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Press Visit: 24 Hours in Bath Spa

 

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited on my first ever press trip to the beautiful city of Bath Spa and I had the most AMAZING overnight stay! Working in conjunction with Visit Bath and the stunning Francis Hotel, I was able to obtain a press pass which granted me access to some of the city’s top attractions. Located in the pretty county of Somerset, the city of Bath is one of the most visited in England, attracting over 3.8 million visitors each year.

Bath became a Spa in 60 AD with the Latin name Aquæ Sulis when the Romans built the baths in the valley of the River Avon, and remains the only place in the UK where you can bathe in thermal waters from the natural hot springs underneath the city. The whole city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and is still the only place in the UK to have this title. The centre of Bath is pretty small, and everything can be seen in a day or two so, without further ado, here is my ultimate guide to this gorgeous city!

 

How to get there

Bath is perfectly positioned just off the M4 and M5 motorways, just 19 miles from Bristol Airport and a 90 minute train ride away from London Paddington station, meaning it can be accessed by bus, car, coach, train or plane. However, as it’s a fairly small city, the roads are often congested with heavy traffic and parking can be a little tricky as it is often so busy. The whole of Bath can be explored on foot, and walking is the best way to truly discover the city, so ditch the car and arrive by train instead! Bath Spa station is just a 5 minute walk from the city centre and offers fantastic frequent services that run smoothly, allowing you to visit from many different UK rail stations.

1024px-bath_spa_railway_station_from_beechen_cliff

Photo credit: By Rwendland – Own work. Source: Commons Wikimedia

 

 

Where to stay

There’s a vast array of different hotels and B&B’s in Bath, many of which are luxury spa hotels given the city’s thermal water heritage, but there are properties to suit every need and budget. For a luxurious stay in a beautiful setting at the heart of the city, I’d highly recommend the Francis Hotel, located on Queens Square. With it’s original Georgian architecture still in tact, the hotel was converted from a row of terraced houses and now boasts 98 individually designed modern bedrooms with a distinct historic feel.

 

There’s also a delightful tearoom where afternoon tea is served daily, snug lounge and bar areas, an underground dining/breakfast room and famous chef Raymond Blanc’s signature restaurant, Brasserie Blanc. Onsite parking and free WIFI is available at the hotel, and the friendly staff are on hand to help whatever your query might be. For a 4* stay at the heart of Bath you really can’t go wrong with the Francis Hotel – my full review will be posted on the blog soon!

 

What to see

There are a number of impressive landmarks in Bath which are not to be missed on your visit to the city – here are my Top 5:

 bathabbey Bath Abbey – one of the oldest Church buildings in the UK, with striking Perpendicular Gothic architecture and history dating back to the 7th century. The Abbey runs frequent tours allowing visitors t0 climb the 212 steps up to the top of the tower for spectacular panoramic views across the city.

 

 

The Roman Baths – follow in the footsteps of the Romans and explore the site where they bathed in thermal plunge pools over 2000 years ago. With a fantastic museumromanbaths and original architecture dating back to 70AD, the Baths are a natural wonder and perhaps the city’s most popular tourist attraction.

royalcrescent

 

 

 

The Royal Crescent & The Circus – a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in the shape of a sweeping crescent overlooking the gardens of the Royal Victoria Park. Both the Crescent and the Circus are some of the country’s best examples of fine Georgian architecture.

pulteneybridgePulteney Bridge – one of only 4 historic bridges left in the world with shops built into it on either side. Completed back in 1774, the bridge was designed to connect the city with the Georgian town of Bathwick. Cross the River Avon in style & gaze down to the striking crescent weir below.

 

Thermae Bath Spa – award-winning natural spa allowing visitors to bathe in the UK’s only naturally warm mineral waters, just as the Romans did over 2000 years ago! Immerse yourself in the spa’s different chambers; a lazy river with Jacuzzi, a range of aromatic steam rooms and a thermal rooftop pool with spectacular views of the city skyline.

thermae-spa

Photo credit: Rob Slade Photography

Where to eat & drink

Bath is known for its high end eateries and its iconic Pump Room is a stunning restaurant at the heart of the city, located just next to Bath Abbey & The Roman Baths. There are also a number of popular chain restaurants, such as Pizza Express, Nandos, Prezzo, Wagamama & Browns which offer visitors an eclectic choice when it comes to dining. As Bath is also a uni city, there are plenty of bars, pubs and even a couple of clubs for those looking for some adventurous nightlife.

