Monday, 28 December 2015

Looking Back Over Our Year and Looking Forward To The Next

It’s been an incredible year for all of us here at Dukes this year. So many great events have been taking place in Bath. We’ve welcomed guests both new and old to the city, and have enjoyed seeing familiar faces coming back to stay us, as well as meeting new visitors who we hope we’ll be able to see again soon. We really do feel that everyone who comes to Dukes is much more than a visitor, and each time one of our guests comes back to stay with us it’s like seeing an old friend again.  We’re hoping for much more of that next year! But before we get into 2016 we wanted to take a quick look back at some of the highlights from 2015.

In February we had the Bath Literature Festival in Bath. The programme of events included talks from top names authors who wrote some of the biggest books of the past year. Kazuo Ishiguro, Kate Mosse and David Nicholls were just three of the big names who came to Bath. (This year has another brilliant line-up too. Brain Blessed, Tessa Hadley and Jonathon Dimbleby to name but three).   

The Bath Fringe Festival takes place at the end of May/beginning of June, and is often host to some of the acts that go on to wow at the Edinburgh Fringe. Bath’s theatre scene is one of the most thriving in the UK, and this is true the year round, not only during the two-week festival. The Bath Theatre Royal certainly lived up to its reputation this year. It’s hard to choose our favourite, but one of the shows that’s at the top of our list has to be the multi-media live stage adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Also in June there was the Festival of Nature, and in July there was the Bath Carnival, which saw the whole city get involved in Rio Carnival themed workshops and a grand carnival parade. 

September is the month in which the annual Jane Austen Festival takes place when, even if you’re not involved in the festival yourself, you can still find yourself drinking coffee next to a costumed Mr Darcy or a Miss Bennet. Regency meets modern is something that Bath is particularly good at.

In October Bath had it’s heritage week and we particularly appreciated the late night candle-lit opening hours at the Roman Baths and 

And then of course there’s the Bath Christmas Market that was back again this year for its fifteenth visit. Bigger and better than ever not even the rain could put a damper on people’s spirits and the market was humming with visitors every day. 

It’s been a great year and we can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring. 

From everyone here at Dukes, we wish you a happy new year!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Places to Go and Things to Do In Bath This Christmas

Bath is full of places to go and things to do, and is a wonderful city to visit at any time of year, but especially now with all of the extra festive events going on, and given how mild the weather has been recently. Usually exploring nearby Sydney Gardens and Prior Park at this point in December wouldn’t be so tempting, but as the temperature hasn’t dropped we can well imagine taking a nice Boxing Day walk around one or other of them and needing only a light coat for warmth. Prior Park will open from 10 until 4 (last entry at 3) on Saturdays and Sundays (including Boxing Day) throughout the rest of December and January, and Sydney Gardens are open throughout the year from around 8 until 6 each day. 

These are a few other Christmas opening times that we thought might be useful to anyone visiting Bath this December:

Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House

Open as usual
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.  Sundays
(Evening refreshment by candlelight 5 pm-9:30 pm Monday-Thursday, Friday and Saturday 5 pm -10 pm, Sunday 5 pm-9 pm)

The Roman Baths  

Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day otherwise open as usual.
09:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (exit 6 p.m.)

The Pump Rooms 

Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day otherwise open as usual.
09:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. serving coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner

Southgate Shopping Centre

Varies store by store but usual open hours are 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Some shops will open early on Boxing Day as the sales get underway.

The Jane Austen Centre

Open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (last entry at 3 p.m.) except on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day

The Holburne Museum

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day

The Victoria Art Gallery

Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day. Sunday opening is from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Mondays.

