Sunday, 8 October 2017

Stay in Bath for Halloween and Visit A Ghost or Two

We know that many people who come to stay in Bath say that they wish they’d never have to leave. According to legend, some souls never did. 

If you’re coming to stay in Bath this October, and you want to get into the spooky spirit of Halloween, one or two of these ghostly events might be just up your street.

Bath Ghost Tours  
These tours take place all year round and are highly popular not only with visitors to Bath, but also with local residents.

Ghost Walks of Bath’ will take you to many famous places noted for their strange events. “Apart from experiencing first-hand the charm of this wonderful city and its Georgian buildings, you can sample the atmosphere and imagine the situations which set the stage for so many strange events which have been so well documented.” One of our favourite stories is that of the ghostly figure of a beautiful singing lady who haunts the Royal Crescent. On the tour your guide will explain when she died and why, against the odds, she still appears smiling and happy.

The tours begin at 8pm from outside the Garricks Head (the pub next the Theatre Royal) on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays all year round, and, of course, on Halloween itself. Though if you’re hoping to join the tour on Halloween, it’s worth booking in advance to secure a spot. It is, as you can well imagine, a popular Halloween activity.

Longleat Ghost Tour
A good reason to stay in Bath is that, aside from being a great city in itself, it’s also a great place to use as a base from which to explore the nearby area. Longleat (as seen on the BBC in the ‘Animal Park’ series) is one day trip we can highly recommend, and is very close by – taking just under 30 minutes by car.  

The reason we mention Longleat in this post is that this October Longleat are offering hourly Ghost Tours of Longleat House between 11:30am and 4:30pm daily from the 21st to the 29th of October.  Your guide will take you through unseen cellars, eerie attics and dark corridors, all whilst sharing haunting tales of Longleat’s legendary past and Longleat’s ghostly residents. It’s long been rumoured that the Grey Lady, Lady Louisa Carteret – wife of the 2nd Viscount, still wonders the House in search of her murdered lover.

The Theatre Royal 
Bath’s Theatre Royal is said to be the country’s most haunted theatre, so another of our top
suggestions is to take a visit to the theatre this October. On Halloween itself the Theatre Royal will be hosting part two of Handel’s most celebrated opera, Julius Caesar (part one having been performed the night before), and as the story is one of passion and revenge, perhaps it will inspire the theatre’s most famous ghost; the Grey Lady (not the same one as at Longleat despite the name) to make an appearance.

There are a few different stories surrounding her, but it’s generally agreed that her heart was broken when she died and the most popular account is that she is the ghost of a lady who killed herself after her husband killed her lover in a duel. When she appears she does so dressed in 18th Century evening dress, with feathers in her hair, and accompanied by a strong scent of jasmine.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Bath and This Week’s Highlights

If you’ve been to Bath before, and are looking for some special events to go to this week (having already taken a trip to The Roman Baths, the Holburne Museum, the Abbey…all the typical favourites) you might like to go to have a look at one or two of these special events taking place this week…

Monday 2nd October –
An Afternoon of Racing
at Bath Racecourse, Lansdown  

It’s more intimate than Ascot but just as exciting. “A quintessential British pastime” and a lovely afternoon out, if you’ve not been to the races before, Bath’s racecourse is a good place to experience it for the first time without being overwhelmed by crowds and outrageous hats. Happily though the wacky hats are not, great food and drink are still on the menu.
Tickets: prices start from £14
Doors: Races run from midday – 6pm

Monday 2nd October –
The Bath Brew House Pub Quiz
at Bath Brew House, James Street West (between Greenpark Station/the Odeon)

Usually the Brew House hosts a weekly pub quiz on a Tuesday, but this week they are holding instead a special charity quiz, raffle, buffet and auction night to raise money for CRPS, a charity for people with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and chronic pain. Prizes on the night include family days out, free meals and pamper sessions. The food at the Brew House is great, the quiz is a favourite of the locals and always fills up, and this event is also for a great cause. 
Tickets: £15 donation (from – search from CRPS UK)
Doors: Open all day but the event runs from 6:30pm – 9pm

