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A guide to the remarkable Bath Guildhall Market – the oldest shopping venue in Bath

5th April 2022

Planning a shopping trip to Bath soon? There are more fabulous boutiques, shopping centres and arcades here than you could possibly fit into one weekend. But one place you absolutely must visit is the magnificent Bath Guildhall Market. 

This stunning historic building is home to Bath’s oldest shopping venue, and a brilliant indoor market.  Take a leisurely stroll around the market and you’ll find a varied line-up of over twenty stallholders, selling everything from leather goods to French cheese. 

There’s a popular second-hand bookshop, a haberdashery, hardware stall and a pet supplies shop, plus a gentlemen’s barbers and a party shop. Other highlights include an Indian textiles specialist, luggage stall and designer jewellery boutique. 

Tourists can pick up mementos of their visit to Bath at the souvenir shop, while locals love the Guildhall Delicatessen selling delicious pies, meats, olives and more. 

The Guildhall Indoor Market also houses something of a Bath institution. Gillards of Bath is a world-renowned tea and coffee merchant, established all the way back in 1888. It’s the perfect place to pick up exceptional ground coffee and beans, loose leaf tea and gift boxes bearing classic images of Bath.  

This is also a great spot for lunch, as there’s a traditional Market Café and an Espresso Bar with food to choose from. Alternatively, you can put together your own picnic from the deli and Nibbles Cheese stall.  

Over 800 years of trading history

One of the reasons visitors flock to the Bath Guildhall Market is the sense of history inside this atmospheric building adjoining the Grade I listed Guildhall. A particularly impressive feature is the expansive domed roof in the centre, which allows light to flood down onto the stalls below. But you’ll also love the traditional signage and other nostalgic décor.

Trading has taken place on this site for a huge 800 years, since the market was established back in 1284. 

The current Guildhall is a Bath stone building dating back to 1778, while the market building just behind it was designed by architects Hickes and Isaac and completed in 1863. 

But before this, an open-air market stood on the same site. If you look closely, you can still see the famous market pillar or ‘nail’ which survives from the 1770s. According to the Guildhall Market, this is the origin of the expression “pay on the nail”. 

Planning your visit

You’ll find the Bath Guildhall Market in a convenient location on High Street, just next to Bath Abbey and close to the iconic Pulteney Bridge. If you fancy a touch of culture with your shopping, the fantastic Victoria Art Gallery is right next door. 

If you’re arriving in Bath by rail, Bath Spa train station is just a 10-minute stroll away. 

The indoor market is open from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 5.30pm, although shops may all have their own opening hours. You can find a full list of stalls and more info on the Bath Guildhall Market website.

Planning to make a weekend of it? Book yourself one of our beautiful self-catering Bath apartments, most within easy walking distance of the market. 

The closest is our spacious Argyle Upon Avon apartment, along with the charming Argyle Retreat and romantic Pulteney Bridge View