Sunday, 15 June 2014

Bath – spa hotel scene set to change

The Bath hotel scene will enjoy a dramatic upgrade in 2014. We anticipate the opening of a hotel in Bath like no other. The hotel rooms will be staggering, the service impeccable and the hotel facilities to die for. Although scheduled to open in June, as with all prima donnas a late entrance is to be anticipated, so we understand that The Gainsborough Hotel and Spa will now open in August. We are following the 99 rooms at  The Gainsborough Hotel and the upmarket full service restaurant with interest. However, to be honest, our sleep threatening interest is in the spa -  with its excellent facilities and  treatment rooms. Given the World Heritage Site status of Bath, the attraction of the Roman Bath, and the fact that The Gainsborough will tap into the same hot water source, need we add that the Roman Bath’s hot water source is the hottest in the UK, indeed the hottest in Northern Europe? With the importance of our visitors at heart of our preoccupation, is whether we will be able to sneak a few of our guests into the spa as VIP's, celebrities or simply as paying guests!

Free City Walking Tours

Following a long drive or train journey to your hotel in Bath why not unwind with a gentle walk? When was the last time that you enjoyed two hours of enthusiastic, professional and insightful knowledge for free? Drop off your bags at your very welcoming Bath accommodation on Great Pulteney Street and head off for the city centre. Where else in the world is there a near uninterrupted service of free guided walks  that been on offer for more than 80 years?

The first mention of guided walks in Bath may be traced back to 1934. Since that historic date, every Sunday - Friday at 10:30 and 14:00, and at 10:30 on every Saturday of the year, a guide will lead you around many of the most important sites in Bath.

The guides will offer up informative and historical insight into the folklore of the World Heritage City. Your walk will explore the city planning and architectural history of the formative years. You will be introduced to the historic role Bath has fulfilled as a leisure destination. With an ancient history of providing accommodation in Bath, public houses, tea rooms and the spa experience, the city is designed for your indulgence. The Royal Crescent, Circus, Pump Rooms and Assembly Rooms will all be visited and their role explained by any one of  the 65 dedicated guides.

The walk start is outside the Pump Room in Abbey Church Yard - look out for the self-explanatory sign 'Free Walking Tours Here'.

During May to September, once the weather picks up, there are additional tours on Tuesday and Thursday at 19:00. Each tour will last approximately 2 hours and, in our opinion, will offer you one of the finest and most informative free historical briefings on any World Heritage City.

As with most of the Bath hotels, we are only a five minute walk from the gathering point at the Abbey Church Yard. Take an inspirational stroll along Great Pulteney Street, over Pulteney Bridge, turn left and follow the banks of the River Avon past Parade Garden, and the Abbey will loom above you over on the right.

Bath Abbey

Visit Bath Abbey web site....

An easy level walk from your accommodation in Bath, with perhaps a coffee stop on Pulteney Bridge, may prove an idyllic introduction to the city. Once in the centre, a visit to Bath Abbey is a priority for many who visit this World Heritage City. 500 years ago work started on the building of Bath Abbey. The Bishop of Bath had a dream of angels ascending and descending into heaven. This dream explains the sculptured ladders either side of the Abbey entrance detailing climbing and descending angels. A Gothic fantasy with flying buttresses in the  perpendicular architectural style, the inside of the abbey is renowned for its fan vaulting designed by Robert and William Vertue. Bath Abbey is the last great medieval cathedral to have been built in England and, as such, has very great historic significance.

For a unique perspective, Tower Tours offers you the opportunity to take a fully guided tour into the areas of the abbey the general public rarely see. The fully guided tour lasts a little less than an hour, with adult tickets at £6 and children contributing £3. The guide will introduce you to the ringing chamber and the bell chamber and then take you to stand on top of the abbey’s vaulted ceiling. Often visitors will enjoy a brief pause when they may be seated behind the abbey clock face prior to setting off and completing the 212 step climb up to the roof top. From here, you will be offered a unique view over the World Heritage City of Bath, many claim to see the chimney pots of their accommodation in Bath at Dukes hotel against a backdrop of the Somerset hills beyond.

Music series at the American Museum

For many guests breaks in Bath are a matter of a little pampering and self indulgence. Enjoy the journey down to Bath on a Saturday morning, drop the bags off, park up the car and then head off into the city. Enjoy the sights, return to Dukes, shower and change before heading out to dinner. Sunday morning enjoy a leisurely breakfast with tasty options that one rarely savours at home; smoked haddock and poached eggs or try a perfect omlette. Once you have finished, rather than heading off home, why not extend the the Bath weekend and make your way out to the American Museum in Claverton on the outskirts of the city? On a balmy Sunday afternoon in early summer, turn the chill out factor to high and enjoy a lazy afternoon of jazz. For those in Bath over the weekend of the 15 June take note - Paul Hill, an accomplished guitarist and banjo player, will be performing at the American Museum situated at Claverton Manor in Claverton, Bath, Avon BA2 7BD 01225 460503

Paul is local to Bath and the West Country and will be performing as a guest of the summer All Music Series. Paul is a well-known figure on the UK’s blue grass scene. With a performance scheduled to start at 2pm in the Stables courtyard guests will simply require gardens only admission. Prices are £5.50 for an adult and £3.50 for children.

If you’re interested in a little more activity, then how about this as an alternative?

After a comfy night’s sleep and a full English breakfast in any one of the boutique hotels Bath has to offer, why not check out of your Bath hotel and amble along to the Vintage and Antiques at Green Park Station. Located on the western side of the city, Green Park is a ten minute walk from Dukes. A former railway station with a vast cast iron rib cage, the stately engineered structure simply oozes heritage. Much of the roof is glassed over and so makes an ideal venue for a varied mix of vintage and modern traders to gather and promote their collections.

Held every first and last Sunday of the month, the Vintage and Antiques market caters to collectors from as far afield as London, a mere 90 minutes away. Visitors include traders and antique hunters from Bristol, a 20 minute journey away, and a mix of visitors and residents of Bath.

During the summer months, the market boasts over 60 independent stalls selling an eclectic mix of silverware, vintage and retro, antiques, cameras, curiosities and collectables of all shapes and sizes. Enjoy whiling away an hour or two as you pick through the memorabilia. Or, take time out to indulge in a little people watching as you enjoy a thick slice of homemade Victorian sponge cake with a large pot of well-drawn tea. Bath offers up a wealth of opportunities for indulging oneself, whether by cris-crossing the city in search of that unseen architectural gem, lying in the roof top pool and the Thermae spa or rummaging through antiques from a bygone era.

Dukes Bath Hotel -  Click here to view our family-friendly accommodation.

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