I have just spent six weeks in Bath, mainly at the University of Bath which is situated on Claverton Down (for that you might want to read Watership Down as it was a haven for British wildlife). I escaped from campus on several occasions and discovered some good watering holes (mainly not in the city of Bath!)
You have to be prepared, if you visit Bath, to pay over the odds for food and drink. Let’s take an example, which you may think is extreme! I used to pay £4.25 for a large glass of Pinot Grigiot and then. When I got back over the border (into Wales), I discovered that the price was £2.50 for the same amount of the same wine! How expensive is that? Especially as the University of Bath should be less expensive than elsewhere in Bath – but wasn’t!
They also did food at the Parade Bar at Bath Uni., but the kitchen closed at 8:30 so it was not very convenient for people who wanted to eat later. Yes, there were frequent buses into the city centre – but after a hard day’s grind – did you want to go?
The best place to eat that I found around Bath was “The Globe” an olde worlde pub with low beams and rough stone walls, which I was directed to because The Boathouse (highly recommended by locals, but without the same charm, was only taking guests who had booked in advance that particular Sunday. Actually I was much more impressed by the décor of the Globe than that of The Boathouse.
A good place to have lunch I found quite by accident in the hamlet of Norton Saint Philip, the Bath Lodge Castle. It is also a hotel and is a folly with turrets so you have the impression of being in a small castle. I had lunch there – duck and turkey lasagne- for a mere £10. The highlights (apart from the food) were the gardens with French lavender much to the fore, and some South African fire thorns along with Zim, the friendly Rhodesian Ridgeback!
In Bath itself there are the tea shops around the Abbey serving cream teas if that’s what you are into, and closer to the train and bus stations are other cafés serving home-made lemonade as well as teas and coffees.
One of my favourite hangouts was the Pizza Express, just past Sainsbury’s where you can sit outside and have a drink without ordering a pizza. It is close to the bus station too if you have some time to kill while waiting for a bus or train to your next destination. You can sit outside and drink and smoke (although perhaps that is illegal!)
Almost next to the bus station and extremely close to the railway station is a brance of Prezzo’s where I recommend the three or five dishes. The macaroni cheese with spinach (and I am told the risotto carbonara) with the antipasto and arancini with the triclore salad (tomatoes, salad greens, mozzarella and avocado) are recommended You can sit inside or out, depending on how you feel, and if you ask for an ashtray outside, the waiters will give you one (they are sympathetic to smokers).
You can get veggie options in all the establishments I have mentioned, but I would like to add that the Bath Lodge Castle is a must to see and they will accommodate any of your dietary requirements! Bon appétit!