24 hours in Bath – where to eat, shop and sleep for a stylish speed-break

You only have one night in Bath, here's how to make it tick all the style boxes

You only have one night in Bath, here's how to make it tick all the style boxes

A speed-break is the new way to see the best that a city has to offer the time-poor, Insta-demanding generation. But how best to spend 24 hours in Bath? The cultural beauty of Bath has rarely been in dispute. From sweeping Georgian crescents to the remaining Roman baths and temple dating back to 60-70 AD, and now with its foodie revolution and burgeoning art scene, Bath is quickly becoming the go-to for a cool, young creative crowd. But with tourists peaking at over 950,000 a year, where should you head for a stylish speed-break that’s off the beaten track? We've compiled a handy edit so that you don't have to. You’ve got 24-hours. Ready. Set. Go…

Rooms at Villa Magdala

Rooms at Villa at Henrietta Park

SLEEP: Villa at Henrietta Park

Tucked midway down a quiet Georgian residential terraced street, you’ll immediately spot the grand-yet-jaunty slate rooftop of Villa at Henrietta Park, windows peeping out to hint at the escapism found within. From the driveway (a definite plus-point, FYI, as parking is at a premium in Bath city centre) it looks like a quirky manor house from a faux-spooky Tim Burton movie. Inside the two adjoining, converted Victorian town houses, the winding staircases and library-effect walls feel more like Hogwarts. But that’s where the novelty-element stops and, in the large (21 in total) bedrooms you’ll discover goose down duvets, Egyptian cotton bedding and a calm, sleek palette of greys and whites making this a style-conscious townie’s boutique retreat of dreams. At Villa, the owners have thrown open the doors of their stylish home and it's the little touches - tea and homemade cake in the cosy dining room and a well-stocked honesty bar - that make you feel at home, if only for 24 delightful hours.

The grand hallways at Villa Magdala

The grand hallway, Villa at Henrietta Park

EAT: Allium Brasserie

With its flamingo pink walls and opulent velvet curtains, Allium Brasserie in Bath’s Abbey Hotel provides the perfect old-meets-new-world backdrop for a relaxed brunch or special occasion dinner. We went for the latter and tucked into pan-fried Pollock with curried cauliflower, crab bisque and a crab croquette (£21.50) which could have been an overly-rich onslaught to the tastebuds but was in fact ridiculously moreish, flavoursome and arrived in generous portions. Service was speedy and friendly and despite the hotel’s location in the heart of the city centre, it felt like a hidden gem thanks to the relaxed vibe. Make sure you book though, especially if you’re in a larger group and only have one night in town.

DRINK: The Canary Gin Bar

Follow up dinner with gin cocktails at The Canary Gin Bar, an atmospheric speakeasy down a cobblestone street, owned by Bath Gin. The insanely good cocktails are all inspired by Jane Austen – Bath’s most famous resident – and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d reached cocktail heaven if you order a Jane’s Garden made with cucumber gin, elderflower and apple juice. For a last hurrah the morning before you leave Bath, swing by the Boston Tea Party, a gorgeous space on Alfred Street, for strong coffee and brunch (order the Sourdough Eggy bread with smoked bacon and avocado, £8) in this perfectly restored grade II listed building, all bare brickwork and retro furniture.

Shopping in Bath

Shopping in Bath
(Image credit: Rex)

SHOP: Found

Not instinctively the fashion crowd’s go-to, Bath’s surprisingly brilliant high street is actually something of a shopping hub. Anthropologie, The White Company, L’Occitane, Reiss all feature. But it’s the independent homewares stores that are really worth your time investment. Make a beeline to Found for cool gifts and covetable stationary from brands like Deadly Ponies, Libertine Libertine and Comme Des Garcons

Rooms at Villa at Henrietta Park Bath start from £149 per room per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis. To book visit villahenriettapark.co.uk or call 01225 466329.

Tracy Ramsden