Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Discover historic Bath's stylish side


Stylist’s acting executive editor Gemma Crisp revisits one of the UK’s most popular cities and finds there’s much more than thermal springs and impressive Georgian architecture

Chances are, you’ve already been to Bath. You may have been wearing a school uniform and rolled your eyes unappreciatively as your history teacher went into raptures over the Abbey that dates from 1499 or you may have been wearing hen’s party paraphernalia as you and your friends joined the queue to soak away the previous night’s excesses in the famous thermal spa.

But on a recent weekend, I unearthed a slew of new reasons to revisit Somerset’s UNESCO World Heritage city – and you can wear whatever you damn well please. Behind the incessant crowds of tourists, a new breed of thoroughly modern cafes, wine bars, design emporiums and boutique hotels has emerged, making Bath feel a little like the English cousin of Stockholm’s hip Södermalm neighbourhood (but with much prettier architecture).

Read more: The ultimate British bucket list- unique places to see and things to do before you die

Fresh off the train from London, my friend and I did a quick spin of the sights (Royal Crescent – tick) before searching out Hunter & Sons (hunter-sons.co.uk), a café specialising in coffee, craft beer and smattering of food hidden away in Milsom Place. After downing a pint of Wiper & True’s delicious yet powerful Twin Pines Double India Pale Ale from Bristol (8.5% ABV - hic), it made perfect sense to tipsily browse the shops. Handily, the temple of Scandi design that is Hay is just around the corner and Magallaria (magalleria.co.uk), a niche boutique dedicated to independent magazines from around the world, is a three-minute stumble away. If artisan food is your thing, don’t miss The Thoughtful Bread Company (thethoughtfulbreadcompany.com) which focuses on sustainable baking, Colonna & Smalls (colonnaandsmalls.co.uk) for speciality coffee and chocolate and the eminently Instagrammable cheesemongers Paxton & Whitfield (paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk).

Gemma, Bath

Gemma ticks off the sights, then the coffee shops and concept stores

We had to forcibly remove ourselves from Found (foundbath.co.uk), a concept store just over Pulteney Bridge that is stacked with design-centric homeware, clever stationery, statement jewellery and unisex clothing from global brands like Karen Walker and Baum und Pferdgarten, but once we checked into No.15 Great Pulteney, a 22-room townhouse on the best street in Bath, we were rather glad we did. Open since December 2016, the hotel is a cornucopia of curiosities including chandeliers dripping with 1,000 ‘lost’ earrings, a cabinet dedicated to kaleidoscopes and glass-topped tables housing vintage brooches, miniature shoes and snuff boxes. It’s not to everyone’s taste – if you’re a pared-back minimalist, you may run screaming – but it’s charmingly unusual. Our room overlooking the impressively grand Great Pulteney Street had a trompe l’oeil bed canopy, artfully distressed walls and a Nespresso machine hiding in a doll’s house. Downstairs in the pastel bar, the quirk continued with the cocktail menu displayed on a pack of cards – as well as the classics, there’s the intriguing ‘Lobster Fashion’ made with lobster bisque, vodka, pomegranate and basil tonic and champagne (£17). We opted for prosecco instead to pair with the more-ish baba ghanoush and cod brandade fritters in the subterranean restaurant, followed by lamb steak with harissa cous cous and pan-fried Cornish bream.

Read more: The UK’s quirkiest hotel stays

The next day, we inspected the independent boutiques and cafes on Walcot Street, gazing wistfully at the small plates menu in the window of wine bar Corkage (corkagebath.com) and bespoke stationery and paper shop Meticulous Ink, both of which are sadly closed on Sundays. Happily for us, Sam’s Kitchen (samskitchendeli.co.uk/bath/) was open so we stocked up on train picnic fuel before meandering to the station. It wasn’t our first visit to Bath but neither will it be our last – next time, we may even revisit the Abbey...

Rooms at No.15 Great Pulteney start from £110 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis; no15greatpulteney.co.uk



11 delicious and affordable places for afternoon tea in London


See an artistic side to Miami at its new cultural hotspot


See red in Koh Samui

Stylist heads to Thailand to experience one of the most spectacular swimming pools in the world

by The Stylist web team
17 Oct 2017

You're more likely to get better service on a plane if you sit here

We've got all the in-flight seating tips you could ever want

by Megan Murray
16 Oct 2017

These are the 10 happiest places to live in the UK

Is it time for a change of scenery?

by Susan Devaney
11 Oct 2017

Discover a Costwolds bolthole with museum-worthy art

Stylist finds Artist Residence Oxfordshire more than lives up to its name

by Amy Adams
10 Oct 2017

The 10 dreamiest (and most expensive) streets to live on in the UK

We should have started saving about ten years ago

by Megan Murray
04 Oct 2017

Discover the real Rome that lies beyond the silver screen

Stylist goes behind the scenes at the living film set that is Rome

by The Stylist web team
03 Oct 2017

Seriously hip hotels you need to follow on Instagram

From a rock’n’roll hideaway in Texas to a futuristic glampsite in Devon

by Anna Hart
28 Sep 2017

Step between the scenes of Australia’s artsy second city…

Melbourne shuns beaches and boardwalks for coffee, culture and creativity, finds Stylist

by The Stylist web team
26 Sep 2017

This is how to book an NYC shopping trip with Sarah Jessica Parker

Sex and the City fans, this is not a drill

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017

Sign up to our weekly travel email

24 Sep 2017