BATH: City break

Bath Abbey lrTravelodge lr
Bath Abbey and a Travelodge room, available in the city from £29
By Tim Saunders
Singer songwriter Freddie Mercury was an avid stamp collector.
This surprising fact is discovered during a visit to Bath Postal Museum. The first stamp was sent from the city in 1840.
It is during a bus tour that we learn about John Wood a self-taught architect, responsible for many of Bath’s magnificent Georgian buildings. Noticeably some of these have had their windows blocked in to avoid window tax (repealed after over 150 years in 1851) which gave rise to the term ‘daylight robbery’.
Bath can trace its history further, to the first century AD, when its baths were established. On a site the size of a football pitch, the extravagant Romans bathed in the still naturally hot springs. The audio guides help to involve the children as does making a laurel crown from card. Famous travel writer Bill Bryson (a fellow former Bournemouth Echo journalist) also recorded his thoughts on the audio guide.
Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts visitors from all over the world. From its sweeping Georgian crescents to the parks below, it’s a historian’s delight. The Fashion Museum shows how clothes have evolved since 1600. Fashion has often adapted to societal changes from the smart attire of the nobleman to the practical denim wear of 1960s workers; now an everyday necessity. With the invention of the car came chauffeurs’ uniforms. There are fascinating creations along the way and even in the 1700s dresses were colourful.
The children count angels at Bath Abbey and let off steam in the park. Henry particularly enjoys clambering about on a red bus and playing with Harriett and Heidi in the sand.
I need a beer and The Bath Brewhouse produces its own in a microbrewery onsite. I try Gladiator Ale and Emperor Pale Ale, both thirst-quenching. Clearly a popular haunt for drinkers it’s also possible to have a home cooked meal. We start with some delicious nachos with various dips. The children’s portions are for once, the right size, meaning that little Heidi, who can be awkward, eats all of her cheeseburger and chips. The beef in my steak and ale pie is clearly of an excellent quality because there’s no gristle whatsoever; the test of a good pie.
We stay in a family room at Travelodge Waterside, which has just undergone a £2m refurbishment. Sharing with our children does mean that we have to go to sleep early but this is no problem after a long day’s walking. After our baths we all settle down to a good night’s sleep on quality well made beds. There’s no chance for us to use the 30 minutes of free wifi or the kettle for that matter. We all thoroughly enjoy the breakfast in the new look café with views over the water. Henry (2) suddenly masters how to say “hot chocolate, apple juice” making sure he has this along with a sausage, a hash brown, some cereal and yoghurt with the odd helping of fruit salad. The children love the self service aspect, which gives them some independence. Harriett, Heidi and Henry all enjoy operating the cold drinks machines.  Suffice to say a Travelodge breakfast sets you up for a day of exploring. The staff are helpful and polite. “I love it here, in fact I left but missed it so much I’ve returned,” says Bailey, who serves at breakfast and also works in housekeeping. While there is a car park here we use Your Parking Space allowing us to pre-book our parking on a nearby driveway. Charles Cridland, Technical Director says: “By using our service drivers can be assured that they’ll have a space waiting for them on arrival.”
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