January is typically a quiet time in Bath. It’s cold, dark and wet, and we’re poorer, heavier, and bleary-eyed after the late nights and festive shenanigans. For visitors and Bath residents alike, this is the perfect time of the year for hunkering down in a cosy, warm spot with a hot drink whilst catching up with friends or relaxing by yourself, whether between the pages of a book, lost in the vast ether of the internet, or taking a moment to step out of life’s busy schedule. Here are Jules Mittra of Around and About Bath’s hunker-down spots across Bath…
1. Café 15 at No.15 Great Pulteney
A real refuge from the hustle bustle of everyday life. No. 15 Great Pulteney’s hotel restaurant doubles as Cafe 15 during the day, and is a gem of a spot to while away hours. Set in the former Georgian townhouse’s basement, it is cosy, unique (with the feel of a Victorian chemist’s store) and serves fabulous pastries as well as coffees. Absolutely perfect for a cold, wet day!
2. St Michael’s Café
If unusual settings are your thing, this is definitely worth a try. St Michael’s Café is located inside one of Bath’s most impressive churches in the heart of Bath, just across from Waitrose. Called ‘St Michael’s Without’ due to it being just outside the city’s medieval walls way back when, most of the church you see today is Georgian. Enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee and tuck into any number of tempting treats and lunch options surrounded by arches, domes and columns and, possibly, the sound of the church’s pipe organ.
3. The Thoughtful Bread Company
I’m not sure if the name refers to the bread being thoughtful – I quite like the idea of bread possessing consciousness – or to the bakers. I think the latter. Regardless, if you are a fan of the all manner of delicious pastries, breads, biscuits and the like, The Thoughtful Bread Company is the place to go. The coffee’s pretty good too, and the breakfast muffins are to die for!
4. Rosario’s Café
Whilst you may be in Bath for a taste of the truly English experience, if you fancy meandering further south (metaphorically of course), stop by Rosario’s Café. Owned by Rosario Bavetta, a Sicilian who has left lemon groves, volcanic landscapes and sun for Bath, Rosario’s fuses the best of his homeland with the West Country. Amazing coffee, exceptional pastries and a warm, relaxed atmosphere just enough away from the main hubbub to be a refuge, but close enough for you to dive back in when ready.
5. The Bridge Tea Rooms
If you fancy getting out of Bath for a few hours, why not hop on a train and take a 15-minute ride to Bradford-on-Avon, a stunningly picturesque town straddling the river Avon and, in many ways, a miniature version of Bath. Aside from the stunning views, historic buildings and boutique and artisan shops, Bradford-on-Avon is also home to The Bridge Tea Rooms.
Reputedly the oldest tea rooms in England (dating back to c.1502), the building itself seems to be weighed down with age. Once inside, enjoy an intimate English tea experience served in Victorian surroundings by ladies in pinafores and bonnets.
Afterwards, follow the river for a lovely riverside walk through Bradford’s country park returning along the canal tow path, past the immaculately preserved, medieval Great Tithe Barn, before heading back to the station and back to Bath. A great way to spend a winter’s afternoon.
Guest Post by Jules Mittra from Around and About Bath