Bath is loaded with markets and fairs, antiques centers, and small shops, with literally hundreds of opportunities to buy (and ship) anything you want (including the famous spa waters, for sale by the bottle). Prices, however, are comparable to London's.
The whole city is basically one long, slightly undulating shopping area. It's not defined by one high street, as are so many British towns -- if you arrive by train, don't be put off by the lack of scenery. Within 2 blocks are several shopping streets. The single best day to visit, if you are a serious shopper intent on hitting the flea markets, is Wednesday.
The Bartlett Street Antiques Centre, Bartlett Street, encompasses 20 dealers and 50 showcases displaying furniture, silver, antique jewelry, paintings, toys, military items, and collectibles.
Walcot Reclamation, 108 Walcot St. (tel. 01225/444404; www.walcot.com), is Bath's salvage yard. This sprawling and appealingly dusty storeroom of 19th-century architectural remnants is set .5km (a quarter mile) northeast of the town center. Its 1,858-sq.-m (20,000-sq.-ft.) warehouse offers pieces from demolished homes, schools, hospitals, and factories throughout south England. Mantelpieces, panels, columns, and architectural ornaments are departmentalized into historical eras. Items range from a complete, dismantled 1937 Georgian library crafted from Honduran mahogany to objects costing around £10 each. Anything can be shipped by a battery of artisans who are trained in adapting antique fittings for modern homes.
Near Bath Abbey, the Beaux Arts Gallery, 12-13 York St. (tel. 01225/464850; www.beauxartsbath.co.uk), is the largest and most important gallery of contemporary art in Bath, specializing in well-known British artists including Ray Richardson, John Bellany, and Nicola Bealing. Closely linked to the London art scene, the gallery occupies a pair of interconnected, stone-fronted Georgian houses. Its half-dozen showrooms exhibit objects beginning at £30.
The very upscale Rossiter's, 38-41 Broad St. (tel. 01225/462227; www.rossitersofbath.com), sells very traditional English tableware and home decor items. They'll ship anywhere in the world. Look especially for the display of Moorcraft ginger jars, vases, and clocks, as well as the Floris perfumes.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.