Beat the January Blues in Bath!

All the excitement of Christmas is over…the last of the turkey has been eaten…those New Year resolutions are tentatively being planned out; what a perfect time in what can be a dull, quiet and cold month to come to beautiful Bath and enjoy a lovely Spa Break and all the events that are on during January.

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There is plenty to do in Bath during the month of January. The Ice Skating Rink in Royal Victoria Park finishes on the 4th January so you could get some last minute practice in. From the 3rd to 10th, there will be the fantastic free, Festival of Light – Illuminate 2015, throughout the city. Now in its fourth year and organised by Bath Spa University, this collaboration of local and international artists bathe the city in wonderful light installations in unusual and unexpected public spaces, making a walk around the city an adventure to find these wonderful pieces of art.

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If you want to be in the warm and keep everyone entertained, then the Theatre Royal Bath’s annual pantomime runs until January 11th. It’s that classic tale of Cinderella, with CBBC’s Tracy Beaker (aka Dani Harmer) in the feature role, and Gavin & Stacey’s, Gwen (Melanie Waters) as the magical Fairy Godmother. Full of fun, laughs and magical moments, this pantomime is not just for the kids!

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There are plenty of exhibitions running in all the museums and galleries in Bath to delight and entertain during January too. One particular interesting exhibition that begins on 17th January and runs until 1st March, is Jeremy Gardiner’s installation at the Victoria Art Gallery entitled “Jurassic Coast”. Cleverly linking two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Bath and the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and Devon, Jeremy’s work involves him building up layers of paint into collage and sanding it down to create fascinating textures and effects. The exhibition includes fossils and a 3D model of the coastline, plus a film. Cost is £3.50 for the exhibition, the rest of Victoria Art Gallery is free.

Pembroke Castle, Wales circa 1829 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

To tie in with the recent release of the biopic film about J.M.W. Turner, “Mr Turner”, starring Timothy Spall, get your fill of those swirling landscapes and big skies and head to the fantastic Holburne Museum. From the 10th January to 8th March 2015 there is an exhibition of eight of Turner’s work including those painted during his time in Bristol between 1791 and 1793. Entitled “Turner: Watercolours from the West – An Intimate Touring Show” this is a FREE exhibition and should not be missed.

Thermae Bath Spa

Of course, while you’re visiting Bath, why not enjoy not just a taste of the famous waters in the Pump Room near the Abbey, but immerse yourself in it’s warm waters and have a relaxing few hours, half or full day experience in Britain’s only naturally heated spring, the Thermae Bath Spa, in the centre of the city. After all that indulgence of Christmas and New Year a Spa Break would be the perfect treat, and our Spa Breaks offer all that luxury without breaking the bank.

Our package includes two nights accommodation in our comfortable en-suite bedrooms with complimentary teas, ground coffee, mineral water and biscuits, plus toiletries are provided. A free parking space per room. Awake to our award winning champagne English Breakfasts (or “healthy choice” breakfast also available). A 3 hour visit (Mon-Fri) or 2 hour visit (Sat or Sun) to the £40 million Thermae Bath Spa where you can experience the various pools including the stunning rooftop pool with vistas over the city (a complimentary towel, bath robe and slippers will be provided by the Spa). A delightful 3 course lunch or early evening dinner at the delightful Brasserie Brunel (must be scheduled before or after your spa session, before 7.30pm), is also included in our Spa Break package. Prices for this fabulous getaway start from just £125.00 per person (Sun – Thurs) or from £145.00 per person (Fri – Sat). All prices are based on two sharing a double or twin room. Upgrades to our Four Poster rooms are available and prices for single occupancy can be requested by contacting us directly on 01225 859090.

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Everyone deserves a little pampering in those cold winter days of January, and with plenty of things on during the month, and with such great value prices, we look forward to seeing you soon!

Christmas Shopping in Bath – Part Two

We hope you enjoyed reading the first part of our Blog piece about alternate festive shopping in Bath during and after the Christmas Market. Now, here’s Part Two for you all; so put up your feet, have a munch on a mince pie and start planning your trip to The Bailbrook Lodge and shopping in Bath!

