The Great West Way - Day 2 Bath To Devizes

Recently we were invited on a press trip covering the route of the Great West Way. Our trip was complimentary but we were not paid for the experience.

The Great West Way is a 125-mile touring route between London and Bristol based on ancient roads. The route is special as it meanders through picture-perfect villages, wonderful historic towns and fantastic vibrant cities in the South West of England.



As we live in South Wales, We started in Bristol and headed towards London. The route is modular so you can do as little or as much of the route as you want. I covered Day 1 in Bristol, heading towards Bath in a previous post, here - Day 1 of the Great West Way road trip. Day 3 will be posted soon, but onto day 2 here.

Day 2 Bath To Devizes



Bath

We stayed last night at the Roseate Villa Bath, a beautiful small boutique hotel a short stroll from the heart of Bath. For breakfast, there was a choice of continental dishes including gorgeous Greek yoghurt with compote in cool little Kilner jars, scrumptious pastries that were super flaky, freshly squeezed juice in cute little bottles, including an excellent orange juice,  a selection of cereals including granola and muesli, and fresh fruit, including poached pears (something I have never seen at a breakfast buffet).


We also had a choice of a cooked to order breakfast. Options included a full English breakfast with Wiltshire bacon, Eggs Benedict, blueberry pancakes and more.



I went with the avocado on toast with mushrooms which was delicious and seasoned to perfection. Service again was exemplary, Jean-Luc is a true asset to this establishment, nothing was too much trouble for him. The Roseate Villa has a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and also has recently been awarded a TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award as one of the top 25 hotels for service in the UK!  Service was top notch, and never obtrusive, instead, welcoming, informative and warm. We would definitely return!

So with heavy hearts, it was time to check out and onto our first stop of the day, The Romans Baths. 



The Roman Baths take you back 2000 years to the days when Bath was a spa town and people visited to bathe in the medicinal waters and drink the mineral-laced water. 



In the Roman Baths, you can find out about the history of the baths, interact with the actors helping history come alive and drink the water from the water fountain.


You cannot bathe in the water anymore, unfortunately.  It's well worth listening to the informative audio guide which is free and available in a number of languages. Ticket prices for adults start at £14.40 off peak and if you are a lover of history, it's a must do in Bath.



From the Roman Baths, we took a short walk to Nicholas Wylde Jewellers. 



This bespoke boutique jeweller was recommended to us by the Great West Way team. Nicholas Wylde Jewellers has been in Bath for 31 years and there is also a branch in Bristol. On our visit, we were lucky to meet the man behind the shop - Nicholas Wylde, who gave us a tour of the workshop. 


Nicholas Wylde Jewellers sells a range of gold and silver jewellery and a big part of their business is the bespoke design service, where they make on average 30 bespoke pieces made for individual clients a week. 


We were privileged to take a peek into their workshop and see the different processes that go into making a piece of designer jewellery, from the sketching of the design to the CAD design on the computer, to a ring being set with diamonds.


Everything is completed to the utmost quality and high-level specifications from maker jewellers that have trained for years to get to this level.



Nicholas Wylde Jewellers is also know for its Wylde Flower Diamond jewellery unique to them. The Wylde Flower Diamond is special because it has 84 facets (cuts) in the diamond. This makes the diamond super sparkly as it has 24 more facets that a normal brilliant cut diamond. If you look closely you can see the flower design in the diamond. The diamonds are ethically sourced and cut by a company in the heart of the Antwerp Diamond Centre. Each diamond is also certified by the International Gemmological Institute too so you know you are getting a quality diamond.



I must admit I did drop a little hint to Mr W, as after all surely a lady with a website called The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover deserves a diamond every now and again don't you think? Maybe he will buy me a precious Wyld Flower Diamond - watch this space!



When we finished at Nicholas Wylde Jewellers, it was time to meet Nigel, one of the guides at Around And About Bath for a walking tour of the centre of Bath. I was really looking forward to this, as although I have visited Bath a couple of times a year for the last 25 years I have yet to go on a walking tour of the city.

Around And About Bath provide small tours of Bath and the South West of England, and their tours focus on history, heritage and quirkiness. 


Nigel our guide was such an enthusiastic and happy chap that you could tell he really loves living in this amazing city. 

On our tour, we found out about the Circus - the area in the centre of Bath with Georgian houses which was the place to see and be seen. Nigel demonstrated how if you stand in the centre of the Circus and clap then it echos all around. A neat little trick. 



Nigel also took us to a couple of areas of Bath that I didn't know existed, such as the Bath Botanical Gardens and a small Georgian garden meticulously recreated for people to visit. So many hidden gems in Bath and the tour was very informative and fun. 


Our last stop was the Assembly Rooms, this grand building was the centre of society dances in Bath in the 18th century. Jane Austen would have danced there in all her finery. It was a place to be seen. Nigel told us that at the end of the night though in the warm environment the makeup would have run down their faces - can you imagine the sight? 


