Thursday, 4 February 2016

Stay in Bath for Bath’s Digital Festival

We’ve spoken about a few of the festivals that will be coming to Bath soon - the Bath Literature Festival, the Bath Bach Festival, Bath’s International Festival of Music. They’ve all been very much about kicking back and relaxing on a visit to Bath.

However, one that we haven’t managed to mention yet is perhaps not the first thing that you would think of when you think of festivals and Bath. For all the business women and men out there, this week’s blog is taking a look at what to expect from Bath’s Digital Festival, which will be taking place in the city between the 11th and 19th of February.  

We thought it was about time that we had a look at what a stay in Bath had to offer anyone on a business trip; Dukes Hotel isn’t just a great bed and breakfast to stay in if you’re coming for a holiday in Bath. We’re also a great choice for anyone who is staying in Bath for work. (After all, who says that business trips can’t also involve a little bit of relaxation and luxury? What better way to celebrate a day of hard work than a chilled glass of wine before bed in a beautiful suite at Dukes?)

The digital festival is a relatively new one – it only began it Bath in 2012, but it’s already recognised as one of the leading tech and creative hubs in the UK. The festival’s aim is to educate and inspire people from all backgrounds, no matter how familiar or unfamiliar they may be when it comes to the world of technology, and also to showcase some of the industries and innovations that make the digital sector today such an exciting and important place to explore. 

This festival has quite a few must-attend events for anyone seeking to establish themselves in business in our increasingly digital age.

On Friday 12th February between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. there will be a Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager bootcamp that will help any kind of company, no matter what area of business they may be in, to really establish themselves as an online presence.

On several dates throughout the festival there will be free intellectual property advice clinics which will can guide you through patents for trademarks and designs, IP search and strategy, and IP litigation.

The SPARKies Tech Awards Evening on Wednesday 17th will also be a good event to attend in order to network with the very best digital and tech companies and individuals. The awards will cover categories such as Founder of the Year, Best Start Up, and there will be a People’s Choice award.

The festival promises to be a jam-packed week full of great insights. Last year’s festival had over 71 talks, 25 events, 11 hands-on workshops, and more than 2,000 attendees!

So if you’re interested in business, or any aspect of the digital world, the 11th-19th of February is a good time to pay us a visit at Dukes Hotel in Bath. We can promise you a home away from home, a breakfast to rival anything you’ve had before, and, of course, wi-fi!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Where To Go For Live Music When You Visit Bath

 “If music be the food of love, play on.”

We couldn’t agree more. Whether you’re a lover of blues, jazz, classical, rock and roll, folk, or even show tunes; Bath has something for everyone when it comes to music. It’s easy listening once you find it – Bath is home to some truly fantastic musicians, as well as those visiting Bath on tour, but the key is to know where to go. On that note, these are a few of our top recommendations for recurring weekly venues, as well as a special event that’s coming up soon and has caught our eye.  

The Bell Inn, which is just a few minutes walk away from Dukes Hotel since we’re lucky to be a bed and breakfast with a city centre location, is the go-to pub for live music. They have a mix of folk, jazz and blues on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday nights, as well as a lovely relaxed atmosphere on every night of the week.

The Pig and Fiddle is even nearer to us, barely five minutes if that, and is a popular pub with those in the know. Especially so on Tuesdays when they hold their open-mic nights which are filled with local talent. Anyone is free to sign up to perform and the quality of the performers is top rate. They also have an impressive range of local ales and ciders on tap.

If live music in an elegant cocktail bar is more what you’re looking for rather than a pub-experience then we recommend Circo – a classy venue that makes for a perfect jazz lounge every Monday. As an added bonus the cocktails are on a 2 for £10 offer all night. 

If you want to enjoy music over a delicious meal Green Park Brasserie is a good bet. It’s a top restaurant that’s housed in what was once a railway station. It has live jazz every evening from Wednesday until Sunday and is a wonderful place to relax after a long day of exploring.

