Bath is a festival city, with a packed schedule of events and celebration from January to July to December. Comedy festivals, commemorations of musical geniuses and a little bit of cap-doffing in the direction of an iconic novelist, it all takes place in Bath. There’s also the small matter of Glastonbury being just 25 miles away, but we’ll shine a light on the city centre celebrations for now. These are the best of the best.
Bath Bachfest (Feb) & Mozartfest (Nov)
We’ll lump these two in together, seeing as they are the Siamese twins of Bath’s classical music calendar. Bachfest and Mozartfest are exactly what you assume them to be — celebrations of two of the most iconic composers in the history of time and space.
Comedy Festival (Mar/Apr)
A barrel of laughs from beginning to end, the Bath Comedy Festival has taken place in every spring since its first edition back in 2008. The line-up usually mixes up and comers with established comics, with Doug Stanhope and Paul Merton among past performers. Imagine going for a pint with Doug Stanhope and Paul Merton?
Bath Festival (May)
The city’s love letter to itself takes place in May, and is an adoring celebration of everything that makes this special place, well, special. It is a mass of music and literature that takes place over 10 days and rarely fails to engage.
Bath Fringe (May/Jun)
Founded in 1981, Bath Fringe is another in the UK’s long list of Fringe festivals that champion creatives outside the microscope of the mainstream. Bath has been a city of travelling performers since travelling performers were first a thing, and the Fringe is a respectful nod in that direction.
Pub in the Park (Jun)
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Pub in the Park is a relatively new Bath tradition in the grand scheme of things, a summertime festival that is all about food and drink and the joy those two things bring. Royal Victoria Park provides an elegant setting.
Bath Carnival (Jul)
You can’t beat a carnival, and the Bath version of the colourful celebration takes place in July. Arguably the most celebratory of all of Bath’s festivals.
Jane Austen Festival (Sep)
English novelists don’t come much more beloved than Jane Austen, and it is accurate to say that her bibliography would be plenty different without the years she spent in Bath. The Jane Austen Festival spans 10 days in September and is an absolute must for fans of ‘Pride & Prejudice’, ‘Sense & Sensibility’ and the like.
Bathscape Walking Festival (Sep)
If you’re a big fan of walking long distances, then more power to you. You don’t have to be a fan of a long stroll to enjoy the Bathscape Walking Festival, a September-time event that encourages folk to see Bath via the two feet that God gave them. The walk can be as long as you like, but come on people, get those steps in.
Children’s Literature Festival (Sep/Oct)
Reading is vital, we all know this, and it is important to instil a love of literature in children at a young age. That makes things like Bath’s Children’s Literature Festival even more important, and explains why this one is so lovingly supported.
Of course we’re going to mention Christmas. It is the most wonderful time of the year and Bath is the most wonderful town in England, and the two come together like magnet and steel. The squares and the streets of the city become a fairytale picture of twinkling lights and Georgian architecture, and we can feel our heartstrings tugging as we type this.