Nigel also showed us old Putney Bridge, a beautiful bridge from the front but dirty and unloved from the back, but again only the facade mattered in Georgian times.  Bath was the place where appearances mattered for sure! 

We can highly recommend Around And About Bath for a tour of this historic city with a few surprises along the way. Check out their other tours too, I don't think you will be disappointed.




Now it was time for lunch. Koffman and Mr White's is a French brasserie-style restaurant around the corner from Bath Abbey.

The dining room here is fresh and modern in style and is a good place to have a special lunch or dinner with a French chic air. Service was confident but welcoming and not stuffy like you can get in some upmarket French restaurants. 

Mr W ordered a starter and a main, a French onion soup and a vegetable cassoulet and I ordered a main and a dessert, a curry and a pavlova. 



I honestly thought the French onion soup was the best I have ever tried. The soup was made with a rich broth of beef stock, plenty of sliced onions, large slices of French bread croutons and a mountain of gruyere cheese. An excellent bowl of soup for a hearty lunch. 


The curry was described as "The Connaught’s coq and shrimp curry, fresh mango, ginger, buttered rice". It was a good curry, very mild though and I would have liked some more spice.  

Mr W. vegetable dish was similar to a bean casserole and he says he enjoyed it!


The dessert - a tropical pavlova, was excellent! With mango ice cream, slices of mango, kiwi fruit and pomegranate, it was sweet, delicious and moreish. Highly recommended.


Lacock

So it was time to get in the car and onto our next stop, Lacock, home to Lacock Abbey.  Lacock is a village about a 35 to 40-minute drive from the centre of Bath and 3 miles south of Chippenham. It is owned almost entirely by the National Trust and attracts many visitors due to its unspoiled appearance.  



You may recognise Lacock Abbey as it was used for filming a number of the Harry Potter films as well as Pride and Prejudice and the latest film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in the cinema now. It's a beautiful building and lovers of architecture will really appreciate it.
As well as the abbey, Lacock is home to the Fox Talbot Museum, a photography museum that discusses William Henry Fox Talbot who is famous for his contributions to the invention of photography. We didn't have time to visit unfortunately but it looked an interesting stop along the Great West Way. 



Admission to Lacock Abbey and the Fox Talbot Museum is £16 for adults and £8 for children, National Trust members get in for free. I recommend bringing some change for parking as the ticket machine did not take cards.

Devizes


So our last stop today was to Devizes, a 20-minute drive away, where we would be staying that night. The property in Devizes was rather special as it was next to a canal at Devizes Marina.










Devizes Marina is based on the Kennet & Avon Canal. It's a peaceful location and the new lodges we stayed in are well appointed and in excellent condition. 



The decor in creams and browns was simple and chic and the lodge we stayed in could sleep four easily in two bedrooms, one twin and one double. There was a separate bathroom and an ensuite shower room and toilet to the master bedroom.

The kitchen had everything you could need to make a meal including a full-size cooker, small dishwasher, fridge and freezer.  There was an outside terrace and a hot tub was a great touch! Unfortunately, as it was super cold, it did take a long time to heat up and wasn't ready in the evening so we had to go without our hot tub experience but I bet it would be lovely in the summer. 



So that night, after a hectic day we decided to stay in and cook. 


Pin for later


Catch our day 3 on the Great West Way soon, where we visit Wadworth Brewery, as well as take a walk on the North Wessex Downs. 

* AD thanks to the Great West Way for inviting us on this press trip


18 comments

  1. That hotel looks absolutely beautiful and a lovely place to stay. I'm hoping to visit Bath in the next few months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bath is just a beautiful city, with so much history and fantastic independent shopping.

      Delete
  2. Bath looks amazing to go and visit the place you was at looks outstanding sure need to go .

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lacock Abbey is somewhere I really want to visit, I really need to get this route under my belt

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh that food looks soooooo good! I really wold love to try that onion soup.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Its been a while since I last visited Bath and outside of the Roman baths, I have not seen any of these places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Roman Baths is a great place to explore and spend an afternoon. I love the actors working there, they really bring history alive.

      Delete
  6. What a brilliant press trip to be invited on. Looks like a fab route to take for a trip away xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it is a very interesting route, as there are so many little quaint villages along the way as well as amazing historic cities like Bath

      Delete
  7. Looks like a really beautiful hotel! I love Bristol and Bath and London so this sounds like a fab trip! I hope you enjoy the rest of it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This sounds like such a great trip, I would love to visit Bath and I am a massive history nerd!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really need to visit Bath if you love history. Take a tour and find out about this amazing city.

      Delete
  9. I loved watching your adventures in Bath. The food looks great. That's some excellent presentation of that breakfast sandwich. As for the onion soup.... mmmm! Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly was the best onion soup I ever tasted.

      Delete
  10. Wow it looks like you got to eat a lot of delicious food! Especially that breakfast, very jeal

    ReplyDelete
  11. The food looks lovely. I might make myself avocado and mushrooms on toast tomorrow as it looks so tasty.

    ReplyDelete