Drifting at sunset in a rooftop, open-air pool, in waters naturally heated – more than a mile underground – to 91F (33C), is one of the rarest pleasures in Britain.
Thermae Bath Spa (www.thermaebathspa.com), a great glass cube of a building next to Bath Abbey, opened in 2006 to recycle raindrops that fell here 10,000 years ago.
This is indulgence not to be rushed. A range of packages, starting at two hours, give you the run of the complex, including the Minerva Bath, the Rooftop Pool, and the Steam Rooms. Treatments are an optional extra. The top ticket is the Twilight Package, three hours including a meal for £42.
The glorious vision of Bath’s 18th Century designers would impress a time-travelling Roman emperor. They used golden stone from local quarries for everything, and today’s builders must follow suit.
Their two masterpieces are the Royal Crescent, a great curving grandstand of townhouses overlooking a sloping green, and the nearby Circus, a circular street mimicking Rome’s Colosseum.
The open-top bus tour is a good way to link these splendid landmarks. But I preferred a quiet route to the city centre – chancing upon cafes, restaurants and specialist shops – past Milsom Street’s designer shops to another Bath wonder,
Pulteney Bridge, Britain’s answer to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
Bath was a starring location in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Jane lived there from 1801 to 1806. Her characters came for bonneted sophistication, gossip, the efficacious waters – and to bump into eligible men on city centre pavements.
Retailers remain in her eternal debt for her line: ‘There are so many good shops.’ The Jane Austen Centre (www.janeausten.co.uk) does a fine job charting her life here, including her own near-miss with matrimony. And you can follow Jane around with a free audio walking tour.
The city’s main claim to fame is its Roman spa, set over the miraculous, warm waters that oozed endlessly up from the swamp that was Bath. The free audio player you get in the museum at the Roman Baths (www.romanbaths.co.uk) does a great job explaining how the entire baths complex once looked.
It’s amusing to learn that there were rule-breakers even then: ‘Always someone jumping in with a tremendous splash,’ wrote Seneca.
The best-known object in the museum’s collection, the Gorgon – a mythical creature with snakes for
hair – packs power, but my biggest tingle came before the bronze head of Minerva, once mother goddess in these parts.
If there’s time, fit in the American Museum, the (free) Victoria Art Gallery, and the Fashion Museum in the Assembly Rooms.
As you would expect in such an elite destination, there are lots of good restaurants and tea rooms – the illustrious Sally Lunn’s waist-popping toasted buns (www.sallylunns.co.uk) are a real treat.
But the talk of the town is a new two-floor gastro pub, Hall & Woodhouse Bath (www.hall-woodhouse
bath.co.uk). The brewer took over a city-centre auction room and fitted it out with a big brass bar in the style of the Long Bar at the Raffles hotel in Singapore, fronting an open kitchen, and a wide central staircase fit for a Thirties Busby Berkeley musical.
It’s all behind huge ‘Why not come in?’ windows. Try, too, the intimate The Hole In The Wall (www.theholeinthewall.co.uk), where the menu is ‘modern British’.
My stand-out smoked wild pigeon breast, and gingerbread and Dorset Blue Vinney terrine with slow-baked plums, came on a slate plate.
Many world heritage sites allow you only to look on in wonder. In Bath, where the entire old city has the Unesco designation, you may savour the splendour from the inside.
I stayed at the Queensberry (www.thequeensberry.co.uk), four terrace houses in Russel Street fused into a boutique hotel, which has lots of changes of level leading to interesting lounges and secluded rear patios.
My roomy bathroom (double shower, free-standing bath) was as big as my bedroom. They are very green: you get £20 off if you come by public transport. Room-only rates from £123.50 a night. Dinner, bed and breakfast from £215.
Bath is such a beautiful city all year round, but there’s something quite magical about Bath in the summer. Especially when there are festivals taking place!
Now – 17th April
Laugh out loud at the annual comedy festival. There’s a mix of stand-up, cabaret, music, kids shows and more!
Weekends in May
Meet over 180 artists and makers as they throw open their studios and showcase their artwork and put on interactive demonstration.
19th – 28th May
The new 10 day festival is packed with fantastic live music, authors and family fun. It all starts with Party in The City, Bath’s biggest free night of music.
26th May – 11th June
Featuring theatre, dance, music, visual arts, comedy, a children’s festival, street theatre and lots more – expect the unexpected!
