Thursday, 31 March 2016

What’s On During Your Stay in Bath – Bath Comedy Festival

As we say goodbye to March, we bid April a warm Spring welcome, and with April’s more settled weather (fingers crossed anyway) also comes the 8th annual Bath Comedy Festival. We’ve already had the literature festival this year, which was absolutely fantastic, but now it’s the turn of the satires and the stand-ups.  So if you are coming to stay in Bath between April 1st and April 10th, these are a few of our top events that you might like to get tickets for.

On Friday April 1st James Veitch will be at the Rondo Theatre performing his show Dot Con, which follows his past year spent replying to as many of those scam emails we all get as he can. Russian brides, long lost relatives who’ve left behind large will settlements, marooned friends in foreign countries – he’s had the lot, and now he’ll be sharing them with his audience too. It’s said to be, “quirky, fast-paced and relatable, It's theatre for the modern world, a show for anyone with a dream…and an email account.”

Saturday the 2nd sees Komedia playing host once more to it’s famous Krater Comedy Club. There is the option of enjoying an evening of wine and fine dining from Komedia’s Soil Asociation Gold standard kitchen before the main show, which has for it’s guests, Paul McCaffery, Keith Farnan, Stu Goldsmith and Jim Smallman (MC). They’ll be performing some of their very best stand-up in this truly decadent venue. 

After a lie-in on Sunday you can then join a Laugh at Bath walking tour at 11:15 from outside Bath Abbey. It lasts about an hour and a half and is a “light hearted, fun, comedy, mischievous and unconventional walking tour through Bath's history.” Then in the evening head to the Mission Theatre for a 7:30pm performance of “Degrees of Error – Murder She Didn’t Write”; which is an improvised murder mystery evening created using the audience’s suggestions. It’s perfect for comedy fans and crime fiction fans alike. 

Throughout the week there will also be ongoing events, as well as special performances each evening. Bath Brew House will be the home of the New Act Competition heats, in which 45 of the best up-and-coming comics in the UK compete to be crowned the winning comic. There will be five heats (Monday-Friday, 7:30pm for 8:00pm start, two and a half hour shows) each compered by a different top comedian.

Another good choice that you might like if you enjoy tend comedy within the cozy surroundings of a nice pub, is “Deceptively Simple”. In this hour-long show Noel Britten, the man behind The Bath Comedy Walk, and award-winning magician Richard McDougall, collaborate and combine their skills in order to present a skewed and irreverent look at illusion and magic. It’s will be on at Sleight (the upstairs of The Alehouse) at 8:30pm from the 3rd-6th of April.

These are just a few of the highlights of the Bath Comedy Festival of course. For the full programme and information on how to book pay a visit to the festival website at:

Thursday, 24 March 2016

How Do We Love Bath…?

One thing that we hear a lot from our guests who come for a stay in Bath is what an amazing city they think Bath is. The views, the buildings, the restaurants, just the general vibe! Living in Bath we can sometimes forget just what a fantastic place it is, but our guests do a great job of reminding us how lucky we are to be here. So this week, on the theme of feeling blessed to be in Bath, we’ve decided to come up with a list of some of the things that make Bath such a wonderful place to be. 

First off, we love how much of a cultural hub Bath is. While some cities don’t have a theatre at all, Bath has three; the Mission Theatre, the Rondo Theatre, and, of course, Bath Theatre Royal, which includes the Egg and the Ustinov Studio. Not only that, but there’s also the Chapel Arts Centre, Komedia, and the two universities each have theatre spaces too. So there is always something new to watch.   

Which brings us to Bath’s buskers. Bath’s buskers are not your run-of-the-mill buskers. If we’re ever at a loose end we can happily spend hours exploring the city centre and watching the entertainment. Where else in the UK could you go and see a free opera performance outside a Gothic Abbey, and follow it up just five minutes later by watching a tight-rope unicycler and then a man carving sand sculptures to the sound of Bob Dylan songs on a violin? There can’t be many (if any).

Next, we love that Bath is a city of festivals. Each year there is Bachfest, the Mozart Festival, Bath Folk Festival, the International Music Festival, the Jane Austen Festival, the Literature Festival, the Children’s Literature Festival. The list goes on!  

