Reside5 – Half Term Trips

For many, the peace and romance of Valentine’s Day will be shattered at around 3pm as Bath’s schools jettison an avalanche of excitable children from the sanctuary of the schoolyard and tyrannised teachers hastily secure the gates behind them for a week. With half term upon us, many a hassled household will be doing their best to balance work, life and a tangle of tireless tykes, so it is important to have an impressive armoury of activities at the ready.

Just as well, then, that we have scoured the region and picked 5 of our favourite things to do, places to be and sights to see with the kids during half term. We hope that it helps you to plan some fantastic family fun, and please let us know what you get up to on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.


1. Bath City Farm
Kelston View, BA2 1NW
Twitter: @BathCityFarm
(photo credit: bathcityfarm.org.uk)

The presence of Shetland ponies, Dexter cattle, Wiltshire Horn sheep, pygmy goats, boar and guinea fowl on the southwestern outskirts of Bath might cause you to think that Old MacDonald has decamped to the city. They actually belong to Bath City Farm, a 37 acre community organisation which promotes sustainable farming and living. Whilst picturesque walks can be enjoyed over the farmland, the stars of the show are undoubtedly the animals who roam the fields and can be cautiously approached as long as an adult’s in attendance. The pigs, chickens and ducks can be fed with feed from the farm shop, and pony grooming sessions are also occasionally available. To top it all off, entry to this wonderful community experience is absolutely free, although donations are gratefully accepted.


2. The Egg Theatre
Sawclose, BA1 1ET
Twitter: @theeggbath
(photo credit: guide2bath.com)

The Egg is a cosy and comfortable theatre dedicated to children and families, and they have a half term agenda packed with adventure and excitement. Wanted: Rabbit gets half term off to a thrilling start with the tale (tail?) of a manhunt (rabbithunt?) for an escaped jailbird (jailrabbit? – enough, Ed.). On Monday, there is evocative storytelling with live musical accompaniment and the rest of the week is occupied by Grandpa’s Railway, a poignant story from the highly acclaimed M6 Theatre Company.


3. Adventure Golf
Royal Victoria Park, BA1 2NR
(photo credit: visitbath.co.uk)

Unless the weather dramatically changes over the next few days, you may have to turn up to Victoria Falls Adventure Golf dressed for the Niagara Falls. However, kids couped up indoors contracting cabin fever is not a pleasant experience, so a trip to the Adventure Golf clad in anoraks may well be the solution. 18 holes of very crazy golf wend their way between waterfalls and over waterways, so there is always a chance of getting splashed even if the weather holds!


4. Frozen Sing-Along at Little @ Komedia
Westgate Street, BA1 1EP
Twitter: @LittleTheatreUK
(photo credit: flickr.com/thelittletheatrecinema)

In a world… where children are scowled upon in a cinema for the slightest rustling, bustling or fidgeting, what a relief it will be to take your musical minors to a movie theatre where participation is very much encouraged. As far as family films are concerned, Frozen was the big hit of the winter and Bath’s favourite cinema, The Little Theatre, is hosting sing-along screenings at Komedia this half term. Packed with typical Disney belters, this is an event which is sure to bring the house down.


5. Two Tunnels Greenway
Twitter: @twotunnelsbath
(photo credit: ctcwest.org.uk)

Opened in 2013 to much acclaim, the Two Tunnels Greenway is a cycle path which follows a disused railway line which connects Bath to the Midford Valley, making use of two tunnels which had been blocked off since the Beeching cuts in 1966. The tunnels are both lit and music is played in the lengthier of the two tunnels; best of all they provide shelter from whatever the elements are doing outside. Any grown-ups in the cycling parties will be pleased to know that the route leads past some very pleasant pubs – cycling can be such thirsty work.


As the school bells signal the start of half term, I hope that our blog will help you to feel ready to entertain the whole family this half term. And don’t forget to let us know what you got up to!

