Saturday, 26 November 2016

Visit Bath and Get In The Festive Spirit

Bath Christmas Market is here once more, but that’s not all Bath has to offer when it comes to festive spirit this December.

If you come to Bath at this time of year, a must-see has to be the Christmas Market, but once you’re finished exploring Bath Christmas Market the city still has plenty to offer its guests to help boost the Christmas spirit.

A popular attraction all-year-round in Bath is No.1 Royal Crescent, and for Christmas they’ve put up their traditional Georgian Christmas decorations. They’ll be on display until December the 11th, and from the 1st December – 3rd December, and again from 8th December – 10th December, there will be the opportunity to enjoy the decorations as part of Christmas in Twilight, which sees the house stay open until 8pm. Another top reason to visit for craft-lovers is that there will be a ticketed make your own Christmas wreath workshop on the 3rd of December from 2:30-4:30pm, during which florists from Crescent Flowers of Bath will share their skills, hot drinks and mince pies while they help you to create a wreath full of seasonal colours and foliage.

Another favourite is the Roman Baths, and this year they’re holding a number of black-tie Christmas parties. There will be a sparkling drinks reception beginning at 7:30 around the magical torch-lit Roman Baths, followed by a three course dinner with half a bottle of wine in the Pump Room, on the Terrace, in the Reception Hall or in the Kingston Room. After dinner there will be live music, a disco, and a bar will be open until 12:30. On the 2nd of December tickets cost £50, and on the 16th tickets cost £55.

In the Abbey, half-hour carol concerts will be taking place on Saturday the 3rd and Saturday the 10th of December at 1,2,3 and 4pm for anyone who wants to get into the Christmas mood with a spot of singing. On Friday the 2nd of December and Saturday the 3rd, Handel’s oratorio will be performed in the Abbey at 7:30pm, then on December the 17th from 7 - 8:30pm, there will be ‘A Christmas Celebration’ – a Christmas concert given by the Abbey Boys’ Girls’ and Men’s choirs, including the traditional candlelit performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’. Tickets cost between £8 and £18 and are available from Bath Box Office (01225 463 362).   

If you’re in Bath at short notice and have had no time to book anything then not to worry. Bath has plenty of late night shopping events, some pop-up ski bars, an outdoor ice rink, favourite festive films on at the beautiful Little Theatre Cinema (White Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life to name only two), and mulled wine by the gallon to enjoy (just not all at once…).

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Visit Bath and Visit Bath Christmas Market 2016

At last it’s time. On Thursday the 24th at 10a.m. Bath’s famous Christmas market will open, and over 170 of its traditional wooden chalets will around the Bath Abbey area in the centre of Bath and will be filled with such wonderful things as steaming mulled wine and homemade fudge and cakes and unique artisan crafts.

As the Bath Christmas Market is on it’s a wonderful time to visit Bath, but there are a few top tips that might help you to get the most out of your visit to the market.

Timing is everything and when you visit the market will make a big difference to the atmosphere and experience you have. Naturally if you visit during the day the market will be quieter, although on a Saturday or Sunday the market is going to be busy whatever time you go, so ideally if you can a visit on a weekday. The market will be open between 10am and 7pm from Monday-Wednesday, between 10am and 8:30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 10am to 6pm on Sunday. Having said that, visiting in the evening when the lights are illuminating the Abbey is incomparable for atmosphere. So if you have time to have a long daytime browse and then another visit in the evening then definitely do.   

Something else to consider is delaying your lunch/dinner until after you’ve been around the market. If you like free samples then the market is a great place to be so you don’t want to be too full before you go.  

Another good tip for Bath Christmas Market is to visit when a performance is scheduled. The Natural Theatre Company will be appearing on Thursday 24th, Tuesday 29th, Sunday 4th and Friday 9th, and on Thursday 1st and Thursday 8th there will be illuminated stilt walkers. As for music, choirs from the universities and local colleges, and other local choirs will be performing on various dates. For updates on exact times and locations a good tip is to follow @BathXmasMarket.   

If you’re a resident of Bath or the surrounding area (or know someone who is), then another good idea is to go shopping with your resident’s Discovery Card on hand. Many of the stalls are offering a 10% discount on items to anyone with a discovery card, and there are also many stalls which offer a free gift if you spend over a certain amount. The key is to remember to show your card whenever you buy, as most stallholders won’t ask if you have one. A full list of these can be found on the Bath Christmas Market homepage.

Other good things to bear in mind when touring the Bath Christmas Market are: 

-There’s free Wi-Fi available. 

-The Lodge (a pop-up snow lodge in Stall Street) is back and a great place to go for refreshments. 

-You might want to take tissues with you (in case the loos have run out). 

-Don’t forget to wrap up warm!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Visit Bath and Enjoy Bath Mozart Festival

Bath Christmas Market may not be with us until November 24th, but there’s plenty going on in Bath to keep us entertained before then! 

From November 11th until November 19th, Bath is hosting its annual Bath Mozart Fest, which sees the city come alive with some of the composer’s greatest and most famous works performed in beautiful venues around the city. 

This year will be the 26th Bath Mozart Fest. It was begun in 1991 by Mrs Mary Purnell as a tribute to her late son Mark, who adored the music of Mozart and the city of Bath. The festival has grown each year thanks to national media coverage and sell-out concerts. Which is particularly impressive as Bath Mozart Fest receives no council or government funding. It is now well established as one of Europe’s top classical music festivals. 

A few top picks

Tonight (Saturday 12th), at 7:30pm in The Forum in Bath, conductor Sir Mark Elder will be leading renowned orchestra the Halle, who are joined by Canadian violin virtuoso James Ehnes. Rather than Mozart, they will be performing pieces from Mendelssohn, Bruch and Beethoven. As well as enjoying the music, there is also the opportunity of partaking in the champagne reception before the concert and during the interval. 

On Sunday 13th Bath’s famous Assembly Rooms will be welcoming the Nash Ensemble who will perform Mozart’s Trio in E flat major, his String Quintet in C minor, and his Serenade in B flat major. One indicator of the quality of the concert is that it is going to be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast. Before the concert (which starts at 7:30pm) there is a pre-concert talk at 6pm, given by writer, lecturer and broadcaster Dr Katy Hamilton, who will be exploring the changing nature of concert programming in the 19th century.  

Monday sees the first of the festival’s hour-long lunchtime concerts, as cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and prize-winning Russian pianist Peter Limonov join musical talents to perform Beethoven and Stravinsky at 1pm at the Guildhall.   

On Tuesday at 7:30pm, again at the Guildhall, baritone Roderick Williams, who this year has won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, and pianist Roger Vignoles will be performing Schubert’s late song cycle, Winterreise. After the performance there will be a question and answer opportunity with both Roderick and Roger. 

The midweek highlight will be performed at 7:30pm on Wednesday at the Assembly Rooms, where the Emerson String Quartet (comprised of the traditional combination of two violins, a viola and a cello) will be playing pieces from Mozart, Shostakovich and Beethoven. Mozart’s D Minor Quartet is a piece full of passionate urgency, while Shostakovich’s Fourth Quartet is a beautiful piece which was kept from performance for many years as it was politically controversial at the time.

It looks to be an amazing programme for any devotee (or newcomer to for that matter) of classical music. Full details of the festival can be found at:, and tickets are available from the website, or are available on the day from Bath Box Office (01225 463362) and at the venue one hour before the performance start.