12 reasons to visit Bath in 2012

Date Posted: 18/01/2012

New events and exhibitions, combined with an enduring appeal of architecture, history and spa culture, ensures that the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath continues to be a tempting place for groups to visit this year. Here are 12 reasons why Bath is a must-visit destination for 2012…

1. Picnic in the Park: For organisers looking to mark the Queen’s Jubilee, consider joining in the Royal Victoria Park festivities on the 5th June, where the free Picnic in the Park event will be held. Two giant screens will show all the official celebrations, and a large stage will host performances from the Bath Philharmonic Orchestra, popular ABBA tribute band, Björn Again, and young emerging pop artists. Partygoers will be encouraged to dress up in retro clothes from 1977, when the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee.

2. Bath in Fashion: The third Bath in Fashion event is gearing up for an action-packed week from the 25th to the 31st March, with plenty of fashion shows, talks, and workshops that will appeal to fashionistas young and old. Events include Manolo Blahnik in conversation with Iain R. Webb, and a fascinating talk by Matteo Alessi, the great-grandson of Giovanni Alessi, who established his business in 1921. Bath in Fashion will also have a local flavour, with designers from the city’s independent boutiques showcasing their collections at the Holburne Museum.

3. Independent Bath: Unlike other cities with cloned high streets, branded hotels and chain restaurants, Bath offers something different, making it an interesting place to explore. Independent shops and boutiques line its shopping streets, and restaurants exclusive to Bath serve a choice of international cuisine. If your group is staying in the city, contemplate one of the independently-run bed and breakfasts or hotels that offer a personal service and comfortable stay.

4. Holburne Museum: After several years of major development, the Holburne re-opened its doors last year following a restoration of the original building and a modern extension. It now houses major exhibitions, and more of its collection of 9,000 objects and artwork founded by Sir William Holburne. The display space is now doubled, and the grade-one listed building has been transformed for the 21st century.

??Photo credit: visitbath.co.uk. Bath Tourism Plus / Colin Hawkins5. Art at the Edge: This is a brand new exhibition coming to the Victoria Art Gallery (pictured) in the summer. The collection will feature 30 bronze sculptural statues of different Olympic and Paralympic sports, and there will also be a city-wide sport-themed sculpture trail, featuring ten life-sized works of art situated in dramatic settings around Bath.

6. 2,000 years of spa culture: Blessed with the only natural hot springs in the UK, Bath’s story has been shaped by its waters, and now groups can experience Spas Ancient & Modern - a special package that spans 2,000 years. Vouchers can be purchased from the Tourist Information Centre or online via www.visitbathshop.co.uk, and it includes a spa session at the Thermae Bath Spa, entry to the ancient Roman Baths, and a Champagne afternoon tea or lunch in the Pump Room.

7. Bike Bath: A brand new event will be coming to Bath over the weekend of 22nd to the 24th June, which that is sure to appeal to sports enthusiasts. There will be organised rides, fun activities and top-level racing in Royal Victoria Park, and cyclists can choose to take part in three organised rides - 30, 60 or 100 miles - as well as participating in other activities and events.

8. A new way to discover Bath: Bath Tourism Plus will be launching its first mobile application for the city of Bath in the coming months. The free app will be available on both iPhone and Android handsets, and will provide an interactive and useful source of information about Bath. The tool will include details of events, accommodation availability, maps, deals and discount vouchers available.

9. Classic Bath: Bath was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status thanks to its architecture, and the best way to see its highlights is by joining an organised tour. Bus tours, boat trips, walking tours and even chauffeur-driven options are just some of the choices available to groups. Alternatively, group travel organisers can download the free World Heritage Site audio tour from www.visitbath.co.uk, which takes listeners on a journey through Bath’s history and architecture.

10. Family Festival of Music and Sport: Bath Racecourse will be celebrating the London 2012 Olympics on the 21st July with a festival for all the family. Musical groups will enjoy the programme of entertainment with headliner Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, whilst sporting fans get the opportunity to meet leading sportsman and women, and join the activity taster programme.

11. Roman Baths (pictured): Around the heart of the World Heritage Site and using Britain’s only hot springs, the Romans built a temple and bathing complex with much remaining to this day. This year, the Roman Baths is introducing new interpretations and displays following a recent £5.5 million investment. Walk on ancient pavements where Romans walked, see the extensive ruins, and enjoy the beautifully preserved treasures from the spring.

12. Returning favourites: Bath is home to a calendar of regular events, and 2012 will see the return of many favourite festivals including the well-established Bath International Music Festival in June, the Jane Austen Festival in September - celebrating all things Regency - and the popular Bath Christmas Market in November, offering festive cheer and gift ideas galore.

Useful contact:

Bath Tourism Plus travel trade team:

Photo credit: visitbath.co.uk. Bath Tourism Plus / Colin Hawkins

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