Food & Drink Gifts

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Bath has a plethora of great places to not only sit and enjoy lovely local food, but also to take-away. Again, we can’t name them all, but here are a few to whet the appetites, perfect to pick up a gift from; and you may find more on your stroll around.

* Charlotte Brunswick - Handmade chocolates in the heart of Bath. Having worked with an historian to create these yummy products around local stories, your box of goodies includes cards with the history written on them. Enjoy the experience of selecting your own tempting carton of treats from the piles of milk, white and dark delights piled up around you in this lovely shop. [3 Church Street, Abbey Green]

* Independent Spirit of Bath – The two witty chaps who run this great off licence offer more than just your average bottle of plonk and can of low grade lager. You come to Independent Spirit for expert advice on spirits, whiskies, fine wines, champagnes and a fantastic selection of world and craft beers. With tasting evenings ever popular, and the guys happy to try and source customers requests, shopping for alcohol got a whole lot more pleasurable! Found opposite the Parade Gardens and Bog Island. [7, Terrace Walk]

* Gillards of Bath – Established in 1886, this lovely stall inside the Guildhall Market, is the place to go for your tea and coffee requirements. Still blending teas and roasting  coffee beans for the aficionados delight, you can also pick up a infuser or grinder as well. [Guildhall Market]

* The Fine Cheese Company – Established in Bath for twenty years this mecca for cheese lovers is one to delight all the senses! Specialising in British cheeses, there are also artisan cheeses sourced from Europe; plus a wide range of biscuits, jellies, jams and other accoutrements all to add to your cheeseboard. Planning a wedding? Then try a cheese wedding cake as something a bit different! Next door there is also a popular cafe where they sell sandwiches, salads, quiches and cakes to eat in or take away. [29 & 31 Walcot Street]

* San Francisco Fudge – For all you sweet toothed fudge lovers out there you will love this great shop near the Abbey Courtyard. All handmade in Bath, the owner is an American lady who ran a fudge stall in San Francisco, but since opening her shop here in Bath in 1995, her fudge is enjoyed by people from all around the world, and shipped around it too! Children’s parties and wedding favours are catered for, and what’s best of all is there are no artificial ingredients. Most of the fudge is also suitable for vegetarians and those with gluten intolerances (always check beforehand). [6 Church Street]

Sport Lovers

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After indulging in all that lovely food and drink, New Year is usually when new intentions are started and the trainers are donned; however there are plenty of you out there who enjoy sport (both watching and partaking) all year round. Bath is the home not only to Bath Rugby and Bath City FC but also has it’s own Racecourse out at Lansdown and a West of England Premier League Cricket Team. There are lots of local sporting groups throughout the city, plus we’re lucky enough to host and train many of the past, present and future Olympic and Paralympic athletes who train as part of Team Bath at the University of Bath. You can find Bath Rugby’s Official shop just along Pultney Street opposite the entrance steps down to The Rec. Here’s a couple more independent shops that may be able to cater for the sporting types whom you have to buy a gift for this Christmas.

* Running Bath – Don’t be too surprised on your walk around Bath if you’ll suddenly see a suited office worker pound up and down The Corridor shopping arcade in Bath with a pair of bright trainers on their feet being watched closely by one of the team at this expert running shop, for this is all part of the service here at these trainer specialists. They make sure that the footwear you choose isn’t based on the name, but on the suitability for your shape of foot and running gait. Great for the first time runner or the ironman triathlete. Sell accessories and clothing too. [ 19 High Street]

* John’s Bikes – Bath’s oldest bike shop, John’s Bikes has been a well loved shop on Walcot Street for 36 years. Offering expert advice and tips as well as servicing and repairs, it’s a great place to go to catch up on the latest cycling news and events in and around Bath too. Of course they sell bicycles here too and they’ve got all makes and models for all budgets, from commuting to competing, from children to adults. [82-84 Walcot Street]

Unique Gifts

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* Vintage & Rare Guitars – Established in 1982, this fantastic shop is hidden down the cobbled streets of Queen Street. Selling investment pieces to gigging guitars these guys know their Fender’s from their Gibson’s. Amps and other accessories sold too; plus they also buy Guitars if you dare part with your old one. With 20 different brands from the past 60 years this is Guitar heaven and what makes it even more special is you can “try before you buy”; often the sound of a potential rock god can be heard echoing around the streets. Bliss for the budding Hendrix in your life. [11 Queen Street]

