Bored with seeing the same shops in every town and city? Want to see the real #independentbath? Then look no further than Walcot. Long dubbed "Bath's Artisan Quarter", here you will find the highest concentration of independent shops, cafes, pubs, bars and businesses.
Leave the crowds behind at the shopping mall; avoid the hordes of young Exchange students taking over the pavements; skip the coach loads of tourists visiting the Abbey and historic tea rooms and take a leisurely stroll up Walcot Street and up into London Road. Here you will find the true independents and the jewels in the crown of the city of Bath - keeping our heads above water, working together and with the local community. Just see the wonderful #communitygenius that is @wildwalcot garden being created by volunteers working with the Avon Wildlife Trust and local businesses to create a restful green oasis to benefit everyone - including the bees!
SO LET'S EXPLORE.....
Starting at the bottom opposite Waitrose, is Rossiters - their stock of homewares, gifts and kitchenware is amazing; find gorgeous millinery at the Bath Hat Company. Family run Coopers has the most imaginative window displays to promote its range of electrical appliances. Is it time for a cup of coffee or specialist tea at Picnic? Refreshed, you simply cannot miss the wonderful Avenida Home for stunning design and hope you are lucky enough to meet founder and owner Isabel Saiz; see the best selection of artisan produce at Fine Cheese co; feed your body and soul at Harvest who have been providing ethically sourced, vegetarian, speciality foods since 1971. Need a haircut, manicure or beauty treatment? Then you are spoilt for choice with Duchess Beauty, Material Hair or the very stylish Melanie Giles.
Over the road we await the opening of Wiltshire based homewares company, Neptune and hope that the wonderful Yammo will be trading again very soon under new ownership. Next door is Shannon where you will find all things cool and Scandi, curated by the eponymous Sue Shannon. The cool kids shop at the Yellow Shop for vintage clothes and accessories or get the whole US experience at American Dream Comics.
See a real artisan at work at Katherine Fraser - weaver sublime and maker of the most exquisite scarves; find more gorgeous homewares and gifts at the Fig Store who have the most beautiful window displays - my one stop for unique, stylish and affordable gifts; see the widest range of picture frames at Framing Workshop; find interior lighting solutions with interior designer Anne Fisher at Enlighten of Bath or pop upstairs to local artist, Emma Rose's studio. Talk all things cycling with bicycle experts at John's Bikes. Need a tech fix after all this interiors glamour? Visit Farpoint's showroom for sales, help and advice on Apple and Bose products.
Another new take over will help make Walcot the place to visit in Bath when Walcot House opens later in the year. Taking over the space from Club XL, new young owners, James Still and Joe Baio's ambitious plans include an all-day cafe and restaurant that will transform into a cocktail bar in the evenings and club on the weekends. Back with interiors and homewares, drown in West London chic at Graham & Green who recently arrived in Bath and very sensibly made us their HQ.
Another new arrival is expected in September when the uber-hip Resident Store from Frome opens a pop up shop in Bath at numbers 94-96. Let's hope they decided to stay on and make the Bath store a permanent fixture. Continuing up Walcot Street, Craig Bale and Andy Lloyd of Haliden Carpets have earned an international reputation for offering rare and exciting antique oriental rugs and old tribal weavings.
Peckish? Made by Ben will sort you out with huge slices of delicious tortilla and tempting cakes and you can relax in comfortable seating areas inside and out; or perhaps you prefer a gourmet burger to takeaway at Schwartz Bros next door? While you wait, take a look in the studio workshop of Up to Seven who specialise in selling high quality baby and children's clothes and knitwear or drop your computer in for repair or an upgrade with the experienced team at Reboot.
Eton Design offer a highly professional interior design service and their showroom is described as a 'mini Chelsea Harbour' holding an extensive range of fabric and wall-covering samples. Green Stationery keep us on our ethical toes with recycled paper and green office supplies to help sustain our fragile environment for future generations.
