Guildhall Market

Bath Guildhall Market – why you absolutely must plan a visit

16 May 2019

If you love shopping and also want a glimpse of some of the best and oldest architecture in Bath, make sure you visit Bath Guildhall Market.

This historic 19th century covered market is just next to the banks of the River Avon, in the heart of the city centre. It’s close to the famous Pulteney Bridge, as well as being very handy if you’re staying with us at Argyle Retreat, Pulteney Bridge View or Argyle Upon Avon.

How old is the Guildhall Market?

The Bath Guildhall Market has been open as a shopping venue for over 800 years, and is one of the oldest buildings of its kind in the city. The building in which the covered market sits is Grade I listed and was completed in 1778, extended in 1893. It is made from the beautiful Bath stone that you’ll see everywhere in the city, with classic Ionic columns and a grand central façade.

What is so wonderful about visiting the Bath Guildhall Market though is its grand central ceiling dome, flooding the marketplace with light and creating an incredible sense of space (especially when you look up). The covered market forms a continuous building with the Victoria Art Gallery, making it a great day out if you want to visit the two.

One of the must-see parts of the marketplace is ‘The Nail’, a table on an 18th century pillar from the building’s early days. This table was used for transactions, which is believed to be where the term ‘pay on the nail’ comes from.

Stalls at the Guildhall Market Bath

Eager shoppers at the Guildhall Market love the traditional feel of the marketplace, which boasts a fantastic and varied choice of traders. You’ll find deli foods and fresh produce, leather goods, books, jewellery, gifts and souvenirs. There is even a pet stall and a hardware shop.

The coffee shop at the Guildhall Market is one of the highlights.  If you don’t have long to spend, swing by the popular Time Out Espresso Bar for a shot of amazing quality coffee or a mocha, latte or even a milkshake. There’s also the traditional Guildhall Market Café if you fancy something more substantial. It serves up incredible all-day breakfasts with all the trimmings, plus stews, curries, sandwiches, cakes, a choice of daily specials and much more.

Planning your trip?

If you’re getting ready to visit Bath and would love to include the Bath Guildhall Market in your itinerary for the weekend, there are a couple of things you need to know. It’s very easy to find, just yards from Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey too, but it has two entrances. One is on the high street by the Abbey, while the other is opposite Pulteney Bridge. The market is open from 8am to 5.30pm, but the shops have their own individual opening hours so it may be best to check before you visit. The whole marketplace is wheelchair accessible.

Happy shopping!