Thursday 5th October –
at Chapel Arts Centre, Lower Borough Wells (near the Thermae Spa)

This band of five are bursting with personality and passion for their music. Even if you’re not full of energy
when you first walk through the door, you’ll soon be filled to the brim with it within five minutes. The band blend attitude and pazazz into traditional and original European and Balkan folk music. Definitely one to watch if you enjoy live music.
Tickets: £14 on the door, £12.50 advance
Doors: open at 7:30pm for an 8pm start with a finish at around 10:30pm.

Saturday 7th October/ Sunday 8th October  
at The Egg Theatre, Sawclose (near the Theatre Royal)

The Egg may be the theatre in which the Theatre Royal hosts most of its pieces of theatre for children, but it also shows crossover pieces too. Besides, age is just a number. Certainly that’s what we thought when we saw the description of Frogman: “Curious Directive’s ground-breaking production of Frogman is a coming-of-age, supernatural thriller for which the audience don Virtual Reality headsets. Set in the beautiful environment of the Great Barrier Reef, Frogman combines torch-lit storytelling and searchlights refracting through the ocean with a classic ‘time running out’ mystery.” A combination of live performance and virtual reality film, it’s sure to be quite a show!
Tickets: £8.50

Saturday times: 2:30pm and 4:30pm/Sunday times: 11:30am and 3pm

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Bath And The Week That Was

Bath is synonymous with history. As a city it’s teaming with fascinating stories from years gone by. These are just a few of the big events that took place this week in yesteryear…

September 25th 1790 – A Temple is Found
While work was being undergone to install the new Pump Room in Stall Street (the one which is there today), workmen who were digging the foundations came across ancient columns measuring 3ft 8in across. It was discovered that these had once been part of a Roman temple dedicated to Minerva the Goddess of Wisdom.

September 26th 1878 – A Day Trip From London to Bath (By Bike)
Walter S. Britters of the Clarence Bicycle Club decided to try riding from London to Bath and back to
London again in under 24 hours. The journey would be one of 212 miles. He began at midnight from Hyde Park, reached Bath at 11:30 a.m. and sent a telegram (to prove he’d been there probably), then made it back to Hyde Park with time to spare. He did it to find out how great a distance could be covered easily in a day. (N.B. - Easily? Depends on your point of view. It’s much easier to do a daytrip to Bath from London by train!)

September 27th 1819 – The Duke of Wellington Draws A Crowd
The Duke of Wellington, or Arthur Wellesley as he was known before his success in the Peninsular War of 1808-14, came to Bath for a visit while he was staying with his friend, Earl Bathurst, near Cirencester. He only stayed for a few hours but in that time he toured Bath with the mayor and remarked that the buildings were beautiful and had great uniformity.

September 29th 1883 – Oscar Wilde Comes to Bath
“Mr Oscar Wilde appeared for the first time before a provincial audience on Saturday at the Bath Theatre Royal, and delivered his lecture on “Personal Impressions on America”.” Some of his conclusions on the U.S. were that the people were all in a hurry, but that the Americans were the most comfortably dressed people in the world. There were other thoughts, but too many to go into – the lecture lasted two hours.

September 30th 1771 – The Assembly Rooms Open
The Upper Assembly Rooms as they were first known opened on this day with a ridotto (a combination of a dance and a musical concert). Bath’s current assembly rooms, dubbed Harrison’s Lower Assembly Rooms, had ceased to be large enough when Bath’s popularity was consistently increasing, so John Wood the Younger designed a new set of assembly rooms that would be bigger and nearer to the upper, more fashionable part of town.

More tales of Bath in by-gone times like those above can be read in The Bath Book of Days by D.G. Amphlett. (The Bath Tourist Information Office and Waterstones are two places in Bath that we know currently have copies).