The British are Coming!

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Hi friends.  :)  As you know, we are leaving for our England Extravaganza on Christmas Eve (I will keep a normal blogging schedule so you can ‘come along’ too!).  I have received a lot of great suggestions for things to do in London, but I need some extra help with our side trips!


Where else are we going?


  • Swindon – For about 5 hours to visit in-laws.
  • Bath – For 3 days/2 nights to relax.
  • Manchester – For 2 days/1 night to see the Manchester United v. Wigan match.


I need suggestions for:


  • Things to do in Bath besides the Thermae Spa and the Roman Baths.
  • Things to do in Manchester.
  • Pubs to drink at in both towns.
  • Places to eat at in both towns (with vegetarian options).


Ideas?  We like to do almost anything on vacation EXCEPT art museums.  I am down with science museums but art museums generally put us to sleep.  Do you like art museums or it it just me?  🙂


Oh and I just realized any Europeans reading this post are currently in bed.  Oops!



  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 17, 2009, 6:18 pm

    I wish I could say I’ve been there and give you tips! I LOVE art museums. And any kind of museums!

  • Stephanie December 17, 2009, 6:20 pm

    I studied abroad in Bath during undergrad. It is definitely a small, quaint English town, not a hopping city– but that’s its charm!

    Some ideas–
    Cream tea– scones, clotted cream, jam, tea — YUM! (and relaxing… linger). I think Sally Luns is the “famous” one, but I could be wrong…

    They are kind of “known” for their hot air balloon rides. These can be expensive, but the views are gorgeous, just lots of English countryside

    Eastern Eye has great Indian food (I don’t remember about veggie options…). As you probably know, England has lots of great Indian resturants, and Bath is no exception.

    The Royal Crescent is pretty, but there’s nothing really to “do”… in the summer its nice to have picnics/drinks on the lawn, but Dec. might be a bit chilly for that 😉

    That’s all I can think of right now, but I’ll let you know if I think of anything else!

    • Caitlin December 17, 2009, 6:26 pm

      Eastern Eye looks amazing.

  • haya December 17, 2009, 6:23 pm

    i can’t deal with art museums either!! most of the time i am too ashamed to say this though 😉

    i like interactive museumey places that aren’t that museumey. this is often found in the kid section.

    you are going to have an awesome trip. i’m sad that i’m going to be in FL when you are going away.

  • Stephanie December 17, 2009, 6:24 pm

    Oh… for “nightlife”– obviously there are lots of pubs, but when I was there, this place called Revolutions was really popular. It’s a vodka bar, and they have lots of fun cocktails and vodka flavors. You can even get a “sampler” kind of like a beer or wine flight, but it’s vodka. It’s nice though, not a yucky college bar or anything.

    • Caitlin December 17, 2009, 6:27 pm

      do you know what kind of music they usually play? we like house music!

      • Stephanie December 17, 2009, 6:35 pm

        I can’t remember what kind of music they play, but it’s not a “dance club”… I felt like the English took the distinction between bar and club pretty seriously– either it was a definite bar atmosphere or everyone was tearing up the dance floor! I remember going to a nightclub called Delfer Krug when I was there that was fun, but I would definitely get other opinions 🙂

  • D December 17, 2009, 6:25 pm

    Are you going to be staying in Manchester city centre?

    • Caitlin December 17, 2009, 6:26 pm


  • Abby December 17, 2009, 6:26 pm

    Yea… art puts me to sleep too. History and Science, awesome. Art, over my head! I’m terribly jealous of you right now! When you come back, I expect an amazing review to show the hubs so that we can go too! 🙂

  • BethT December 17, 2009, 6:39 pm

    I normally think art museums are snoozy but the Tate Modern in London is SO AWESOME! (not that this helps if you hate art museums, I just wanted to profess my love.)

  • Laura December 17, 2009, 6:42 pm

    Manchester has a China town with a great Thai restaraunt,I can’t remember the name of it but it’s upstairs and there’s a chinese downstairs.. Sorry that’s not terribly useful but if you can possibly find it from that description it’s really good! The printworks in Manchester has loads of bars plus a gym and cinema undercover so it’s good for a winter night out, have fun looking forward to hearing about your travels!

