Out & About

8 Holland Street's Guide to Bath

Founder of the gallery and design store, Tobias Vernon takes us on a tour of his beloved Somerset city.


Tobias Vernon

8 Holland Street, one of our favourite spots for arty homewares and vintage furniture, has just cut the ribbon on a new outpost in South West England's highly-Instagrammable Bath. Famously endorsed in varying measures by the Romans, the Georgians, and owner of the craziest eyes in Hollywood, Mr Nicolas Cage, the Somerset city has more to visit than just its much-photographed architecture. Founder of 8 Holland Street, Tobias Vernon takes us on a tour of the design, culture and drink must-sees.

alt textPhoto: Ed Schofield

Landrace Bakery
Run by art historian turned master baker Andrew Lowkes and his dynamic team, this is THE place to go for organic British-grown, stone-milled grains and naturally leavened sourdough bread. I order their standout bacon sandwich with rhubarb ketchup and a latte for breakfast, plus takeaway morning buns and kombucha for elevenses.

61 Walcot St, BA1 5BN

alt textPhoto: Beckford Bottle Shop

Beckford Bottle Shop
Must-go wine rooms and restaurant in one of the prettiest corners of the city, this is a firm favourite. Pick a bottle of wine from the shop with the help of the knowledgeable staff (no sommelier snobbery here!) and enjoy with well-thought-out small plates looking out on the Assembly Rooms. On a sunny day bag one of street-front tables – equally divine in the evening in the candlelit bar.

5-8 Saville Row, BA1 2QP

alt textPhoto: Rory Gardiner for Francis Gallery

Francis Gallery
A small but exquisitely refined space created by Rosa Parks (the editor of Cereal Magazine, whose offices occupy the townhouse above), this houses the most covetable work by international artists in a pared-back setting informed by Korean aesthetics. Don’t let the slick contemporary gallery feel put you off – head inside and you’ll leave wanting everything, from ceramics to drawings, prints and etchings. My dog Pablo always joins me for a gander.

3 Fountain Buildings, BA1 5DU

alt textPhoto: Topping & Co.

Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath
My number one favourite independent booksellers, with oiled wooden floors, globe lights and rolling library ladders, complimentary teas and coffee and helpful staff – a great place to stock up on holiday reading. Daunt Books on crack.

3 Bladud Buildings, The Paragon, BA1 5LS

alt textPhoto: Wikicommons

The Royal Crescent, The Circus, Queen Square and Georgian skyline
It’s obvious but one of my favourite things to do is wander around town, taking in the stunning architecture for which Bath is so famous. Take a picnic to the Royal Crescent, rent a deckchair and marvel at the brainchild of John Wood, the Elder, master architect and genius town planner. For a longer walk and incredible vistas follow the part of the elevated Bath Skyline trail around the city.

alt textPhoto: 8 Holland Street

8 Holland Street
Of course, I have to mention the second outpost of my design store and gallery, round the corner from the Royal Crescent. Housed in one of the most unique retail spaces in the world and wonderfully preserved (formerly the Fortnum & Mason’s of the west and original home of the Bath Oliver Biscuit), the space displays an ever-changing collection of modernist European furniture, artworks and design. Shown against a backdrop of original Victorian shop fittings, mahogany counters, glazed vitrines and gold-foiled lettering. Contemporary work includes ceramics by Dylan Bowen and Claudia Rankin, textiles by Catarina Riccabona and Woven Form, marbled papers by Florence Saumarez of Inq and glass by Milan-based R+D.Lab. Over the summer the display includes a collection of homeware by designer Matilda Goad together with Papier Presents... the only place to pick up a curated selection of Papier pieces by British designers IRL.

8 Margaret's Buildings, BA1 2LP

alt textPhoto: Iford Manor

Iford Manor Gardens, near Freshford
Ten minutes drive out of Bath, I love the picture-perfect vistas and Italianate gardens of this hidden away gem created by the eccentric Edwardian designer Harold Peto. Best enjoyed on a sunny day followed by a walk to the pub and river swim in nearby Freshford.

Iford, Bradford-on-Avon, BA15 2BA

alt textPhoto: Andrew Brannan

Castle Farm, near Midford
This is just over the hill from my cottage in the village of Wellow – a bucolic kitchen garden which doubles up as my local canteen. Headed by chef Pravin Nayar and his fab team, linger over cocktails on benches under the pergola followed by dinner in an artfully dishevelled barn with great character and a fun local crowd. Particularly recommend Friday’s curry night (order everything on the menu) and there’s no better start to the day than one of their scrumptious banana rotis with a side of bacon for breakfast. Pizzas and fresh pastas for lunch. The dream!

Midford Rd, Midford, BA2 7BU

8 Holland Street's Papier picks