A couple of other attractions in Bath which you might like to look at include The Theatre Royal (which has Jack and the Beanstalk  playing until January 10th), and The Little Theatre Cinema which will be showing not only the big new releases such as the new Star Wars film, Carol, and Bridge of Spies, but also seasonal favourites. A few of these include Branagh Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, It’s A Wonderful Life, and the Bolshoi Ballet dancing The Nutcracker. 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Early Booking for the 2016 Independent Bath Literature Festival

Each year Bath holds it’s famous literature festival. Big name authors, playwrights, illustrators and other literary figures come together to fill the impressive programme of events. This year, to celebrate the 21st birthday of the festival, organisers have decided to release tickets for 12 special events ahead of the general ticket release date on the 18th of January (although festival friends and priority bookings go on sale a few days before this). As always tickets sell out fast, so planning ahead is important, especially if you want to see any of the twelve early release events. 

These are:
  • ·      Alice Roberts, presenter of The Incredible Human Journey and Coast, talking about her explorations into the forgotten Celts of Europe. (27th February, 1pm-2pm at The Guildhall) 

  • ·      Vince Cable discussing his new book After the Storm with Financial Times columnist Stefan Stern. The book looks at the global economy from the past five years from the perspective of a senior coalition member at the heart of it all. (27th February, 4:30pm-5:30pm at The Guildhall) 

  • ·      Joan Bakewell gets to the heart of this year’s festival theme “Forever Young” as she discusses her book Stop the Clocks: Thoughts on What I Leave Behind. It touches on politics, literature, love and everyday customs. Thought-provoking, enlightening and emotional, this is set to be a real highlight. (28th February, 11:15am-12:15pm at The Guildhall)     

  • ·      An expert panel, which includes Artistic Director Viv Groskop and culture writer Mark Lawson, debates the best coming-of-age novels of all time. The Bell Jar, Great Expectations and Little Women are all sure to be a few of the contenders, as well as some lesser known gems. (28th February, 1pm-2pm at The Guildhall) 

  • ·      Author of Girl with a Pearl Earring Tracey Chevalier presents her new historical fiction novel, this time her stage is in 19th century Ohio with the Goodenough family who struggle against themselves and against the nature around them. (4th March, 6:15pm-7:15pm at The Guildhall) 

  • ·      Ben Miller abandoned a physics PhD to pursue his career as a comedian, but now he has combined the two in his book The Aliens Are Coming! Here he talks about the serach for the real E.T.s. (4th March, 8pm-9pm at The Guildhall) 

  • ·      Classic FM’s morning programme presenter John Suchet explores the Strauss family in his latest book The Last Waltz. Suchet looks to show how the turbulence of 19th century Austria influenced the fate of the family. (5th March, 4:30pm-5:30pm at Nexus Methodist Church) 

  • ·      Comedian and writer Dom Joly introduces his audience in this hour to his life and his new autobiography Here Comes the Clown. (5th March, 8pm-9pm at the Guildhall) 

  • ·      91 year old RAF veteran Harry Leslie Smith shot to prominence when his Facebook post about Remembrance Day was shared 80,000 times. He’s now a Guardian columnist and author of Harry’s Last Stand. His message is that the NHS and the welfare state need protecting.  (6th March, 1pm-2pm at The Guildhall) 

  • ·      Anthony Seldon, former head of Wellington College, and journalist Peter Snowdon were given access to the inner circle in the coalition government. Together they analyse the dramas that came from that partnership and the turning points of their governance. (6th March, 2:45pm-3:45pm at The Guildhall) 

  • ·      Every year when Austentatious comes to Bath it sells out. This year it returns once more with their improvised take on Jane Austen’s work. The audience suggests and the performers oblige; in the past they’ve done Strictly Come Darcy and Mansfield Shark. Each performance is different and each a must-see. (6th March, 4:30pm-5:30pm at The Guildhall)   

Tickets for these twelve events are available now via the Bath Literature Festival website:

Friday, 4 December 2015

Bath Christmas Market – Only One Week Left

The Bath Christmas Market’s 170+ wooden chalets opened their doors up to shoppers at 10am on November 26th, and from that very first moment the city has been alive with shoppers and sight-seers alike. Bath’s market is always popular but this year it really has gone the extra mile to bring Scandinavian festivity to the city. We took a trip around the market and these are a few of the things we were delighted to find.

