In a city with long-established grand hotels in and around it – The Royal Crescent, Lucknam Park – it can be quite a treasure hunt to find a properly good-looking, low-key option. Enter The Yard, a 14-room coaching-inn-turned-bolthole minutes from Bath’s most famous street, the Royal Crescent. Unlike classic grande dames that empty your pockets, it is cool, stylish and definitely won’t break the bank.
Set the scene
Find young couples and hip out-of-towners spending a weekend here – a mix of thirty-somethings from London or Oxford who’ve come to Bath for its cool coffee shops and independent stores. The occasional family might make an appearance but this is definitely a spot for a younger crowd to spend evenings sipping English and French wines before heading out for dinner. The hotel is in a quiet spot on Monmouth Street near The Circus, so it’s just a 10-minute stroll east to the Roman baths and five minutes further to reach Pulteney Bridge.
Owners Esther Newman and Ed Haskins, originally from Somerset and Gloucestershire respectively, swapped London for Bath before the pandemic. With backgrounds in property development and PR, they quickly spotted the potential of the 18th-century Kings Arms, scooping it up to reimagine it as a new place to stay in the city. During the restoration the building was gutted from the ground up. The essence of the original inn remains but the couple have furnished the interiors in a simple, modern style. Inspiration came from the area – they saw this as an opportunity to bring the best of Somerset inside. As a new project for the first-time hoteliers, it’s a pretty impressive feat.
Rooms have been transformed into chic retreats, splashed with muted pastels and covetable vintage finds, plus Roberts radios and Sophie Conran crockery for breakfast hampers. Bedroom categories range from cosy to larger, all with king-size beds and striking wallpaper sourced from Stroud-based Lewis & Wood and funky woollen throws from local weaver Katherine Fraser. Front-facing and ground-floor rooms may be a bit noisy, especially if guests stay in the courtyard late into the summer evenings. But room eight is the one to book – it’s the largest and has a freestanding tub and spacious terrace that overlooks the delicate ironwork and chimney pots of Bath.
Food and drink
The heart of the hotel is its courtyard – a pretty space with pea-green furniture, blooming cow parsley and brass lanterns nodding to the building’s past life. Guests snack on plates of cheese and Somerset charcuterie, the former supplied by nearby farms Westcombe Dairy and Ivy House. An interesting list of wines explores lesser-known regions and includes a few biodynamic and organic growers: a cloudy orange from Austria, a spicy red from Transylvania or fizz from Gloucestershire. There’s no traditional breakfast, instead hampers of flaky Hobbs House Bakery pastries with jam and salted butter, natural yogurts, homemade granola, fruit from the green grocer and freshly squeezed orange juice are delivered to your door each morning.
The whole city is right on the doorstep. Only a few minutes’ walk away are Lansdown Road and George Street, the new home of recently arrived London import Persephone Books. On the way up the crescent you’ll pass by Topping & Company Booksellers, sleek Francis Gallery and wine-filled Beckford Bottle Shop. Creatives will want to visit design studio Berdoulat, a three-floor concept shop with homeware, cook books, spices, a gallery space and back counter taken over by Frome’s Rye Bakery. Loop around through Walcot Street for sweet treats from Landrace Bakery and John Derian ceramics from lifestyle shop Nam near the baths before a long lunch at sustainable small-plates restaurant Oak.
Low-key and discreet. Owners Esther and Ed live in room 14, so you may well find yourself having coffee with them in the morning or see them chatting to guests in the afternoon. It’s homely and friendly and the staff are part of the family. Ask at reception for recommendations of must-try restaurants – The Walcot, aforementioned Oak, Henry’s – or where to try paddle-boarding on the River Avon.
Rooms are on the smaller side – it is a townhouse after all – but most can accommodate a cot or a small child’s bed.
The ethos at The Yard is to support local businesses – milk is delivered in glass bottles from a farm in Somerset while other producers such as Cotswold Brew Co and Dunkertons craft cider pop up in the mini fridge. Bathrooms are stocked with full-size (rather than travel size) REN skincare products, which are sustainably made and cruelty free, so the aim of the game is refill, reuse and recycle.
Accessibility for those with mobility impairments
The reception, wine bar/coffee lounge and courtyard are on the ground floor, as are two cosy bedrooms and one classic king-size.
Anything left to mention?
Make time to try the sweet cannolis and creamy pasteis de nata around tea time – they’re both from Bath-based bakeries and are utterly delicious.
Hotel address: The Yard in Bath, 1 Monmouth Place, Bath BA1 2AT
Phone number: +44 1225 448896
Price: Doubles from £95
Book your stay
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