I assume some folk read this blog for cheap accommodation tips. One of my major contributions to the NHS was telling people “No, you can’t stay at Malmaison, I’ve found you a perfectly acceptable replacement called Hotel F1“. I wish I was joking.
Goodness know how businesses around Bath cope. Nothing for me under £80. Except the University of Bath. Here it is (far right on the OS Map), a pleasant 40 minute yomp over the hills.
And here’s what you get for your £36; a spartan single room, with shared upstairs WC and shower, and intermittent WiFi. Plus charges of £3 forparking and £1 for towel hire.
If I told you the Full English Breakfast was so good I’ll probably go back again, you’ll realise what UoB’s saving grace was.
Bath not only had three new GBG ticks, one of them taking Spoons vouchers, but is also a superb transport hub from which to visit such exciting places as Frome and Melksham.
From the gates of the University you can ignore the bus, and take the walk across the Bath Skyline, a National Trust maintained treasure.
So steep is the descent into Bathwick, I could still feel my calves aching in Melksham, something you don’t read everyday.
Suddenly Bath made sense,with the same sort of appeal as Edinburgh – hills, architecture and pubs. Unlike Calton Hill, I have the skyline to myself. So I get lost.
I followed the sound of cricket, just over the canal.
No idea who was playing, but the announcer was using an aggressive R’n’B soundtrack and shouting “Boom !” over the tannoy to announce leg byes and scampered twos, so I guess it wasn’t the MCC on tour.
This is the part of town where I once almost went in to a Rugby Union match by mistake, before discovering that Bath City were about to massacre Cambridge United a couple of miles away. Still made it for kick-off.
Bath was heaving on a dull Wednesday afternoon. The Huntsman looked so good I couldn’t work out why it hadn’t been in the Guide before, since everything else has.
Turns out it’s not a theme pub linked to the Kristen Stewart film, but a posh Fullers pub using high quality handpumps to justify charging £2.25 for a half of Bath.
It was worth the £2.25 for twenty minutes of polite conversation, queuing etiquette, and American bewilderment at the beer choice (“Do you have Bud ?”)
The barman was as cheery and efficient as they come, and told me it was Graduation Day in Bath. I have a picture of my own graduation from the Conservatoire of Life in a box somewhere.
Clearly graduation = more custom = better quality. This was the best drop of Bath Spa I’ve had yet.
More evidence of student promenading at the Abbey and the Pump Room.
But luckily my next two pubs took me into “townie” Bath, along James Street in its various incarnations.
I’ve told you about the queuing fun in the King of Wessex. I should add that the beer range, while hardly stunning, made up for it in quality.
The Green Jack “Gone Fishing” was one of July’s few NBSS 4 scores. Strictly, I should have had a half of this 6% classic, but you can’t let Spoons vouchers go to waste.
In the queue I chatted to one of Derby’s famous beer tickers. Derby, as you’ll know, is the world capital of handpump counters. He was using Bath as a base for visiting Spoons (nearly 900 to date), and we bemoaned the loss of the Tivoli in solidarity.
I caught up with Mr Ticker next door in the Bath Brew House, so new that Bing Maps hasn’t caught up with it’s change from the Met.
Too many handpumps alert ! Mr Ticker loved it.
The homebrew was OK, in that generic Brewhouse & Kitchen style, but served in a handled mug just to annoy me.
And the seating. Oh dear !
Mr Ticker joined me at the bar, two old codgers clogging up the view of the handpumps like those folk I slag off in these posts.
Eventually we stopped talking pre-emptive ticks and popped upstairs. To take in the brewerania. The best bit of the pub.