1.      Tasters! 
A lot of the stalls in the market are foody stalls and, even better, most of them offer free samples. Wandering around we’ve tasted Cheddar cheese that’s been aged in the Cheddar Gorge itself, handmade chocolate orange chocolate brownies (we were also really impressed with their ginger chocolate brownies), tots of Bath Ale, cured sausages, clotted cream fudge (and sea salted caramel fudge, and coffee fudge, and even strawberry fudge (practically every flavour was covered), and, of course, Christmas puddings. We could have quite easily had an entire meal consisting only of free tasters, and been very happy with it too.

2.      The Lodge
Except that if we’d properly filled up on tasters then we wouldn’t have had room left to eat in the Lodge. New this year is the huge rustic snow lodge which has been built on the Stall Street side of the Pump Rooms. When you want to take the weight off your feet for a bit after all of your exploring then the Lodge is a great place to go. 10a.m.-10p.m. they’re serving heart-warming food, hot drinks, cakes and local ales in a setting that will make you feel as if you’ve just come in off the slopes.  

3.      The Apres Ski Bar 
Close to Bath Rugby’s Recreation Ground, the Apres Ski Bar is another Alpine escape to visit. It has snow on the roof, wooly blankets to snuggle up in (not that it’s been very cold recently!) and ski boot drinks that we’re yet to sample. At night the Ski Bar has it’s own resident DJ so you can go and dance the night away in style.

4.      Last but not least - no more loo-queues
Ever practical this year the organisers have arranged for extra free and pleasant facilities to be around the market. Not a portaloo or a queue in sight.

Bath is in its element at the moment. Our city is thriving with energy and atmosphere, and so if you’re thinking of visiting a Christmas market this year we really do recommend that you choose Bath. Come and stay with us at Dukes Hotel (we’re only five minutes level walk from the city centre and Bath’s Christmas Market) and let us get you in the Christmas spirit. Bring on the mince pies and mulled wine! 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Stay in Bath for the Bath Christmas Market 

It’s that time of year again - one of the most popular times to visit Bath. Because as we get nearer to the end of November, we get ever nearer to the start of Bath’s Christmas market. From the 26th of November until December 13th  the village of traditional chalets will once again set up shop in the middle of our beautiful Georgian city. With the combination of wooden huts, steaming mulled wine and the Abbey soaring high lighting up the Bath night, you’re hard pressed to find another market in the country than can rival it when it comes to an amazing atmosphere.

Each year for the past 15 years, Bath has played host to a vast market emcompassing a huge variety of stalls including food, crafts, and gifts. Stallholders will be coming from all around the world, but there’s also a heavy emphasis on local artisans. This year 82% of the exhibitors will be from Bath or the South West, 76% of these will be products that are handmade, and the number of stalls is set to be over 170! A few of the more unusual things we’re expecting to see include: marmite fudge and strawberry fudge, contemporary ironwork homewares, gluten-free Christmas puddings, Morrocan lanterns, and German nutcrackers.

The market will be open each day from 10am and stays open until 7pm Monday-Wednesdays, 6pm on Sundays, and has late night shopping until 8:30pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. And though visiting in the evening means wrapping up warm it is definitely worth it. Each stall is individually lit up, and the Abbey at night is a real sight to behold. Wandering around the stalls in a warm winter coat and a wooly scarf, nursing a cup of hot cider in one hand and a mince pie in the other is a brilliant way to get into the Christmas spirit.  

If you’ve got time after you’ve been around the market (or before you go) then Bath’s Victoria Park also has some seasonal attractions to try. As in previous years there will be a huge outdoor ice rink to have a spin on, and wood-fired pizzas and a fully-licensed bar to partake of afterwards. One thing we haven’t seen before though is going to be the glow-in-the-dark mini golf. If it was hard during the day then it’s going to be a lot harder (but certainly highly amusing) once the sun goes down!

Another reason we love the Bath Christmas market is that is is so easy for us to get to. It’s right in the centre of Bath, and only a five minute level walk from us at Dukes Hotel and from Bath Spa train station. It’s easy to come and go from as we please – to experience it during the day when it’s quieter, as well as at night. If you’re looking for a nice weekend of shopping that will get you into the festive mood (and get you out of the same old high street shops that everyone will be going to) then there really is no place better than Bath.