* Frederick Tranter – Now known under the “Havana House” brand name, this tobacconist and cigar specialist has been established in Bath since 1898. Although smoking is no longer as accepted as it once was, for those of you who still enjoy, this little shop is a blast from the past. You can purchase cigars, blended tobacco, pipes and other smoking paraphernalia in here; plus 30 flavours of snuff, and shaving accessories.[5 Church Street, Abbey Green]

* Ora et Labora – This shop lies within what were once Bath Abbey’s Cloisters and sells unique gifts made by monastic communities from around the world. From Trappist beers, cheese and leather goods to toiletries, scarfs and ceramics you’ll be surprised and delighted by the artisan products that monasteries are still producing today. The shop also sells the unique Bath Medieval Pudding, based on an original recipe found in Bath Archives dating to 1430. You can taste more of history here with regular sampling evenings and dinners, plus there is a small museum downstairs. [3 Church Street, Abbey Green]

* Bath Stamp & Coin Shop – This little shop does exactly what it says in its name and has done so since 1958 in Bath. This family run business not only buys and sells coins and stamps but also military medals; plus free valuations are available when the shop isn’t too busy. A philatelists paradise, it brings back childhood memories for many, and continues to delight every age. [12 Pultney Bridge]

 

Christmas Shopping in Bath – Part One

With the Bath Christmas Market in full swing, we thought we’d also add to your shopping miles by suggesting some great independent traders to visit while you’re staying in the city. The Market is a mecca for local businesses but we’d hope that you’d take some time out to explore a bit more of the city on foot and perhaps one of these shops you will stumble across may tempt you too.

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Clothing & Accessories

Bath is so lucky to have many independent retailers within the City, plus lots of great charity and vintage shops too. These will require a separate post another time; but here are a choice few for your Christmas delights.

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* Liz Cox – Since 1995, Liz Cox has been selling her 100% Made in England bespoke leather handbags here in Bath. All produced locally you can even create your very own customised bag to suit your style (or even your car or dress, whatever takes your fancy!). Men aren’t left out either with their own range of bags and accessories as well. With the monogram currently fashionable on the catwalk, you can make sure your clutch or satchel is initialed too. Head up towards The Royal Crescent and this hidden shopping street of other great independents is found between the Crescent and The Circus. [17 Margaret Buildings]

* Grace & Ted – We all love a bargain and this mother and daughter run boutique is an Aladdin’s den of designer resale clothes, shoes and accessories for both men and women. The fashionable set of Bath come here to sell on their last season wardrobe as well as pick up a Prada or Hermes classic. They also create bespoke hats and fascinators here too. Found in the 18th Century delight of Kingsmead Square there are plenty of great cafes and restaurants around here in which to rest your weary legs. [10 Kingsmead Square]

* The British Hatter – A really unique find, you can almost walk past this shop without realising. It feels like a step back in time when you go in, but The British Hatter still creates and sells headware to the gentlemen and ladies of Bath of styles both contemporary and traditional. Perfect for that hat for races, weddings or garden parties. [9-11 Walcot Street]

* Alexandra May & Not Cartier  – There are many wonderful designers and both small and big shops in Bath that deserve mention; but I will mention in this blog two businesses who bring out the magpie in most people. Alexandra May can be found on the walk up to The Royal Crescent from The Circus; a fabulous shop crammed with jewellery, beads, gifts and curios that will be perfect this Christmastime for stocking fillers. Not Cartier is based inside the Guildhall, and sells everything from early plastics to 80s cast offs and everything diamante in between. Great to pick up that princess tiara, but it’s the earrings and necklaces that truly dazzle here. Clip on Earrings also are a great find for those with unpierced ears.

Books & Maps

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If you’re a Biblophile then you’ll love spending hours in these wonderful shops getting lost amongst the tomes.

