Milsom Street in Bath city centre dates all the way back to 1762, when the grand Georgian townhouses which line it were first built. The elegant thoroughfare quickly became a renowned boutique shopping spot and it remains a favourite stretch for shopper’s today, with those original townhouse buildings turned into stylish stores, restaurants and bars.
If you haven’t explored this part of Bath before, here’s why it’s a must on your next visit to the city.
Experience part of fashionable Bath
“Do you know, I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine, in a shop window in Milsom Street just now…” – Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
Just as it was in Jane Austen’s day, Milsom Street and the surrounding area is a first-class shopping destination, with a fashionable crowd flocking here to flit between the myriad of luxury and high-end stores. These include Portman, Whistles, Finisterre and The Kooples, as well as the UK’s oldest department store, Jolly’s. This landmark store was first opened in 1831 and has been restored to its former glory by current owners House of Fraser.
From fashion exhibitions to other places for retail therapy, discover more about the city’s stylish past and present in our guide to fashionable Bath.
Enter blooming lovely Milsom Place
At the heart of the street is Milsom Place. Formed of Georgian buildings, terraces and open courtyards filled with lovely flowers, this is a beautiful place to shop, eat and drink. Explore upmarket shops like designer shoe store Chanii B, quintessentially British clothing brand Hobbs, and an outlet for bed linen and home accessories by Yves Delorme.
When you’re feeling peckish, modern Indian street food awaits at Bandook Indian Kitchen or French-inspired cuisine at Côte Brasserie. Look out for Bosco Pizzeria too, opening the doors to its first Bath restaurant here on 19th August. Great drinks can be found at wine lounge Le Vignoble and botanical-themed cocktail bar and restaurant The Botanist.
Don’t leave without a colourful bouquet from Anemone, created using seasonal blooms including locally grown lavender and of course, anemones!
Discover even more shops
Milsom Street and the surrounding area is awash with shops beyond fashion boutiques and retailers too. Browse quality natural CBD products at Goodbody Wellness, fine fragrances at Penhaligon’s, luxury furniture at India Jane, and stylish homewares and gifts at Vinegar Hill.
Known for its independent spirit, wander up to the artisan quarter of Bartlett Street where stand-out shops include concept store The Loft, or visit sellers of neglected women’s fiction Persephone Books on George Street. Likewise, nearby Green Street has independents such as Minerva Art Supplies, S.P. Green & Co jewellers and Maze Clothing.
Indulge in fine food and drink
A long day’s shopping calls for a pitstop for some great food and drink, of which there’s plenty in and around Milsom Street. Rest your feet while you fill up on contemporary British food and expertly crafted cocktails at The Ivy Bath Brasserie, loved for its relaxed sophistication, art deco style and al fresco terrace.
On George Street, sip on more cocktails at Circo Bar, Sub 13 and Slug and Lettuce, or see who’s playing at legendary live music venue and club Moles. There’s also the French-inspired Comptoir+Cuisine bistro and Clayton’s Kitchen, run by Michelin-starred chef Robert Clayton.
Laid-back café Same-Same But Different on Bartlett Street is a favourite brunching spot in the area, while Woods Restaurant offers dazzling British cooking with a French accent and Henry’s Restaurant on Saville Row does modern dining in a rustic setting. Swing by Beckford Bottle Shop to either sink into a Chesterfield with a glass of wine in the bistro or pick up bottles to take home.
You can even get cooking yourself at The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School, which runs hands-on classes near Bartlett Street in everything from patiserrie to Vietnamese cuisine.
Time your visit between 24th and 26th September and you’ll also be able to enjoy The Great Bath Feast market on Milsom Street, along with chef demos, pop-ups and a food and drink trail.
Uncover the art and culture
Some of Bath’s finest buildings, museums and attractions are a stone’s throw from Milsom Street, including the Jane Austen Centre. Get into the spirit of Austen here, learning all about her life and the Regency era in Bath, finishing with an afternoon tea in the tearoom.
Over on Bennett Street, step inside the prestigious eighteenth-century Assembly Rooms for a look around the Fashion Museum Bath, which houses a world-class collection of contemporary and historic dress. Don’t miss Shoephoria!, their exhibition tracing the evolution of the shoe over the last 300 years, on display until 2022.
Wander a little further to admire more beautiful Georgian architecture at The Royal Crescent. You can even take a look behind the doors at No.1 Royal Crescent, where a new immersive experience takes you back to eighteenth-century Bath.
Getting to Milsom Street
If you’re driving into the city, one of the easiest ways to get to Milsom Street is via the Lansdown Park & Ride (Service 21). Park up and hop on the bus at Lansdown Road, which is just a 12 to 15-minute ride away.
Milsom Street is also only a 10-minute walk away from Bath Spa Station as well as the city's bus station. Check out our travelling to Bath page for more tips on arriving here and getting around.