Our top tip: try and come during the week if you can – that way you can beat the crowds and take your time exploring, not only the market, but the city itself as well. You definitely won’t be stuck for things to do! 

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Best Independent Shops to Visit In Bath

In almost every city centre in the UK there are a few shops that you can expect to find. Most cities have their own branch of Boots, Marks and Spencer, WHSmith and Waterstones. On a similar note when it comes to eating out you don’t have to travel far to find a pizza hut, and it’s been shown that wherever you are on the UK mainland, you’re never further away than 85 miles from a McDonalds. But one reason we love being in Bath is the fact that our city has so many great independent alternatives. When you need a good coffee or you want to go clothes shopping there’s no need to be limited to the same old chain stores. After all, visiting a new city is all about new experiences. These are just a few of our suggestions.

When you want something to read:
Toppings bookshop regularly hosts signings, talks and events with various prominent authors; but our favourite has to be Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. It’s tucked away down a side street and is one of the only bookshops we know of that has a Reading Spa with coffee, cake, and bibliotherapists (like a personal shopper, only helping you choose the best books rather than clothes).

Having said that, if you’re a fan of clothes shopping:
Hampstead Bazaar on Pulteney Bridge is a favourite of the likes of Dame Judi Dench. They specialise in elegant flowing designs that flatter just about every woman who puts one on. Another recommendation is Channi B; an independent boutique shop on the ground floor of Milsom Place (a shopping area just off from Milsom Street). They sell unique clothes and accessories, and their shoes in particular are stunning statement pieces that you won’t find on the highstreet.

If you’re in need of a stationers:
Woods stocks everything from inlaid fountain pens to Filofaxes to iPad accessories, and they have been a feature in Bath for over 200 years. The other place to go, especially for art puzzles and the most beautiful advent calendars, is Maythers card shop.

Looking for a good old-fashioned pint:
The Raven on Queen Street has a wide range of local beers and real ales. It’s a family-run pub in a pair of conjoined Georgian townhouses with plenty of atmosphere and happily no loud music, TVs or arcade machines. Every second Monday they also host a scientific debate. Worlds away from a commercially driven chain-pub.

Keen to see a film:
While you could visit the Odeon, which has all of the latest releases, there are few cinemas we like more than The Little Theatre. This is a small (as the name suggests) and intimate cinema still set out as they used to be in yester-year; with tiered padded seats, balconies and a ticket seller on the door in a ticket booth.

When you’re looking for a great pizza:
Bath does have a Pizza Express but our recommendation is to try either the Ponte Vecchio, which is only a five minutes stroll from Dukes Hotel and has amazing views as it is right next the weir. Or for modern and atmospheric, try The Stable on Kingsmead Square.

We hope Dukes Hotel can welcome you for an explorative visit in Bath soon!

Visit Bath for A Week of Heritage in October

To coincide with the schools half term, special exhibitions, talks and workshops will be going on across Bath from Saturday October 24th to Sunday November 1st, all as part of a heritage week of events. While there are many activities aimed specifically at children and families (making masks at Victoria Art Gallery or attending a storytelling session at No.1 Royal Crescent for example), there are also several special events going on that are not-to-be-missed for visitors of all ages. Especially anyone interested in history!

Welcome to the Mayor’s Parlour is an exhibition that will be running everyday for the Heritage Week from 11:00am-4:00pm. On display will be eight hundred years of history, including the City’s Royal Charters, gold, silver and sword. Located within Bath’s Guildhall, the Mayor’s Parlour is in itself quite impressive to visit; decked out in a decadent Victorian style with vast crystal chandeliers.

Wreck Mail: Letters from the Deep is a collection of letters which were carried aboard ships but lost at sea due to enemy fire in WW1. From 11:00am-5:00pm each day visitors to the Bath Postal Museum will have the opportunity to read some of this correspondence that was never delivered. Each piece has it’s own story and the story of the vessel it was being carried on. These include military vessels sunk by torpedoes to civilian ships that were scuttled by the enemy. As well as this special display the Bath Postal Museum details the history of the post right back to 2000BC and Ancient Egypt, through the birth of the Royal Mail and up to modern times. It’s rather appropriate that this museum should be in Bath as Bath is where the first penny black stamp was sent from in 1840.

