Natalie French

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When it comes to weekend breaks, Bath has got it all: natural hot springs, sweeping honey-hued Georgian architecture and cobbled paths dotted with independent shops and restaurants. There are plenty of places to rest your weary head, too, from grand country mansions to riverside boltholes.

The Neo-regency styled Francis Hotel has a coveted position on Queen Square – just a short strut to the main shopping streets and Roman Baths. Inside you’ll find 98 bedrooms each with Egyptian cotton sheets, Nespresso machines and temperature controls - no more stuffy hotel rooms. What’s more all rooms are now certified dog friendly so you can your furry friend can escape together. Foodies can transport themselves to heart of Marrakech at the Boho Marché restaurant. Feast on speciality dishes such as slow braised succulent ox cheek or crispy confit duck salad or delicious sharing platters. 

Fancy a city bolthole with a twist? Check out the Toll Keepers House. Originally an 18th century toll house, this three-floor Regency abode is built into the side of Bath’s historic Cleveland Bridge. River Avon views come as standard here and you can expect a beautiful interior, two bedrooms and bucket loads of rustic charm. In the summer, throw open the large French windows to reveal a sheltered garden leading to a riverside terrace. Glass of rose blush, optional. 

Just eight miles from the ancient city of Bath, at the end of a mile-long tree-lined avenue, you’ll find a truly English Palladian mansion - complete with a Michelin starred Restaurant, an award-winning spa and its own equestrian centre with over 35 horses. If you can pull yourself away from the walled spa garden, there’s Forest bathing on the 500-acre parkland estate or, for something unique, book in for an Equine Connect session; this empowering and mind-opening experience will teach you how to control horses through their body language. 

A member of the Radisson Individuals, Henrietta House, is located just minutes from Pulteney bridge and all the city bustle. The sweeping Georgian terrace is a hotel of two halves: a more traditional side and a newly-refurbished boutique Art Deco-style wing. Make a beeline for the latter; the bedrooms are all padded grey leather headboards and striking wallpaper, while the bathrooms offer epic walk-in showers and geometric tile. The glamorous bar is worth a visit, too: an old-school elegant affair backed by a wall of mirrors and serving delicious cocktails. 

This honey-coloured Georgian beauty is just a short stroll through Victoria Park to all the action. The hotel is set in four acres of awarding-winning gardens which wrap themselves around the hotel; the lawns, meadow and kitchen garden are tended to by Chelsea Flower show medallist, Jane Moore, so expect great things. The botanical theme extends to all 33 guest rooms, too, which are named after flowers – from Bluebell with its four-poster bed to Heather and Lilac with garden-view balconies. There’s even The Garden Spa with indoor pool, sauna and steam pod for optimal chilling.

Set in 20-acres - just a short drive from the city centre - Bailbrook House Hotel is a Grade II listed mansion. Think: long sash windows, corniced ceilings and elegant lounges. The hotel has 88-bedrooms; for a real treat opt for one of the 13 rooms or suites in the Mansion House, complete with roll-top baths, rain showers for two and four poster beds. Feast on modern British food beneath vaulted ceilings and original Bath stone archways at the 2 AA Rosette restaurant, Cloisters. 

If it’s a five-star country house retreat you’re after, look no further. Bath Spa Hotel sits within 7-acres of gorgeous landscaped gardens and just a short stroll, across Pulteney Bridge, to the 2000-year-old Roman Baths. The grand hotel has a whopping 131 rooms and suites, many with garden or city views, some with marble bathrooms and open fireplaces. You can dine in what was once the magnificent ballroom, now the award-winning Vellore Restaurant, with its canopied outdoor terrace.  

A visit to Bathen House is worth it for the decadent bathrooms alone - all over-sized wall mirrors, glass chandeliers and opulent roll-top baths. The ideal spot to unwind with a glass of something sparkly after a day wandering about the World Heritage city. This boutique Edwardian hotel – with a mix of 13 rooms and suites – recently had an extensive facelift upping its wow factor. Located on the outskirts of Bath, you can expect attentive staff, free parking and spotless bedrooms. Don’t miss a visit to the new Bouvatdia Restaurant serving super fresh, locally-sourced British fare.  

If you prefer a more personal touch, Brooks Guesthouse is an independent family-run guesthouse owned by foodies; don’t miss breakfast – locally sourced and freshly cooked - the Eggs Benedict alone has earned itself a reputation.  With 22 rooms, some compact doubles (great for solo travellers) to superior four posters – there’s a good choice for all.  It also has a fantastic location, just 350 metres from the Royal Crescent. The homemade biscuits in the room are a lovely touch and guests can enjoy the well-stocked Honesty Bar – situated in the breakfast room. 

This huge, family-run, B&B is set in its own west-facing beautifully landscaped gardens. The Victorian hotel’s vista is noteworthy, too, overlooking the last great Medieval cathedral to have been built in England, Bath Abbey – just 700 metres away. The 17 guest rooms are clean, comfortable and have all the essentials and there’s free secure onsite parking – not to be sniffed at in a city centre locale. Park your car and in just a ten minutes you can walk into the city. 

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