A weekend away in Bath with my Antler suitcase
At the end of November a few university friends and I escaped London for a country retreat and to celebrate a birthday! Bath was the destination of choice, as it’s the birthday girl’s hometown, and it happens to be one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of the UK, and one of the most popular with tourists as well. She chose her birthday particularly well as at this time of year the Christmas market is in full swing, and sunny skies meant we were all set for a peaceful break from the fast-paced chaos that living in London usually entails.
It was also the exciting first outing of my new suitcase, the white Juno suitcase by luxury Australian brand Antler. After years of moving the contents of my entire life from country to country, my last suitcase was rather too well-travelled and in need of retirement. Although my mother would proclaim it foolish to choose a white suitcase, the white version is just irresistible and as it’s a plastic case it shouldn’t be too hard to clean off any small marks. However it also comes in black, you can buy them both on Antler’s website or in House of Frasers and John Lewis, and couple of other shops you can find here. My dress sense is ashamedly monochrome, so this white case with black highlights suits me particularly well, and is the perfect size for a weekend away (or longer if you are more decisive with your weekend wardrobe than I am – I like having options).
So we hopped onto the train at Paddington and may have indulged in a bottle of Prosecco on the journey to kick off the weekend!
For a newbie to Bath, you absolutely have to look round the Roman Baths first and foremost, as it is impressive to learn about why the Romans developed the city and how the baths played a part in daily life. My friends and I had visited them on school trips, so we skipped that and headed straight for the Thermae Bath Spa – the grown-up version of the Roman Baths where you can actually sink into the thermal waters rather than just look at them. A 2-hour session costs just £26 and the spa features the Minerva Bath, four different ‘steam pods’ scented with different aromatic essences such as eucalyptus mint, lavender or frankincense, and la pièce de résistance: an open-air rooftop pool overlooking the city and surrounding hills. If you book well in advance, they also offer over 40 different treatments and massages. It was idyllic, and I am a big fan of spas in general. The rooftop pool is undoubtedly the highlight and the perfect place for us to all catch up.
Feeling very relaxed and refreshed, we headed out into the Christmas market, which was bursting with mulled wine, crepes, Christmas decorations, German sausages, sweets and local hand-crafted gifts that would make perfect stocking fillers.
To complete the picture, a group of carol singers provided the background soundtrack and it really felt quite special. The centre of Bath is a series of winding cobbled streets and it’s easy to lose yourself in the market, not that that’s a bad thing…
At this time of year Bath is heaving with day-trippers, Christmas shoppers and (weirdly) hen parties, so I’d advise you book your travel, accommodation and restaurants well in advance.
Sotto Sotto, an Italian restaurant, apparently comes highly recommended. If you’re completely new to Bath then the best way to see the historic city is to join a walking tour or hire a private guide. Sue, an absolutely lovely lady, runs Bath Tours (find reviews on Tripadvisor here) and she offers a variety of guided tours, in English, German, French and Spanish, for large and small groups. Sue’s a local and knows all the best parts of Bath. Her 2-hour Bath Highlights tour on Saturdays at 2pm costs only £7.50 per person, which is the perfect introduction to the city.
After the Christmas market and some dinner, we headed out for the evening to Komedia, which that night was hosting a Motown-themed night, which couldn’t have been more perfect.
On Sunday a lie-in, a roast lunch and birthday cake was in order before packing up my new Antler suitcase once more and heading back to London on the train, after a blissful spa weekend in the countryside escaping from the constant whirlwind of the big smoke. I adore living in London, but always thankful that I have the option to escape and gain a sense of perspective every now and again in the English countryside, which wouldn’t be more opposite from London. I’ve said this to so many of my foreign friends, but London simply isn’t representative of the United Kingdom as a whole. The English countryside is a haven, where country walks and pub lunches replace London’s hectic and cosmopolitan social scene, and where you’ll find out what the real England is like.
For a weekend away my Juno suitcase fits the bill perfectly: it’s really light and easy to move around on its four wheels, it has an inbuilt padlock (increasingly more and more important I’m afraid to say!) and is distinctive to look at – not your run-of-the-mill suitcase. This one costs £129 but it’s available in a large size and a cabin size as well, and the whole of the Antler range is really attractive to be honest. Can’t wait to find out where I’ll be taking it next…