Bath mini-break: a book spa, a Gin bar, Grayson Perry & a quirky chic hotel

My husband and I have just returned from a Bath mini-break. We have always enjoyed the city of Bath and have been there many times. It is an outstandingly beautiful city and we have experienced many of the historical sights. However this time we savoured the delights of a different sort in Bath.

The trip to Bath city was inspired by a 60th birthday gift which I have only just got round to enjoying. It was two vouchers for a Book Spa at Mr. B’s Emporium which I shared with my best friend, my husband (OH – Other Half).

Before I explain what a Book Spa is I have to tell you all about the hotel that we stayed in.

15 Great Pulteney Street:

It is an elegant and vivacious, townhouse hotel behind a Grade-I Georgian façade, as described on their website. We loved it from the moment we drew up outside in one of the grandest and most beautiful of Bath Streets. We were welcomed in reception by a charming lady; all the keys are housed in a doll’s house, a charming idea. The hotel is full of captivating, contemporary art and playful lighting. Check out the bar with glass top tables full of costume jewellery and other artefacts.

Our room was at the back of the hotel looking out over a courtyard towards Henrietta Park. I was so impressed to see that they provided Dyson hairdryers and the bathrooms are spacious, with Bamford beauty products provided. There is a Spa (no pool) but you do need to book in advance. Finally they take well-behaved dogs which always makes me happy.

It really was a very comfortable hotel – we only ate breakfast there but that was delicious so I am sure the food is excellent. I am not surprised it was named Outstanding Hotel of the Year at 2017’s Independent Hotel Show. I can highly recommend it especially as it was great value for money.

For further info on 15 Great Pulteney Street view HERE.

Mr. B’s Emporium Book Spa:

This was the purpose of our trip to Bath and OH and I were booked in at 2pm for a two hour, one-on-one slot. If you don’t know Mr. B’s Emporium Bookshop then you have a treat in store. It is an award winning independent bookshop with a large staff of very well-informed book lovers. The purpose of their Book Spa is to introduce you to titles and authors within your preferred genres. Before you go you are asked to email a list of books and authors that you love and also ones that you have not enjoyed.

Having my consultation

Once there you are met by your ‘tutor’ (Rhiann in my case) and you spend 30 minutes chatting about the list you submitted. Both OH and I remembered so many more authors and books that we loved when we were in the shop. Then Rhiann disappeared for 20 minutes to discuss this with her colleagues and returned with 22 books that they had compiled as possible reads for me.

Leaving with our book haul!

There were only 2 that I had read so 20 new titles to discover. Rhiann discussed each of these in detail with me explaining why she thought I would enjoy them. I was so impressed as she had nailed the selection and I was spoilt for choice. You get to take home books to the value of £55. The ones I left behind Rhiann emailed to me their titles so I can purchase them in the future.

My book choices

I can highly recommend this Book Spa either for yourself or as a gift voucher to any book-loving friend.

It really is amazing how many authors that are out there that you do not know about as there is not a big marketing machine behind the publication of their books.

Even if you do not have a Book Spa session do just pop in to the shop to enjoy the charms of the building, the books and the staff. It is a genuine Aladdin’s cave of books. You will recognise many but, as with me, your horizons will be expanded.

I have started with The Colour of Water by James McBride. This is an auto-biography – a black man’s tribute to his white mother. His mother was the daughter of a Rabbi. Her parents emigrated from Poland to America and James’ mother ends up marrying first one and then a second Afro-American and having 12 children in total. 100 pages in and I am captivated by the challenges of the lives they all lived. Well done to Rhiann for introducing me to this book.

For more info about Mr. B’s Emporium Bookshop view HERE.

In the evening we were spoilt for choice for eateries as Bath is full of gastronomique delights but on our way to Mr. B’s I had spotted –

The Canary Gin Bar:

A place to drink gin and to drink more gin….

The Canary Gin Bar

We popped in there early evening, a delightfully atmospheric bar in a quiet, cobbled back street. I had the Bath Distillery Hopped Rhubarb Gin served with Ginger Ale and slices of green apple. My OH had the Elderflower and Cucumber (not for sale on their website yet) and both were quite distinctive and unique in flavouring. Totally delicious and suffice to say my OH had to drag me away as we were booked for dinner elsewhere but I did get him to buy a couple of bottles to take home.

For more info on The Canary Gin Bar view HERE.

Corkage, Chapel Row

We had been recommended this eaterie and it was the perfect suggestion as we were not looking to eat a big meal.

Corkage has two places, the other being in Walcot St, however this is the larger of the two. It was busy so there was a warm atmosphere. They serve small plates and chargrills. You order 2 or 3 each and be prepared to share. Well that is the idea but OH had other ideas until he saw my choices and then he agreed to the sharing policy.

For more info on the Corkage restaurants view HERE.

The Holburne Museum & Grayson Perry Exhibition

After a hearty breakfast and farewell to 15 Great Pulteney Street we wandered to the bottom of the road to the Holburne Museum to visit the Grayson Perry Exhibition.

This museum is set back from the road in a public gardens. The gardens has just received a £3 million lottery grant so is about to get a makeover. The museum which used to be free entry now charges due to rising costs. However it is well-worth the charge (£12.50 or £7 concession).

The Grayson Perry exhibition was mostly the pre-therapy years and was brilliantly wild and provocative. The smaller room, post-therapy years, was more decadent and dark. It was beautifully displayed and unlike a London exhibition you did not have to queue to get to see each cabinet.

There was plenty more to see in this museum including a ceramics exhibition by Candace Bahouth which was most unexpected and totally captivating.

Finally a room dedicated to the great 18th century collector, Sir William Holburne. This was like an Aladdin’s cave full of every type of art. One could have spent hours in this room alone as there was so much to enjoy.

For more info on The Holburne Museum view HERE.

Bath makes the perfect venue for a mini-break and gives plenty of opportunity to visit again as there is so much more to see. We will return!