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What's on in Bath during the Christmas season 2023?

Get yer skates on Photo: Visit West
Get yer skates on Photo: Visit West

Of course, Bath is wonderful outdoors all year round and the festive period towards Christmas is no exception, here in the city we do all we can to make it feel just a bit more special.

The big outdoor attraction over the November period is of course the outdoor Bath Christmas Market. A cornucopia of delicacies and delights, the market is hosted in almost 200 chalets spread out across the famous city streets of Bath. The market attracts visitors from all over the world, so it is worth giving yourself plenty of time to discover everything it has to offer. The market is best enjoyed with your senses, come for the smells, the tastes and the sights of Christmas.

From November 15, when the city hosts its community lantern celebration, the streets will be lit with colourful decorative lighting, focusing attention on the historic and iconic buildings of the city centre including Bath Abbey, the famous tree in Abbey Green, the Mineral Hospital, the Forum and the Roman Baths. Late winter evenings are a great way to explore the city when fewer people are around, and you can experience the city’s architectural brilliance with a different ambiance.

Have you ever swum when it’s cold outside in an outdoor thermal pool on the top of a building overlooking one of the most beautiful cities in Europe? Now is the time to do it! Book for the Thermae Bath Spa in the winter and enjoy an extended or a short dip as well as the multi-sensory wellness suite featuring a Georgian steam room and a celestial relaxation room. Booking is available via www.thermaebathspa.com

Make your way to the top of the city to Victoria Park – whilst taking in the spectacular views from the Royal Crescent and you will find the much-loved Bath on Ice next door to the Glow Golf course, opening from November 17 to January 3 this year. It is wise to book in advance as it tends to get booked out closer to the time.

Great British Life: Christmas at No.1 Royal Crescent Photo: Tim BealeChristmas at No.1 Royal Crescent Photo: Tim Beale

BATH INDOORS

Bath has so many beautiful and individual hotels, you will be spoilt for choice. There are options in the city centre from well-known chains like Hampton by Hilton and Z-hotels, quirky boutique offerings like The Bird and No 15 Great Pulteney Street and of course our spa hotels which offer the height of glamour and sophistication. What better way to complete your Christmas shopping than by combining it with an overnight stay in Bath, so you can really make the most of the city? How about shopping in person this year to support the high street? It certainly takes away the stress of waiting for deliveries to arrive.

Another way to enjoy the city of Bath is to treat yourself to festive afternoon teas. Afternoon teas are a popular entertainment in many of Bath’s venues, it’s a bit of tradition here! The most iconic location is probably The Pump Rooms, but lots of our hotels, venues and restaurants offer a very special experience worthy of the beautiful china it will undoubtedly be served on.

Everyone will be aware of the city’s UNESCO recognised architecture, and the indoor museums and galleries complement the rest of the city’s classic style. During September to January, the Holburne Museum is hosting a special exhibition of bronze sculptures by Rodin and Degas, alongside their permanent collection and the continued Lucy Rie pottery exhibition. The Holburne is a wonderful architectural gem and worthy of a visit – especially if you want to relive the imagined world of Lady Danbury’s Bridgerton residence. Take a walk around No.1 Royal Crescent which takes you back in time to the time of Jane Austen and how they celebrated Christmas.

For a more interactive experience, a winter’s afternoon spent sipping tea and exploring the world of Jane Austen or a scary dive into the horrifying world of Frankenstein, there are two places to discover in Gay Street. And if you really want to get moving but stay indoors, perhaps the Boom Battle Bar or Lane 7, both located near to Kingsmead Square, will keep your teens happy for hours.

Great British Life: A warm welcome to Bath from the Ambassadors Photo Bath BID A warm welcome to Bath from the Ambassadors Photo Bath BID

WELCOME AMBASSADORS

The volunteer Bath Welcome Ambassadors are on hand in the city to help with visitor and resident queries and they have a wealth of knowledge to share so here are their top tips to get the most out of Bath in November and December:

1. Do consider coming by public transport if you can. Parking during the Christmas market gets very congested especially at weekends. There are also several park and ride carparks running extra buses throughout the festive period, so the Welcome Ambassadors recommend leaving your car out of the city.

2. Explore the undiscovered corners of Bath outside the market areas – Bartlett Street and Margarets Buildings hide a wealth of independent local businesses and the alleyways between Union Street and High Street are also great places to find things which are unique to Bath. Don’t miss Pulteney Bridge and Argyle Street, there aren’t any stalls there but there are some great places to eat and drink and of course, the most instagrammable view in the city! You are more likely to find a free table to sit down in cafes and restaurants if you step outside the busiest areas.

3. Consider combining your visit with a Bath Rugby match. There aren’t many cities with a world-famous rugby team playing right in the centre, and it is a brilliant way to have some fun whilst you are here.

4. If you are coming for the Christmas market, come early or come late, come midweek or ideally stay for at least one night. It can be very tiring walking all over the city and you will get so much more out of it if you stay over. The sparkly atmosphere of the festooned chalets with the lighting of the Abbey and the smell of mulled wine on every corner is a reason to stay until later in the evening. Enjoy!



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