Andrew and I headed off to work on Friday morning all packed up, excited and ready for a fun-filled weekend away to Bath with Claire Richards. We had arranged to finish work early so Claire picked us up in Richmond at 4pm and we hit the road. She has a gorgeous little new light blue Mini Cooper which I fell in love with! Can't say I'd complain if I was driving around in one of these groovy wee cars one day!
It took us a while to get out of London but once we were on the M4 traffic was moving and it took us just over 2 hours to get there. Claire used her Tomtom GPS which helpfully directed us to the Carfax Hotel where we were staying. The hotel was very central and consisted of three beautifully preserved Georgian town houses. Once we had checked in and freshened up a little, Claire popped over to our room for a drink and some nibbles before we headed out for a wander.
The stone architecture was so picturesque under the street lamps and everywhere we walked we were stunned by its beauty. The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is a famous central landmark and was just as spectacular in the evening as it was in the day time. We had a quick look at some of the stalls in the Christmas Market to get a taste of what we could expect to see over the weekend. There was so many people wandering around taking in the Christmas atmosphere, drinking mulled wine, and the whole area was buzzing with excitement. We came across some Christmas Carol Singers that were encouraging everyone to join in, so we had a wee sing along before we decided to find a nice warm pub to have a drink. We found a pub called 'The Cork' and Claire had heard it was quite nice so we decided to give it a go. We hadn't seen Claire in a while so there was lots to catch up on and we had a lovely evening chatting away.
On our way home we passed a pub that appeared to have Karaoke which made Claire and myself just a tad excited! We managed to drag Andrew in and convinced him that we wouldn't stay long. We both sang a song each and then sung one together and we seemed to be quite a hit with people coming and congratulating us and saying how much they enjoyed our singing. Was quite a laugh really but we had fun! Once we got back to the hotel we hit the sack because it had been a long day and we wanted to make sure we had a good sleep so we could get up fairly early the next day.
We had a yummy English cooked breakfast in the hotel on Saturday morning then headed out to explore this gorgeous City. Firstly we walked along the River Avon which runs through the centre of the city and then made our way to The Royal Crescent and The Circus. They are both examples of Georgian Architecture at its finest and have become quite the tourist attraction in Bath. The Royal Crescent is a street of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent and is situated in such a prime location. The Circus is a circular space surrounded by large townhouses that are divided into three segments of equal length. Each of the curved segments faces one of the three entrances, ensuring that whichever way a visitor enters there is a classical facade straight ahead.
We came across many gorgeous parks and gardens as well and all the little boutique shops we were passing looked so interesting and inviting. We popped into a couple of shops on our way back to the markets and we managed to pick up a second hand suit for Andrew which is in fantastic condition and ridiculously reasonably priced. We have our Christmas Parties for work this week which are formal dress so this will be ideal.
Claire had organised some other friends to spend the weekend in Bath too, who she has done a few trips with so we met a few of them at the markets. Embarrasingly, the first of them turned up when Andrew and I were having a ride on the old carousel at the market. It was a classic old carousel that used to be powered by steam.
Thousands of people flock to Bath every year from late November until early December to visit these famous Christmas Markets and it was the last weekend they were running so as you can imagine it was super busy. In fact it was a tad too crowded which meant we couldn't really see a lot and ended up losing each other. The market consists of over 120 individual wooden chalet style stalls, each one offering quality products and brilliant gift ideas. Andrew and I didn't end up buying anything though but it was well worth seeing. It was pretty cold so we all ended up heading to a pub for an afternoon drink. It seemed that by now other people had decided to do the same thing because the pubs were very busy too. We didn't stay long because Claire had planned a Christmas dress up dinner so we all had to get back to the Hotel to get our costumes on.
Andrew and I had bought Reindeer Onesies (all-in-one suits) so we didn't take long to get ready because we just had to pop them over our clothes and zip them up. We also had flashing red noses and antler headbands to top off our outfits. Claire went as a Elf and had a fantastic full on costume including fake Elf ears. She looked fabulously Christmassy! The girl at the reception of the Hotel had a chuckle to herself as we walked past on our way out to the restaurant and there were smiles and funny looks on the street but it was all good fun!
We went to a lovely Italian Restaurant called 'The River Canteen' where we met 9 others who were dressed just as ridiculously as us. One guy went as a present so wore a big wrapped up box which was quite funny! All in all we had a very entertaining evening and it was great to meet some new people. A few of them ended up going out after dinner but Andrew and I decided to head back to the Hotel. I think some of them had a pretty big night!
On Sunday morning after breakfast, Andrew and I went for a nice walk to Sydney Gardens which was at the end of the street we were staying on. We thoroughly enjoyed it and spotted heaps of cute little squirrels! We then walked back to get our things together and check out of the hotel. Andrew and I had a last wander through the city looking at a few more shops while Claire caught up with the others for a late breakfast. Although Andrew hates shopping he was very patient and helpful and we ended up finding a perfect dress for me for my work Christmas Party. It is also nice that I have something special from Bath that will remind me of the fabulous weekend we had. We met up with Claire after this then had a small bite to eat before hitting the road back to London.