeous prints, bright colours or other little details.

I found a lot of great tops too.

If anyone would like to buy me the shirt, I’d be more than happy to accept that gift. I love the collar detailing, it’s beautiful, but so simple as well. Yes please! French Connection rule pretty patterns too, I think. Check that floral print. Cuteness. The pink shirt is something I could wear to work, I think, and that drapey top is the ultimate pairing for jeans and heels at the weekend.

Who’s a French Connection fan? If you are, you do not want to miss this sale.