Top 5 Family Friendly Festivals in Bath
Back to back family friendly Bath festivals over the next couple of months!
From festivals that last a couple of weeks to one that lasts for the whole month of October, there is so much to do in Bath. What better excuse than to get away and stay at Bath Mill Lodge Retreat for a weekend, Autumn half term, Halloween or even longer if you wanted to and still see a different event every day. So read on ladies and gents and have a gander at what you could be getting up to on a fabulous UK getaway!
11th to 20th September: Jane Austen Festival
“Jane Austen Festival in Bath (probably the best in the world!)”
“Friends are made for life here in Bath, it doesn’t matter if you come by yourself you will not be on your own for long.”
“I hope to return to the Festival next year… and to make my own dress for the occasions”
A great time for the family with dressing up, fun and food, this is a delight for any Jane Austen fans, whether you’re a hard-core period dressing fan or simply just waiting for your own Mr Darcy kind of fan. It kicks off with a ‘very private public breakfast’ in the Regency Bath House (doilies and top hats at the ready!) which then leads on to a very funny, condensed, version of Pride and Prejudice. A showing of Emma, staring Gwyneth Paltrow on 16th September is worth a watch and a lovely evening out with the family. If you fancy a funny and informative tour then join in on the Unsavoury Tour of Bath and explore the more sordid history of Bath (oo-er!). The Pump Room are also celebrating the Jane Austen Festival by hosting a commemorative afternoon tea with handmade scones, Jane Austen custard tart, lemon curd mini Bath Bun and a pot of Pump Room blend loose leaf tea. With plenty of variety during the festival from archery, where you can discuss views with your own Mr Knightly, to regency dancing lessons where you’re bound to find and win that Mr Darcy over.
25th September to 4th October: The Children’s Literature Festival
With amazing guests such as Cressida Cowell, creator of How to train your Dragon and Jacqueline Wilson, of Tracey Beaker fame (and my favourite book growing up My Angel Vicky) plus TV favourites Julian Clary, Sam and Mark, David Baddiel and Helen Skelton who are all promoting their first children’s books (really!). The ‘Professor of Potter’ event will be a must for all wizards, witches and muggles (no Dursleys or Death Eaters thank you), bringing to life Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone in an interactive reading. Horrid Henry’s creator Francesca Simon will also be talking about the new book in the horrid series and teaching children all the right things to do. Teens can also join in with author Patrick Ness talking about his latest novel The Rest of us Just Live Here. Three things I will most definitely be attending: the first is going to see the writers of Doctor Who talking about working on such a popular tv show and how they come up with the creepy things they do on a regular basis (the weeping angels *shudder*). Next stop is the UK’s official Hunger Games quiz hosted by Ceaser Flickerman which can be attended in fancy dress, I will be going in District attire rather than the Capital Couture as I am definitely Team Katniss. And ending with a quiz from Star Wars expert Simon Beecraft, who has authored an infinite number of books on the subject, which is also in fancy dress, a costume idea needs to be thoroughly thought out for this one – too many characters to choose from!
1st to 31st October: Great Bath Feast
The foodies heaven! A month long event of food and festivities, including food stalls in the city centre on the, brilliantly named, Stall Street. Something to try at every stall, tea room or restaurant is the Bath Bun (not to be confused with the Sally Lunn Bun) this is a sweet yeast dough bun sprinkled with crushed sugar – an amazing sweet treat to you and me! The Sally Lunn story is interesting, she came up with the very first Bath Bun and the recipe is a closely guarded secret, it has even been put into the deeds of the Sally Lunn Historic Eating House, which is one of the oldest in Bath. The basement kitchen is now a museum in honour of how Sally Lunn baked and started the now thriving business. Do not miss a chance to enter this tea room and enjoy the bun, coffee and the history! Marry Berry will be visiting and imparting her wisdom to the fans and foodies, Nigella Lawson will also be dropping in for the launch of her new cookbook Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food, which goes along with her new BBC TV series. A few things to take a notepad to, if you are anything like me and need all the help you can get in the kitchen! As it is the 150th birthday of Alice in Wonderland, Bath Feast are holding an after-dark Mad Hatter’s Masquerade Dinner, it is an adults only event in Bath’s Masionic Lodge that will create a fitting and surreal atmosphere. A cheese festival called Blessed are the Cheesemakers (what’s so special about them?) will take place in Bath Abbey and will have ewe, goat and cow’s cheese on display and many tasters for all the cheese lovers to discover, what a treat!