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Tenant Demand Set To Increase Into 2014… And Beyond

Walk into Reside during the winter months and you may see a member of staff huddled over a paperback. You would be forgiven for thinking that they were squeezing in a quick chapter of whatever blockbuster had been left for them under the tree on Christmas morning, but it is far more likely that they will be scrutinising Rightmove’s own festive treat: the Little Blue Book. Packed full of data gleaned from Rightmove during 2013, this tiny tome concisely summarises national property trends during the past 12 months. With the help of this and a brand new report on the private rental sector published by Knight Frank, this blog reviews 2013 and speculates whether 2014 will be a year of merriment or malcontent for Landlords.

Rightmove’s report indicates that demand for rental property has increased dramatically during 2013, with this put down to potential home owners being ‘unable to clear post-2008 deposit hurdles’. However, whilst trends over the last three years have seen the supply of new rental properties to the market dwindle, 2013 has bucked this trend and for the first time in years the gap between supply and demand has diminished. New investors are being tempted to the market by improving returns and a recovery in the sales market, as evidenced by a 29% increase in buy-to-let loans during the third quarter of 2013 compared with the same period during 2012. With this in mind, it seems that 2013 has been a year of real growth for the rental market – both in supply and demand, but is this likely to continue into 2014?

New research carried out by Knight Frank suggests that the 4 million households who currently live in privately rented accommodation in the UK will increase by more than 25% by the end of 2016. Even as the housing market starts to recover and Help to Buy lends a hand to purchasers with smaller deposits, the report speculates that Help to Buy ‘is unlikely to reverse the direction of travel to the private rented sector’. Knight Frank cite a strong likelihood that the scheme may be scaled back, and also the slim chance that the full £12.5 billion in mortgage guarantees offered will be used. The report concludes that this, allied with an economy gaining momentum and creating more demand for employment and therefore rental properties in urban areas, will see the demand in rental properties continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

Knight Frank and Rightmove’s findings are borne out by our own results at Reside, where we have seen the total number of lets agreed per year increase by 53% between 2011 and 2013. We have already felt the impact of the rise in tenant demand this year, as January 2014 was our busiest start to the year ever with the number of viewings carried out during the month up by 39% compared to January 2013.

With tenant demand continuing to increase at the same time as a small resurgence in the housing market, it seems that there has never been a better time to invest in rental property. If you are considering joining the ever-increasing number of investment landlords in or around Bath, or simply wish to keep up with our lettings news, please do not hesitate to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Alternatively, our office contact details can be found on our Contact Us page.

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Reside5 – Christmas in Bath

It’s the week before Christmas and here at Reside,
We feel it our duty to help and to guide.
We love Bath in winter and have cherry-picked things,
That reflect Christmas and the joy that it brings.

So when you get home from your Christmas excursion
And are indulging in some mince pie immersion,
Or sipping away at your ale or your bitter,
Don’t keep it to yourself, tell us – on Facebook or Twitter.


1. Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal
12 December 2013 – 12 January 2014
Twitter: @TheatreRBath

Bath’s Theatre Royal will be retaining its place in the heart of all panto loving families this Christmas with a production of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan – one of the best-loved stories in children’s literature.

The fun starts when Peter Pan flies into the Darling children’s nursery one night and whisks them off to Neverland. And there the magic begins, with Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and the Lost Boys, as the children go into combat with Captain Hook and his pirate crew.

There will be flying, special effects, comedy, singing, dancing and lots of audience participation in traditional panto style. Jessica Punch stars as Peter Pan and look out for young dancers from Bath’s Dorothy Coleborn School of Dance playing the Lost Boys.


2. Christmas at the American Museum
Until 22 December 2013
Twitter: @Americanmuseum

It’s a good time of year to visit The American Museum as you’ll see it dressed to the nines with traditional decorations throughout. Its crowning glory is a seventeen foot Nordman Fir tree that dominates the Central Hall. This tree is lit with over 1,000 lights and hung with ornaments that have been handmade by staff and volunteers.

Most of the Period Rooms pre-date the celebration of Christmas as we know it today, so the displays show winter activities that were popular during each period. You’ll see festive colours added by costume, textiles, and flowers. Meanwhile the shop has plenty of decorations and gifts if you’re still hunting!


3. Carols by Candlelight
18-20 December 2013
Twitter: @BathBachChoir

The City of Bath Bach Choir will perform three consecutive nights of carols and Christmas music in the atmospheric, candlelit Pump Room.

