Winter is beginning to quest its icy tendrils across our green and pleasant land, as rain pours down and breath fogs in the chill air. So what better way to warm the blood than pounding the pavements in search of the perfect gift for that special someone? That’s right folks; it’s that time of year again! The time when we heave our quiet sighs of relief: the kids have settled into their new classes at school; summer holidays and the resultant diet and exercise crazes are but a dim and distant memory; the garden and its denizens are winding down for a season of quiet slumber… But what’s this? Mince pies and Christmas puds on the supermarket shelves already?!
Every year it seems the preparations for the festive season start a little earlier; and every year I find myself frantically scrambling to buy gifts at the last possible moment – after several months of shop-avoidance, which typically begins in October with the scornful rolling of the eyes at the sight of Christmas stocking fillers fighting for shelf space with Hallowe’en costumes and pumpkin lanterns. But this year it will be different. No don’t scoff, I mean it. Because this year, I have a plan.
A phrase that has struck fear into the hearts of spouses everywhere since time immemorial. You can picture it can’t you? “It’s alright darling: I have a plan!” While they may turn out to be my famous last words, I’m currently entertaining cautious optimism that said plan might just do the trick. You see, I have determined that I can and will source everything I need for a sparkling festive season from within about two hundred yards of the desk at which I am currently sitting. The secret of this cunning scheme? The Bath Christmas Market.
If last year is anything to go by, the market promises everything from local cheeses and exotic condiments for my brother the foodie, to personalised toys for my baby cousins; from silver jewellery for the girliest of my friends, to handmade notebooks for the fellow writer; not to mention something utterly frivolous – and possibly fluffy – for my lovely mum. What more could we ask for? With stalls ranged around the entire vicinity of the Abbey, including Abbey Green itself, the market really does start right on the doorstep of Three Abbey Green, so if you come here to shop you won’t have far to go!
Of course, the market is by no means the only place to look if you are searching for a unique gift or souvenir of your visit to Bath. We are well known for our wealth of big name brands – Southgate, for example, has become a label-junkies’ destination in its own right, with Debenhams, Apple, All Saints and Hollister sitting cheek-by-jowl, to name but a few. But these high street heavy hitters may not be to everyone’s taste. Lucky then that Bath is also blessed with many smaller independent retailers, who pride themselves on offering something a little different:
- For books, try Topping & Company – great for signed first editions as they have a full calendar of author events and signings throughout the year.
- Rossiters is a great place to shop for newlyweds, first-time buyers or anyone looking to beautify their home.
- If you’re looking for a keepsake gift for baby’s first Christmas, or a unique piece of jewellery for the lady in your life, The Silver Shop is the place to go.
- And for the environmentally conscious, discover Kiss The Frog Again: a treasure trove of recycled and up-cycled gifts, homewares and accessories.
Of course, if shopping isn’t your cup of tea, November could still be your month for a getaway to Bath – the annual Bath Mozartfest runs from 8th to 16th November 2013, with a diverse program of daytime and evening concerts at various venues, including the Assembly Rooms and Bath Abbey. Take a look at the Three Abbey Green availability page to book yourself a last minute Hot Deal, and I’ll see you there!