Inspired by The Teacup Library’s trip last year, I’ve finally been able to visit the city of Bath for myself. This trip was a first for me, like so many other adventures I’ve written about on here (first package holiday, first time to Asia), as we decided to sleep in dorms instead of opting for a private room as we tend to by default. More on that later!
After dinner on arrival, we climbed the half a mile hill to Bath Youth Hostel, run by the YHA. I’m a bit of a diehard YHA fan, and have stayed in some incredible locations over the years. So, I knew when we wound our way up the driveway that it was going to be a unique property, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Cursed with rain on our main day of exploration, we kept indoors as much as we could, dodging between shops and tourist attractions. Bath has a surprising long stretch of shops – lots of boutiques too – and the city seemed really clean and well looked after. It had such a great vibe to it.
The Roman Baths were our first stop.
I think it is optional but I felt that the free audio guide is needed to make it a full morning’s excursion. The design of the exhibitions makes it easy to imagine what it was like to be a visitor all those hundreds of years ago. Disappointingly, at times I felt that some of the items being displayed were not particularly engaging, but artifacts like the written curses were just incredible to see.
Our next stop was the Jane Austen Centre. It is based in the house that Jane stayed in for a few months after her father’s death. The centre wasn’t what I had expected – it was smaller than I’d imagined, and the seated introduction at the beginning had me worried that it would be a tightly controlled guided tour. However, the exhibition area itself was very interesting, and included information about Jane’s family too. Our guide – Lizzie Bennet – was really down to earth and clearly passionate about Jane Austen’s history; all the staff were dressed up, which made things feel more authentic.
I didn’t sleep fantastically during my first night in dorms. Having stayed up late playing card games, I crept into a completely dark room with just the glow of my phone screen to guide me. Fortunately I had claimed a bed earlier in the evening (as they weren’t numbered or allocated) and I was able to navigate my way to it easily enough.
Anyway, by the second night I was surprisingly well adjusted to the dorm life and slept perfectly. Considering the massive saving (quarter the price a Premier Inn would have cost at the time), I would certainly stay in dorms again – it may even be the start of a new kind of travelling for me. Though I did have the benefit of well behaved roommates; I imagine sharing a room with a hen party wouldn’t have been as fun.
The highlight of Bath for me was Bath Abbey, which we visited before leaving (the sun had even attempted to come out for us).
I may not be religious but the sense of peace I get in such grand and sacred places really moves me, and the architecture even more so; I have a bit of a weakness for stained glass and intricate ceilings (couldn’t you tell?).
We didn’t stay in Bath for long, but it still made a real impression on me – I’m already planning my return there! As well as the history, it is also a great place for shopping – I imagine it is a lovely place to visit at Christmas time.
If you’re planning on visiting Bath, check out the YHA website: http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/bath (it may be a small trek away from the city centre, but the views are amazing and it is much more inviting than a typical hotel).
Have you ever stayed in dorms before? Was it a good or bad experience?
Until next time, happy adventuring!