For a few years now, the two of us have headed to Bath Christmas markets at some point in December. They haven’t been on the past two years, but this year they were properly back so we decided to visit. Over the years we have travelled and stayed there with various combinations of driving, using the park and ride and getting trains, and the best combination for us is driving to Reading, staying there overnight and then getting the train the next day. The train only takes about 45 minutes from Reading, whereas the drive takes ages and the park and rides get super full.
This also means I can combine it with a parkrun trip. My Bath Christmas market parkruns so far have been Swindon (now called Lydiard but it was Swindon when I went there in 2016), Chippenham (2017), Dinton Pastures (2018 for the D for my alphabet) and Reading in 2019. Handily, we picked a city centre hotel and the closest parkrun was Prospect, one I’d not been to before. We parked in the station car park so it would have been a bit of a pain to drive anywhere, and as the parkrun was a couple of miles away it was a good warm up and cool down.
The run there was straightforward- almost a straight line from the city centre, although when I got to the park I could not work out where the start line was and ended up asking a council worker as it seemed like a big park. This was lucky as I was going in the wrong direction and as it was not a huge parkrun (participant wise) I could have easily missed it!
The morning was absolutely freezing and even though I didn’t have long to wait before the start after arriving, I got really cold. The course was two laps around fairly muddy and fairly flat playing fields. I spent most of it running behind a few people who were chatting away, although at one point a marshal (who must have known them) told them “hurry up stragglers”- not the best thing to hear and could have bothered others but I didn’t mind.
That was my 91st different parkrun course- gradually getting my way to 100! A goal for 2023 I think.
After getting back to the hotel and briefly warming up it was time to get our train to Bath- we’d picked up sandwiches in Reading before getting on board so could have lunch as we travelled.
The markets were absolutely heaving- often it’s busy but this seemed exceptional. It is always so pretty with lights projected onto the cathedral, a huge Christmas tree and various carol singers dotted about. We’d booked a pizza place for dinner and then went back around the markets in the evening when it was a bit quieter, and then got the train back late that evening.
Do you like Christmas markets?