  • Jess December 17, 2009, 6:45 pm

    I like modern art museums but I often find historical museums pretty boring. It’s weird because I’m fascinated by history but I prefer to read about it, rather than walk around looking at it’s remnants.

    I also find museums not to be all that memorable. When I look back on all the trips I’ve done I remember the museum parts least of all. Including all the biggies in Italy & Britain.

    My favourite thing we did in Scotland was go to a ceilidh (a traditional celtic dance) and I think England might have some version of this. They’re lots of fun if you can find one.

  • Mrs. Myers @ Eat Move Write December 17, 2009, 6:47 pm

    Boo. I haven’t been to any of those cities. I could probably suggest some fun stuff for London, but everyone else could too. I’m sure. I hope you post lots of pics. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to “virtually” come along.

  • Mel December 17, 2009, 6:50 pm

    Isn’t Jane Austen’s home in Bath? If you’re a fan of her work, you might be interested.

  • abbi December 17, 2009, 6:53 pm

    The ‘Imperial War Museum North’ in Manchester is pretty hard hitting, but very interesting if you’re into that stuff, all about World War One and Two – been there on numerous school trips. It is still free entry as far as i know!

    There’s a museum of Science and Industry. Never been.

    There’s a big shopping centre (or mall as you’d say :P) – The Trafford Centre. IDK what you like to do on holiday, probably not shopping too much, but more sightseeing! <<<this links to the 'top ten attractions' in manchester, however idk how good they are.

    Just a few suggestions for manchester (live up here, don't know about bath).
    Have a great trip!

  • abbi December 17, 2009, 6:56 pm

    sorry if this sends again, it hasn’t seem to of sent!

    Some suggestions, i have no idea what you’re interested in!
    + Imperial War Museum – very interesting if you like war history.
    + The Trafford Centre – shopping centre/mall, if you really wanted to go shopping on holiday?
    + Science and Industry Museum – never been.

    • abbi December 17, 2009, 6:58 pm

      sorry i didn’t say where they were for: they were all for manchester.

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama December 17, 2009, 6:56 pm

    Museums and culture are my favorite experience while traveling.

  • Mary @ Fit this girl December 17, 2009, 6:58 pm

    My brother wanted very badly to go to 2 museums in Munich and I said NO! 🙂 Modern art is ho-hum to me and I would have rather explored the city which we did and it was well worth it! You will have so much fun! The pub I would suggest is the Eagle and Child, but it is in Oxford. JRR Tolkien and CS lewis used to hang there!

  • RunToTheFinish December 17, 2009, 7:00 pm

    OH I’ll be reading the ideas people give because this is on my list of places to go

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) December 17, 2009, 7:13 pm

    I don’t know anything about those towns but I’m super excited to read about what you decide to do.

    Hunni hates art museums because he doesn’t understand most of it. I love them so I tend to go with friends although he does humour me at times.

  • M.E. December 17, 2009, 7:14 pm

    I just studied abroad in Bath and you have, have, HAVE, to go to this cute little pub called “The George”. It’s in an area called Bathhampton and you have to walk along the canal to get to it. It’s in a quaint little ivy-covered building, that used to be a monastery in the 12th century. Not to mention the food is fabulous!

    Another great place for ethnic food is Marmaris Restaurant right in the heart of Bath. I believe it’s Turkish food but it’s very similar to Lebanese cuisine.

  • D December 17, 2009, 7:27 pm

    Ohhh, this is it, my moment of glory.

    things to do:

