england Travel

Bath, England – An Ancient City at Christmastime

August 18, 2016

bath england

Twas a blustery day, once upon a December, in a city called Bath.

Bath was one of the top places on my travel bucket list before I even bought my plane ticket to study abroad in England. I think the name itself intrigued me, and then when I saw photos… I knew I had to visit.

The city of Bath is absolutely breathtaking. It’s the kind of place where you want to take a photo of everything you see – from random buildings, to cobblestoned streets, to old cathedrals. It’s a place seeped in architectural beauty, which is truly the allure and heart of a place for me. Architectural beauty is also incredibly easy to capture on film. Natural beauty has a certain depth to it that can be much harder to capture in a photo, though I’ve gotten a good ones. Exquisite architecture seems to pop from a photograph and immediately grab your attention as much as it does in person. I found that Bath reminded me of a much larger Oxford.

bath england

Highlights of Bath, England:

1. The Roman Baths

Next on the list was the famous Roman Baths. The city’s namesake is just as cool as you’d think. I haven’t been to Italy (yet), so this was the first piece of Roman history I got to see in person. The large bath is above ground, but underground are tons of other smaller baths, old structures from the original city of Roman Bath, and parts of the natural spring.

Unsurprisingly, this was the best part of the trip. Not to be super cliche, but walking through history gives me the ultimate feels. The underground part of the Roman Baths have various videos and photos which show you exactly what everything used to look like surrounding the exact spot you’re standing. I could honestly stand in a historical site like that for several hours and let my imagination run rampant.

P.S. There’s an area where you can taste the water. The water legitimately tastes like blood (because it has a lot of iron). I confidently announced this when I drank some and effectively freaked out the old man standing behind me. 

2. Standing on the rooftop of Bath Cathedral, drinking mulled wine in the wind.

We started our day with a tour of Bath Cathedral, founded in the 7th century. It was a slow trek up steep, spiral steps, which is a feature that I secretly love in all of these old building.

They showed us the old church bells that ring every half hour. It’s quite an elaborate system of bells that play tons of different melodies, but since it was Christmastime the repertoire was full of Christmas jingles.

When we reached the very top roof (there were lower roofs we walked across before we got to this one), they gave us our choice of hot chocolate, tea, or mulled wine. Naturally, we all chose mulled wine. It was already a very, very windy day, and standing atop a cathedral felt like standing in front of an oncoming hurricane. My eyes were watering, my hair was knotted, and my wine was sloshing… But I was standing on the roof of a centuries old church, looking over an ancient city bustling with the joy of a giant Christmas market. It was one of those surreal, epiphanic moments. One of those moments where you pause and go “wow I can’t believe I’m doing this right now”. 

3. The architecture

I already mentioned this, but the architecture is divine in Bath.

4. The carolers

Aside from German Christmas Markets around every corner, my other favorite part of Christmas in Europe is the carolers. There were tons of them scattered about the city.

We got some more mulled wine and roamed around Bath from street to street, listening to the various groups carolers. I used to think caroling was kind of weird. But that was when I only thought of the carolers that randomly show up at your doorstep. Street carolers are awesome. We don’t do the caroling thing anymore in the USA, but we definitely should.

5. Mulled wine

I went to England to discover new experiences, and mulled wine is probably one of my favorites. We have it in the USA, but again… it’s just not as popular.

roman baths england

Tips for Finding Food in Bath:

Imagining you’re an ancient Roman princess can leave you quite famished, so we went on the hunt for food later in the day. Bath has a lot of restaurants, and I’m sure they’re all quite fantastic. Unfortunately they were all extremely crowded and booked until 9pm. So I relented and appeased my hungry stomach with some McDonald’s.

The restaurants probably aren’t usually that crowded, but it was a Saturday during peak Christmas Market Season. So, if you’re planning a trip to Bath around this time… book ahead of time if you can!

 

bath cathedral england
Cathedral overlooking the Christmas market

 

roman baths england
Roman Baths

 

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