Christmas shopping at its best in Bath
Situated in the shadow of Bath Abbey and next to the Roman Baths, there are few more picturesque places to do your seasonal shopping than the city’s annual Christmas Market.
From November 22 the city centre will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with over 140 wooden chalets, an open air ice rink and a variety of live entertainment.
Vicky Bunt, events manager for Bath Tourism Plus said: “This will be our biggest and best market yet. All of the retailers sell unique, handcrafted items, many of which are made in the local area and the South West, giving the event a very individual identity. There is something to suit every taste and every budget.
“As well as the man market we have a new area on Bath Street with 10 chalets and another smaller market at Milsom Place. This will coincide with the main Christmas market but is specifically for local small businesses.”
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Thousands of shoppers are expected to descend on Bath in the run up to Christmas and in addition to visiting the market they are being encouraged to check out the city’s impressive range of independent stores.
Vicky said: “As well as the market we have a fantastic range of independent shops in the city and we are helping to promote them by sending a leaflet to the coach operators. Around 20,000 visitors are expected to come by coach and we want to make sure they visit our shops as well as the Christmas market. There are also a number of offers for local residents too.”
And it is not just the shopping that is set to attract people to the city. Over the duration of the market the centre is set to come alive with an array of live performers that includes everything from carol singers to a Blues Brothers tribute act.
Vicky said: “This year is our biggest programme of live entertainment, starting with a children’s lantern possession from the Holbourne Museum. We are hoping to have around 500 children take part so it should be really spectacular.
“Over the duration of the market we have got all sorts of things happening including carol singing workshops with Grenville Jones, performances from the Bath Blues Brothers and a lot of our local buskers are also getting involved. It should be a fantastic atmosphere down there.”
For more on the markets and our pick of the other top places to pick up Christmas presents in Bath, check out our list below.
1. The Christmas Markets, City Centre, Bath Street and Milsom Place.
Type: Open air markets
What’s for sale? Food, drink, clothes, gifts and a wide range of other products.
Open: November 22 to December 9. Monday to Wednesday 10am-7pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm.
Bigger and better than ever, this year Bath’s Christmas Market features more than140 traditional stalls across three different city centre sites.
Boasting everything from chocolates to bone china and Saharan jewellery to Welsh Slate, you will struggle to find a more eclectic range of festive gifts anywhere in the country.
Many of the products on offer have been created locally and the artisans responsible will be more than happy to tell you all about their origins.
There is also plenty of fresh food to try and buy as well as a packed programme of live performers.
2. Highgrove Shop, 38 Milsom Street, BA1 1DN, 0845 5214342.
Type: High end gift shop.
What’s for sale? Organic foods, gifts, homeware and garden products inspired by Prince Charles’ estate and interests.
Open: Monday to Saturday 9.30am-5.30pm and Sundays 10.30am-5pm.
If you want gifts fit for royalty this Christmas then where better to shop than a store owned by the heir to the throne?
The Highgrove Shop features a wide range of organic products and high end gifts inspired by Prince Charles’ estate and interests.
Many of the food and drink items contain ingredients from his country home in Gloucestershire, while the gifts are created by master craftsmen as part of the Prince’s commitment to safeguarding traditional skills.
Every item, from Scottish lambswool blankets to wooden toys, must meet exacting criteria to ensure they are of genuine provenance, original design and sourced responsibly.
All profits go to the Prince’s Charities.
3. Debenhams, 17 Southgate Place, BA1 1AP, 08445 616 161.
Type: Department store.
What’s for sale? Clothes, homeware, toys, beauty products and accessories.
Open: Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am-7pm. Thursdays 9.30am-8pm and Sundays 11am-5pm.
If you are hoping to do most of your Christmas shopping in one place then Debenhams may be the answer.
Offering everything from fragrance to furniture and designer clothes to cutlery, there are potential presents for people of all ages.
The Bath store is spread over three floors and also features a cafe.
4. Topping and Company Booksellers, The Paragon, BA1 5LS, 01225 428111.
Type: Independent bookshop.
What’s for sale? Books.
Open: Daily 9am-8pm.
Described as “one of the finest bookshops in the world” by none other than acclaimed novelist Alexander McCall Smith, Topping and Company is the place to go if you are in pursuit of a literary present this Christmas.
As well as stocking a wide range of books, the shop also runs regular author events. So not only can you treat someone to a book this Christmas but you may even be able to tie it in with a visit to see them and a personal dedication.
