Retail Therapy – Luxury Shopping in Beautiful Bath
By Kim Kerr
There’s nothing like a little luxury shopping to soothe the soul… especially when that retail fix is to be had in one of the most beautiful cities in all of England: Bath.
This exquisite historic city in Somerset – just 97 miles west of London and an easy train ride away – offers a diverse mix of shops to choose from, including trendy independents, classy designer boutiques, and the big high street brands.
The city’s retail heritage dates as far back as Georgian times, when Bath boomed as the place to be seen by the country’s elite and upper classes, many of whom owned summer homes here. Along the way, they brought with them the consumerism that had become so popular among the fashionistas of the day, and the city grew rapidly to accommodate this influx of fashionable society. As a result, Bath now boasts over 5,000 Grade Listed 18th century buildings and elegant crescents. Often associated with Jane Austen, shopping for fashion became an essential part of Georgian society – a penchant for fashion that has continued down through the years.
Luxury Shopping in Bath
These days, Bath still has a very fashionable vibe and remains a fantastic place to shop. Many of the city’s top independent boutiques are located off the main high street, with some of the world’s best-known luxury designer labels being found in shops at Square, including popular names such as Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, and Amanda Wakely.
Popular high street chain stores to be found here include Ted Baker, The Kooples, Reiss, Jigsaw, and Anthropologie, to name but a few. And for younger shoppers wanting to keep up with the latest trends, the new SouthGate is home to hip brands such as Urban Outfitters, Superdry, Hollister, and All Saints.
There’s also a number of ‘repurposed’ clothing stores in the city, many of which are great places to pick up luxury brands at (dare I say it) bargain prices. Some of the best bets when it comes to recycled fashion are vintage stores like Vintage to Vogue tucked away on Milsom Street, and the Yellow Shop on Walcot Street. Also worth a visit is the new monthly Bath V&A, a superb vintage and antiques market that takes place at Green Park Station and is Bath’s answer to Covent Garden (it’s also home to the popular Saturday morning Bath Farmer’s Market).
If you’re on the hunt for interiors, gifts, and homeware, you won’t be disappointed by the delightful The Loft on Bartlett Street. This unique shop is a coming together of design, fashion, as well as a great little coffee shop. Bath is also home to gift emporiums such as Rossiters and has a superb range of jewellers including the independently owned and operated EP Mallory & Son.
The Bath Christmas Market
Another great excuse to get in some luxury shopping in Bath is during the Bath Christmas Market, an annual event that draws thousands of visitors from across the UK and abroad.
Voted one of the top most popular events in the country, this 18-day Christmas shopping extravaganza is in fact the biggest such event in the South West, and consists of more than 170 beautifully decorated wooden chalets situated in the very heart of Bath’s World Heritage Site.
In keeping with Bath Christmas Market’s tradition of being distinctively British, each chalet sells a wide variety of high-quality artisan products, with some 60% of goods sold being handmade in the UK. Set in the picturesque streets surrounding Bath Abbey, there couldn’t be a more perfect and magical setting for a Christmas market.
Kim Kerr is a freelance writer who enjoys a little retail therapy from time-to-time.