27th May – 5th August
Relax and enjoy a summer season of picnics, proms and performances in the exquisite gardens of Iford Manor.
29th June – 2nd July
A fantastic forest and outdoor gallery will be popping up around the Bath Skyline. For four days, there will be artwork, outdoor theatre and creative activities for all.
A brilliant one day cycling event with three different challenges to take part in. Jump on your bike for a 25, 50 or 80 mile route around Bath and the surrounding countryside.
The infectious beat of the drums will be thumping again this July when the colourful carnival comes to town. There’ll be live music, parades, kids activities, workshops and plenty of food and drink.
5th -13th August
This nine day festival will have you tapping your feet to Americana, gypsy jazz, world and folk. Enjoy gigs, concerts, open mic, free ceilidh and a variety of workshops.
2017 marks 250 years since the first foundation stone was laid on the Royal Crescent, on 19th May 1767. We’ll be celebrating with over 70 special events and exhibitions throughout the year.
We have had the privilege of having University of Bath Alumni stay with us at the Windsor Guest House for the 30 year reunion. This was particularly exciting as one of our Duty Manager’s is currently studying at the University of Bath and just so happens to be doing the exact same course (Modern Languages and European Studies) as all of them did!
It has been wonderful to hear all about their time at the University, but also how much Bath has changed in the last 30 years.
The Windsor Guest House is also constantly changing to make itself the perfect place to stay by adding new delicious food options to our wonderful A La Carte menu for breakfasts and amping up our reception area so you can have a pre-dinner drink from our fully stocked bar.
So make sure you stay with us when you visit Bath and we will do everything we can to make sure you have a fantastic experience!
If you need further proof, just take a look at some of our TripAdvisor reviews!
The Windsor in Bath is a great place to stay. The accommodation is beautifully decorated and the location to town is perfect.
The staff are extremely friendly and helpful. The breakfast selection was great.
I could not recommend more highly reasonably priced great accommodation close to everything and great staff what more could you ask for.
Thanks to the staff for your help and always service with a smile
A stunning guest house. The staff are exceptional. The room is beautifully appointed. Be prepared to climb some stairs if your on the top floor. But worth the climb. In a very central location. Easy walk to restaurants and local shops. Bath is a wonderful location. Highly recommended.
3 – 10 Jan 2015: A free festival of light transforming the city’s streets.
19 – 21 Feb 2015: A concentrated festival of great music and fine music-making.
27 Feb – 8 Mar 2015: 20th Anniversary.
1 Mar 2015: Run, Bath, run!
21 – 29 March 2015: The chicest date on the fashionista calendar!
27 Mar – 6 Apr 2015: Chucklesome fun.
15 May 2015: The biggest free show in Bath!
15 May – 25 May 2015: World-class concerts and performances.
22 May – 7 June 2015: Vibrant annual celebration of The Arts.
28 May – 1 Jun 2014: A fun day out for the whole family.
6 Jun – 8 Aug 2015: An exciting and varied season of opera, concerts and picnic proms.
11 – 20 Sept 2015: Celebrate everything Jane Austen!
Bristol & Bath
25 October 2015: Step up the pace and make history as you run city to city in the inaugural Bristol + Bath Marathon.
13 -21 Nov 2015: Celebrating the maestro’s music, and that of his contemporaries.
Come stay at The Windsor and see the fantastic Bath Christmas Market!
This year the market runs from 27th November – 14th December.
Do all your Christmas shopping at the wonderful Bath Christmas Market this year. The market is full of small and interesting independent retailers, selling everything from christmas baubles to fine port and cheese.
The market is famous around the country for its beautiful arts and crafts, as well as delicious food and exquisite drinks.
There are many festive treats in store in the World Heritage City of Bath starting when the Christmas lights are switched on Wednesday 12th November.
This year the spotlight will be turned on the star of the Bath retail scene, Jolly’s. This iconic store one of the oldest department stores in Europe has been lovingly restored to its former glory by present owners, House of Fraser. Jolly’s is located on historic Milsom Street and has always had a special place in the hearts of the people of Bath. After a multi-million pound restoration and with the addition of a whole host of great new brands.
Switching on the lights is a favourite family event on the festive calendar.
This year the entertainment starts at 5.30 pm on Wednesday 12th November with a special performance by The Fade from City of Bath College followed by Bristol based-singer song writer, Jane Taylor plus the stars of Bath Rugby – the entire squad will be on stage to switch on the lights together with Justin Webb, Presenter of BBC Radio 4 Today Programme who has recently been named Patron of the Bath Rugby Foundation.