    1. the sightseeing bus: its actually REALLY fun!! might be a bit cold, but it takes you all around manchester and its “hop on hop off”. its really interesting and unique and you learn a lot about the city.
    2. john rylands library: sounds boring, but its pretty awesome and really gorgeous
    3. urbis: this is technically an art museum, but its more of an modern exhibition centre that focuses on daily life. i think theyve got an exhibition on right now about the story of uk hip hop. theyve also got a gorgeous restauraunt at the top that overlooks the city
    4. the big wheel – its like the ugly stepsister of the london wheel, but its still pretty cool. nice at night when you can overlook all the lights
    5. selfridges food hall. if you go to selfridges department store and go to the basement, it is FOODIE HEAVEN. i go all the time just to look! they have mini restaurants, a giant pick and mix, liquers that you pour from barrels on the wall, fancy cakes, truffle displays, desserts, chocolates, beers, wines, indian food, a sushi belt, food gifts, weird and wonderful food things
    6. the northern quarter. this is just an area of town, but its really fun and funky and filled with vintage stores, record shops, unique clothing stores, hole in the wall bars, etc.
    7. trafford centre – this is kind of out the way, but its 5 min from old trafford. its like the biggest shopping centre in europe or something. its crazy, the number of people who work there are equivalent to a small town. and how do i know that random fact? see number 1 on this list…

    1. kro bar – a little pricey (or maybe im just a student haha) but its got a really good selection of unique beers (and other drinks too) and its got a really cool vibe. its casual but really sleek and nice. it has a nice menu as well (like vegetarian greek platters).
    2. selfridges – theyve got a champagne bar at the top. awesome. they also serve tiny portions of food for a lot of money.
    3. printworks – it will turn really club-y late at night, but theres tons of clubs/bars inside that are good for drinking.
    4. all bar one – nice wines and nibbles, its on king street which has loads of posh shops so its nice to wander and look and then end up here
    5. prohibition – it feels so exclusive and they serve super swanky drinks
    6. canal street!!! manchesters gay village. the bars have bedazzled walls and play gaga all night long. need i say more? actually i couldnt if i wanted, the rest of my canal street memories are hazy at best
    7. sinclairs oyster – a really traditional pub next to the big wheel


    1. cafe rouge -awesome french brasserie
    2. las iguanas – i think argentian? its some kind of south american food. really fun and funky and unique, and has awesome cocktails (and cocktail specials)
    3. giraffe – modern “world” food. one of the few places that does breakast/brunch
    4. wasabi – i know you dont eat a lot of sushi but this is an awesome, funky, hole in the wall place where the food comes on a revolving belt and you just take plates off. and you will ROLL out of there. they have veggie sushi as well (im veggie too).
    5. earth cafe – this is an all-vegan, buddhist run cafe. its AWESOME. home-cooked, warm vegan food in a really calm atmostphere. its really cosy, especially when its freezing. they have hot drinks, vegan desserts, and green juices. its kind of hard to find but its right in the city centre.
    6. eastzeast – best indian food in manchester. i didnt make that up, it actually won that award. haha.
    7. tampopo- kind of like wagamamas – nice, healthy, fresh eastern food
    8. la tasca – awesome spanish tapas. and killer sangria.
    9. pizza express – this is a really nice chain restaurant. seems kind of boring, but the food is actually really, really nice. i dont even like pizza (dont eat cheese) but i get them to make it without and i love it. its right in piccadilly gardens as well.
    10. carluccios – really cool italian cafe/shop/deli. nice for lunch, and they also serve pastries and stuff for breakfast.
    11. philpotts – this is a really nice salad/sandwich deli. they have soo many options and its really nice and fresh. not really for sitting in for a leisurely lunch, but its nice if you want to have something light
    11. katsouris – greek deli and cafe. i think they also have breakfast

    i really hope that’s useful!! if you want to know about anything specific id be happy to answer if i can. whooo manc is awesome

    • caitlin December 19, 2009, 3:19 pm

      thank you!

  • D December 17, 2009, 7:29 pm

    i eat out too much

  • Laura December 17, 2009, 7:30 pm

    I’m an art history PhD candidate, so unsurprisingly I enjoy art museums. 😀 So jealous that you’re going to Bath; I’ve always wanted to visit there.

  • Christy December 17, 2009, 7:39 pm

    Yeah, art museums are not too exciting. Science on the other hand, I LOVE!!! 😆

  • Rosey Rebecca December 17, 2009, 7:48 pm

    I’m so jealous!! I want to go!