Next on our list is a single day event at The American Museum in Britain – a unique museum dedicated to American life and history that can be found next to Bath University’s Widcombe campus. On Tuesday 27th October there will be a falconry demonstration going on in its impressive grounds (which have stunning views over the surrounding countryside). From 12:30pm-1:00pm and 2:30pm-3:00pm leading falconer Ray Prior will be flying owls, hawks, eagles and falcons and talking to visitors about the birds.

Finally, what kind of Heritage Week would it be if there wasn’t a big event being hosted at the Roman Baths? On Friday 30th October the Baths will be lit by blazing torches and open late from 6:00pm-8:00pm, allowing guests the opportunity to explore the Baths in a new romantic evening atmosphere. At the same time there will be the Great Roman Feast: an opportunity to try some traditional Roman dishes, as well as sampling the famous mineral waters should you wish to.

There are many other events going on throughout the week, but these are just a few of our picks. More details and the full Heritage Week programme can be found at: We hope all of us at Dukes Hotel in Bath can welcome you to stay soon!

It’s The Little Things That Make A Stay in Bath

At Dukes Hotel we know that it's the little details that can make all the difference to a stay in Bath. Whether this is just the right amount of milk in your morning tea, a room with a view, or having an egg that's just the right mix of soft and hard boiled for breakfast; these are the details that make all the difference. So this got us thinking recently about all the small things around the city that we might not always notice. And with this is mind we decided to write a post on some of the often-overlooked gems to look out for during a stay in Bath.

Bath is lucky to be the only city in Britain to have been given UNESCO world heritage site status. It was awarded this honour, among other things, for its Georgian architecture and grand Roman Baths. What fewer people know is that to commemorate this achievement Bath installed the UNESCO symbol in the floor outside of the Pump Rooms; just at the junction between Bath Street and Stall Street.

One primary example of Bath's grand Georgian architecture is the Circus. Completed in 1768 by John Wood the Younger (following plans laid out by his Father) this impressive circle of townhouses has stone statues of acorns lining it’s roofs. But since they're quite high up the acorns are not always noticed, and if they are then their significance is often unknown.

The reason John Wood included them was as a reference to the story of how Bath became a city. In around 850BC the future King Bladud was working as a swineherd, having been cast out of court for being a leper. The pigs he was looking after also had leprosy. At least they did until they played in some hot springs while they were hunting for acorns. The pigs came out muddy but cured of the disease. Bladud saw this, also went into the waters and his leprosy was also cured. He founded the city of Bath on the site in gratitude.  

Another impressive feature of Bath has to be Bath Abbey. At one hundred and fifty meters tall it’s not easy to miss. What is easier to miss though are the holes in the ceiling, but we promise you they are in fact there. Each one is about the size of a two-pound coin and they were put there deliberately to make it easier for the bell ringers. The ringers could put their eyes to the holes and see during weddings and the like when the happy couple was making their way back down the aisle. This was their cue to start the bells.  

Bath has plenty of secrets to reveal if you know where to look, and we’d like to think that Dukes Hotel might be one of them. Come and stay in Bath at our Georgian gem of a Bath guesthouse and let us help you discover the city’s hidden stories.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Bath and the Theatre

When tourists in the Georgian era came to visit Bath, one of the top things on their list of things to do in Bath was to go to (and also to be seen at) Bath’s new Theatre Royal. For over two hundred years now Bath has been a big name on the theatrical circuit; welcoming the best classic productions, as well as some of the most innovative new works, that there are around. Ever the history enthusiasts (hardly surprising given that of all the types of hotels available in Bath, we chose to run a luxury Grade II listed guest house) we had a look at the history of theatre in Bath.

