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The best places to go shopping in Bath

Bath has a well-earned reputation amongst discerning shoppers who like to track down unusual finds – whether it’s artisan food, contemporary furniture, designer clothing, antique garden features, stylish footwear or quirky art and jewellery. Independent shops thrive here, often supporting local designers, artists and food producers – giving shoppers the chance to pick up some unique products in a truly elegant setting. The city is in many ways a shopper’s dream: it’s conveniently compact, largely pedestrianised, and home not only to countless one-off boutiques, but also to most well-known high street retailers. And while it’s often bursting at the seams with tourists and pedestrians, the council’s strategy to make Bath “the UK’s most walkable city” means an increasing number of shopping areas are blissfully car-free.

Your favourite brands

The obvious place to launch your shopping mission is on Milsom Street, Union Street and Stall Street, which together run virtually in a straight line through the city centre. From those well-known shopping streets you can venture off pretty much in any direction to be rewarded with other worthwhile finds. The area is dotted with established chains such as Vinegar Hill, Paperchase, Lush and Carphone Warehouse. It is also where you will find Jolly’s, an historic department store spread over three levels, which is now part of the House of Fraser group. Despite its old-fashioned exterior it is home to a good mix of fashion brands like Oasis and All Saints; cosmetics such as Bobbi Brown and Mac; and a range of homeware, as well as a popular cafe.

Friends shopping

Find all of your favourite brands and more whilst shopping in Bath

Wander off Milsom Street into Milsom Place, a small, covered shopping centre, to find a blend of innovative brands, delis, restaurants and famous names. Pick up luxury linens at Yves Delorme; luxury jewellery, watches and homeware from Quadri of Bath; women’s activewear from the brand new Boudavida shop; and designer footwear at ChaniiB. Nearby, Broad Street is a great stretch to uncover boutique clothing shops, including established brands such as Phase Eight. Rossiters is perfect for funky household products, kitchenware gifts and other home accessories and gadgets, while just around the corner on the Paragon you will discover Topping and Company – an independent bookshop that has served the city’s literary scene for many years. Here you can often pick up collectable books, such as signed First Editions from prize-winning authors, or attend ad hoc book events.

Enjoy refreshments at The Teahouse Emporium on New Bond Street if you enjoy a quality brew and choose from more than 170 different types of tea from all over the world, from Assam Mangalam to Yunnan Green, and take a look at their beautiful range of teapots, infusers, strainers, mugs and other tea-making accessories. Rieker Shoes on Union Street sells comfortable footwear perfect for all that exploring and just off Union Street, The Corridor is one of the world’s oldest indoor covered arcades, designed by architect Henry Goodridge and built in 1825. Over the years The Corridor has housed a whole series of famous traders and today it is an elegant shopping destination that is home to a good mix of small independent retailers alongside some well-known household names such as Cornish Bakehouse, skate brand Route One, and greeting card retailer Scribbler.

Wander off Milsom Street into Milsom Place, a small, covered shopping centre, to find a blend of innovative brands, delis, restaurants and famous names

Boutiques in beautiful buildings

Pop into Ganesha Handicrafts for ethically-sourced silver jewellery, colourful soft home furnishings and hats, shawls and other clothing from India and Nepal. Sporty shoppers can head to Running Bath for the ultimate in footwear comfort, and shoppers with wanderlust can book a holiday at C The World. Browse around Flock Bath if you are looking for contemporary and timeless fashion classics, whether it’s footwear, clothes, bags or printed tights. They stock many of Yumi and Uttam Boutique’s finest lines, as well as Dogo footwear, Ruby Shoo and Disaster Designs. This is also a good area for a pit stop and refuel, since The Corridor’s charming Society Café has built up an enviable reputation for serving up great coffee and cake (including some gluten-free pastries) in a friendly environment – with a creative space set up especially for children. Spread across two floors, the wooden décor is fresh and appealing and there’s free wifi if you need it, plus some art house books and magazines to flick through.

A short stroll away from The Corridor you can take in lovely riverside views from Pulteney Bridge, an historic Bath landmark that incorporates shops right into its structure. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it heaves under the weight of tourists – but its central spot above the weir offers superb, elevated panoramas. Shops span its entire length on both sides, and today the bridge is designated as a Grade 1-listed building, home to several tiny independent retailers including Pulteney Bridge Flowers, The Antique Map Shop, ladies’ fashion stores such as Hampstead Bazaar, and Bath Stamp & Coin Shop.

