A Local Guide to SouthGate
On the edge of the bustling heart of Bath’s city centre, SouthGate is the leading shopping destination within the historical city, home to over 58 shops, 10 restaurants, bars, and cafes, 99 homes, and an underground car park built to fit 860 vehicles.
A Brief History of SouthGate
SouthGate as we know and love it today replaced another shopping centre that was demolished during 2007. This was called the SouthGate Shopping Centre, designed by Owen Luder, who was the architect of the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth and Trinity Square car park in Gateshead.
The new SouthGate shopping area covers the entire west half of an area of land that was formerly known as The Ham. This district was in use up until the time of Jane Austen, and is remembered in the name Ham Gardens, a small street that still exists today, running towards the north-east corner of SouthGate.
During the time when the area for the new precinct was cleared of all the 1960s and 1970s buildings, an archaeological project was carried out by the Museum of London Archaeology Service to analyse and preserve the underground structures of the original city wall that lay beneath the site, cellars originating from the 18th century, and the 19th century cobbles of the original Marchant’s Passage.
On the 23rd of September 2008, a fire caused by gas cylinders caused mass destruction on the construction site. A large fireball and an explosion reportedly reached higher than the surrounding cranes, with streets closed to the public while the fire was attempted to be put out.
Once construction was back under way, the new SouthGate precinct opened its doors to the public in three phases: the first on the 4th of November 2009, the second during May of 2010, and the third during August of the same year.
Location of SouthGate
Just a stone’s throw away from the Bath Spa train station, SouthGate sits alongside Bath’s bustling city centre, and will usually be the first sight that greets you if you’ve just arrived at the historical city via train.
SouthGate is made up of six buildings: St Lawrence House, Philip House, the former Debenhams, Block E/F – originally the home of the Little SouthGate arcade, which was removed during 2017 to be replaced by four new restaurants – Marchant House, and SouthGate house.
The area is also home to four apartment zones: SouthGate House, Marchant House, Philip House, and St. Lawrence House. These buildings house 99 apartments, collectively marked as The Residence, complete with private rooftop gardens.
Things to Do
Locals and tourists alike flock from all over to sample the selection of shops that SouthGate has to choose from, with countless well-known high-street brands offering an indulgent afternoon of retail therapy. Among the most widely recognised names are The North Face, Swarovski, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, Apple, Levi’s, and Pandora.
After a day of shopping, you don’t need to travel far for an afternoon pick-me-up – SouthGate has a mouth-watering selection of bars, restaurants, and cafes to explore. If you fancy a cocktail, Be At One is the go-to, with BrewDog just round the corner if you want to sample a selection of their 28 on-tap beers. SouthGate also has the option of round-the-world cuisines, from the authentic Lebanese cooking of Comptoir Libanais, to the Italian sourdough pizzas of Franco Manca, to the Madridian-inspired Tapas Revolution, to Thailand’s street food menu of Thaikhun.
SouthGate is also home to Bath’s Tivoli, a luxury cinema group that specialise in state-of-the-art laser projection technology, offering a boutique cinematic experience complete with a cafe and bar alongside their art-house film screenings.
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