Since the Celts first discovered the benefits of the hot springs in Bath, through its prominence after the Roman invasion and its heyday as a spa town in the 19th century, the city of Bath has been a place of popularity and pilgrimage for the British population.
Bath’s star continues to shine in the 21st Century as a sought-after city in which to live and work as well as being a firm fixture on the tourist trail for British and overseas visitors alike. People flock all year round to admire the stunning 18th and 19th century architecture, the well-preserved Roman Bath complex and the attractive greenery of the Mendip hills that encircle the city.
There is always something to do and see in Bath, whatever the time of year and whatever the weather, but perhaps the best time to visit is in late May and early June, when the summer sun begins to warm the cool Bath stone and the sounds of the Bath International Music Festival rise above the rooftops.
The Bath International Music Festival has taken place annually since 1948 and is a celebration of some of the best world music, from classical to jazz via just about every conceivable genre in between. It is known for its diversity and for the thoughtful way in which the programme is developed, bringing together ingenious collaborations from the far corners of the globe.
The celebrations begin on Friday evening with more than 2000 individuals performing in a free event known as the “Party in the City”. In fact this is a series of concurrent events that take place at venues throughout the streets of Bath, all of which are attended by thousands of local, national and overseas spectators. For two full weekends and the five days in between the city becomes alive with the sounds of music, with new sounds emerging with every corner you turn.
Bath’s history as a centre for music dates back many years before the birth of the Bath International Music Festival. Since as long ago as the 16th century the country’s nobility has been coming to Bath for musical entertainment at locations such as Bath Abbey and the city’s many grand residences.
These days the festival provides the perfect opportunity to combine a week of musical culture with some sightseeing in one of the UK’s most picturesque cities. Bath is small enough to explore on foot and yet large enough to have a big-town feel. Sympathetic and stringent planning laws have ensured that modern building is in keeping with the beautiful Bath stone architecture that characterises the city’s more established areas.
Attractive, up-market shopping facilities are juxtaposed with quirky bistros and sophisticated restaurants serving a range of modern British and international cuisine. With no shortage of stylish hotels to choose from, you can be sure that your stay in Bath will be entertaining, rich in culture and luxuriously comfortable in equal measure.