I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son.
I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Published June 26th 2017
Chelsea Road- Shopping Abode
Bath city centre fans out into several unique and interesting communities, and the focal point of one of these areas is the Chelsea Road Shopping Street. 1.8 miles from Bath Spa Railway Station, it is a bustling street crammed with over twenty very different businesses and shops. There is a healthy smattering of eating and drinking establishments, a vintage themed charity shop, hairdressers, Post Office and a great deal more. There is ample parking on both sides of the street, and spaces are usually numerous, even on busy days. Chelsea offers visitors a glimpse into Bath residential areas, positioned between the Weston area of Bath and beautiful Victoria Park on Upper Bristol Road.
Chelsea Road is a Sunday Morning place for me. A browse through the vinyl in the 'Mercy in Action' charity shop and then a quiet coffee is all I'm after. Of all the places offering food and drink my favourite is Parson's Bakery, situated half way down the street. They offer a sumptuous range of sweet and savoury baking delicacies, and their bay window looking out to the street is the perfect place to perch and watch the world flow by. A proudly celebrated family business, Parsons feels like the best of Bath; a friendly and modern business, yet housed within a historical area steeped in heritage. Just glance up at any of the buildings on Chelsea Road and there are whispers of the past staring back. It is magical.
I am always amazed by how much there is to see in Bath's architecture. Perhaps because of its World Heritage status, every effort is made to honour and preserve the past life of Bath, and this is very noticeable along Chelsea Road. The honey-hued Bath stone is often carved into mythical figures, and tiles of previous businesses peep at visitors below from their lofty positions. Each time I return to Chelsea, I leave having spotted something new. Today's spot was a carved bearded man, frowning down upon the renovations being made to the premises below.
There is very little commercialism on Chelsea Road, and that is another thing that makes the road a special place. With a traditional greengrocers, florist, hardware store and launderette, it offers a window into the past. A world of people living, working and playing within a community, and enriching the place. Part of my Sunday routine is to sit and watch the dignified, elderly residents of Bath going to buy their morning papers, invariably dressed in their Sunday Best for church. Being able to soak up all of this nostalgia becomes even more powerful when, in a few steps, you can step into a state of the art cycling shop, have a coffee Al Fresco or zip into the city centre, a five-minute drive away. It is a time-capsule, offering the best of old and new.