 

For a quintessentially English treat, Sally Lunn’s Tea Rooms are not to be missed! With history dating back to the 1400s, Sally Lunn’s is one of the oldest eateries in England. Guests flock from all corners of the globe to get a taste of the world famous sweet and savoury buns, served with different flavoured toppings and fillings to suit every palette. The buns are so large that they’re served in half and traditionally eaten with a knife and fork. Today the restaurant serves up a menu based on the buns that were first created by Sally Lunn herself back in 1680 when she arrived in England as a French refugee. There is a museum and small gift shop underneath the restaurant which houses the original kitchens that Sally used to bake her world famous buns. The museum is free for diners to enter and you can even buy your own buns to take home!

 

What not to miss

Discover a hidden gem at the heart of the city and indulge in a private spa session at The Cross Bath. Located next to the Thermae Spa and part of the same building, although it is not attached, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the steaming thermal waters and enjoy an intimate spa session with private changing facilities. The Cross Bath can be visited individually, or hired out by a maximum of 12 people at a time, making it a quiet alternative to the busy facilities offered at the Thermae Spa. The spa’s catering team can also provide nibbles and champagne for a luxurious treat and an occasion to remember. The Cross Bath is recognised as an official sacred site and is a hidden gem not to be missed when visiting the city!

The Cross Bath- a hidden gem at the heart of #bath! 🇬🇧 #visitbath #visitengland #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain #UK #GB #igersbath

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When to visit

Bath is beautiful at any time of year, but I particularly love it during the autumn/winter months, when the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on! In the lead up to the big day, there are a number of popular events in the city, such as The Great Bath Feast, The Bath Film Festival, Bath Rotary Club Fireworks Display, and The Bath Christmas Markets, making autumn/winter one of the busiest times of the year.

Ladies and gents, The Roman Baths! 🇬🇧 #bath #visitbath #UK #GB #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain

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Visiting in spring or summer is just as lovely too though, with the better weather Bath comes alive and the blue skies and green grass really shows off the city in all its glory. Bath Literature Festival, Vitality Bath Half Marathon and the Bath Comedy and Bath Digital Festivals are all fun, family friendly events on the spring/summer calendar making it a great time to visit.

How beautiful is the #royalcrescent looking in the sunshine today?! #bath #visitbath #GB #UK @visitbath #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain

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Why visit Bath?

In summary, Bath is one of those really gorgeous cities that should definitely not be missed when planning a trip to the UK! It’s super easy to visit by either rail, road or air and is in a prime location in the west of the country, perfect if breaking up your journey to London and surrounding areas. Offering a whole host of things to see and do, the history and charm of Bath will leave you wanting to return time and time again.

Oh Bath Abbey how I've missed you! 😍🇬🇧 #bath #wanderlustwednesday #UK #GB @visitbath

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So there we have it, my full guide to visiting the city of Bath – you can now plan your trip and go enjoy a fabulous stay there whenever you choose to visit! Have you ever been to Bath before, or are you planning on going anytime soon? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Love Jess x

NB. For this press visit I was lucky enough to be a guest with Visit Bath and with the Francis Hotel, but all opinions are of course my own.

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48 hours in Venice

So we've made it to #Venice and it is BEAuuuutiful 😍😍😍

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Ok so I can't leave #Venice out – just LOOK at it 😍🇮🇹 #Italy #ig_italy #venezia

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Ciao bellas!

On my recent Italian Escapade I had the chance to explore beautiful Venice, somewhere that had been on my bucket list for YEARS! We only had two full days to explore, but we definitely made the most of our short time in The Floating City, and it certainly lived up to our high expectations! Two full days actually gives you enough time to see the sights without the need for another night’s stay, so here is my list of must see’s and my guide on how to make the most of your time in the city…

Arrive in style by private water taxi

 

Arriving in style by private water taxi! Bonjourno #venice 🙋 #Venezia #Italy #wanderlustwednesday

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If you’re going to Venice, you’re going to want to arrive feeling like a VIP, and taking a private water taxi from Marco Polo airport into the city itself makes you feel exactly that! We had pre-booked a private water taxi, or Vaporetto as they are known locally, with HolidayTaxis for a hassle free journey to the centre of the city. Although there are public ferries leaving every half an hour, they are crowded and take up to 80 minutes to reach the centre, so splashing out on a private water taxi is definitely worth the money and will get you there in just half an hour, crucial if you’re limited on time!

