Friday, 19 August 2016

Stay in Bath and See the Bath Bike Trail

On August 18th colourful decorated bikes went out on display across Bath. A few days before that the rainbow collection of umbrellas which had been strung between the buildings in Bath Southgate were replaced by red, white and blue bikes. Bath has well and truly embraced bicycles as its decoration of choice this summer, which might seem a bit of an odd choice at first, but there is a reason.

On Thursday September the 8th the Tour of Britain will be visiting Bath. Not only that, but for the first time Bath will be hosting a stage finish!

Started in 2004, that first Tour of Britain represented a key moment in history for the sport of road cycling. In 2004 96 riders took in two of the home nations over the course of five days before riding to the finish in London. Since then the race has grown in size and now lasts eight days, takes in Scotland, Wales and England, and involves twenty of the world’s top teams, including ten of the sport’s top tier UCI WorldTour teams.

One of the reasons we’re so happy that Bath is hosting a stage finish is that it means that those watching (we’ll certainly be there) have the chance to meet the riders. Those riding are some of the biggest stars the sport has to offer (last year Mark Cavendish, Alex Dowsett and Sir Bradley Wiggins took part). There will be the opportunity to collect their autographs, and talk to them about what being a professional athlete is like and what kind of preparation and dedication it involves.

So to celebrate the race coming to Bath, Bath has launched the Bath Bike Trail. Fifty-three businesses across Bath have signed up and now have their own uniquely decorated bikes (and there are some pretty unusual decorations in the mix) out on display and ready for selfies and travel snaps. Not only is going bike hunting a lovely thing to do on a sunny summer afternoon but some of those businesses involved also have promotions running alongside the trail.  

These are a few of the promotions on offer:

  • ·       Bloomsbury are offering a 10% discount for all Bath Bike Trail participants on all full price items in store.  

  • ·       Kingsmead Square Traders are asking people to take a selfie with their bike and use the hashtag #LoveKingsmead on Twitter or Instagram.  The best selfie wins a goodie bag from the Kingsmead Square Traders.

  • ·       The Fudge Factory are offering a free fudge box to whoever tweets the best photo of their bike to @BathFudgeShop.

  • ·       Mogers Drewett solicitors are asking for a selfie with their bike and a tag on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtags #BathTOB, #TOB2016, #blingyourbike for the chance to win £50 of Amazon vouchers.  

If you’d like to take part in the trail and you want to know where the bikes are around the city, then the free downloadable map of the trail, along with details of other promotions on offer, can be found here. The hashtags to use to follow all the action on Twitter are #BathToB #Bathbiketrail and #ToB2016, and the account to follow is @Love2cyclebath.


Just a final note; if you are in Bath and bike hunting don’t forget to come and see our bike (number 19) at Dukes and tag us (@DukesBath) in any photos!

Friday, 12 August 2016

Visit Bath’s Open Air Cinema at The Holburne

We’re always on the lookout for unique things to do when on a visit to Bath. Or for that matter, unique things to do if you happen to live in Bath; many of the events going on around Bath are things that us Bathonians are just as excited about as newcomers to the city.

Being located only five minutes from the city centre, usually Dukes is not too far from the action, and this is especially true for our spotlight event this weekend. This weekend the Holburne Museum, which is less than a minute from our front door, is the place to be as, in partnership with The Little Theatre Cinema, the Holburne Museum is hosting a weekend of open-air cinema within its tranquil gardens.   

Gates open at 7:00 and it’s worth arriving around then to get a good patch of lawn. The Holburne café will be serving food from 7:00 – 9:00 (if you haven’t been to the Holburne café before then we can fully recommend them and their delicious food), and the bar will stay open to serve alcoholic refreshment and soft drinks throughout the evening. The films each start at around 9, or as soon as it gets dark (so to be sure you don’t miss the beginning the recommendation is to be there by 8:45).

Last night was Baz Luhrmann’s beautiful adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, tonight will be the turn of the multi award winning The Revenant (rated 15, length 156 minutes), tomorrow is a classic - Jurassic Park (PG, 124 minutes), and Sunday will be Star Wars: The Force Awakens (in case you’re not sure which of the Star Wars films this is it’s the most recent Star Wars film which was released last year) (12A, 135 minutes)). So a real mix of films! Tickets for each are £10 for an adult and can be booked via the event website (https://picturehouseblog.co.uk/2016/05/18/picturehouse-pop-up-returns-to-bath/).

As it is an open air performance scheduled for after dark it may get a bit chilly, even if it is summer, so it’s important to take a few layers/blankets. Also it’s worth noting that no seating is provided, but you can either take your own (the rule is that it must not restrict the view of others) or “Cardboard Bum Box” seating will be available to purchase.


And finally to the important question of the weather to go with the films. Admittedly it’s not as if we wish for rain very often, but we’re especially pleased to find out that the forecast for this weekend is a dry one! Though it might be an idea to go fully prepared with umbrellas, just in case Murphy’s Law happens to strike.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Carters Steam Fair Comes to Visit Bath

Bath’s Royal Victoria Park is such a wonderful space, not only because it’s so beautiful with its lawns, carefully maintained flower beds and winding paths, but also because it is able to host so many different events and travelling attractions. Recently the Thai Festival was held there and not so long ago it was where the circus was located, and, always a favourite, in the winter it’s where you can find Bath’s outdoor ice rink. This week (from Saturday August 6th – Sunday August 14th) it will be welcoming Carters Steam Fair for a stay in Bath.

Carters Steam Fair is an authentic travelling funfair consisting entirely of rare vintage equipment, much of which is powered by steam – so it’s fascinating to see how it all works. It’s believed to be the largest vintage travelling funfair in the world and is always on the move. As such the team who run the fair live in vintage showman’s wagons and caravans and the whole fair is travels in a fleet of highly-decorated vintage lorries.  

It all began in 1977 when John and Angela Carter bought their first ride – the Steam Gallopers. They set them up in the front garden of their rented house while restoring them, but unfortunately their landlord wasn’t a fan and soon they were asked to leave. This didn’t put them off though. They spent a long while restoring the Gallopers to their former glory and then took them on the road. After that John and Anna added to the beginnings of their collection with the Chair-o-Plane, vintage side stalls and then the Steam Yachts.

The fair kept growing over the years and remains a family fair to this day. Sadly John passed away in 2000, but Anna and her children work hard to keep the fair well-maintained and on the road. Without Carters many of the rides wouldn’t have been restored and beautiful parts of Britain’s heritage would have been lost.

The fair will be open between midday and 8pm each evening and will be free to enter. It’s worth taking a tour around the fair even if going on rides, modern or vintage, isn’t quite your cup of tea because artistically they’re a sight to behold. The highly-decorated, colourfully painted rides date from 1895 to the 1960s, and look like they ought to belong in the world of Mary Poppins.


To have a go on the different rides visitors can purchase vintage tokens. Each token costs 50p and can be bought at the ticket booth on the day or online, and if bought online up to midnight the night before your visit some free rides are included (the number varies depending on how many tokens you buy). Tokens can be bought online here.