In terms of the special event that’s coming up there’s a unique Moulin Rouge combination performance at the Bath Forum on the 6th of February. In the first half of the night Bath Philharmonia will be performing classical extracts from Verdi’s La Traviata, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and Puccini’s La Boheme; and then in the second half there will be a screening of Baz Luhrmann’s masterpiece film Moulin Rouge, which took much of it’s inspiration from those three operas whose extracts are featuring on the programme. The pairing of the two artistic forms of classical music and cinema in the impressive Bath Forum will be a rare treat indeed. 

But whatever you’re in the mood for in terms of music Bath certainly isn’t lacking. As well as the many bars and pubs of Bath there’s also Bath’s Komedia and the Chapel Arts Centre to check out (and many more besides). So if music is a passion and you’re not sure where to go when you visit Bath, then do please ask our team at Dukes Hotel and we’ll be more than happy to help.

We hope to see you soon!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Visit Bath, Go Down the Backstreets, and Find the Best of the Best Bookshops

Not too long now until the Bath Literature Festival starts on February 26th, and as we’ve been spending time having a look at the literary highlights that are coming up we’ve started to remember just how much we love relaxing with a good book. It’s not just the book itself that we enjoy. It’s the whole experience of escapism that goes with it; from choosing it, to holding it, to curling up with it.

Now while the big Bath bookshops like Waterstones are good, there’s something we love about going into the bookshop less-mainstream and losing ourselves for an hour or two. On that note we hoped that you might feel the same way as we do, and as such here are a couple of the lesser known bookshop gems that any book-lover coming to Bath should pay a visit to.

First off there’s Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. Situated on John Street, a small side street near the bottom of Queen’s Square and only a minute from the main shopping street of Milsom Street, Mr B’s is a bookworm’s haven. Imagine a cross between a quaint cosy library and an elegant Regency sitting room and you won’t be too far off.

Mr B’s isn’t just loved by the locals who know about it because of its atmosphere and personal touches though, but also because it’s the only bookshop we know of that offers a “Reading Spa”. When you buy a Reading Spa voucher the team at Mr B’s give you a one-on-one book chat in their Bibliotherapy Room, along with tea, coffee and cake, and dedicate themselves to helping you to find new reads that you’ll love based on what you tell them you’ve enjoyed before. After your chat you have plenty of time to relax, read through and choose which titles to take away with you from the ones you’ve picked out. 

Another great independent bookshop in Bath is Topping and Company Booksellers. They may have only three branches (to be found spread far apart across the country in Bath, Ely and St. Andrews), but they regularly hold events from the some of the very best names in the literary world. On Monday January 25th for example they’re hosting a talk from top-selling author Matt Haig about his most recent book Reasons to Stay Alive. Then on Wednesday 17th February they’ll be welcoming Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes to Bath for an evening of literary delights and discussion.

But even if you’re not able to go to one of their events then the Topping’s shop itself on The Paragon close to the top of Milsom Street is well worth a browse. For fans of collectable books they also sell first editions, first printings, and author-signed copies of books; which we quite like because at Dukes Hotel we’re all about luxury and beautiful antiques. 

So from all of us at Dukes Hotel; we hope we can see you for some literary indulgence soon!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Stay in Bath and See A Spellbinding Show At Bath’s Theatre Royal

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that the 2016 Bath Literature Festival had released its programme of events online and was now taking bookings. Well, keeping on the literary theme we’ve been having a look at the new show that will soon be taking to the main stage at Bath’s Theatre Royal.

Since January the 12th a recent adaptation of William Golding’s famous book Lord of the Flies has been playing to packed audiences. Now, as we wave goodbye to a story from one best-selling author, we can welcome work from another best-seller which has also been transformed fantastically into a work for the stage. 

From the 19th to the 24th of January the Olivier Award nominated, sell out West End hit, Hetty Feather will be coming for a stay in Bath. It is based on the book by well known childrens author Jacqueline Wilson, in which a girl who has been abandoned at the Foundling Hospital goes on a mission to find her real mother. Along the way she braves the streets of Victorian London and discovers the wonders of the squirrel house and Tanglefields Travelling Circus. 

