The Surprising UK Foodie Destination You’re Probably Overlooking

best things to do bath

My initial journey to Bath was fueled by literary inspiration, drawn from the hallowed pages of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the timeless prose of Jane Austen.

Armed with their verses and iambic pentameter, I eagerly anticipated stepping foot into the historic city, where the Roman Baths, Pulteney Bridge, and the Abbey I had read about would be. However, amidst these iconic landmarks, a delightful surprise awaited, unravelling an unexpected twist in my tale — Bath’s culinary realm.

My culinary expectations for Bath were tempered. Its gastronomic reputation was not yet mainstream, which is a missed opportunity if you ask me. Yet, my trip to Bath revealed an unanticipated haven for discerning food enthusiasts, offering a contemporary gastronomic experience that surpassed all expectations.

Within the age-old sandstone buildings are world-class restaurants, hidden gin bars and pizzerias boasting unconventional menus. Bath’s culinary landscape is a tapestry of delightful surprises, and I have just the guide to help you savour the remarkable fusion of tradition and innovation that defines this unexpected epicurean paradise.

Bath Food Heroes Tour

Navigating Bath is best done with a tour guide, whether it’s an audio tour of the Roman Baths or a guided food tour by a local. I entrusted Savouring Bath to guide me through the city’s culinary heritage on a “Food Heroes” tour. I won’t spoil the stops because the tour guides love to see guests’ reactions first-hand, but I can give you a taste of what to expect, at least on the “Food Heroes” tour.

During the 3.5-hour tour, I encountered legendary local specialties, including a bun in one of Bath’s first houses and innovative culinary pioneers driving the current food scene, from cheesemongers to an Australian breakfast staple in a pocket-sized corner store.

best things to do bath
Photo: The Elder

The Elder

The last place I’d expect to find any concept of multi-course fine dining is Bath, but there I was, eating my words at The Elder. Helmed by esteemed restaurateur Mike Robinson, renowned as the United Kingdom’s foremost authority on wild food and game, The Elder is where the boundaries between the kitchen and the wilderness blur. The dining experience is a profound celebration of the land’s offerings, an ode to the seasons that unfold, and a testament to the extraordinary possibilities that arise when sustainability and culinary excellence intertwine.

The tasting menu is a must. Although it changes seasonally, my dinner encompassed a range of local vegetables, delicate savoury tarts, meaty game main, and of course, a light dessert to finish. There was even an amuse-bouche of warm broth to drink.


Stumble down a cobblestone lane in the heart of the city, and you will find Dough. There are actually two locations, one in The Corridor and one in Kingsmead Square. Either one serves traditional Italian cuisine and pizza with a twist. The twist being the base. You can order a seaweed base dough. Actually, you can order 12 bases. Yes, 12. They love to play around with bases, not only for dietary requirements but also for something different. You can get turmeric, hemp, grano arso, chocolate, and plenty more dough varieties.

Just pick your pizza topping, from the Mediterranean to Napoletana and choose a base. I recommend the seaweed base. It’s different but tastes incredible.

The Scallop Shell

Looking for the best fish and chips in Bath? Venture to The Scallop Shell. Again, a recurring theme of casual dining spaces dominates here, with colourful distressed furnishings in a wood-dominated structure. Grab a seat upstairs or settle in downstairs by the open kitchen. The menu boasts a range of local seafood dishes, but they’re best known for their fish and chips.

The fish is plump and fried to a golden crisp, served with equally as crunchy chips and a spoonful of homemade tartare. There’s also a little ramekin of mushy peas because it’s the UK.

The Coconut Tree on Broad Street

Fancy some Sri Lankan fare in Bath? The Coconut Tree on Broad Street is driven by a fervent desire to introduce the distinct flavours of Sri Lanka to the global stage. Nestled within a laid-back ambience reminiscent of an island getaway, this vibrant establishment entertains diners with an eclectic selection of tunes daily.

best things to do bath
Photo: ArtBar

ArtBar at Abbey Hotel

Hiding inside the Abbey Hotel is a swanky cocktail bar by the name of ArtBar. Walk through the grand sandstone building entrance and make your way to the back of the building to find a wall of bottles, art, and bright colours. Pull up a stool and peruse the cocktail menu or get cosy in a lounge with a bottle of wine and good company.

The Bath Distillery

Another cosy place to drink in Bath is the Bath Distillery Gin Bar, a dimly street-level bar. The cocktails here are the definition of craft. Inspired by literary heroes, local ingredients, and local lore, you will find a long list of cocktails centred around Bath Gin. If you’re not feeling a cocktail, you can choose a gin and flavour pairing, and the mixologists will work their magic. If you’re a lover of gin and all think G&T, this bar is a must-visit.

best things to do bath
Photo: The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse

Formerly a local’s secret, The Dark Horse can only be described as a bijou drinking den surrounded by artwork, antique furniture, and world-class cocktails. Did I mention the owner’s friend creates the artwork? It’s as quirky a basement bar as you’ll get.

Sub 13

Every city has its nightclub. In Bath, that nightclub is Sub 13. The stylish cellar bar has a courtyard space to take in those balmy afternoons and a ground-floor cocktail bar, and a basement club for all your dancing needs.

The Hideout

I’ve covered gin and cocktails, but I haven’t mentioned whisky. When it comes to the golden libation, The Hideout is the place to go. This upscale haunt is the purveyor of fine whisky. Make your way down the historical lanes of Tudor Bath and step into this true hole in the wall that was once a haven for outlaws.

best things to do bath

Other Things to Do

Bath Insider Tours

Apart from the copious amounts of good food and drink consumed on this trip, I also explored between meals. One such tour I took is the Bath Insider Tour, a self-guided walking tour of Bath’s picturesque side, away from the bustling city tour. The tour managed through the app includes GPS tracking, which is how I want to do all my walking tours from now. Pop in some earphones, and enjoy the soothing sounds of a digital guide to help you trace the steps of a bygone era. Marvel at the iconic Pulteney Bridge and wander along Bath’s longest boulevard. Traverse the enchanting Sydney Gardens and relish a scenic promenade along the historic Kennet and Avon Canal. This captivating tour spans approximately 90 minutes and is the best tour in Bath.

The Roman Baths

Visit one of the best-preserved Romain remains in the world, The Roman Baths. Meander through ancient chambers and well-preserved ruins and take in the grandeur of this ancient social complex. An audio tour is the best way to uncover fascinating stories and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this iconic attraction.

Bath Abbey

At the heart of the city stands Bath Abbey, an architectural marvel and prime example of Gothic architecture at its finest. Step inside this sacred space and be mesmerised by the soaring vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, or tackle the climb to the top, which has approximately 200 narrow and, at times, steep steps. Although, the views from the top are worth it. Discover its rich history, from its origins as a Benedictine monastery to its restoration during the Victorian era.

best things to do bath

Where to Stay

There are a few accommodation options in Bath, but if you’re looking for something historic, something charming, and with contemporary upgrades, consider Hotel Indigo Bath. With its distinctive Georgian Terrace facade and stylish decor inspired by the city’s rich history, the hotel offers a unique and immersive experience reminiscent of a scene from Bridgerton. The rooms are elegant and comfortable, with modern technology. There are only 166 rooms, making it a boutique hotel, adding to its charm. The best part, it’s a stone’s throw away from Bath’s major attractions, shops, and restaurants.

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