Upcoming talks include Jonathan Dimbleby (Nov 13), Andrew Marr (Nov 15) and Andrew Motion (Nov 28).
The store also has a number of signed first editions of this year’s Man Booker Prize winner, Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel.
5. Coral Quay Fairtrade, 8-9 New Bond Street Place, BA1 1BH, 01225 446 362.
Type: Independent gift shop.
What’s for sale? Exotic gifts, jewellery and recycled products.
For Christmas gifts that won’t trouble the conscience, check out Coral Quay Fairtrade.
The shop sources and trades all its products ethically, making sure the producers are properly paid for their work.
The store’s constantly changing stock includes jewellery, sculpture and exotic gifts from around the world including Kenya, India and Mexico.
Coral Quay also offers a relaxing haven to recover from your shopping spree. Its superb cafe features a range of homemade cakes and snacks – all made using Fairtrade ingredients of course.
6. The Bath Vintage and Antiques Market, Green Park Station, Green Park Road, BA1 1JB, 01225 787910.
Type: Vintage market.
What’s for sale? Vintage and antique furniture, clothing, jewellery, homeware and collectables.
Open: Last Sunday of every month 9am-4pm. Next one November 25.
For a truly unique Christmas gift drop into Bath Vintage and Antiques Market.
Held on the last Sunday of the month at the atmospheric former railway station, the experience is far removed from the traditional Christmas crush.
Here you can peruse more than 60 different stalls while listening to a vintage DJ and sipping on a tipple from the vintage cider bar.
Items on offer include high quality furniture, retro fashion, antique jewellery and any number of collectables and curiosities.
7. Lux, 9A Bartlett Street, BA1 2QZ, 01225 333998.
Type: Luxury boutique.
What’s for sale? Designer handbags, shoes and accessories.
Open: Monday to Saturday 10am-5.30pm and Sunday 11.30am-4.30pm.
With its eye-catching array of designer accessories, an item from Lux must be near the top of many Bath ladies’ Christmas list.
The luxury boutique offers an eclectic mix of chic must-haves from Mulberry handbags to Chie Mihara shoes.
Owner Rachael Lye has spent over 15 years in the fashion industry including spells in LA, Paris, New York, London and Milan, working for designers such as Prada and Ghost.
The in-depth knowledge of emerging trends she has gleaned during this time ensures Lux continues to be at the very forefront of the fashion world.
8. Bath Tourist Information Gift Shop, Abbey Chambers, Abbey Street, BA1 1LY, 090 6711 2000.
Type: Gift shop.
What’s for sale? Bath souvenirs, gifts and spa vouchers.
Open: Monday to Saturday 9.30am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.
If you want your gifts to have a flavour of the great city they came from then visit the Tourist Information Gift Shop.
From bookmarks to teddy bears in bathrobes, there are all sorts of Bath-themed goodies to choose from.
As well as souvenirs there are also plenty of classier Christmas presents on offer including a Bath Stone clock, decorative plates and items made with Somerset lavender.
You can also give the gift of blissful relaxation with Bath Thermae Spa beauty products and a voucher for a luxurious dip in the city’s famous waters.
9. My Small World, 18 Little Southgate, Southgate Shopping Centre, BA11AS, 01225 938 338.
Type: Toy shop.
What’s for sale? A mix of wooden toys and games from across Europe.
Open: Monday to Saturday 9.30am-6pm and Sunday 11am-5pm.
With a number of awards and a raft of celebrity clientele, My Small World has become a Bath visitor attraction in its own rite.
Renowned for its fabulous mix of wooden toys and games from across Europe this is the kind of shop you dreamed of as a child.
Traditional games mix with the funkiest of new designs and the staff’s knowledge and enthusiasm knows no bounds.
If you are shopping for a child under the age of six there is simply no better place to visit.
10. The Silver Shop, 25 Union Street, BA1 1RD, 01225 464781.
Type: Specialist jewellers.
What’s for sale? Silver jewellery and gifts.
Open: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 11am-5pm.
Offering a wide range of jewellery and gifts The Silver Shop is one of Bath’s longest established independent stores.
Combining beautifully made items, a traditional atmosphere and friendly service it is well worth a visit.
As well as traditional pieces like rings, necklaces and charms the shop also offers an array of gift items from hip flasks to metal sculptures, candles and trinkets.