The City of Bath was first established as a spa town by those soap-and-water loving chaps, the Romans. Many years after, the Georgians took the idea for their own, and Bath became popular with the Regency elite. Nowadays, with the rather wonderful Thermae Bath Spa, it is once again the place to go for those who want to ‘take the waters’, relax, and rejuvenate.
But forget all that! Once you’ve been steam-cleaned in the spa, you’ll want to know about shops. For vintage-lovers Bath has loads of options, and I’ve done my best to put together a comprehensive guide to enjoying vintage in Bath. At the end of this article is a map with every shop marked, so that you can print it out and take it with you when you explore the city.
I only had one short day in Bath so haven’t been able to review all the shops and attractions on offer. I hope to go back soon and add further reviews but in the meantime if any of you have opinions on these places please let us know what you think in the comments!
Vintage Shops in Bath
28 Milsom St, Bath, BA1 1DG
Vintage to Vogue have a wonderful selection of 20th century vintage, with a large amount of pieces from the 30s to 50s. This is the best shop in Bath for older pieces and striking vintage evening wear, as well as a huge array of hats. You won’t find any bargains here, but it is an enjoyable shopping experience and you’ll find plenty to drool over. I particularly liked the big section for gents, who are often overlooked in vintage. One word of warning: be on your guard for pieces which have been mis-dated. I found a polyester 70s blouse which had been labelled as 50s, a 70s dress labelled as 40s (cotton, overlocking, nylon zip in the back not the side – all dead giveaways), and a shirt with a Biba label and priced as such, only it wasn’t THE Biba but a foreign knock-off. This cautionary note aside it is still an amazing vintage store and well worth a visit.
5 Queen St, Bath, BA1 1HE
Scarlet Vintage have pieces from the 50s to the 80s, but their main focus is on the 60s and 70s. This means there are plenty of very affordable pieces (a £15 sale rail? Yes please!) and something to suit every style and budget, with a light and clean shopping atmosphere. In particular they have lots of brightly printed daywear, but also a nice selection of handbags and accessories. I found a cute little 1930s collar for myself at the bargain price of £2.50, but further up the scale they also had a beautiful Biba satin maxi dress for £175, and a Janice Wainwright maxi for a similar price. Definitely the place to go if the 70s is your era.
72 Walcot St, Bath, BA1 5BD
You may be dissuaded by the new clothing (under the Pop! label) on display when you first enter this shop, but go straight to the back of the store which is where you will find the vintage lurking. It is all quite cramped and jumbled, and doesn’t have the ’boutique’ feel that the first two stores had, but for the extra effort you put into searching you’ll get better prices. Some of the bargains I saw were a 60s lace shift dress for £20 and a 50s cotton day dress for £30 – the prices are way better than the charity shop just up the road, so it is worth putting the effort into rummaging.
3 London St, Bath, BA1 5BU
From the exterior this looks more like a junk shop than a vintage shop. Outside the front there was a rail of kids fancy dress costumes, a Victorian sideboard, another rail of dull second-hand clothes, an old pram, a broken gramophone, and, bizarrely, piles of dolls houses. Through the door it looks quite dark and crowded, and frankly rather musty smelling. However, inside they have an amazing selection of 50s and 60s clothing, all crammed haphazardly onto rails and with piles of things you need to navigate around to see anything. There are proper treasures here, but you’ll need to put in some hard work and not mind getting skanky hands from the filth. The prices aren’t totally cheap, but are still at least half what a nicer store would be charging. The discount rails at the front are worth a quick flick through too – amongst the dross I found a pure wool tartan skirt for only £1.
25 Broad St, Bath, BA1 5LW
This looks a bit cutesy from the outside, but don’t be put off. Although the main focus is on antique textiles, they also have some lovely old hats, a small rail of 30s lingerie and 50s evening dresses, vintage glass bead necklaces, lace gloves, and Victorian nightgowns. Prices are pretty reasonable too, for the age and quality of the pieces. A 1950s faceted glass bead necklace will only set you back £15-20. There are some lovely dressing table sets too, just ignore the creepy Victorian dolls.
