It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person with a desire for a great British Bank Holiday requires three ingredients:
1. Great company
2. Wine, always wine…
3. Lots of food
More often than not that unwelcome extra ingredient, rain, can impinge on the fun…but we are British and in the tradition of the stiff upper lip, we all head to the pub when rain hinders play.
Now in the spirit of a Jane Austen heroine, Mr S and I journeyed to Bath to enjoy a UK staycation and a relaxing weekend in this historical city. That day we boarded the train at Paddington feeling particularly patriotic, Princess Charlotte was born that very morning, the sun was shining and we had a three-day weekend together.
Now I mention Jane Austen as she one of my favourite authors, one of Bath’s most famous residents and she set two of her novels in the city. And just like Catherine Moreland in Northanger Abbey we drew up at our hotel in a horse and carriage.
Only joking of course, we got a cab from the station…
And in the spirit of royalty and all things Great British we would be staying at The Royal Crescent Hotel. Built in 1767, the facade of the building remains a beautiful example of Georgian architecture and it is still true to how it was first built. Once home to notable residences, No. 16 Royal Crescent became a hotel in 1950 and in 1970 it was combined with the great house next door to become The Royal Crescent Hotel.
Now Jane Austen, history, Bank holidays and baby Princesses aside, the actual reason we’d come to Bath was that some of friends had kindly gifted us a night there as a wedding present.
The room was totally best of British with spring green hues, antique furnishings and wallpaper depicting English country scenes…
Our large picture window had a beautiful view over Bath and hills…
And in the bathroom were products from Floris, England’s oldest retailer of toiletries.
Ready for lunch (as we always are) Mr S and I made our way down the winding path and through the hotel’s beautifully manicured gardens to the the all day dining restaurant, the Montagu Bar
Now, of course I had ticked off the first requirement for Bank Holiday, I had my ideal travel companion, Mr S by my side…I was in need of the second important item…
And of course we were toasting the new addition to the royal family.
‘Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte’
We really went to town on the British classics for lunch…
And a traditional rice pudding for dessert; maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but one of my favourites.
We decided to walk it off with a stroll around town but of course, we could already see the clouds in the sky and the unwelcome fourth ingredient to the Bank Holiday came along. So we did the classic thing British people do when it rains and we went and hid in the pub. The skies soon cleared and we scurried back to the hotel which is an easy walk from the main shopping area and the local attractions.
Dinner is served in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, The Dower House.
The interior was simple and contemporary with soft greys and blues that would have felt a little corporate if hadn’t been for the gorgeous hand-stitched wall paper behind me and the romantic low lighting.
Mr S chose a clean and artful starter: mackerel ceviche, smoked eel and avocado with a cleansing Asian broth on the side.
I had beetroot cured organic salmon with beetroot salad, smoked roe and lime also clean, light and zesty flavours.
Mr Silver decided on stone bass with cauliflower cheese, crispy mussels and mussel veloute. Both pieces of fish were perfectly cooked and we admired the pretty plating. I loved that the chef included a ‘posh’ fish finger which went nicely with my best of British theme ;).
The beautiful deconstructed strawberry cheesecake that we shared for dessert was a lovely, light and refreshing end to the meal.
The next day the plan was to have a stroll around the pretty spa town, but off course the unwelcome weather returned…we did get a peak at Bath Abbey….
Before heading to take a look at the famous Roman Baths.
If you have time I would suggest going to the Thermae Bath Spa, where you can bathe in the natural mineral rich water. I’ve done it before while on a hen do and if you bathe in the rooftop pool there are beautiful views across the city.
After doing the tourist thing we were hungry for lunch and I had already asked Twitter what restaurant we should visit, an Italian restaurant called Sotto Sotto was the resounding answer but when we turned up they advised us they stopped serving lunch at 2pm….hmmm…this never happened to a Jane Austen heroine….However, I noticed the neighbouring restaurant was the Greek place that I’d visited while on the hen do that I just mentioned.
The food at Opa was really delicious, though I’d have liked a bit more spice in some of the dishes, and the atmosphere was relaxed while still being romantic. Rather incredibly, our waiter remembered me from the hen do, three years ago! I guess I have one of those faces….;)
Mr S and I had the perfect Great British Bank holiday, lots of lovely food, plenty of wine, great company and of course the inevitable downpour…Bath is a great little weekend getaway as there’s lots of to see and it only took an hour and a half from London. Big thanks to Andy, Jo, Andy, Kate, Raj, Tash, Sandy, Marc and Ben who kindly gave us the hotel voucher.
The Royal Crescent Hotel
16 Royal Crescent