Pop into Ganesha Handicrafts for ethically-sourced silver jewellery, colourful soft home furnishings and hats, shawls and other clothing from India and Nepal

Specialist crafts

Directly across the road from the weir by Pultney Bridge, stroll through the distinctively-domed Guildhall Market and enjoy its rich history and architecture. This market has been serving Bath from its current home since at least the 16th century, and today you can shop there for all sorts, ranging from books, jewellery, handbags and cheese to craft supplies and pet food. Pick up traditional sweets at Bath Humbug Shop, specialist teas at Gillards of Bath, and tasty morsels at The Guildhall Delicatessen or Nibbles Cheese (Bath’s oldest cheesemongers). If you’ve run out of reading material, browse the Skoobs Book Stall, which stocks a great selection of used paperbacks in good condition.

Just around the corner near Bath Abbey you can buy one of the city’s favourite treats – traditional, hand-made fudge. You’ll stumble across several shops in the centre which make and sell their own fudge, in a whole rainbow of flavours, but at The Fudge Kitchen near the Abbey you can watch a demonstration of staff hand-making it on marble slabs using an old recipe dating back to 1830. Flavours of the American-style slab fudge range from time-tested and traditional to devilishly different – think ginger spice, Eton mess, lemon drizzle and millionaires’ shortbread – plus several dairy-free and vegan-friendly options. Just remember to buy a few bags extra if you want any of it to reach your family at home before you’ve eaten it all – or opt for a “make fudge at home kit” just to be on the safe side.

Nicholas Wylde

Purchase something special at Nicholas Wylde

For jewellery made by Bath and international designers, check out Stardust Designs, and if you need to source some impressive fancy dress costumes and party paraphernalia head to the Funtastic Party Shop. Close to the Guildhall is the Nicholas Wylde flagship designer jewellery store. Wylde began his career here 30 years ago and is one of the few designers in the world with his own patented diamond cut. Family-run SP Green Jewellers also offers beautifully-crafted engagement rings, wedding rings and bespoke jewellery. If you’re souvenir-hunting, or looking for holiday gifts to take back to your friends and family, head over to the Roman Baths Shop on Stall Street. There you can browse standard Bath-themed products like tea towels and mugs alongside items that are more specific to the destination, such as restorative water from Bath’s hot spring and locally-made crafts and jewellery.

Just around the corner near Bath Abbey you can buy one of the city’s favourite treats – traditional, hand-made fudge

Markets and souvenirs

In the same area of town you will find classic souvenirs at Jacks of Bath, a family-run tourist gift shop selling Bath-themed t-shirts, limited edition Silver Tag Bears, teapots and mugs alongside British classics such as Union Jack purses and handbags. Also a few minutes’ walk from Stall Street on Abbey Green, Waller & Wood sells ceramics by artist Gary Wood and original painted clothing and scarves by Carole Waller. They also showcase and sell colourful, printed, aluminium necklaces, cuffs and earrings by artist Annie Beardsley, and some fun Perspex jewellery by Shelby Fitzpatrick.

If you’d like to dig out some unusual garden features, homeware and bric-a-brac – all items that the city is well-known for – head to diverse Walcot Street, the artisan quarter of bohemian Bath. This is one of the city’s most eclectic streets, where you can buy beautiful Farrow & Ball house paint, a bike, a designer fridge, hats, vintage clothes and artisan food, all within a few minutes’ walk of one another – amongst many other things. Sniff out the Fine Cheese Co. at number 29 for a selection of more than a hundred types of cheese and other deli items such as Tuscan salami and truffle butter. The company’s cafe is at number 31 for mouth-wateringly delicious flaky pastry sausage rolls, pistachio macaroons and endless other gourmet treats.

Bath Aqua Glass – a traditional glassblowing and stained glass studio – has a couple of shops at different city centre locations, but it’s at their base on Walcot Street where you can see some glassblowing in action. The company’s Glassblowing Studio offers interactive demonstrations from Monday to Friday at 11.15 and 14.15, on Saturday at 14.15, and Sunday at 14.15 when available (please call ahead). The very stylish Graham and Green, purveyor of all things home-related, is ideal if you’re looking for furniture, home accessories or gift inspiration, although you can find some equally interesting finds just down the road at the Saturday flea market on Walcot Street, where you could easily while away an hour or so browsing the stalls and bartering to get a fair price.

Another popular market is Saturday morning’s Bath Farmers’ Market, starting at 9.00 and finishing at 13.30, which brings to the city a whole host of fresh, seasonal produce at fair prices. It’s all sold directly by the people who produce it, usually based within a 40-mile radius of Bath. The stalls are set up at Green Park Station near the River Avon, and sell all sorts of enticing produce, with traders changing from week to week. The type of things you may expect to be able to buy include organic and non-organic vegetables; unusual meats such as rose veal, venison and game; award-winning local cheeses; fresh fish; sweet and savoury pies; hand-made chocolates; seasonal soups; freshly-baked bread and sweet pastries; fruit juices and cider; honey, chutneys, marmalades, jams and sauces; and nutritious vegan and vegetarian food.

