***This article was contributed by Emma Dance at taste4travel.


REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Have you heard of a TwiTrip?

I'm a bit of Twitter-addict but I must confess that until last week I had never heard of it.

But this week that all changed, not only do I now know exactly what a TwiTrip is, but I've done one.

A Twitrip, I discovered is a trip where you are guided around a city, based purely on suggestions given to you via Twitter.

A bit of research has shown that Guardian travel-writer Benji Lanyado has done more than a few Twitrips, discovering cities across the world through the power of social media, and I have used Twitter to ask for suggestions of places to go before some of my travels, but this was a bit different.

Organised by Bath Tourism Plus and PR firm Electric Suitcase, eight intrepid travellers, bloggers, social media junkies, foodies and students - including Masterchef winner Tim Anderson - were let loose in Bath for a day, to take part in a group TwiTrip.

Everyone was looking to get something different out of the day. Tim was looking to find some of the best local produce the city has to offer so that at the end of the day he could prepare some canapes for his fellow TwiTrippers, others were looking for beer, some were shopping, and I decided that I would take a look at the city where I live through the eyes of a tourist.

I thought that I knew Bath pretty well, but I have never done many of the traditional tourist activities.

So, armed with my phone and a map, I put myself at the mercy of tweeters, asking for suggestions of the best way to discover the city.

I was surprised how willing complete strangers were to jump on board with the idea, and suggestions started flooding in.

I had a tip for where to get the best breakfast, which took me to a cafe just around the corner from my flat that I had never visited before.

I took an open top bus tour and saw the city from a new perspective, noticing things I had never seen before and finding out fascinating snippets of history.


The Roman Baths (flickr/pdbreen)

Another suggestion was to visit the Roman Baths, after which the city is named. Although they are in the center of the city and I pass them every day, I hadn't actually taken a tour around them since a school trip many, many years ago. The exhibitions had changed a lot since then and Bill Bryson's audio tour offered some interesting insights.

There were many suggestions for lunch spots - it turns out that food is definitely an important part of many people's live - not just mine - which was encouraging to know!

After several hours of pounding the pavements and climbing hills, it was a relief when someone suggested a visit to Thermae Bath Spa. I must confess that this is somewhere I had visited recently, but I had to follow the suggestions and I was not disappointed when I was directed to spend a couple of hours relaxing in the spring water, followed by cocktails at Door 34.

At the end of the day all the TwiTrippers gathered in the gorgeous Royal Crescent Hotel for a reception where we were presented with Tim's creations made from the local goodies he had discovered throughout the day.

We feasted on Somerset cheese stacks (Tim became a big fan of Paxton's Cheese shop while in Bath), Bath Pig chorizo in cider mole (I was thrilled that he had found the Bath Pig - their chorizo is one of my favorite foods ever!) and grouse pate accompanied by bread that Tim had made earlier that day in the Bertinet Kitchen under the direction of the unfailingly charming Richard Bertinet, all washed down with drinks supplied by local producers Great Western Wines and Bath Ales.

Tim spoke about how in his home country of America, and in Japan where he had also lived, there was a real pride in locally produced food, and how that was often missing in the UK, but how pleased he had been to see that pride in Bath.

I think that the whole day showed just how proud the community is of their city - not just the food, but everything it has to offer.

More than 1,000 tweets were sent during the day with #BathTwiTrip from people across the city, and those who had visited in the past and had fond memories.

Spending the day looking at Bath from a tourist's perspective really did open my eyes to what a beautiful city I live in.

Seeing it every day I feel that I have become complacent, but Bath truly is a stunning place, and the fact that the people who live here care about it so much makes it even more special.

I'm very lucky.

To learn more about TwiTrips, visit the Guardian's TwiTrip page.


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