It’s not often that I take a solid slice of time off from life to enjoy a holiday.
But recently, I enjoyed a full two weeks of relaxation, including a short road trip down to the Somerset/Devon border to join in with some of the Bearded Ones’ family celebrations in Porlock, just on the edge of Exmoor.
We started in Suffolk and headed to Maidenhead for a night at The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal’s famous Michelin starred restaurant. This was a night to remember and a treat that I’ll recount in a different blog post later on, it was too much of a treat not to!
From here we headed to Bath, the city we first enjoyed a break away together almost three years ago. We always said that we would return in the summer to enjoy wandering and exploring with the sun shining over the oppressive sandstone(?!) buildings, however that Christmas break a few years back offered us finer weather than this summer break could.
A real shame.
However, the grey weather was never going to stop our mini adventure as we zig zagged through independent lanes and shops, nibbled on the most delicious homemade stout & peanut butter cake at Hunter & Sons on Milsom Place and sipped on local ales.
We were on holiday and we weren’t going to let the rain put us off our stride.
Whilst in Bath we were invited to relax with a 2-hour Thermae Spa pass to make use of the three levels of relaxation experiences thy had to offer.
Who were we to resist?
This beautifully laid out spa is next door to the iconic Roman Baths and the open top roof spa overlooks the city below, with stunning urban views as well as rolling hills overhead on all sides, it offers a view of Bath not many people would get to experience unless they came here.
Fluffy white towels, bathrobes and flip flops are provided to allow you to get cosy in and walk around the slippery wet floors safely – just don’t forget which ones are yours each time you disrobe to enjoy the spa facilities – the “who’s is who’s?” game isn’t much fun!
The ground level offers a hot spring-like bath with body floats to wrap around you and float around the whirlpools and slow-moving rapids to help you unwind and settle into the warmth of the spa. This was very relaxing and I enjoyed the various water jets around this large pool where you could massage yourself and pummel your shoulders with waterfalls and bubbles. We spent a good 35 minutes in here before moving up to the next level.
Here we sampled every spa experience on offer, behind each and every door you could see through, relaxation rooms using steam and water. There were saunas, aromatherapy steam rooms, a relaxation room with beds and ‘stars’ to look at (beautiful) and even an ice room to chill your body temperature right back down again. Brrr.
We spent a good 40 minutes on this level, taking in every scent and sound. It wasn’t hugely busy by 7pm on a Wednesday so we didn’t have to wait for anything which was fantastic – I can imagine it gets busy at weekends.
The third and final floor was the rooftop spa, where, even though it was raining, we sunk our shoulders and chins into the warm water and leisurely swam from edge to edge enjoying the views that Bath had to offer us. I’ve never felt so relaxed in such a short space of time, truthfully, it was fantastic.
I’d love to return with a little more time to enjoy the massage treatments they have on offer and some sunshine reflecting off the water on the rooftop spa, that would be perfect.
They give you half an hour to get yourself showered, dry and dressed, before heading back to reception, so it doesn’t eat into your two hour spa time – a really respectful and thoughtful touch, I liked this.
After what felt like a whole day in the spa, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to our luxury apartment (The Halcyon) nearby for one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a very long time.
From Bath we headed to Frome, a town I’d highly recommend for independent shops, beautiful architecture and handfuls of fantastic coffee shops, tea rooms and delis. This was a highlight for me, we enjoyed coffee in Milk and Two, a coffee shop owned by a guy passionate about his music. He was playing The Black Keys as we entered, so we chatted to him about our mutual love for this band and he pulled out a vinyl, educating us on one of their lesser known albums… Soon after, we headed to a neighbouring vinyl store and bought it for ourselves, I loved this place!
I could liken Frome to Norwich a little, with its hilly cobbled lanes and unique shop fronts, it’s a town not to be missed.
Even the Foo Fighters played here recently for a really tiny, unassuming (and completely secret!) gig to announce their headlining appearance at this year’s Glastonbury.
If Frome is good enough for likes of The Foo Fighters, well…
Instagram also has to be thanked for a quick search of the #Frome Hashtag, suggesting we swing into the beautiful Nunney Castle (good old Instagram!) and wow, what a sight this is.
When on a road trip, you have to take in some random sights and this was one heck of a picnic spot, had we not forgotten our picnic was back in the car!
We finished our mini roadtrip by taking in a whistle-stop visit to Wells, said to be the smallest City in the UK. A tiny medieval town with an impressive cathedral and town centre worth exploring on foot. We finally enjoyed our mini picnic of Frome sausage rolls and a coffee within the grounds of the cathedral before setting off into the sunset… Of course, by which I actually mean, drizzly rain.
Finishing our evening by a night at The White Hart in Somerton, a pub recommended by Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels. We weren’t sure how this falls under the luxury of this brand, as the rooms were far from luxurious, however, we enjoyed a delicious steak for dinner and a hearty breakfast the next morning. But that’s a blog story worth saving for another time.
We were now set for our next week of mini adventuring, basing ourselves in the most impressive large house I’ve ever stayed in, overlooking the seaside town of Porlock near Minehead.
I’d highly recommend a day at the Thermae Spa, should you be passing through or visiting Bath, this is one of my most favourite places in the UK and the spa is high on my list of day spas, however ‘touristy’ it may be.
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Please note – This visit was partly complimentary following an invitation from the Thermae Bath Spa – I ended up booking my own stay at the Halcyon Apartments and visiting the other locations associated with this post as part of my visit! I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. A huge thank you to the Thermae Bath Spa for welcoming me, we very much enjoyed our spa day.
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