Black & White
21 Broad St, Bath, BA1 5LN
This is more a dress agency than a vintage store. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the selection, but if you are passing by it is worth popping in to see if they have any vintage pieces in. Amongst the racks of Oasis, Gap, and Karen Millen, I managed to find a gorgeous 1960s chartreuse green beaded cocktail dress for £40. Just don’t go in expecting too much.
Bath Flea Market
Walcot St, Bath, BA1 5BD (Saturdays only)
The Saturday markets along Walcot Street have an assortment of stalls selling various bits and bobs. You are more likely to find vintage home and kitchen ware here than fashion, but they are definitely worth making a detour for. I was particularly impressed with the ‘Street Vinyl’ stall, who sell reconditioned vintage record players and old LPs. The mother and son running the stall were extremely friendly, and offered to play some Ella Fitzgerald to show off the sound on one of the valve record players we’d been admiring. Sadly we had to keep moving, but they are in the same place every Saturday if you are a vintage music collector.
10 Kingsmead Square, Bath, BA1 2AB
Not so much vintage, but a dress agency selling second-hand designer pieces. I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but it might be worth a drop-in if you are passing by.
6 George St, Bath, BA1 2EH
Beware! This is not a vintage store as the name would suggest, but a shop selling their own ‘vintage inspired’ label. Which to my mind doesn’t look vintage at all. Keep moving…
Antique Shops in Bath
I didn’t get a chance to look at any of these stores while I was in Bath, so these addresses are purely for your own reference. Let me know if you have been to any of them!
34 Belvedere, Lansdown Rd, Bath, BA1 5HR
A large selection of antique textiles, including paisley shawls, quilts, lace, beaded bags, and fans.
Tim Snell Antiques
5 Cleveland Terrace, Bath, BA1 5DF
Specialists in late 19th and early 20th century oak, mahogany and walnut furniture.
Bartlett Street Antiques Centre
8 Bartlett St, Bath, BA1 2QZ
Over 50 dealers offering a variety of antiques and collectables of all types, from all periods.
14-17 Walcot Buildings, London Road, Bath
Eleven antique dealers in one building, mainly offering furniture and porcelain.
More Vintage-Style Places in Bath
Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath, BA1 2QH
A huge collection of contemporary and historical fashion and costume. I didn’t have time to visit this time but will be back to review as soon as I can.
40 Gay St, Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2NT
A museum dedicated to Jane Austen – who actually hated Bath!
4 North Parade Passage, Bath, BA1 1NX
A 15th century medieval building in which the original Bath Bun was invented, and is still served today.
Unit R4, SouthGate Place, Bath, BA1 1AP
A cheap and cheerful place to stop for drinks and food. The bar is in an art deco style, while the dining area is decorated with old oil paintings and stools with mismatched cushions.
16 Northumberland Place, Bath, BA1 5AR
A fun little sewing shop selling retro fabrics, trims, and quirky buttons. They also have a workshop on Walcot Street which gives lessons in sewing, printmaking, bookbinding and life-drawing.
118 Walcot St, Bath, BA1 5BG
Groovy furniture store with reproduction mid-century classics such as Eames lounge chairs and Le Corbusier Chaises.
1 John St, Bath, BA1 2JL
One of Britain’s oldest cheese companies, trading since 1742. Specialists in regional British cheeses.
5 George St, Bath, BA1 2EH
Small gallery and shop with quirky pieces by artists such as 60s icon Peter Blake.
22 Broad St, Bath, BA1 5LN
Take a moment to titter at the name (hee hee!). Then go inside and find a fab little array of door handles and cupboard knobs in interesting designs. My favourites were the twig shaped handles in pewter, the rabbit’s head drawer knob, and the bulldog door knocker.
Print out this map to use while on the vintage trail in Bath!
View Vintage Shops Bath in a larger map