Newcomer Gallery & Barrow has a range of original affordable screen prints by local artists; find some affordable gifts next door at Bluebells at Bath; talk all things woolly or sign up for workshops and crafty happenings with enthusiastic owner Carmen at A Yarn Story or just do as I do and drool over the range of colours in the yarn for sale. Cross over the road to The Looking Glass of Bath for specialist mirrors and bespoke framing. Find unique craft at Bath Aqua Glass - sign up for a spot of glass blowing yourself. You cannot miss the the infamous community run pub the Bell Inn next door - check out their event listing for live music, open mic nights or DJ sessions or hang out in the garden.
Sugar levels need a boost? Didi cakes can help you with amazing home baked creations. Perhaps you prefer something more savoury or a spot of wine tasting? You will be spoilt for choice by wine expert Marty at Corkage who is more than matched by business partner Richard's genius in the kitchen. But don't drink too much as your eyes need to focus on the wondrous talents of Meticulous Ink - the finest letterpress stationery designed and printed on site by the glamorous Athena and her team. Don't forget to support the various local charity shops either - Walcot Street is home to Julian House and the Bath Women's Refuge Shop.
Don't think it is all over - keep on going and visit the studio of Bath fine artist Nick Cudworth; head to Appy Daze for happy times; leave enough time to browse the second hand clothes in the Aladdin's cave of Jack & Danny's; grab a takeaway sandwich at Geordie's Deli or drop your ironing in with Eleanor next door. Terry & Sons family butchers supply many local restaurants and always have a stock of high quality meat. Talking of meat, carnivores can't get enough of the award-wining meals at Hudson Steakhouse. Family owned department store TR Hayes has been trading in Bath for over a century. Head here for a huge range of furniture and accessories. Wonder what you have in your attic? Nip next door to get your family heirlooms valued at experts Bath Auctioneers or bid in their lively auctions.
A couple of doors further up and you reach us - LANE HOUSE ARTS. We may be the smallest art gallery in the city, but we pride ourselves on showing unique challenging, provocative and high quality contemporary art and ceramics, nurturing emerging talent and supporting established artists and makers. We also provide an art consultancy - finding the perfect piece for your home or workplace.
And yet there is more. Onward to Cleveland Terrace where it is sheer joy to walk into Pencil Tree and its new neighbour Mebyl and find wonderful retro, salvaged, reclaimed furniture and accessories or original paintings and prints. You simply will not find anything like them anywhere else in town. Oh - and the owners are great too - you don't get this personal service in chains - here you meet people who are passionate about what they do. And so handy that on the same parade is Walcot Upholstery who make tired chairs and sofas as good as new - if not better.
Need a rest? Continue round the corner into Cleveland Place and expect a warm welcome by Emily and Dan, the new owners of the Curfew pub or cross the road a little further up and discover the highly acclaimed and stylish King William pub and dining rooms. Now we are in the London Road area - benefitting from its recent regeneration with a flourishing of new shops and businesses.
The family run Piano Shop sells and hires pianos but offers so much more with fabulous contemporary customised pianos and stools to suit every taste and budget. They collaborate with local artists and have innovative window displays and great plans for the future. Find antique tins at Michael & Jo Saffel and an eclectic range of antiques and decorative finds at the Small shop. Local studio potter Simon Wright sells his work and runs classes while more artisan skill can be found at the lovely Bath Framer run by Kelly Ann who can frame almost anything! Verve Living is another stylish new addition, bringing their interior design skills and taste to this part of town with a commitment to supporting and promoting British based design, art and crafts.
Do leave plenty of time to browse in Old Bank Antiques - the city's largest and we think, the best antique shop - a real treasure trove matched with passion and expertise.
As it is probably time for a rest and some refreshment, I recommend continuing up the London Road, crossing over to look at the wonderful stock of plants, pots and garden furniture at Gardenalia until you reach The Beaufort - a relaxed family run pub/restaurant with great food and a pretty garden.
You really have no need to go anywhere else - we have it all in Walcot, Bath's Artisan Quarter. Some of it is scruffy and run down - other parts are very hip and stylish but it is this mix that makes it real.
Hope you enjoy your visit and do come and see us all again.