When the autumn weather turns leaves to flame… 

We haven’t time for the waiting game – there’s just too much to do!

If the kids are grumbling about going back to school, bring them along to the Bath Childrens Literature Festival and kindle a love of reading that should make homework-related struggles a thing of the past. Run in partnership with the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the festival has been a going strong since it was established in 2007 by Bath-based childrens publishers Gill and John McLay. The largest dedicated children’s book festival in the UK, with over 80 ticketed events, the Telegraph Bath Childrens Literature Festival is sure to offer something to fire the imaginations of kids big and small.

For the second year running, this year the festival welcomes acclaimed childrens author David Almond as guest Artistic Director. Almond says: “This great festival celebrates the fact that children’s literature sits right at the heart of our culture. It’s a real thrill and honour to be asked to be guest artistic director”.

The festival opens on Friday 26th September at 5pm with The Big, Big, Bath Book Quiz at the Guildhall. For ages 7-and-up, kids can enter in teams of one to three and show off their book smarts. Tickets cost just £6 each.  Throughout its ten day run the festival hosts a range of talks, workshops and readings for all age groups, each of which aims “to entertain children and to enthuse them about reading”. Click here for a full schedule of events.

When the school holidays end, those who aren’t absorbed in the ‘back to school’ rush will likely be sighing with relief as peace begins to reign once more. With at least a few weeks of good weather still on the cards, this is a great time to treat yourself to a quiet few days away. End of season bargains in all of Baths lovely shops, autumn colour rioting across our beautiful parks and gardens, afternoon tea and early evening cocktails – if these are a few of your favourite things then make the most of them and grab yourself a grown-up getaway!

If you consider shopping to be a recreational activity it its own right, take a breather between pounding the pavements with a little civility in the form of afternoon tea.

Grab a cream tea at The Boston Tea Party. A homemade scone (baked onsite daily) with cornish clotted cream & strawberry jam, with loose leaf English Breakfast, Earl Grey or Darjeeling tea will cost you just £4.50. And you should see the size of those scones!

Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms offer a traditional Afternoon Tea served on a tiered cake stand, with a selection of finger sandwiches, a buttermilk scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream, homemade cake and loose leaf English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea for £14.95; or High Tea, also £14.95, which includes any dish from the lunch menu, plus a cheese scone, a slice of fruit cake and loose leaf English Breakfast tea. Delicious!

The Regency Tea Room at the Jane Austen Centre has a full menu of Austen-themed afternoon tea options, from The Dashwood’s Tea at £5.90 – a toasted tea cake served with butter and strawberry jam, plus a tea of your choice – right up to Champagne Tea with Mr. Darcy:  £26.50 per person (or £49.95 for two), gives you a selection of finger sandwiches, a warm scone served with Dorset clotted cream, locally sourced seasonal and strawberry jam, a selection of cakes, tea or coffee of your choice and your own 20cl bottle of Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne for one or a 37.5cl bottle for 2. Go on, treat yourself…

When the day is done and all you want to do is kick back and relax (and admire all your lovely new purchases, am I right ladies?), why not do it with a glass of something special in your hand? ArtBar at the Abbey Hotel (just around the corner from Three Abbey Green!) boasts an amazing range of cocktails as well and speciality whiskies and gins – just the ticket for a little grown up indulgence. And if you want to try whipping up your own alcoholic masterpiece, you can take a Cocktail Masterclass!

Lots of the speciality liquors served at the ArtBar can also be purchased at Independent Spirit of Bath, “Bath’s finest purveyor of all things booze related”. If you’re looking to try something new, Indie Spirit offer tasting sessions for everything from single malt Scotch to micro-brewery beers. Their next event is a tequila tasting on 26th September, promising a taste of the best Mexican spirits on the market – tickets cost £20. We have some great last minute ‘hot deals’ on our website to help you make the most of a little time away – so don’t delay, book a room and indulge yourself – you deserve it!

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