Another thing that makes Bath so amazing is that, despite being a city, it still manages to be so different and independent. Yes it has the high street favourites like Marks and Spencer and Topshop, but it is also full to the brim with boutiques and one-off galleries and unique emporiums (if you haven’t been to Mr B’s Reading Emporium you are seriously missing out). 

Having said that, you don’t even need to go inside anywhere in Bath to love it, because Bath is, quite frankly, beautiful. Vast stretches of Palladian townhouses cast in pale cream limestone with impressive columns and door carvings and rooftop urns; if you come to Bath, don’t forget to look up at the roofs and details all around you.   

And our final reason why we love Bath? It’s just so friendly! Don’t believe us? Come and find out for yourself!

Friday, 18 March 2016

What’s New in Bath This Week?

Well recently we must admit that we’ve been extremely excited about being the Media Centre for the Bath Half, which was last Saturday (March 13th). We had a lot of fun cooking delicious lunches and breakfasts for teams from (to mention only a couple) the BBC and Heart Radio. We also had quite a few of the elite runners staying with us overnight, and had the pleasure of being able to help Robert Mbithi relax and keep warm next to our nice log fire just after he had won the marathon. But just because we’ve been immersed in all things Bath Half for the past couple of weeks, does not mean that we’ve taken our eye off the ball when it comes to the rest of Bath.

This week saw the opening of a new restaurant, “Dough”, in The Corridor in Bath. Run by an award-winning Italian pizza chef, and another who has been the personal chef to the luxury firm Bvlgari, they serve pizzas with a twist that is as yet unseen in Bath – you can choose your dough. A few of the options include, pumpkin, hemp and gluten-free, and there are a total of ten different doughs to choose from. A must visit for pizza lovers and fitness enthusiasts alike – healthy pizza!

Dough is not the only development in town when it comes to fine Italian cuisine. Local favourite, Green Park Brasserie, has been busy building it’s own outdoor wood-fired pizza oven! Now that the evenings are getting lighter and warmer we’re looking forward to paying GPB a visit and enjoying a little al-fresco dining and some top-class live music. Tonight the fantastic Serena Elizabeth and her band will be performing from 8pm. They specialise in great classics from the American songbook, and if you haven’t heard them before then you really should go along and hear them if you can. Another thing to mention is that if you’re planning your upcoming wedding you might also like to know that the Green Park Brasserie will be hosting a wedding fayre this Sunday from 11-5, and there will be free entry and free samples throughout the day.

Saturday this week (March 19th), also sees a new exhibition opening in Bath. Bath Fashion Museum, which can be found just below the famous Assembly Rooms on Bennett Street (approximately ten minutes walk from Dukes), has had a hard time picking just 100 objects to represent the history of fashion, from the time of Shakespeare all the way up until the early 2000s. One of the star items is an incredibly old and intricately decorated waistcoat from the late 1500s, which is embroidered all over in silks and metal threads. The garments and accessories chosen are all ones that help to tell personal stories or are linked to remarkable events in world history.   

Friday, 11 March 2016

Bath Half Marathon 2016 – Not Long To Go Now!

In just two days time, on Sunday 13th March 2016, Bath will be filled with the sound of pounding feet and cheering crowds as the race on Sunday this year will be Bath Half Marathon’s 35th year. It promises to be a fantastic event!

Last year thousands of runners took to the streets of Bath and raised thousands of pounds for all sorts of charities including Cancer Research and Parkinson’s UK. This year there will be more runners (last year there were nearly 13,000 and this year it will be 15,000), another bigger Battle of the Bands (with nine bands stationed around the course instead of seven), and many many more people cheering on those taking part and generally enjoying the party atmosphere.

This year Dukes is proud to be the VIP and Media Centre for the Bath Half Marathon, and we’ve been keeping a close eye on the preparations for Sunday. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the road restriction signs going up all over the city, the notices warning residents not to park on certain streets being put into place (though no matter how thorough the signage is every year there are some cars that need moving on the day!), and the excitement around the whole event mounting. Most recently we’ve been watching with interest as the runner’s village in Bath Rugby Ground has been going up; we’ve got a great view from our windows.

So since we’re getting really excited and have been living and breathing Bath Half for the past couple of weeks we wanted to share a few facts about this year’s race.

Who’ll be starting the race?
Sharon Davies MBE who won two Commonwealth gold medals and an Olympic silver medal during her career as a professional swimmer. She’ll be officially starting the runners off from Great Pulteney Street at 11am. We’re very excited to meet her!

