Spotlight on: Bath
An UNESCO world heritage site set within the picturesque back drop of the rolling Somerset hills, Bath blends over two thousand years of history with a contemporary hub of culture, green spaces, fine dining, and shopping, along with a family friendly community making it a very unique, and special, place to call home.
Most famous for its Roman Baths, and its most prestigious resident, Jane Austen, it’s certainly a city that attracts tourists from far and wide every year. But what does Bath offer for those wanting to make a more permanent move to the city?
Culture and Charm
As you would expect from a city of its size, Bath has a buzzy, vibrant atmosphere which is further enhanced by the beautiful honey-coloured Georgian architecture.
The world-famous Royal Crescent stands proud as one of the most impressive streets in Bath. Sweeping terraces and grand townhouses blend seamlessly with quaint cobbled shopping streets. Pultney Bridge and Great Pultney Street give a real sense of a time when those in ‘society’ would showcase their wealth, elegance, and class by parading these streets in their finest clothes for the benefit of anyone who cared to take note.
Bath has developed a reputation for its exceptional food and drink scene and is fast becoming a real foodie destination. Artisan cafes, bakeries and deli’s, such as The Loft, The Green Bird Cafe, and The Provenist are in abundance, as well as a distinguished selection of gastro pubs both in the city and surrounding countryside.
You can take your pick of fine dining establishments from pioneering chefs to Michelin Starred restaurants such as The Olive Tree Restaurant, pioneering Japanese Cuisine at Robun, or an authentic Italian menu at Sotto Sotto, Bath is a foodie’s paradise! If you’re off to the theatre, there are some great restaurants offering pre-theatre menus so you can grab a bite before the show.
Galleries, museums, theatres and performance venues, as well as a year-round programme of events and festivals, make Bath a hive of culture. History and heritage can be seen on every street and its wealth of history is the reason it is the only city in the UK to have been given UNESCO world heritage accreditation.
The city’s natural thermae spa allows guests to bathe in the rooftop pool, with natural waters still running at 46 degrees set against the backdrop of Georgian rooftops and the rolling hills of Somerset beyond its an experience not to be missed.
Shopping delights include Mulberry, Anthropology, Neptune, Jo Malone, The White Company, Space NK, Aesop and rumours are rife that the Inditex giant Zara will be opening a megastore in the central Southgate area.
If you’re considering a move to Bath, then it’s likely that schools will be one of the most important factors in your decision. Voted in 2018 as one of the most family friendly cities, the choice and quality of the schools will have been a key factor in this award.
There are over 85 primary schools and 26 secondary schools to choose from with nearly 20% of those classed as ‘Outstanding’. For parents considering independent schools, again there is no shortage of choice with Kingswood , King Edward’s School, Royal High and Prior Park being some of the most popular. All of which offering highly competitive termly fees in comparison to the London circuit.
Older students are equally well served with Bath College offering 1400 entry, apprenticeship and degree level courses, and a choice of two universities; University of Bath and Bath Spa University both ranking very highly in the UK league tables.
Mums in Bath is a great forum and supportive community for mums of pre-school age children and offers a wealth of local information as well as networking and meet ups.
Alexandra Park and Royal Victoria Park both offer an abundance of green space in which to spend time outdoors as a family. Bath City Farm is also another family favourite and Bath Sports & Leisure Centre offers a variety of fitness facilities and leisure activities including a trampoline park, 8 pin bowling and a soft play area.
For all the latest blockbusters, the recently opened Tivoli Cinema on Dorchester Street, offers a luxurious experience with fabulous interiors, and comfy sofa -style seating – it’s a real treat for movie lovers!
Bath is very well connected by both road and rail links, and Bristol airport is just 40 minutes away by car from the city centre.
Bath Spa railway station has a direct line service to London Paddington in less than 90 minutes, and the service into Bristol Temple Meads is a mere 15 minute hop.
A 10-15 minute drive out of Bath on the A46 connects you to the M4 motorway and giving way to an easy 2 ½ hour drive into central London, or 2 hours to London Heathrow airport.
Bath has always been the priciest city in Somerset and the post-pandemic “race for space” combined with the global housing shortage, has unfortunately fuelled prices further.
The most sought-after neighbourhoods are Widcombe, Claverton Down, Weston Park, Bathwick and Lansdown, which according to Zoopla, have the highest average house prices and Bath overall, on an average, has experienced a massive 34% increase in house prices between January 2020 and January 2022.
However, if you’re relocating away from London then Bath still provides great value for money by comparison. The city has seen a huge influx of families from the Capital since the start of the Pandemic who are seeking more outside space and a rural setting. As many workplaces move into a hybrid- home/office working environment, for many people it’s finally feasible to move beyond the M25 with all the benefits of accessibility to London and the vibrant amenities that Bath City centre has to offer.
School catchment areas remain as big an attraction as ever, and homes with plenty of room for a home office are likely to remain at the top of the ‘most wanted’ list for the foreseeable future. Due to the nature of the architecture in central Bath he majority of houses sold in the last year were terraces, with an average price of just under £547,000. Flats sold for an average of £366,544, with semi-detached properties fetching £537,323. (source: www.rightmove.co.uk)
In terms of rental prices, the current average rental for a 2 and 3 bedroom property is between £1600-1800 per month and a 4-5 bedroom family home is between £2500-£3000 per month (source home.co.uk )
The overall property shortage in the UK at the moment where we are seeing low supply and high demand has very much created a seller’s and landlord’s market, particularly for family homes. This competition for the limited supply of properties to both buy and rent is causing house prices to continue going up and it has never been a more prudent time to consider using a buying agent, or a relocation agent to represent you.
Get in Touch
Michele is our local area expert and is very passionate about the city she now calls home, since moving from London with her young family five years ago. If you are planning a move to Bath and want to discuss the area in more detail or would like support with your home and/or school search, we would love to hear from you.