Green Park Station

Treat yourself to some local produce from the Bath Farmers’ Market at Green Park Station

At the same venue, the Bath Vintage & Antique Market is held on the first and last Sunday of every month from 8am to 4pm. Hunt for curiosities, prints, sculptures, picture frames, garden décor, textiles, lighting, vintage and retro fashions, homeware, crafts and lots more. One of the city’s most highly-respected antique shops is a 15-minute walk from the centre on Lansdown Road. Antique Textiles & Lighting specialises in period textiles, fans, lighting and other antiques dating from the 17th century through to the early 20th century. It is well-known in the area for the high quality of its stock and the specialist knowledge of its owner, Joanna Proops.

If you’d like to dig out some unusual garden features, homeware and bric-a-brac – all items that the city is well-known for – head to diverse Walcot Street

High-street favourites and independents

Just a few minutes’ walk from the antique shop, heading back towards the city centre, you can take in some of the city’s most famous examples of Georgian architecture en route at The Circus and Royal Crescent. At No. 1 Royal Crescent there is a museum that shows visitors how a fashionable home would have been decorated and furnished in the period between 1776-1796. You can browse the museum’s shop for history books and gifts including Royal Crescent-themed bookmarks, notepads, coasters and jigsaw puzzles. Close by, Beau Nash specialises in antique silver. With a beautiful Georgian frontage, the store is conveniently situated on Brock Street, which runs between The Circus and The Royal Crescent. Originally Mr. Vivier’s “Confectionary Shop to the Nobility and Gentry”, today the shop is spread over two floors with a wide variety of silver, furniture and other unusual decorative pieces.

In contrast the clean, contemporary design of the SouthGate area of Bath is home to the city’s newest and largest shopping area, situated next to Bath Spa railway station. Despite being modern, the Georgian-inspired buildings fit in will with their surroundings.

Women shopping

Shop your favourite designer brands in the SouthGate area

The area houses many of the UK’s most popular high street names, including fashion retailers, tech stores and places to eat and drink. For a spot of pampering, head to Aveda for their luxurious range of natural plant-based hair care, skin care, make-up and fragrances, or treat yourself to some chic Italian cosmetics and make-up at Kiko Milano.

For homeware, there’s Debenhams and Laura Ashley, which cater for a variety of tastes, and River Island is now stocking a brand new homeware range. Fashion aficionados can browse an almost countless collection of top retailers in this part of town, like Hollister, AllSaints, Office, River Island, The North Face, Timberland, New Look, Topshop, Pandora, Urban Outfitters, H&M and Fat Face. There’s some cool stationery at Typo and Smiggle, while gadget-lovers can find plenty to satisfy their tech appetites at The Apple Store, Game and Jessops.

For the kids

When you need to refuel there are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can kick back and relax. Chains include Comptoir Libanais for healthy Lebanese cuisine; Absurd Bird for fried chicken and waffles; Pizza Express and Prezzo for Italian cuisine; and many other options such as Caffè Nero, Nando’s, Giraffe and Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

Family shopping

There are plenty of great places to enjoy a meal with the family whilst out shopping

There are even a handful of independents in this area, such as Juno, which is known for its sourdough pizzas and killer burgers. If you are buying for – or travelling with – small children, don’t miss My Small World in nearby Little SouthGate. Kids of all ages can be let loose in their emporium of beautiful games and toys so that you can thoroughly try before you buy. Aimed mainly at the 0-5 age range, this award-winning shop stocks high-quality musical instruments, dressing-up costumes, dolls houses, wooden vehicles, dinosaurs, board games, ride-on toys and much, much more.

It would be hard to exhaust Bath’s shopping possibilities, even if you were a resident of the city, so for visitors it packs quite a punch when it comes to retail options. There are endless surprises to uncover at every turn – and it’s all the more enjoyable for being such a charming city to explore.

Everything you need to know about Bath

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The best things to do in Bath

The best nightlife in Bath

Your guide to arts and culture in Bath

Image credits: ©Arman Zhenikeyev/Comaniciu Dan/Jeremy Richards/Matej Kastelic/Monkey Business/.Shock/William87/Adobe Stock; Mark Simmons/Green Park Station; Milsom Place; Philip Edwards/Nicholas Wylde

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