If you are tempted by the idea of a special yuletide gift trip, why not do your Christmas shopping in Bath? With great shops in an historic setting, Bath is an ideal destination for a memorable festive shopping trip.
Bath’s shops are located in a compact, accessible centre. The city has earned a reputation as the ‘Christmas capital of the West’, with its Christmas market and a large number of independent shops. This year’s market will be the biggest yet, with over 140 traditional stalls in the city centre providing a wealth of opportunities to find a quirky or unique present. The opening night of the market on 22 November will put everyone in the festive spirit with a children’s lantern procession starting at the Holburne Museum at 5pm.
If you struggle to find a present for a difficult relative or a fussy friend, the variety of stock in the many independent shops may help. You could try Bloomsbury, which offers unusual and appealing gifts coupled with helpful service. If you are drawn to the fashion boutiques for which Bath is renowned, you could head to Sassy and Boo for vintage glamour, Image for hand knits, or Marion Foale for gorgeous scarves. Milsom Street was voted as the UK’s ‘Best Fashion Street’ in the 2010 Google Street View awards. It is home to Jolly’s, the UK’s oldest department store, now part of House of Fraser. Also on Milsom Street is Milsom Place, a cosy hub of designer stores and tempting eateries.
Bath is easily reached by fast trains from London, Cardiff and nearby Bristol. Bath Spa train station is in the heart of the city, only a few minutes’ walk from the main shopping areas. Opposite the station and lit with festive sparkle is the SouthGate Shopping Centre. Here you can choose from designer and high street names such as Kurt Geiger, Debenhams, Hollister and Apple. Opened in 2010, the SouthGate was built in a style that matches the city’s period architecture, and marries a 21st century shopping experience with Georgian splendour.
Once you have finished your Christmas shopping in Bath, the city offers some outstanding ways to relax and recuperate:
- Treat yourself to a spa, and unwind in the naturally-heated spring waters that the Romans put to such good use 2000 years ago.
- Put your feet up in one of the many tea rooms, pubs or restaurants.
- Take a sightseeing stroll amongst the wonderful architecture that led to Bath’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is quite easy to get lost, even in this small city, with roads that curve their way along the winding river Avon valley. Avoid this by taking one of A-Z’s Bath maps, and have a delightful time doing your Christmas shopping in Bath.