26th November to 13th December: Christmas Markets
“Fourth visit to this wonderful market I would heartily recommend it…A great day out!!!”
“there was a cool new “ski chalet” near the main square which served amazing cocktails and really good hearty stews – I hope they are back this year too, can’t wait.”
“By far the best market I have visited. All compact in the town, with the local shops nearby. Plenty to see and do”
I know its only August but Christmas is just round the corner (stay with me here, it’s exciting!) and Bath Christmas Market is an experience not to be missed! Along with the usual Santa’s grotto, carol signers in Bath Abbey, musicians and entertainers there will be a great range of food for when you need more fuel, anything from gourmet burgers to fresh pancakes (my absolute favourite food) and the Theatre Royal’s annual Christmas pantomime will be available for everyone to enjoy (except the Grinch). An ice rink to entertain the kids, or yourself, if boredom sets in with Bath’s very own Apres Ski Bar with festive mulled wine and mountain inspired cuisine (your guess is as good as mine on that one!). These festivities alone would be enough to grab my attention but there is more to this than food (it’s all about the food really folks). Pop up shops will be available throughout the festival each for a limited time, get your own Gingerbread house making kit from Bickie-Boo, or try hand made chocolate from Seven Hills Chocolate. I can’t wait to have a Christmas pudding from Georgie Porgies Puddings pop up shop! Looking for something a bit out of the box and interesting for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life (my husband)? Then go to Sid’s pop up shop The Stencil Shed he creates amazing aerosol graffiti art. Beth at Boodle creates sweaters, t-shirts, baby grows, greeting cards and art prints all made from eco-friendly ink and products. She is making Christmas themed decorations for the market with the help of her two ginger tomcats (a girl after my own heart, I have four cats and a dog to help me). With so much variety this is a Christmas must.
3rd to 13th December: Bath Film Festival
“The debate with Directors, Producers or actors, is another extra value for the BFF who always have time after the projections to share invaluable opinions with the audience.”
“One of the most exciting experiences during my time living in the UK was discovering the Bath Film Festival.”
“The Bath Film Festival is a platform for new talents”
25 years ago it was 1990 – let that sink in for a couple of minutes! – and the film buffs in Bath decided to put together a great little screening of films, it took off and the Bath Film Festival was created. They have some great showings of films before their release date, last year they had Wild, with Reese Witherspoon and Birdman, with Michael Keaton and Edward Norton (you know they were worth a watch just from those names) both films went on to win a few awards, so this tells you how great this festival is and it’s not just for the film reviewers either who, lets be honest here, get paid to watch a film and then tear it to pieces, the festival is for everyone! There are family films for those who want to entertain the kids, although with the films on offer I will be going without children in tow! A new Irish animation called Song of the Sea, which is all about fairies and saving the world, you can’t really get better than that for the kids can you? Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty, which is based on the classic story The Borrowers. Now a little side question here, are you a fan of the original John Goodman baddy or the more recent Steven Fry one? I’m very partial to Steven Fry myself, he’s my personal hero, but I also love John Goodman (The Big Lebowski is one of my favourite films). For the older kids there are many other films to choose from, one to watch is Sci-Fi flick Coherence which stars Nicholas Brendon (Xander from the TV show Buffy). Also old school films will be on show, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1956, which is still just as scary today (think The Faculty but without all the teen angst). It also showcases some local talent from the Bath University which is worth a watch for some up and coming stars! For a reasonably priced night or weekend away for all the family, don’t miss this brilliantly, entertaining event!
With plenty on in the lead up to the the end of the year make sure you try a bit of everything and enjoy the food, festivities and films that Bath has to offer! Let me know any adventures you all get up to!