All right. So you are all coming to Bath for the morris dancing. You are coming for just the weekend, and bringing family along with you. Perhaps you might like to stay a couple of days longer or even your partner/family would like to look at something other than morris dancers for at least part of the day… Here’s a very brief guide to some things you might like to consider in and around the city.
Bath Children’s Literature Festival – this starts the same weekend we’re dancing. There will be events at locations all over the city. You’ll need to keep an eye on the Festival website for information about the timetable nearer the time (and advance booking tickets is strongly recommended).
Fashion Museum – housed in the Assembly Rooms, where we’re holding the ceilidh. This will give you a chance to see what else is hidden in the historic building, and what they might have worn to the ball. The building is actually owned by the National Trust, so you can see the building with your NT card if you don’t want to visit the museum. Come and see the ballroom before we fill it up with dancers. Cafe on site too.
Roman Baths – Bath is famous for its, well, baths. Find out why and where the hot water comes from and what the Romans did whilst they were in the baths. Oh, and how to lay a Roman curse. You can try the water itself in the Pump Room whilst you have a cream tea. An acquired taste.
No.1 Royal Crescent – part of the Bath Preservation Trust, this house (and its neighbour 1a) have been recreated as it would originally have appeared to its first owner in 1774.
Herschel Museum – another of the Bath Preservation Trust museums, this little gem is hidden away in a corner of town little visited by tourists, but it’s worth the side trip. This is where William Herschel and his sister, Caroline, searched the night skies for planets. He was better known in Bath as the organist at the Octagon Chapel in Milsom Street before his astronomical fame.
Old Orchard Street Theatre – Bath’s original Theatre Royal – the warrant dates from 1768, but the theatre was much older. The building was used for various things, including a Catholic Chapel before it’s current incarnation as the Masonic Hall. You get two tours for one – the theatre and the masonic hall.
American Museum in Britain – the only museum outside America dedicated to the social, cultural and artistic history of America. Always has interesting annual exhibitions. Slightly out of town, it has a great cafe and views to die for. Extensive grounds including an arboretum.
Dyrham Park – a little to the north of Bath, this NT property was the home of the Blathwayt family who were at their height in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Prior Park Historic Landscape – 18th century garden landscaped to suit Ralph Allen the Bath stone and Post Office magnate of the 18th century. Palladian bridge and a little bit of ‘wilderness’. House is not open to the public (now a private school).
Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides – founded in 1934, these guides are dedicated volunteers who have to master the ‘knowledge’ to gain their blue badge. Walks are free and set off from outside the Pump Room twice a day. Very much the best way to see the city and understand its history whilst you are standing in the middle of it. Way better than a guide book. They may need to shout a bit on the Saturday though!