* George Bayntun – Antique Books & Bindery. Dates to 1894. Located just next door to our sister hotel, The Royal Hotel; which is opposite the station. [5 Manvers Street]

* Topping & Co. – Lots of collectible books and very popular talks by authors. To be found just at the top of Broad Street as you turn right onto The Paragon. [The Paragon]

* Bath Old Books – A co-operative of 5 experienced book dealers who run this small but fascinating shop. Filled to the brim with general and specialist books on two floors. [9c Margaret Buildings]

* Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights – winner of Independent Bookshop of the Year twice this haven for booklovers is hidden around the back of busy Milson Street. [14-15 John Street]

* Antique & Map Shop – Located on the world famous Pultney Bridge, this small shop is full of maps from all around the world from the 16th to 19th Centuries; along with books and atlases too. [9-10 Pultney Bridge]

Antique Shops/Markets

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Bath was once filled with lots of independent antique shops at once point, but there has been a decline of late. Some have remained though and the ever popular Bath Vintage & Antiques Market that’s run out of Green Park Station every fourth and first Sunday of the month and is a great place to start searching for that gem that will get you on The Antiques Roadshow! Occasionally on a Saturday there is also a pop up Flea Market in the car park next to the Hilton Hotel on Walcot Street; however there are no regular dates for this, so best just to walk along to check.

* Bartlett Street Antiques Centre – This is a great undercover place to visit where there are over 150 dealer showcases and 12 stands filled with jewellery, fine art, glass, toys and many other pieces of Ephemera and Collectibles. Bath’s Goldsmith Company are also on site for restorations, repairs and commissions. It’s to be found on your way walking up to the Assembly Rooms and Circus. [8 Bartlett Street]

We hope we’ve wet your appetite and that you’re looking forward to Part Two coming soon!

Christmas In Bath

Although it is only November, the countdown for Christmas has begun. Last Wednesday saw the Bath Christmas Light switch on, performed by the Bath Rugby Team. Tonight sees the magical Lantern Parade run by the Holburne Museum wend its way through the city; tomorrow, Friday, 21st November, sees the opening of the “Bath on Ice” Ice Rink in Royal Victoria Park, and next Thursday, 27th November is the beginning of the wonderful Bath Christmas Market that flows in and around the historic buildings of the city, tempting you all with tasty treats and local gifts.

Bath Christmas Market

We’ve been decorating The Bailbrook Lodge too, so we’re all in a festive mood as well.  Our lovely fire is lit and keeping guests warm in our lounge; plus they can enjoy a well deserved nightcap from our small Bar before heading upstairs to their comfortable beds, worn out by all that shopping and sightseeing.

If you’re thinking of visiting Bath for the Christmas Market (27th November to 14th November) we’ve a few rooms left for both Sunday nights; but be quick, they’ll be snapped up fast!

If you can only get time off the week before Christmas, then we are offering you a fantastic deal – an en-suite room and our award winning champagne Breakfast, free car parking space per room; plus dinner or lunch at the fabulous Brasserie Brunel in the centre of Bath, all from only £99.00 per COUPLE per night! This Shopping Plus package is available from Sunday 14th December until Tuesday 23rd December. What a perfect excuse to come and enjoy the delights of Bath at Christmas.

 

Bath Abbey to receive a Facelift

Bath Abbey to receive a FaceliftBath is a city renowned for its stunning architecture and Bath Abbey is one of these beautiful buildings frequently visited by people enjoying Bath bed and breakfast stays. The Abbey will soon receive even more attention as plans have recently been submitted to develop the Abbey to the needs of the 21st century.

Plans have been received by the council for an £18 million project to strengthen and improve the medieval features of the church, including the creation of 2,000 sq ft of extra floor space at vault level and a subtle upgrade to the Georgian terrace of Kingston Buildings.

The scheme has been designed by architects following people’s feedback, which called for choir school facilities, learning spaces and communal meeting areas. An eco-friendly heating system is also being installed that will utilise the natural hot spring’s of the city, which are world famous for being the reason behind popular spa breaks in Bath.

These improvements to Bath Abbey are set to bring the building up to date whilst retaining its medieval features, good news for the residents of Bath and for future visitors to the splendid city.

 

Image credit: Mike_fleming (flickr.com)