 

Explore the beautiful Basilica

 

The focal point of the city; the beautiful basilica 💒 #Venice #venezia #ig_italy #italy

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One of the focal points of the city, Basilica di San Marco is a popular tourist attraction right at the heart of St Mark’s Square. Entry to the Basilica is free, but visitors are encouraged to leave donations and light candles. A small charge is made to access the altar and a further small charge is made to access the roof terrace which is well worth doing! You can climb to the top of the terrace for views across to St Mark’s Square and entry to the historic museum is also included.

 

Take a gondola ride

 

Ride a gondola in Venice – TICK! ✅✅ Next stop Florence 🚂🚂 #bucketlist #italianescapade #tourists

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No trip to Venice is complete without taking a ride on a gondola! Although it is expensive, it is one of those bucket list experiences that must be enjoyed during your trip. A ride on a gondola will set you back 80 euros (half an hour trip) but you’ll explore the city from a whole different perspective and it is worth the money. As a tip I would definitely recommend catching a gondola from the Rialto Bridge, as opposed to the Grand Canal waterfront or anywhere else in the city. Riding under the Rialto Bridge is pretty special, and gives you a fantastic photo op! Boat rides around the Grand Canal waterfront looked fun (although I think you have to pay extra to go underneath the Bridge of Sighs), but you won’t see much of the city with its little canals and waterways, so catching one from the Rialto Bridge is definitely recommended.

 

Soak up the ambience in St Mark’s Square

 

Listening to live #Italian music whilst in #Venice – grazie, grazie! 🇮🇹🎶

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Venice is quite a small city, so it’s nice that you can see everything you want to within just  a couple of days. If you’ve done everything and are stuck for something to do, why not just park yourself in the middle of St Mark’s Square and soak up some typical Venetian atmosphere?! There are a number of bars and cafe’s dotted around the Square, and it gets busy at night-time with people enjoying dinner and drinks. It can be expensive to eat out in the Square though; some bars charge a fee just for sitting at the table whilst listening to the resident live music bands! If you’re on a budget why not grab some plastic glasses and a bottle of wine and sit on one of the benches in the Square? You’ll still be able to enjoy the atmosphere and listen to the fantastic Italian music without paying for the privilege! If it’s bright sunshine in the middle of the day though, grab a creamy gelato and enjoy the warm weather whilst people watching in the Square!

 

Visit the city’s many museums

 

La Piazza 🇮🇹 #sanmarco #venice #venezia #italy

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Venice is home to a number of different museums, the most famous being the beautiful Doge’s Palace overlooking the Grand Canal. Dating back to the 10th century, the Venetian Gothic landmark can be toured with or without a guide and boasts stunning architecture throughout. If you’re looking to visit as many museums as you can during your time in Venice, I’d recommend purchasing a museum pass at one of the tourist information centres which allows access into a number of important and historic buildings across the city, perfect especially if the weather isn’t great!

Climb the Campanile for a birds eye view

 

Campanile di San Marco: 323ft high and showcasing #Venice from every angle! 😍🇮🇹 #tbt #italy #ig_italy

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Seeing Venice from above is pretty special, and the views across to St Mark’s Square and the city’s neighbouring islands and waterfront is breath-taking. Climbing the 323ft bell tower is easy as you can take an elevator straight to the top, and you can spend as little or as much time as you want exploring the city from every angle once you’re up there. If you’re lucky enough to look under 18 you can get away with paying half price for your ticket too – a nice little money saving tip!

So there we have it, my top tips on exploring Venice in a whirlwind 48 hours! Immerse yourself in the romance of the city, visit the sites and get around on a gondola for the full Venetian experience. Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to the city and helps with that all important planning!

Have you ever been to Venice? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

Arriverderci #Venice – you've been beautiful! 🇮🇹 #Italy #venizia

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This place tho 😍🇮🇹 #Venezia #venice #italy

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Hello!

Hi everyone – welcome to my first ever blog!

I have decided to create a travel blog as I absolutely love visiting places and would love to share my experiences with other people and asnwer questions about my trips! I have been to lots of places in Europe and am planning on going to America for the first time next year on a month long expedition to take in the sights of the famous West Coast.

Creating this blog will keep all my memories and will allow my friends and family to see what I get up to while I am away on my big summer break next year! I’ll also be posting reviews on places I’ve already visited this year and will be asking questions on area that I plan to visit later on in 2014 so look forward to interacting with lots of you!

Happy reading!

Jess 🙂 x

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