BATH, the UK’s best-known spa town, is positively overflowing with historic buildings and monuments, from the baths themselves to the Georgian masterpieces of The Circus and the Royal Crescent.
It's no surprise, then, that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the local economy, with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city attracting some one million overnight visitors a year.
It is home to two universities and a host of museums, and while its once strong manufacturing sector is now in decline, other industries, such as publishing, software and communications technologies are making headway. With Jane Austen and Thomas Gainsborough among former residents, the city has a strong arts scene too.
Located in the city centre, the Assembly Rooms have been the heart of Bath’s social scene since the 18th century. The grand Georgian building can now be used for business as well as balls and has a set of interlinking rooms that can be tailored to any event – hired either individually or in a combination. The Ball Room is the most impressive venue and holds up to 500 people; the Team Room is ideal for conferences of up 250 delegates in theatre-style; the Octagon, with its unique shape and symmetry and central location is used for registration, catering or exhibition space; and the Card Room is often used for lunches or as a break-out space. All rooms have natural daylight and blackout blinds, plus wifi is available throughout the venue at no additional cost.
Name: The Roman Baths
Address: Stall Street, Bath, BA1 1LZ
Tel: 01225 477785
The Roman Baths are the city’s most famous historic setting, dating back nearly 2,000 years, and make for a magical reception venue in the heart of the Bath. Between 20 and 320 guests can mingle beside the torch-lit steaming waters, nibbling canapés and enjoying a glass of wine or two. In addition, the Pump Room makes a memorable setting for gala dinners and award ceremonies, catering for up to 180 guests for dinners or 300 for a drinks reception.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Name: The Holburne Museum
Address: Great Pulteney Street, Bath, BA2 4DB
Tel: 01225 388588
Reopened in May 2011 after three years of closure for renovation, including an extension, the Holburne Museum is a great location for exclusive corporate and private events. It’s located within Bath’s picturesque Sydney Gardens and overlooks the grand thoroughfare of Great Pulteney Street. Available for hire outside normal museum opening hours are the Brownsword Gallery (capacity for 100 delegates theatre-style or dinners for up 80), the Davidson Gallery (drinks receptions for up to 100 or dinners for up to 24), and the Garden Café (drinks receptions for up to 75 or dinners for up to 40). The Core Learning Space is the only facility available for hire during opening hours, and has room for 50 delegates theatre-style or 20 in a boardroom set up.
ON A SHOESTRING
Name: The Combe Grove Manor Hotel
Address: Brassknocker Hill, Monkton Combe,
Bath, BA2 7HU
Tel: 01225 834644
The Combe Grove Manor Hotel sits in 69 acres of private gardens and woodland just three miles from the centre of Bath, with impressive views of the Limpley Stoke Valley. The 18th century hotel has 42 guestooms, two restaurants and a Country Club, with gym, swimming pools, tennis courts, sauna, steamroom and 16-bay driving range. The hotel’s largest meeting room is located in the Garden Lodge and caters for up to 90 delegates theatre-style. The Manor House has three attractive meeting rooms with features such as open fireplaces, original plasterwork and Georgian bay windows. Day passes for the Country Club can be arranged for delegates.
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
Name: The Duchy Townhouse
Address: 5 Edward Street, Bath, BA2 4DT
Tel: 01225 464238
This historic Georgian townhouse – once owned by Prince Charles – is located just off Great Pulteney Street and sleeps up to 16 guests, making it a suitable venue for small group events and for entertaining clients too. The impressive Drawing Room leads to the beautiful ‘Withdrawing’ room, while a large kitchen leads into a formal dining room and through French doors into a landscaped garden. Catering staff and/or a chef can be hired in.
How to get there: There are regular rail services between London Paddington and Bath Spa stations, with a journey time of 90 minutes. Services from the north are via Bristol Temple Meads. By road, it is around two to two and a half hours from London on the M4, or two hours from Birmingham on the M5. The nearest airport is Bristol which operates services to/from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Dublin, Belfast, Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle and the Isle of Man, among other destinations.
See: www.bathvenues.co.uk / www.visitbath.co.uk