The show has been described by the Evening Standard as “a family show that has it all…utterly magnificent”, and the Daily Telegraph said that it was “Ingenious. Hetty Feather gives Matilda a run for its money.” High praise indeed, but well deserved as it blends original live music, beautiful storytelling, and circus skills, including trapeze and aerial hoop work, to stunning effect. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing it.

Bath is no stranger to excellent theatre. Ever since Bath became the first city outside of London to be granted a Royal Patent (the first Bath Theatre Royal was established in Orchard Street, it moved to it’s current home in Sawclose in 1805) it has been renowned as one of the most important stops on a production’s tour. In 1789, around the time that the guesthouses that make up Dukes Hotel were built, leading lights of the theatre world Sarah Siddons and John Henderson were acting in Bath. Ever since those first Georgian celebrities Bath has seen some of the world’s most famous names gracing it’s stages.  Sir Derak Jacobi and Maggie Smith to name but two.

The Theatre Royal isn’t Bath’s only theatre though. There’s also Bath Spa’s University Theatre, Burdalls Yard, Bath University’s theatre, Komedia, The Rondo Theatre, and The Mission Theatre. One classic production coming to The Mission Theatre this month is Blithe Spirit – from Tuesday 26th to Saturday the 30th, while at The Rondo Theatre fans of pantomime can see Mother Goose, and shortly after that will be Dicken’s Evening - another for the literature fans. 

We hope we’ll see you soon for a stay in Bath so you can visit one of our theatres. We’re a little biased, but in our opinion it’s an excellent way to spend a cold winter night! 

Friday, 8 January 2016

Sunday Lunch in Bath

As the weather cools off (perhaps not before time) there are few things we like better on a Sunday than a good roast to warm you up from the inside out. So if you’re coming to Bath for a weekend visit, or are here for a longer stay, and you want to know where to go for the best Yorkshire puddings or which pub has the nicest atmosphere, then we hope that our recommendations will prove helpful. When you come to stay in Bath, a little insider knowledge can make all the difference.  

First off, The Chequers on Rivers Street in the city centre won an award for having the best Sunday lunch in Bath. They use the freshest of ingredients, and are an especially great place to go if you are a vegetarian – they do a fantastic chestnut mushroom, hazelnut and apricot roast. Main meals are served from 12:00pm – 5:00pm and child friendly portions are also available on request. 

The Green Park Brasserie and Bar is one that is a favourite for many locals because of it’s incredibly relaxed and friendly environment. It’s menu is well stocked with organic options, and some more unusual selections such as venison sausages and mustard mash to name but two. It also boasts a fantastic range of wines to complement whatever you choose to eat.

Next is Gascoyne Place. Not your typical gastropub but it is one after our own heart. You can choose to dine in the elegant first floor Georgian dining rooms, a cosy snug, on the sunny mezzanine, or in the downstairs lounge which has made a real feature of it’s exposed section of Medieval city wall. It embodies Regency luxury but at the same time maintains an affordable menu. 

For fans of Gascoyne Place, another gastropub that’s similar in style is The Pulteney Arms. More Georgian elegance (in the case of The Pulteney Arms from 1759) but with the added bonus of extra sofas, book-filled bookcases, and it is also dog friendly.

Sometimes a traditional pub atmosphere is what’s needed if you want to have a truly traditional Sunday lunch. For that we recommend either The Saracens Head on Broad Street who, in their dessert list, have one of the best apple pies we’ve ever tried, or The Boater which is only two minutes from our front door and stocks an impressive selection of beers (more than thirty global craft beers and six cask ales). 

We hope this has whetted your appetite and enticed you to come to Bath, and for more than just a Sunday lunch too, but rather for a longer visit. Bath has so much to offer that you can’t see it all even in a month of Sundays, let alone one.

As always, whatever it is you’re looking for in Bath please do just ask us. The team here at Dukes Hotel are more than happy to help in whatever way we can.