Shopping in Bath is an experience you will need to devote plenty of time (and potentially cash) to, as there is a great selection of mainstream high street shops, but also areas of the city which caters for those of you who are perhaps looking for something a little bit different from the norm. Bath has certainly developed into a great shopping area over the past few years, particularly with the building of the Southgate Centre, built on the site of the old Southgate Bus Station, and situated in close proximity to Bath Spa train station which is conveniently placed for those who arrive by rail, but it also has it’s own good sized underground car park for drivers too. Southgate is a trendy mix of “regular” high street stores such as Topshop, Next, the Apple Store and Debenhams, alongside other less mainstream stores – Tommy Hillfiger, All Saints, Urban Outfitters and Kiko. There are also some nice little eateries if you get tired or hungry from all the shopping, including The Cosy Club, Giraffe and Bath Ale’s Graze restaurant, if you fancy a swift half or two! This area of Bath has been transformed into a really nice mix of shopping and dining, and has added a new dimension to shopping in Bath, which for many years wasn’t a particularly exciting place to shop, if we’re being completely honest. Cool and funky, interesting and with a good vibe, this shopping area of Bath is a must do with your teens. As for the rest of Bath, as a fairly small city it has a good range of your high street stores, nothing much different from other cities in that respect, and that won’t necessary blow you away. But it’s in the little side streets of Bath where you find the occasional hidden gem tucked away, just waiting for you to find it and say hello! We suggest you devote some quality time to slow down the shopping pace, and peruse as much as you can of what this city has to offer away from the main shopping area, and there is a lot to take in. Away from the main “drag” in Bath are several little side streets which have some very interesting and unique little shops which are friendly, interesting and if you are looking for that little something different either to wear or take home as a souvenir, we say “Go off piste.”!!! This is where you will find the shops which will really hold your and your teens attention. One favourite of ours is the locally famous “Silver Gift Shop” which for over 20 years has been a favourite of ours here at Travel with the Tribe. Located just off Quiet Street, this little shop hold lots of lovely goods made out of, yes you’ve guessed it, silver, and is the perfect place to find pressies and gifts for girls and ladies of all ages. We have been buying their jewellery for many years, and still love to go into the shop, which is really tiny, but always friendly and helpful. As well as jewellery, they sell great little household nic-nacs and lovely things for the home, and it’s just such a lovely experience going in there and having a good look around. Just mind your head, and the steps, like many shops in Bath, they are in old buildings! We also need to say at this point as well that Ben’s Cookies is also in the same rank as the Silver Gift Shop, and when part of our tribe arrived in Bath 25 years ago from the Midlands, we were blown away by the cookie shop that is Ben’s Cookies! Quite commonly found now, Ben’s Cookies still holds a particular place in our hearts as the first cookie place where you would pay for your cookie by weight – the smallest things, hey! If you are a fan of vintage or clothes slightly less commercial, Grace and Ted near Kingsmead Square is a definite must. This shop is a treasure trove of designer vintage clothing, and you will find all kinds of big label brands here, ranging from Alexander McQueen, Malano Blahnik, Erdem, Dior to name a few, and it is just an interesting experience to wander around, even if you aren’t buying anything, but just to take it all in and smell the designer fabrics on sale! Items here can be a bit pricey, even if vintage or already used, but it is worth particularly if your tribe are fashionistas, as they certainly won’t be disappointed by what they see here. For those looking for vintage clothes without the designer price tag, take a trip up Walcot Street, fast becoming a trendy, bohemian area of the city, where you will find a few second hand clothes shops selling everything from fur coats to army clothing. Visit Graham and Green too whilst you’re on Walcot Street, a great homeware shop with reasonably priced lighting, colourful furnishings, and on-trend decorative home accessories. Bath has really transformed itself over the past few years as a serious contender for the best selection of shops in the South West. But it isn’t just about the variety of shops as to why we love shopping in Bath so much. It’s the sights, sounds and smells you get when walking around this beautiful Georgian city which creates an atmosphere and charm for visitors all of it’s own. Amongst the array of shops are examples of the diverse history this place has which other cities just cannot compete with, and that’s where Bath scores highly on the shopping front, you get to walk on the same streets as the Romans and Georgians, even Jane Austen maybe, and whilst none of them visited Primark or Lush, we kind of wonder what they’d make of it all if they had!
Have an ice cream at Swoon.
Swoon ice cream parlour is situated in Kingsmead Square, and specialises in all that is gelato. Most of our teens have a penchant for an ice cream, and Swoon is the place to go in Bath if you want something a little bit special than just your regular 99 in a cone. Swoon is a little bit more “artisan” in that it has the Flavour Lab, where customers can choose from a selection of delicious flavours which include Madagascan Vanilla, Amarena Cherry Cheesecake, Salted Caramel and Pistachio to name a few. Every month, the gelato chefs at Swoon also choose 5 seasonal flavours which they “guest”, so this month (October 2018) a couple of their guest ice creams are Carrot Cake gelato and Mandorla gelato, made with Almond Milk, so great for vegans and those who are lactose free. Swoon also sells a variety of hot and cold drinks, including traditional Napoli Italian coffees which are great accompaniments to your cold ice creams, the Italians like the idea of drinking hot and eating cold! Swoon is a great place to try out when you want to sit down for half an hour, take the weight off your feet, put down all of those shopping bags, and having something refreshing and thirst-quenching. You can even try before you buy on the gelato front, we think this is a no brainer!
Green Park Station.
Green Park Station was built in the 1860’s, and this beautiful station terminus is now the location of some great weekly markets and small, independent traders and shops. It’s worth a visit with your teens particularly on market days, where the station is transformed into a busy station again, selling a wide variety of locally grown produce and goods. You can also get a good cup of tea and something to eat too if your hungry. Saturday is the regular Farmers Market day, open from 9am-1.30pm where you can sample and buy freshly baked bread from local traditional Bath bakers, (the smell is incredible!), Bath Brie (a locally made cheese, well worth a try), handmade chocolates, cooked meats and locally ground coffee. This is a seriously proper market, just the smells alone will entice you to walk around and take it all in. On the last Sunday of every month, the markets continue with Bath Flea Market. Starting at 8am and with free entry for all, this is a great market to mooch around with your teens, and be wowed by all of the various collectables, vintage clothing, militaria, books and much more. Refreshments are again available, and the atmosphere is upbeat, particularly with the playing of music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Be prepared to take you and your family back in time! If you’re not around at the weekend, you can still visit the daily Green Park Station weekday market, and wander around the wooden cabins which sell great street food, flowers and organic goods. Definitely worth a visit, Green Park Station has an interesting and eclectic mix of shops where the past definitely meets the present….in more ways than one.
So get out there and start looking around, you will be amazed by what you can stumble across on a day out shopping in Bath. We think that retail therapy is always good for the soul, and shopping in Bath definitely deserves some R E S P E C T!
Click to look at Dyrham Park, only a few miles away from Bath, and if you’re interested in how else you can utilise your time and take in some of the more relaxing activities Bath and the surrounding area has to offer, take a look at our review of this National Trust property.