Over recent weeks I’ve been discovering the quieter parts of Bath, away from the hustle and bustle of the City centre. I’ve loved exploring the districts on the periphery – Bear Flat, Larkhall, Walcot and Widcombe, to name a few. Each has a distinct character and a sense of community, reinforced by clearly cherished local schools, churches, social clubs, pubs, cafes and independent shops.
Highlights have included:
- walking from Bath station to the friendly Bear Inn at Bear Flat, via beautiful residential roads in Beechen Cliff, and, en route, enjoying views across the city from Alexandra Park
- spending time soaking up daily life in Larkhall – watching St Saviour’s school mums chatting over coffee at the Village Kitchen, browsing in the eclectic independent bookshop, buying locally-grown fruit and veg at the Farm Shop, and lunching at the excellent ‘Ma Cuisine’
- wandering along the Widcombe Parade (aka ‘Widcombe High Street’), stopping for coffee at the Deli before moving on to ‘spend up’ at Prior Park Garden Centre. There’s a lovely walk from the Garden Centre to the National Trust’s Prior Park, which I’ve greatly enjoyed in the past
- exploring what’s become known as the Artisan Quarter of Bath – Walcot. I’ve always enjoyed having coffee or a light lunch in the Crypt cafe at St Swithin’s Church (Bath’s last remaining Georgian church). Recently, I’ve discovered other delightful coffee stops in Walcot: the cafe at The Fine Cheese Shop; Cafe Walcot; Picnic Coffee; and the Provonist. I’m also a regular customer at the whole-food co-operative Harvest, where I make a bee-line for the Bath Culture House’s Kombucha, made locally by Biology graduate and expert fermenter Lucie.
I’m in Walcot once a week for a class at The Pilates Quarter. Phil and Elaine, and their team, are highly qualified and experienced teachers. The studio, at 1 Cleveland Place, is a beautiful space and the classes are small, which means you get individual attention.
I thoroughly recommend venturing beyond the city centre to discover Bath’s delightful suburbs. At every turn, there’s something interesting and unique to look at and enjoy. I don’t think I will ever tire of exploring Bath. It really is a beautiful and inspiring city. I walk everywhere (I don’t have a car) and that, combined with the weekly Pilates class, helps me to stay in reasonable shape.