I decided to take a little weekend break to Bath this April. I was hesitant. Everyone goes in Summer to enjoy the warm sun and the green hillside foliage.
But I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, the weather was a tad dreary, but the blossoming flowers, strung throughout the city, gardens, and walkways, were truly stunning. Riverside daffodils swayed in the breeze, their long necks peering over the banks as if to catch a glimpse of their own golden beauty. And just a few streets away, friendly vendors sold them by the bunch, bursting out of boxes and temporary stalls for £1.99.
Bath, as its name suggests, is a city of water, and gargantuan willows have sprouted up over the centuries and laid claim over the landscape. In early April, their pale green buds are popping up first, beating their sturdier rivals to the punch, and spiralling down towards the water like strings of peridots.
Speaking of water, a trip to Bath wouldn’t be complete without a trip to its namesake, the Roman Baths! On an early morning in the off season, you can truly enjoy the tranquil, jade waters of the ancient site, a soft mist billowing off the warm pool and into the cool morning air!
We even found a few abandoned boutonnieres left behind by an engagement party! (Imagine having your wedding photos taken here!)
A stroll throughout the city reveals all kinds of flower shops and stalls, some springing up each morning like garden beds themselves, and others tucked away into archways and corridors carved from the yellow Bath stone.. One of the loveliest shops can be found on Pulteney Bridge. The aptly named Pulteney Bridge Flowers is no more than a hole in a wall, but its floral bouquets pour out into the street, and a peek through the windows reveals a wall of beautiful colours!
For me, Bath in April manages to capture that quintessentially 18th-century, Georgian obsession with the garden, that culmination of nature and civilization. Cherry blossoms dance around ancient cathedrals and refined flower boxes line the facades of Bath’s stoney buildings, splashing a bit of colour onto the uniformly parchment-coloured walls.
Our bed & breakfast captured this 18th-century essence spectacularly. If you’ve ever dreamed of sleeping in a whimsical four-poster bed overlooking a secret walled-in garden, Berdoulat & Breakfast is the place for you!
But the most breathtaking part of my visit involved a jaunt outside of the downtown and into the National Trust’s stunning Prior Park Landscape Garden! Perched in the hills of Bath’s surrounding woodland, this beautiful 18th-century park offers stunning views of wild gardens, Palladian architecture, and the beauteous city below. For £6.90, you receive full access to the park along with a few free flora and fauna guides!
In early Spring, most of the trees were still bare, but the fresh grass glimmered in the sunlight and the forest floor was swathed in gold and white, narcissus of every shade following the footpaths.
We even spotted an elusive ‘Sulky Lady’ peeking out of a daffodil patch, her brilliant purple dancing against the emerald grass. Apparently this little flower had its origins in the English garden before it escaped and transformed into something of its own! They are also known as Fritillaria meleagris, Snake’s Heads, and Leper Lilies!
But the most stunning part of the gardens is the Palladian bridge stretched out over the glassy waters of the landscape pond. Protected by a solitary swan, there is something both beautiful and haunting about the bridge.
Its romantic quality is only heightened by the 18th-century graffiti etched into its stone arches. Love notes and signatures mark the pale stone as clear as ink on velum!
Standing among all this beauty was a perfect end to a lovely trip! So to conclude. Bath in April. Yea or Nae? For me, the answer is easy. If you love flowers, hate crowds, and don’t mind a mix of sun and cloud (with a chance of rain), I definitely recommend this lovely city (and surrounding parks). For the fellow botany enthusiast, history buff, and anyone who simply enjoys a mixture of natural and cultural beauty, this is a weekend trip for you!