After our trip to Tokyo fell through, Tom was unable to change his days off (which have to be booked months in advance as a pilot) so we decided to do a UK mini break instead. VisitBath invited us for a weekend to explore the wellness scene in the city and it seemed like the perfect fit.
After completing my Boston Marathon training long run first thing before we drove down to Bath, so top of the agenda was the thermal baths…
Best Healthy Activities
The only spa in Bath Spa that utilises the natural, mineral rich warm waters offers two hour time slots for the public to enjoy their roof top pool, Minerva bath and steam rooms (although these were closed when we visited). We though that the £38 (£35 on weekends) was quite steep, but you do at least get a towel, robe and flip-flops to utilise during your visit. It was incredibly relaxing although rather crowded, operating a one in, one out policy – we were told that it’s practically empty during the week. The perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon!
You can’t really visit Bath without exploring the Roman Baths (it’s the one thing about my trip to Bath 20 years ago). They’ve done a great job restoring these ancient baths, set at the heart of the City of Bath, they are in amazing shape. It’s one of the most well preserved ancient religious spas, set upon the unique thermal springs. The Baths and museum offer a great insight into the city two thousand years ago.
Bath Skyline Walk
This was high on our agenda, but sadly due to logistics, didn’t happen. There isn’t any parking at the start of the walk, meaning you have to catch a bus or hike a mile uphill before starting the six mile roundtrip walk. I actually had grand plans to run the route (hiking the steep uphills) – definitely on the list for next time, and probably a great pre-thermae spa activity! Find out more about the walk here. Apparently there’s also a parkrun at Bath skyline!
The one way systems, lack of parking and proximity of most of the attractions/shops, you’ll clock up a number of miles just walking around the city. We explored the Circle, Royal Crescent and the Jane Austen museum (I love Pride & Prejudice but was a little disappointed by the museum), all easy walking distance from the centre.
Watch a Rugby Match
We’re big rugby fans, and Bath have a great team, so next time we visit we’ll make sure it coincides with a Bath home game – the next home game is on April 1st 2017, tickets are about £36.
Bath Half Marathon
I ran the Bath Half back in 2012 and although I had a tough race, I would love to run it again. The race is one of the biggest halfs in the UK and is held in March each year- next weekend actually. It’s a really well organised race that takes over the whole city, with plenty of supporters, aid stations and a few hills!
Visit the Farmers Market
Another activity we weren’t in town for but would love to experience is the Bath Farmers market, the first Farmers Market in the UK, with vendors from the surrounding 40 miles showcasing their wares at Green Park Station. You can pick up everything from meat, fish, veggies to cheese, pies and homemade cakes. There’s also a plethora of coffees, vegan and gluten free options, chocolate and local brews. Find out more here.
Best Healthy Restaurants in Bath
We only had a few meals to try a number of restaurants so this also includes some recommendations that we didn’t get a chance to test out.
Tom was apprehensive about giving this vegan cafe a try, however he admitted that the cake and smoothies were amazing. I cannot stop thinking about the carrot cake. As well as a delightful cake selection, they also serve a spread of salad, soups and sandwiches for lunch, plus dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (until 8pm). Well worth a visit, plus the cafe is very instagrammable (I know I’m not the only one that thinks about these things).
Tucked just beyond the Circus and Royal Crescent, the Green Bird Cafe serves breakfast and lunch, and a brunch menu on weekends. I had the most incredible mushrooms on toast with a poached egg and a side of chorizo (I’d run 15+ miles that morning) however sadly despite delicious food, the service wasn’t great and my meal came out a full 10 minutes after Tom had finished his food.
Bath has a great selection of veggie and vegan cafes, and one that came highly recommended was the Chapel Arts Cafe. Located in the centre of town, near the Roman Baths, but tucked just off the main road, this is a real gem. Famed for its flatbreads, which Tom can attest are great, most of the food served is organic and locally sourced. I enjoyed the Beetroot, Kale and Butternut Squash salad with garlic flatbread – so good! It’s only open from 10-4pm (Mon-Sat) and filled up quickly.
Sadly we didn’t make it to Green Rocket Cafe, but it was recommended by a number of people on Twitter. This veggie cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an exciting menu that looks like it will please both veggies and non-veggies alike.
I think over the years vegetarian restaurants have got a bad rep but these sorts of places prove that meat free is not taste free, infact it was the opposite. I usually try to find a mixture of healthy spots and not-so healthy for when Tom and I travel, however I think he was pleasantly surprised by the selection and food available in the vegan/veggie cafes – and I might get away with a few more on our next trip!
Another one on our list for next time is Menu Gordon Jones, offering surprise 5/6 course fine dining tasting menus that are all seasonal and locally sourced. At £50/£55, I think it’s great value and would be a really fun birthday, date or anniversary treat.
For me, being healthy is all about balance, and for me balance means cake and gin…
This cute coffee shop next to the Roman Baths served huge doorstop size pieces of cake, we can highly recommend the carrot cake and the chocolate banana bread. Although the downstairs looks small, there’s a huge comfy seating area upstairs – perfect after shopping, walking around the Roman Baths, or sitting in the Thermae Spa.
Another recommendation that we didn’t make it to, but will definitely be visiting on our next trip. Boasting a large selection of gins, including those from the Bath Gin Company, this is apparently one of the best bars in Bath. There’s also a Bath Gin Club starting in April on the first Weds of every month (this might dictate when we return to Bath!)
We were hosted at Combe Grove, a beautiful hotel in the suburbs of Bath for our stay. It was a little wet (and cold) to fully enjoy the amazing facilities including an outdoor pool and tennis court, but we did try out the BodyPump class at the country club attached to the hotel (Tom and I both had quivering muscles by the end of the session). There’s also a spa and sauna, gym, and golf driving range. We loved staying here for a real getaway, however you definitely need a car to get here from the city (and I was very glad Tom was the one driving, the roads are steep, narrow and chaotic!).
We ate breakfast and dinner at the hotel, enjoying three courses at each!