Records to break:
Last year Paul Martelletti won the Half in an amazing time of 65 minutes and 28 seconds. We wonder if anyone will be able to top that this Sunday!

Who to look out for?
Apart from looking out for any friends and family who might be participating, you might also want to keep an eye out for some famous faces among the runners. We won’t mention any names for this year just yet, but last year Radio 1 DJ Greg James took part, as did Russell Howard who ran in aid of the charity Time is Precious.

Charities this year:
There are quite a few to mention! Local as well as national. The lead charity is Macmillan Cancer Support, and Bath Rugby Foundation is the charity for the Family Fun Run. Other charities include the Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs, Send A Cow, Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, and AGE UK Bath and North East Somerset. Although there are many others besides.

We wish everyone taking part the very best of luck! See you at the finish line. (And in the case of some VIPs, when you arrive to check in!)

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Battle of the Bands - Where To Watch the Bath Half

It’s not long now until the 35th Bath Half marathon.

On Sunday 13th March 15,000 runners will take to the streets of Bath to run the 13.1 mile course. But it’s not just the runners themselves who’ll be there. As well as the staff and volunteers who help to make the marathon possible by handing out water bottles, directing runners, taking photos, and a vast myriad of other important tasks of which there are simply too many to mention, there are also all of the spectators lining the course and cheering the participants on. It’s an awesome event to be a part of, and the atmosphere for all involved is incredible year after year.

Last year the race organisers decided to add to the carnival atmosphere with a Battle of the Bands competition, and this year it’s back again but even bigger. At different locations around the route nine very different bands will be playing in the hope of impressing the voting runners, and in doing so being the band who gets the most votes and so winning a £500 cash prize and a chance to play on BBC Radio Bristol.

So, bearing in mind that not everyone likes every genre of music, we’ve been having a look at the bands who’ll be playing and where they’ll be; in case that helps you to decide where you’d like to watch the marathon from. 

Harlem Rhythm Cats at The Ayrlington on Pulteney Road
A Boogie-Woogie and Blues band with a vintage feel and a fantastic female vocalist. Expect the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, and discovering that you have a sudden urge to start dancing. 

North Somerset Community Brass at Green Park
A non-competing band that raises money for charities and welcomes players of all ages and from all backgrounds. They have performed all over the region and they play purely for the love of playing. Which they do very well. Expect all the old brass band favourites.
The Corporations at Victoria Pub & Kitchen on Upper Bristol Road
Soul, Funk, Rock’n’Roll and Blues. The Corporations cover a wide range of songs they hope will get you dancing. Included on their set list at the moment are Dancing in the Street by the Vandellas, Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry, and Mercy by Duffy.
The Somerset Paddies at Andrews Estate Agent on Newbridge Road
Think The Wurzels, crossed with The Pogues and you won’t be too far out. This is a band who’ve mixed Somerset accents with a little Irish charm and come up with real success and variety. Definitely worth catching a song or two from them if you can.

Trenchard near the Boathouse Pub on Newbridge Road
Relative newcomers to the Bath music scene, this guitar-based band are four teens who, despite having only been together for a year, have performed all over and been praised by some big industry names. With all original songs this is one very much up and coming band.
The Disfavoured Party at Way Ahead Care on Lower Bristol Road
If you’re a hard rock fan then this is the band for you. If you like the Dead Kennedys or Pixies you’ll like these guys.

The Edsel Furys at The Carers’ Centre on Lower Bristol Road
This four piece 60s garage/fuzz/surf/rock-n-roll outfit from Bath describe themselves as “a speed train driven by surfer dudes!” They’ve certainly got a good range of instruments behind their sound: “fuzz geetar, bad ass bass and backing sounds, sticks and hits, voice, trumpet, kazoo, harmonica, vibra slap, and other noisy things”.

lDestroy at The Royal Oak Pub on Lower Bristol Road
If you like Joan Jett you’ll like this trio. Angry teenage rebellion songs with catchy riffs which manage to be sneering, charming and upbeat all at the same time. And to top it off they’re great performers too.

Bath Folk Youth Band at Platinum Toyota Bath on Lower Bristol Road

New and traditional folk tunes from a very talented group of performers. It’s easy to forget that they’re only teens, and some members even younger than that. Bath is a hub for folk music and these guys really do prove that.