Know your own happiness
- Jane Austen, Sense & Sensibility
For us, happiness means getting to travel! :)
We usually try and do at least 2 international trips in a month but along with exploring European cities we also want to explore the English countryside and last weekend we got to do just that!
We hired a car and drove to Jane Austen's hometown - Bath for the weekend.
We traveled with Swati & Vas and Neeraj & Deepti - so we hired a 6 seater van to be able to be together on our mini road trip! Pro tip: Hiring a car in London is bit of an ordeal - with crazy high deposit rates (for a 6 seater car, £1200 as deposit) or having to pick it up from Heathrow. In hind sight, it would have been better for us to hire a car from near our home instead. There's also always the option to train it to Bath and hire a car from there.
We reached Bath fairly late on the Friday night. We chose to stay at University accommodation to keep the costs low. We didn't expect much, but to our surprise we got the whole dorm (approx 8 or 9 rooms) to ourselves! It had a decent living area and a huge kitchen. Down side? The rooms all had single beds (except 1 which had a double) so all the couples had to sleep separately. The guys didn't complain about this arrangement - they got to keep the quilt all to themselves for the whole night! :D You can find out more about Uni accommodation in Bath here (It came to £16 per person for the night!)
Next morning, we woke up and headed out to explore Bath.
But first stop - food!
This is what I type in Google to find a restaurant:
" Most instagram worthy restaurant" :D
And it sure was!
In the heart of Southgate Bath there's this absolute gem of a restaurant called Cosy Club. It is set up like an old jazz club mixed with your granny's overstuffed living room packed full of eclectic keepsakes spread out in a light spacious setting. We sat outside in a covered balcony area overlooking and people-watching from up atop. Waiters dressed in velvet jackets and bowties served us our brunch and we happily spent a good hour or so in the cafe! Highly recommended!
Back outside, we explored the town centre and went snap happy with hundreds of umbrellas adorned high up in the streets! The whole area has a very 'family' vibe to it, with sun chairs lazed around on the fake grass in the middle of the centre. You could easily spend an hour here if you are looking to do something "in between" two attraction activities.
Next stop - The Roman Baths.
Pro tip: Try and go early morning or late evening when there's less crowds and queues.
The Roman Baths is a well-preserved Roman site for public bathing. Entry to the Roman Bath also covers the museum where you can learn about the history, how it was built and the general era. The museum is quite extensive, so if you want to listen to the entire audio guide, you'll need a few hours at least. We skipped the guide half way through the museum (and Googled the rest of the history) and went straight to the Baths. Google images always set high expectations for me - so be sure to expect crowds all along. The entry fee is also high (£17pp) but it is Bath's main tourist attraction and needs to be ticked when visiting this town!
The Abbey is next door to the Roman Baths, so be sure to check it out! Its beautiful inside with high stain glassed ceilings. Swati and I spent some time here testing our cameras and trying to capture the afternoon sun through the windows in various ways. There's also a tour which allows you to go to the top of the Abbey and the views are meant to be stunning from up there but it was all booked out the day we visited! :(
Highlight of this day was Thermae Bath Spas!
Bath is known for its thermal spas (with its massive Roman Bath influence) and its highly recommended that you book yourself for a spa treatment while you are visiting.
Thermae Bath Spas have a rooftop spa over looking the Abbey! It's absolutely gorgeous!!!!
A bit pricey but we had a blast and will highly recommend! Pro tip: There's an hour wait if you go during the day. Time your visit according to the sunset later on during the night. You'll find no lines and you get to enjoy gorgeous pink and orange skies over the Abbey! Only drawback: You can't take photos when inside :( So the image below is from Google just to give you an idea of what it is! :)
After dinner, we headed to our AirBnb which was actually towards London instead of Cotswald.
The AirBnb only had 2 rooms but had a sofa bed for the third couple. Neeraj & Deepti had gifted Shankar a Poker Set for his 29th birthday.'Poker & Tea' have now become a weekly tradition with all 6 of us getting really competitive when we play. We decided that the first couple that loses the game of poker has to sleep on the sofa bed.
After an hour of play, Shankar and I had won!! And literally earned our sleep! It was a fun and fair way to distribute the rooms and we all had a great time! :)
Next day, the plan was to head to Cotswold but as we slept fairly late playing Poker till the wee hours of the night, no one could wake up before 11:00am. We decided to check out Oxford instead as it would be on our way back home to London.
We didn't really check out too many things in Oxford and we would love to come back to visit the University. We walked along the canals and we did go to Oxford castle and climbed up the mount for views over the city. To be honest - could be missed :) There's so many better things to see in
Oxford! And better vantage points to overlook the city.
We stopped for lunch at Rickety Press, a funky corner pub in a quiet residential area. Pizzas were yummy they have a foosball table! We lost the guys there for a good half hour! :)
We wanted to visit the Christ Church Hall - where the Great Hall in Hogwarts from Harry Potter was shot but it closed by the time we got there. We really didn't plan to utilize this day in Oxford properly did we? ha!
But that's the beauty of these weekend trips - sometimes you can plan and see all that the city has to offer and sometimes, you just wing it - take it one step at a time at your pace and be content with what you get to see. For us traveling isn't about 'ticking off' the main attractions in a city - it is about exploring new places, learning about something different, and most importantly spending time with each other and having fun! :)
We decided to stroll along the city and ventured into the Christ Church Meadow next to it instead. You can see the back entrance of Christ Church Hall with acres of lush green gardens, almost burnt ivy along the Church walls and picturesque walk ways. We walked through the gardens all the way to the Botanical Gardens on the other side. Absolutely gorgeous!! Photo ops everywhere!!
By the time we walked out, it was time for us to head back to London.
So we would definitely love to come back to Oxford and really explore this city properly.
It was our first road trip with everyone but it definitely won't be the last one!
Have you been to Bath?
Did you do the Stonehenge?
Have you been to Oxford?
We would love to hear from you!
Leave us a comment below or message us on Instagram @100autumns_
Until next time,