  • Becky December 17, 2009, 8:11 pm

    I would say I’m not really an (any)type of museum person but when I go, I always like it. For example, my husband and I have lived in NYC for 2 1/2 years and finally went to the Museum of Natural History just this past summer. I enjoy learning new things but after like 2 hours I start to get hungry, cranky and my feet always hurt. We went to the Archaeology Museum in Istanbul and we were there about 4 hours!!!! AND we didn’t even see everything. We basically gave up because we were soooo tired. But I really loved seeing everything, I did learn a lot!

  • Magdeline December 17, 2009, 8:14 pm

    We took a double decker bus tour in Bath. That city is absolutely beautiful. We sat on the open top of the bus and heard about the history of the city and just gazed at the amazing scenery. The bus even took us a little outside the city so you could see residential homes and mountain sides. Other than that, it’s just a great city to walk around. There are cute little shops, cafes, etc and there is a beautiful cathedral (don’t remember the name (St JOhns??) but it’s the only one there). You can go inside and that was worth the trip.

  • Kristina December 17, 2009, 8:34 pm

    Since you seem to adore curry as much as I do, you MUST go to the Curry Mile in Manchester!!!! Here are a few links, your tummy can thank me later, hehe:

  • MommyRD December 17, 2009, 8:45 pm

    I thought I was the only one that got bored in art museums. Glad I’m not alone in that.
    gosh, can’t help you on places, as I haven’t been there.

  • Jolene ( December 17, 2009, 8:57 pm

    I can’t wait to come along on the journey through your blog!

  • Lorie December 17, 2009, 8:57 pm

    My fiance and I took a rode trip in October from Canterbury to Bath. We stopped in Stonehenge along the way which was SO much better than I was anticipating it would be, since it is such a tourists haven. It’s definitely worth the side trip, and you can see it in under an hour. We took a half-day trip to Avebury, outside of Bath, which is a really neat alternative to Stonehenge (it’s larger, for one). I wish I could remember the name of the pub we went to in Bath–I would SO recommend it, but I cannot for the life of me remember. It was on the corner of a street (I think Westgate) near the baths, and the inside had a wall of clocks showing different times on it. It was awesome and if I figure out the name I’ll let you know!

    Have a great trip and happy holidays!

  • Dori December 17, 2009, 8:58 pm

    I am bored by art museums too — except for one. If you haven’t been to the Saatchi Gallery in London, you HAVE to go. You will thank me. It is the coolest, most interesting, fascinating art museum and I am obsessed with it. I promise you will thank me!

  • Erin December 17, 2009, 9:06 pm

    If it’s not TOO cold, Bath is nice just to walk around. It’s amazing to see the difference between “new” town (aka after 1700) and old town and see how some of the houses haven’t changed in hundreds of years. Fantastic city for photography. If you’re into Jane Austen, there’s a small museum/shop dedicated to her there.

    Also in Bath, you MUST stop into Sally Lunns Buns, the oldest house in Bath and home to very famous bread. ( So delicious and cozy atmosphere — get them to take you to the cellar and see the original foundation. 🙂

    • caitlin December 19, 2009, 3:21 pm

      definitely going there!

  • Lisa December 17, 2009, 9:19 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions, but I hope you have a great time! Can’t wait to read about your trip!

  • Lauren December 17, 2009, 9:58 pm

    This isn’t exactly a restaurant suggestion, but if you’re looking for somewhere to have a treat, the best cookie I have ever eaten was at a Ben’s Cookies in London. I believe they have several locations in London proper and elsewhere in the UK.

  • Amanda@thegrainsofparadise December 17, 2009, 10:13 pm

    Wish I could help out….However, I’ve never been to Europe. Can’t wait to hear all about it though. Have the best time ever! Aloha

  • Laura Georgina December 17, 2009, 11:28 pm

    I heart Manchester! They have a great museum called the Urbis Museum of Urban Culture which is one of the best non-arty museums I’ve seen in a long time (I love art museums but can only take a few hours of them at a time).

    You are going to have a ball!

  • Katy @ These Beautiful Feet December 18, 2009, 12:39 am

    Oh my gosh, send me an e-mail!!! My brother-in-law Nate and his wife Amanda are spending two weeks starting tomorrow in Manchester!! Amanda is from there, so she would know the best places there. Please send me an e-mail and I will call them tomorrow and get a list. Honestly, you should get together with them they are so fun!