The highlight of the evening will be a spectacular sound and light show created by Bath company Enlightened with the focus on Jolly’s and historic Milsom Street; a memorable start to the Christmas shopping season.
Drawn from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s renowned print collection, this show explores the work of four great 20th-century artists: Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. Together these artists spanned 75 years that saw the birth of the modern age. Their work represents one of the most creative and diverse periods of printmaking. A feast for the eyes, this exhibition is organised by the V&A.
Artist from left to right clockwise : Picasso, Le Repas Frugal, from the Saltimbanques Suite, etching with drypoint, 1904.Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.© Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2014., -Warhol, Untitled from Marilyn Monroe (‘Marilyn’),screen print on paper, red, green, yellow, from a portfolio of ten, pink and grey, 1967.© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS London 2014.-Salvador Dali, Normandie: French Railways, poster issued by the French National Railways, colour offset lithograph, signed and dated Dali,1969. (incorporates reproductions of two of Dali’s oils: ‘The weaning of furniture-nutrition’ (1934) and ‘Sleep’ (1937). V&A collection. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-SalvadorDalí, DACS, 2014, -Henri Matisse, Seated Nude, seen from behind, lithograph, 1933Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.© Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2014
After a lovely, warm and sunny day there was a sudden change in the weather and a spectacular electric storm took place.
Local residents took to the chance to capture the storm.
Better bring your raincoats just in case!
Bath Spa University graduate Waqar Munir, 24, braved the stormy weather and slept outside the shop overnight to be the first person to get the new device, for his new employers.
There was also a second queue for those who had reserved to pick up their phone from the Southgate shop. There were cheers from the crowd as people picked up their new phones for the first time.
Southgate House resident Bill Bartlett, 59, said: “Everyone is excited about it and I was here on the first day of the last one as well.”
42-year-old Clive Humphreys, from Corsham, said: “It’s quite exciting before having to go back to work this morning. I love Apple products and use them both at home and at work.”
New iPhone 6 Plus owner Michael Stone said: “I hadn’t bought Apple since the iPhone 4 so I though it was definately time for an upgrade.”
Longtime Apple Customer Sarah Monstad explained: “I always buy Apple for it’s usability, I guess I’m just used to it now.”
The iPhone 6 boasts a 4.7 inch display, with the iPhone 6Plus having a 5.5 inch screen.
The phones are bigger than previous models and are half a millimetre thinner at 6.5mm.
They include even faster processors as well as improved battery life, much to the delight of all smartphone users.
The handsets include the new operating system IOS 8, enabling multi-tasking.
And Jackie has her fingers crossed that the well-dressed group will win back the title of Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed in Regency Costumes. They won it in 2009, were over taken by an American festival this year, and are now eager to win back their title.
“The city of Bath lends itself to costume events, particularly Georgian and Regency costumes which look so beautiful against the glorious Bath stonework,” she says. “The Regency period was a time of manners and etiquette. Dressing in costume helps us to escape from the frenetic pace of modern life; we become ladies and gentlemen and have time to converse with our fellow man in person, not at the end of the mobile phone.”
“There is something rather wonderful about walking through the city dressed in Regency clothing with a bonnet, Spencer jacket, long high-waisted dress, gloves, a parasol and low heeled shoes; particularly on a sunny day, you feel part of the city,” she says. “The style is very comfortable, with just a small corset and is very flattering. Many who come to the festival wear Regency costume the entire time they are in Bath.”
The Festival not only celebrates a much-loved writer and her writing but it’s also set in an historic and glorious architectural gem, Bath. It attracts people from all over the world and one of the many highlights, the Masked Ball, takes place in the totally unique setting of the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms.
“For the space of 10 days, we catch a small glimpse of what life was like in Bath when Jane Austen lived here, but only the good bits,” she says. “We experience it with modern conveniences like electricity and hot and cold running water instead.”
“I think it’s so popular due to the because of the international popularity of Jane Austen,” says Jackie. “Jane Austen’s writing has been translated worldwide. The stunning setting and architecture of Bath is one that writer would have recognised due to the fact that she actually walked the streets, that her parents were married in the city, her grandfather and father were buried at St Swithin’s Church at Walcot and two of her novels – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion – were set in the city.”