In 1768 Bath became the first city outside of London to receive a Royal Patent and, already with a growing reputation for top quality performances, this really put Bath on the theatrical map. Soon Bath was as important a booking for thespians as London was.

The original Theatre Royal wasn’t in the building that it is today though. The first Theatre Royal was in Orchard Street. It still survives but it is currently used as a Masonic Hall. Part of the building that now houses Bath’s Theatre Royal actually used to be Beau Nash’s house (Bath’s Master of Ceremonies from 1704 to his death in 1761). The move from Orchard Street to Sawclose followed plans drawn up by George Dance, professor of architecture at the Royal Academy. Amazingly the project only took a year to go from concept to finished creation, and on the 12th October 1805 it opened with a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Since then it has played host to such famous faces as Sir Derek Jacobi, Rosamund Pike and Sir Patrick Stewart. It has had included in it’s programmes everything from family pantomimes to Shakespeare’s tragedies, and from Mozart’s operas to multi media adaptations of Virginia Woolf.  And with such a rich and lengthy past it’s hardly surprising to learn that it is said to have it’s own ghosts - The Grey Lady and The Phantom Doorman.

But Bath’s love of the theatre doesn’t stop at the historic Theatre Royal. There are a great many theatres to choose from in Bath. The Egg is dedicated to children’s theatre, while the Mission Theatre and The Rondo Theatre are both smaller scale venues which host a wide variety of touring and also locally produced works. Open-air productions are regularly held each year at local heritage venues such as Prior Park and Iford Manor and Bath is also home to the renowned street theatre company, The Natural Theatre Company.  

There are now over 18 cities in Britain with a Theatre Royal but Bath has still managed to retain its long-held reputation for theatrical excellence. So if you visit Bath we recommend having a look at what’s on and taking some time to catch a performance or two.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Summer is Here to Stay in Bath Carnival

One of the best things about summer, aside from long sunny days and ice cream cones, are the huge number of outdoor events that are going on. But it’s not just camping in fields at festivals like Glastonbury. There are hundreds of smaller, city-based events being held as well, and Bath is no exception; we have some lovely ones coming up soon.

The next big event we have coming up will be on Saturday 11th July when Bath welcomes back the Bath Carnival. Each year there is a different theme and local organisations and residents work together to produce a day of music, dance and arts that can be enjoyed by all ages, culminating in the grand carnival parade.

This year’s theme is Creatures, Colours and Communities. It’s inspired by Rio Carnival and each section of the city has been given a different colour and Brazilian creature to use as inspiration. Dukes Hotel is in the centre of Bath so we are part of the Brasilia area that has been given red as its colour and frogs for its creature. Even better for us – the carnival procession will be passing by our front door as it gathers at the Bath Recreational Grounds and will make it’s way down Great Pulteney Street, so we’re guaranteed to have a good view of it all!

Everyone is encouraged to join in in whatever way they would like to. Whether this is signing up to a workshop or two, signing up to march in the parade, or, most importantly, just turning out to have a good time and be part of the atmosphere. Costume making workshops are underway in the coming weeks and we’re really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with. It should be a good spectacle. Last year there were lots of feathers, sequins and samba, so we’re hoping for some more of the same this time around.

It may not be as big as some, or as well known or high profile, but for those of us who want a little more in the way of comfort, and a little less in the way of dodging cowpats, small scale events like Bath Carnival are the way forward. You can enjoy a wide range of musical and cultural treats, while still having a comfortable mattress and a soft duvet to look forward to at the end of a lovely day. Stay in our luxury Bath bed and breakfast for Bath Carnival and you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Coming to Stay in Bath - The Bath Festival of Nature

Bath does fantastically well when it comes to hosting free events, and on Saturday June 27th another great free family event will be coming to visit Bath – The Bath Festival of Nature. Local and national organisations will be setting up their stands and displays around the bandstand area of Royal Victoria Park and offering visitors the chance to get stuck in and discover something new.