  • The Hot and Fit December 18, 2009, 12:46 am

    You are going to Old Trafford!! That is SO exciting!!

  • Amy December 18, 2009, 2:50 am

    I was just in Bath this summer for a girls’ weekend with my mom and sis. I totally recommend Sally Lunns Buns. They are really good and the little museum down in the basement is cute, although nothing incredible.

    I am a sucker for those hop-on/hop-off bus tours and do them in every city I possibly can. I’ve done the London one twice and think it’s absolutely a must-do ismply because of the sheer number of things to see there. We also did the one in Bath and it was a nice way to see the town and get a bit more information on everything there.

    As three girls, we also totally loved the costume museum in Bath. There are exhibits covering everything from wedding dresses through the centuries to bathing suits. And they have a room where you can try on corsets and hoop skirts and everything. We were little crying from laughter!

    Also right there down the hill a bit from the plaza outside the baths is an incredible candy store. They have allll kinds of fudge and covered fruits. Definitely worth the stop!

    Anyway, hope you have a great trip!! I’ve been reading your blog for a while but never got around to commenting. Happy travels!

    • caitlin December 19, 2009, 3:25 pm

      the costume museum sounds really fun!

  • Nicole December 18, 2009, 3:47 am

    I have to warn you about the baths. I don’t know how it is in England, but in Germany they are naked and co-ed some days (at least in Baden Baden). If England is the same (which I kinda doubt, but there is still a chance), get ready to see lots of hair in places you didn’t want to see from both the men and the women!!

  • Vee December 18, 2009, 4:17 am

    As Lorie recommended, Stonehenge is worth a trip if you’ll be staing in Bath for a bit. I would also recommend New Forest (it’s about an hour and half drive from Bath) – if you like outdoor activities, there are so many things to do!
    You’ve mentioned going to Dover as well in your previous posts – if you do, don’t forget to stop by at Canterbury. It’s such a beautiful place full of charming shops and beautiful historical landmarks.
    Enjoy your trip, looking forward to reading more about it!

  • Katie December 18, 2009, 4:44 am

    OK, don’t worry about nakedness at the Baths – we Brits definitely don’t go in for that kind of thing!! In Bath, there is a FANTASTIC restaurant called The Hole in The Wall (I promise, the name is a master of understatement) – you may have to book it but it doesn’t have a huge waiting list. I live in Bristol so any questions, feel free to drop me a line on my email. Hope it gets warmer for you – it’s snow all over the country today!

  • Clare December 18, 2009, 4:45 am

    I’ve just come back from a long weekend in Bath with my Mum. (I live in nearby Oxford). I endorse everything Erin (no 30) said. Plus: along with having a Sally Lunn bun, you should also have a Bath bun. Preferably in the lovely Georgian dining room that’s part of the Roman Baths. Also – no 1 Royal Crescent (a beautiful sweep of c18th houses) is open to the public, and each room is done up in authentic late c18th style, and has a knowledgeable, posh, elderly lady in (!) keen to give you lots of facts about how life would have been lived in Ye Oldene Days. The two Austen novels set in Bath are _Northanger Abbey_ and _Persuasion_. I’d say don’t bother with the Bath Austen museum itself – it’s a bit of a scam. Enjoy.

    • caitlin December 19, 2009, 3:26 pm


  • Chloe December 18, 2009, 6:58 am

    I live in Manchester, Caitlin!

    The city centre is pretty this time of year so if you wrap up warm it would be nice to take a walk around. If you visit the Hilton Tower (Hotel) on Deansgate and go up to the Cloud Bar on one of the high floors you can have some drinks (expensive) and check out the view over the entire City – you can even see Old Trafford Stadium (Manchester United). Probably best to do this in the day time so you can see!

    There is a wheel just like the London Eye which some people like to go on, located near the Arndale Centre. The Science & Industry Museum is pretty cool. Like someone else said – Urbis is highly recommended.

    The German christmas markets are on this time of year throughout St Anns Square and in front of the Town Hall – get some mulled wine or hot chocolate and baileys. Yum!

