(AD – gift: This feature was organised by Visit Bath and all experiences were provided for me to test out free of charge. For more information about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.)
Wellness. It’s a very “in” word right now isn’t it? In our busy, social media obsessed, hectic lives we’re all chasing this state of bliss. A spa day sounds amazing when you’re knee deep in dirty laundry and deadlines.
But while I’m a fan of making small changes in our day to day lives to feel better about ourselves and – essentially – not beating ourselves up if we don’t “win at wellness” (life’s tough enough people!), I do think there’s something to be said for totally switching off and treating ourselves to a complete blissed out pamper treat every now and again, if we can. Which is why I said “yes” straight away when Visit Bath invited me on a press trip to explore the city as a wellness destination.
I struggle with January. It’s just such a long month isn’t it? And cold. And dark. And wet. This year hasn’t been quite as bad because I’ve been really busy with work which has helped to distract me from the sheer miserableness of it. Plus I came into the month armed with some tools to avoid getting into a slump. But still, last week’s trip was like a refreshing cold drink in the desert of January (or a warm hot chocolate in the arctic).
The first thing that really lifted me was the amazing group of supportive, lovely women on the trip. Sarah, Coco, Alex, Charlotte, Claudia, Snigdha and Jemma are all creating beautiful, inspirational, feel-good content online and were a joy to hang out with. For me, this is the secret to any good trip. You can be in paradise but if you’re in bad company then it really doesn’t matter how stunning the setting is, you know?
Anyway, back to Bath. It’s not the first time I’ve visited the city. In fact, I know it fairly well. I grew up in Bristol and used to spend lots of weekends as a teenager hanging around in Bath. One of my first boyfriends came from Bath and my dad used to work in a school there. More recently, I’ve had a weekend with my mum and Freya in Bath and a few years ago, a girls’ weekend in the city too. But I’ve never really viewed it as a “wellness destination”. Until now.
Mental health is a state of well being in which every individual can realise their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a positive contribution to society.
It is the emotional and spiritual resilience which allows us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of well being and a belief in our own and others’ dignity and worth.Bath Mind
After some deep chats about mental health we headed to Comptoir Cuisine for the most decadent lunch of cheese, champagne and tapas. I still can’t quite articulate how amazing the cheese was but if you’re wondering where to head for a date then this place is the one. Plus, they do champagne by the glass. Winning.
I know it’s a cliche but I really don’t think there’s much more joyful than sharing good food with a bunch of lovely people. It’s therapeutic, soul-giving and delicious in every sense of the word. And the vibes at Comptoir Cuisine make it the perfect backdrop to do this in an informal, gorgeous way. It’s full marks from me.
Next we headed to the Julia Davey shop and studio to do a little pottery workshop which was properly fun and properly soothing. Now I understand why my four year old loves play-doh so much. There’s something hugely satisfying playing with the squidgy clay, cutting it, making patterns in it and painting it. I really lost myself in it for a while – a brilliant mindfulness activity I guess. Julia’s shop is full of beautiful quirky gift ideas and the ideal place for a bit of a browse.
We had a couple of hours to chill out before our evening meal, which gave us time to scope out our home for the night – a Bath Boutique Stays property called Mr Darcy’s Abode. With seven bedrooms, a lovely kitchen and a cosy living room this would make a brilliant hen do destination. Or just a cool place to spend a few days with friends. It’s central too which is handy, plus it’s packed full of Georgian charm and character.
When it comes to restaurants Bath has many to offer. One of the things I love most about the city is the huge array of independent, one-of-a-kind places to eat. There’s literally one on every corner. Our meal that evening was at the newly opened Koffman and Mr White’s, an English and French brasserie owned by Pierre Koffman and Marco Pierre White. The food is the star of the show here, although I loved the simple, elegant setting too (think moody dark colour palettes and lots of candles). I had the Connaught’s Coq and Shrimp curry followed by poached pears and didn’t disappoint. If wellness is good food then I can confirm I felt very well indeed.
And then we come to the thing Bath is really famous for: Britain’s first thermal spa, Thermae Bath Spa. We got there at 8.30am, before it opened, to have a proper tour of the place. As the lift doors opened out onto the roof top hot pool the sun was just rising above the rooftops of Bath and it was a proper pinch me moment. You don’t need to travel to far-flung shores to get those take-your-breath-away views.
Oh but this place is special. Featuring a multi-sensory wellness suite, a rooftop hot pool and a lazy river indoor spa area, set slap bang in the centre of the city, the whole place is built around Britain’s only natural warm mineral rich waters. There’s something pretty incredible about bathing in the waters in just the way the Romans would have done over 2000 years ago. (And if you fancy seeing how the Romans did it then The Roman Baths is literally just over the road.)
And this is the thing about Bath. Whether it’s a spa session, good food, wondering around independent boutiques looking at cool clothes and homeware, or soaking up the rich history of the place there is SO much to do. Even though I’ve been to the city lots of times and even though it’s not a big place, there is still so much I’ve not seen and done. Which is why I need to go back again soon, obviously.
Three more tip-offs for you before I go and lie down dreaming about that spa:
Head to Grace and Ted’s for pre-loved designer clothes. It’s an absolute treasure trove of gorgeous pieces.
Good Day Cafe did the best avocado on toast with poached eggs that I’ve had in AGES. They have a brilliant menu and cakes to die for.
Our final stop before leaving was Swoon Gelato and, even though it was a cold January day, I devoured a scoop of pistachio gelato and tucked into various other gelato treats too. YUM.
It really was a fantastic little trip and made me see a whole new side to the city. Bath, you have my heart.