Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Ralph Allen, a legacy in Bath

For those who seek a little culture in their Bath weekend breaks, look no further than this unique museum. As you will appreciate Bath is a World Heritage City like no other. With a museum and model of the city like no other. The Building of Bath Collection offers a rare and fascinating insight into how and why Bath has the layout and building format that is so frequently visited and enjoyed today. A unique collection of line drawings, paintings and models, the architectural history of Bath presents the men and the labour that transformed a provincial town, spread over seven hills, into a highly desirable and world famous Georgian Spa.

This unique collection is housed within an equally unique museum. The Countess of Huntingdon built a chapel to fight the decadence and frivolity of Georgian Bath. The building has survived as the only complete 18th century Gothic Revival building in Bath.

Adult tickets are £5, with children enjoying the museum at a charge of £2.50. It is open from 2pm till 5pm every day (except Monday when the museum is closed). In the summer, the museum opens mid-mornings Saturday and Sunday.

Modelling the building of Bath

The Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, The Vineyards, The Paragon, Bath, BA1 5NA

Three newly polished public houses in Bath

Bath has the good fortune of being the recipient of substantial investment in the transformation of three old fashioned drinking and smoking pubs. Following extensive refurbishment and investment, visitors to Bath may now take advantage of three modern, mixed purpose family pubs. All three properties are owned and run by Fuller’s of London. The Fuller’s brewery, located in Chiswick, west London, has operated on the same site for over 350 years, with links back to the era of Oliver Cromwell. More recently, Fullers developed their interest in the Bath hospitality scene with the redevelopment of their three public houses.

Crystal Palace has a prominent location on Abbey Green. The pub’s major claim of historic importance lies with the belief that Lord Nelson stayed at the property. Formerly called Three Turns Lodging House, the naval sea lord stayed as a guest en route to the coast. The building would have been somewhat different in appearance to the property we view today, as an upper floor has been removed. During the course of renovations in the last century, several skeletons were unearthed in the cellar, along with a Roman mosaic. The mosaic was carefully covered in sand and remains in situ to this day – less is known as to the current resting place of the skeletons. In celebration of the opening of Crystal Palace in West London, the public house that we know today was opened largely replacing the former lodging house. The Crystal Palace was refurbished once again in 2013; standing in Abbey Green, the property is a matter of a few strides from the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and the very heart of the city. Of particular appeal is the large outdoor seating area that offers guests a peaceful oasis as one seeks refreshment before setting off for a further tour of the sites.

The second pub of the trio is the Huntsman. Built in 1748 by John Wood the Elder, the pub claims the oldest fa├žade in Bath. Looking east over Parade Gardens, the Hunstman makes an ideal stop over point when visiting Bath Abbey. Offering morning coffee, freshly cooked lunches or a simple evening pie and pint,  all needs are catered for. The ground floor is light, airy and full of open spaces and is suitable for casual dining or groups of friends to sit and chat. The second floor serves as a more formal dining area, with vast sash windows and views towards Bathwick hill and her surrounds.

The Boater, at 9 Argyle Street, is the third and arguably the most substantial property of the trio. A  weekend break in a Bath hotel is embellished with a good pint of ale. With six cask ales, five draught lagers and a ‘library’ of over thirty craft beers – The Boater - delivers on the good pint promise. You only need to walk out of Dukes hotel, turn to the west and wander along Great Pulteney Street a few hundred yards. Then walk past Laura Place, and before reaching Pulteney Bridge you will find The Boater on your left,  a delightful bay windowed public house. The Boater spreads over three internal floors and outside onto a terrace garden. The Boater is a palace to self-indulgence in the true tradition of Beau Nash. Benefitting from a recent top to toe refit, The Boater offers three separate dining areas. Tasty traditional fare served at table on the ground floor, candlelit dinner upstairs, and for those balmy summer evenings -  the outdoor waterside terrace garden offers casual eating overlooking the weir.

Bike Bath 28/29 June

Bath gently wraps herself over no less than 7 hills, each with a potential part to play in Bike Bath which takes place in the last weekend of June. The event welcomes all with a variety of course distances. With staggered start times, the Saturday ride heads out towards Bristol. Depending on your appetite, the 100 mile option will see you passing through Chew Magna before turning south through Cheddar east towards Westbury, on to Bradford on Avon, prior to the return north west into Bath. Less energetic rides of 20, 30 and 6 miles are available. On Sunday riders will be invited to strike out towards Cirencester north east of Bath from 7 am and make a broad sweep through the Cotswold prior to returning to Bath. Once again, there are a number of options: 20, 20 and 60 miles. The charge for the 100 mile route including three feed stations is a mere £35. The 60 mile route benefits from a discounted rate at only £30 and the 20 and 30 mile have an entry price of only £15. Under 16’s are invited to enter without charge. Bike Bath anticipates over 1,000 participants over what will clearly be a cycling weekend to remember. Further information is available on the website www.bikebath.

Bath weekend breaks at Dukes -  Click here to book your stay in Bath city centre.

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