    Selfridges food hall – AMAZING! Harvey Nichols is also nice just to look. I personally would NOT bother taking a trip to the Trafford Centre shopping mall – it will be CRAZY busy this time of year and difficult to park – it has zero character and is just a big indoor shopping mall like any other in the world. Don’t waste your time, especially as you don’t like to shop. Go to manchester city centre instead!

    The Northern Quarter is really interesting and you should visit Earth Cafe here (vegan/buddhist run).

    You could go ice skating at the ice rink by Spinningfields (off Deansgate) – there are loads of cool places to eat round there afterwards – Carluccios would be my fave and they do the BEST hot chocolate.

    Please feel free to email me if you have any specific questions or want food/drink recommendations. I would be happy to help!!

    I CANNOT wait to see your photos of Manchester. It is an amazing city and I love living here!

  • Chloe December 18, 2009, 7:00 am

    Oh and another vegetarian cafe for great food is Eighth Day on Oxford Road. Have fun!

    • D December 18, 2009, 7:53 am

      I agree with all of these!! But, I just wanted to add that the Christmas Markets close on the 22nd 🙁 They are my favourite thing about Manchester and it’s sad they close so soon. Also Eighth Day is awesome, but it’s really student-y, just to warn you.

  • Sammi December 18, 2009, 8:02 am

    I’ve never been to England but I’ll have to ask my dad if he has any suggestions!

    I cannot wait to read all about your trip! It’s probably going to make me super jealous!

  • Maura December 18, 2009, 8:23 am

    I don’t have suggestions for places to visit but I would like to add that I am pumped to be living vicariously through you! Have a lovely time. 🙂

  • Kate December 18, 2009, 9:10 am

    You should definitely make the trip to Windsor to see the castle, and it’s a really cute town as well. My apologies if someone has already suggested this!

  • Haleigh December 18, 2009, 10:36 am

    My husband lived in Wigan for 2 months. He absolutely hated it but I think it was just the area. I hope that you have fun on your Christmas trip to England!

  • Sarah Byrne December 18, 2009, 11:01 am

    Hiya 🙂
    I also second the Buddhist cafe-the food is fab! And you should also check out the John Rylands Museum…double check the opening times, it might not be open the day you are in town! haha And yes, Wigan isn’t the nicest area in the North 🙂 I live in Harrogate (I’m from New Orleans but my husband is from Wigan area) and it is a lot nicer! Manchester is quite nice as well…Have a fabulous time on your trip and if you need any more suggestions on what to do, I’d be glad to help!

  • Maria December 18, 2009, 12:21 pm

    I just got way too excited when I saw you’re in Manchester, my home town, and yay for supporting Manchester United.
    There’s Cafe Metro in Manchester which sells lovely cheap food, and plenty of vegetarian options, my favourite place to go 🙂
    As for things to do whilst you’re there, there’s The Museum of Science and Industry, which is full of really awesome stuff, and good if you want to know more about the History of the area.
    Hope you have fun! 🙂

  • Jennifer December 18, 2009, 5:33 pm

    Strong dislike for Art Museums! I got a lot of flack for it while travelling through Spain & Portugal with my history-major BFF.


  • Lara (Thinspired) December 19, 2009, 1:38 pm

    Hi Caitlin! Just catching up on your last 6 posts!!
    It’s really fun to visit the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. They do a great tea 🙂 There is a vegetarian restaurant in Bath called Demuths…haven’t been there yet but it looks good:

  • Autumn December 21, 2009, 10:31 am

    I will second the Costume Museum! My mom and I explored it on a trip several years ago and ended up spending so much time there that we barely made it to the Roman baths before they closed. We also did tea at the Pump Room, which was neat because it’s a beautiful setting, and enough food to call it lunch. Bath was a great place to just wander, poke around shops, (typical English high street) and relax. You’ll have a great time!

  • Rachael December 22, 2009, 10:51 am

    There’s a nice little Lebanese restaurant in the podium, (the indoor shopping area in Bath) called Arabesque Restaurant.
    Thermae Spa is nice, but head over to the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms if you really want a sense of the Roman influence in Bath.

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat January 5, 2010, 4:07 pm

    I love art museums, ha ha.

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