The Festival of Nature began in 2003 in Bristol and has been growing ever since. Each year a committee made up of representatives and members from the Bristol Natural History Consortium works together to fill the programme with talks and events from experts in sectors of conservation, media, policy and research. Some of the exhibitors this year will include the Avon Wildlife Trust, the Wild Waters tent and the National Trust who will be promoting their ongoing ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ project.

One of the best things about the festival is how interactive it is. A few of the things on the list of experiences that will be on offer are…
- A life casting workshop which will teach visitors how to make moulds of plants and faces
- A drawing workshop teaching you how to capture nature in pencil or paint
- The chance to make your own batteries with the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies
- Scientific stand-up comedy (we’re not entirely sure what this involves but we’re certainly intrigued to find out)
- And the Avon Bat Group who will be bringing in some live bats for visitors to meet.

Another highlight looks set to be the guided walks that are running. There are many many different tours that you can take that will show you the main city and tourist attractions in Bath, but if you fancy exploring the leafier side of Bath as well then there are two free nature themed walks that you can take as part of the festival. From 12-2 is the photography walk and from 2-2:45 is the nature walk that will be visiting Bath’s badger sets and botanical gardens.

Bath is a very cultural city as well a historic one (we were given World Heritage Site status in 1987) and the artistic side of nature is well catered for too. The Discovery Dome will be showing wildlife and art films throughout the day and the Forest of Imagination Installation is a sight not to be missed.

With the weather looking so good it’s a great time to stay in Bath and explore. Not only exploring the beautiful central city that Dukes Hotel is lucky to have enough to have waiting just beyond it’s doorstep, but also the many beautiful parks and gardens that we have all around us too. With so much going on for the Festival of Nature, it’s a great time to book a bed and breakfast stay in Bath. We hope we can see you soon!

Friday, 12 June 2015

 Visit Bath and Visit Dyrham Park

It’s easy to visit Bath for a week and find that there’s so much on offer in the city that you don’t have nearly enough time to do it all. Let alone have enough time to explore the surrounding areas as well. But Bath has such great road and rail links that staying in Bath and spending a couple of days of your stay going a little further afield is a real must. 

Recently we took a leaf out of our own book and went on a day trip to one of our local National Trust properties; Dyrham Park, and we had such a nice time that we thought we’d tell you a little more about one highlight of our latest trip. 

At the moment Dyrham is undergoing some essential renovation work on its roof – 200 years of use has taken its toll and apparantly water was starting to leak through in worrying amounts. But rather than close to the public while they replace all of the 8,000 slates and 46 tonnes of lead that make up the roof, the National Trust decided to turn the work into an attraction. Now visitors have the opportunity to go up to the top of the roof to a specially constructed walkway and get a close up look at the work in progress and see what’s going on. Not only was this pretty fascinating in itself, but there were viewing platforms looking out across the beautiful Cotswold countryside and the scenes were stunning. Made even better by the fine weather which we ‘re pleased to see looks set to continue this summer. 

It really is a unique opportunity and a great place to visit when you visit Bath. Of course, being caretakers of a historic house ourselves, as Dukes Hotel is a Grade II listed building, we feel a great affinity with organisations that want to protect the past in the same way that we do. There’s nothing quite like Georgian splendor to inspire you with a taste of luxury, and so it’s really important to retain the original features and authentic atmosphere of these historic properties. At Dukes we make a real effort to remain true to the era by preserving our sash windows, decorating our rooms in a traditional Regency style, and filling our hotel with beautiful antiques. 

Dukes Hotel is located perfectly for exploring the historic and cultural delights of Bath – the Royal Crescent and the Roman Baths to name only two. We’re only five minutes from the centre of town; placed just off from the famous Great Pulteney Street so it’s all right on our doorstep. We’re also only five minutes from the M4 and a ten minute stroll from Bath Spa railway station. This makes reaching all of the wonderful places we have nearby like Longleat and Lacock village (the location where they filmed the BBC series Cranford) fantastically easy.

Of course there’s more to see and do than can been done in the space of a weekend break, or even a two-week stay. So the only solution we can offer when it comes to trying to do it all is that you’ll simply have to visit Bath more often, and we really hope that you do. We’d be delighted to see you.