We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Prue, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Prue lives in New Zealand, and submitted the following report about the Bath Christmas Market in England. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English
Reasons to Visit the Bath Christmas Market
If you want a good Christmas craft market in England, you need a day trip to Bath, about 90 minutes by fast train from London.
The outstanding Bath Christmas Market is big enough to keep you busy for most of a day. The streets around the Roman Baths and the Abbey are lined with rustic wooden chalets, more than 170 of them in 2015. The organizers keep it local, with most stallholders from Bath or nearby, and most of their goods handmade.
I planned to do a complete circuit before the eating phase, but was caught by the aroma of a magnificently flavored sausage. Oh, now there’s cheese from Cheddar Gorge. Yes, I will try your cider. A sachet to make my own mulled wine? Very kind of you. Are you getting a picture here? The rusty old tools are a bit odd…oh, they’re made of chocolate!
Hand-blown glass tree ornaments were expertly packed for a 27-hour flight back to New Zealand. A thin silver ring was perfectly imperfect and the artisan had one that fit my thick fingers. I chatted with the man who made jewelry from old cutlery: mine is a pendant made from an engraved serving spoon and no one else has one like it. Handmade glass and ceramic Christmas tree ornaments made their way into my bag. How could I resist the Christmas decorations, all made by the woman behind the counter?
As the day fades, the lights come on, the carousel shines like gold and it feels like Christmas.
Inside the abbey, the choir rehearsed the Hallelujah chorus. I left a donation in thanks for the sheer joy of soaring voices, superb acoustics and exquisite stained glass.
Here are my tips for visiting the Bath Christmas Market:
- Check dates and opening times on their website.
- Check opening times for other sights. This is Roman and Celtic England so there is much to see.
- I was seduced by sunshine and blue skies only to find many attractions closed in the late afternoon. You might want to do these first and save the market for later.
- Work out when you might want to leave London/Bath. Peak hour trips are expensive so book ahead as far as possible. I used Trainline.
- Wear good walking shoes.
- Take a shopping bag. Or two. Or three.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)