Taking a momentary step back from 25at25, I thought I’d write about something else for a change. On New Year’s Day, Chris and I headed out for a wee birthday trip. Somewhat delicate from a night of saying ta’ra to 2013 and welcoming in 2014 with open arms, we headed off to Paddington (the first of a trip of firsts) for a short visit to Bath.
As a Northerner, the south west of the UK isn’t a part of the world I’ve visited very much. It’s an awfully long way from Northallerton to Bath, but it’s just a short train journey from the Big Smoke and it’s a journey absolutely worth taking.
Despite arriving in the pouring rain on a fairly subdued Wednesday at the turn of the year, it didn’t take long to see that the reputation that precedes this pretty little city is fully deserved. Packed with history, stunning architecture, plenty of places to enjoy good food and numerous attractions to help you unwind and relax.
We stayed in the Halcyon Hotel – located in a lovely Georgian Townhouse just a few short minutes walk from the train station. The nature of the building means that the rooms are small, but ours was certainly kitted out with everything we needed. We didn’t spend much time in the hotel (or Bath itself really), but the lovely comfortable bed, perfectly heated room and all round facilities were exactly what I was looking for when I booked. I booked direct and paid the pretty price of £75, which included a good continental breakfast.
I have no idea how I stumbled upon La Perla – a quirky and unique tapas bar located really close to the abbey – but I’m so, so glad I did. We snuck in at around 6pm and were given a complimentary glass of champagne for being the first guests of 2014 (sorrynotsorry to the guys who hesitated just behind us). I’m often a bit wary of being let down by tapas as I’d say it’s probably one of my favourite foods , but the traditional Spanish feel of La Perla with a hint of modernity put me at ease pretty quickly. It’s a bit like stepping into a really inviting cavern with a really welcoming and comfortable feel – which I know doesn’t sound the best, but it felt like we’d found somewhere really special.
The food was divine. From classic patatas bravas and albondigas to perfect corquetas de jamon (a personal favourite) and the insanely tasty Cocktail de Cangrejo (crab with a passion fruit chutney – this was a taste sensation) La Perla offers everything with a twist of personality and a touch of luxury. It was a blogger 101 fail not to have taken pictures of this delicious food – because it possibly looked even better than it tasted, but I was overcome by wonder and shovelled it in my face as quickly as possible. Hindsight’s pretty excellent, so I’ll try to remember this next time I blog about food. If you want to see it though, you should just pop to Bath. It’s totally worth the visit for this tapas bar alone. Promise.
As we only visited Bath for just over 24 hours, we didn’t manage to squeeze a whole lot of other stuff into our visit. We popped to the Roman Baths which were educational (obviously), surprisingly interesting and really lovely to stroll around. I only wish we’d been able to get in the baths for a full Roman experience – but we had to force ourselves into the suitably luxurious Thermae Bath Spa just around the corner for two hours of swimming, steaming and general relaxation.
After a pretty sickly Christmas and what’s been a fairly frantic year, it was really nice to just slip away for a night and see somewhere completely new. Bath’s gorgeous Georgian architecture, lovely atmosphere, friendly locals and accessibility from the Big Smoke make for the perfect quick getaway – and I’m so glad we did it.