In this, its 67th Season, the choir will perform a mixture of traditional and modern Christmas carols, directed by Nigel Perrin and accompanied by Marcus Sealy. The audience will be able to join the choir in singing some of the carols.


4. Bath on Ice at Royal Victoria Park
Until 5th January.
Twitter: @BathOnIce

Hire those skates and get out on the ice to wobble and fall or dazzle them all. Afterwards, sustenance can be found from a new Christmas Avenue offering mulled wine, mince pies, roasted chestnuts and hot dogs. Keep an eye on the @BathOnIce Twitter feed for special offers, such as their regular 2-for-1 day, and yes – they do have the plastic penguins for those of us with no balance!


5. The Holburne Winter Light Installation: Light to Light
Until 5th January 2014
Twitter: @Holburne

Lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe has created a spectacular display in the Museum Garden, with a multicoloured light show accompanied by a soundtrack created by composer Matt Clifford.

Patrick Woodroffe has produced lighting designs for many, including Lady Gaga and The Rolling Stones as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Matt Clifford wrote the score for cult horror film The Return of The Living Dead and toured the world as a keyboard player with bands such as Yes and The Rolling Stones. Scores for the West End include One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and the ballet The Red Shoes.


Merry Christmas from us all here at Reside; we hope that the big day is filled with fine food, good cheer and fun times.

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An Evening Of Art

Reside are extremely proud to be sponsoring The Prince’s Trust’s ‘Evening of Art’ for the second time. 2011’s inaugural event exceeded all expectations by raising more than £74,000 on the night, with all of the proceeds invested directly into supporting disadvantaged young people in the region.

This year’s Evening of Art is being staged at The Assembly Rooms in Bath on Thursday December 5th.  It will feature a silk screen and photo collage of Venice by Sir Peter Blake – best known for his Sgt Pepper album cover – as well as works by illustrator Sir Quentin Blake, Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, Nick Park of Wallace and Gromit fame and cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.

The aim is to raise more than £70,000 for disadvantaged young people in the South West by auctioning these artworks. The auction is on an invite-only basis but anyone can bid for works online. For more details and information on how to bid for any of the items, click here to visit the Prince’s Trust website.

Local artist Peter Brown, affectionately known as ‘Pete the Street’, has donated work, along with Prince’s Trust founder HRH The Prince of Wales.

Online bidding will close at 12 noon on December 5th to make way for the live auction in the evening, conducted by Christies’ contemporary art expert Tom Best. Guests at the event will be given touch-screen tablets to use for a silent auction.

We at Reside hope that the wonderful works of art which have been donated this year will raise the bar even higher than in 2011, helping to support the invaluable achievements of The Prince’s Trust. We encourage anybody who wishes to support the Prince’s Trust to bid generously.

Which painting can you see adorning your living room wall? We’d like to know what you would bid on, so get in touch with us via Facebook or Twitter and we might even let you know our personal favourites!

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1 In 4 Landlords Earn A Living From Rental Property

It seems that there has never been a better time to be a private landlord: tenant demand is up and predicted to rise even further; rents are increasing and yields are at their highest since the Landlords Panel research study began in 2006.

It is unsurprising therefore that more than one in four landlords are now making a living from letting their properties, according to recent research by BDRC Continental.

The research also found that a further 52% use rental properties to supplement their income, with 74% of those planning to use rental income to help fund their retirement.

Landlords stated that the opportunity to achieve a better return on property than investing in the stock market was a major factor in entering the buy-to-let market, along with the chance to make rental income their main source of income in the future.

It seems that optimism is in the air with 68% of landlords rating their capital gains and rental prospects as good or very good, compared with 60% in the third quarter of last year. This was found to be at the highest level since 2007.

John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, said: “Tenant demand for rental property remains strong, and with the mainstay of investment coming from private landlords, it is important for lenders to develop products that can underpin sustainable growth.”

Many of the landlords surveyed said they were looking to expand their portfolios, which is good news for buy-to-let mortgage providers and brokers. However it raises another issue when you consider that 63% agree ‘strongly’ that the buy-to-let market would benefit from greater competition. The industry cannot afford to have its key customers believing there’s too little competition in the market.

The research sounded a warning note for brokers and intermediaries: 21% of all landlords agree ‘strongly’ that they will approach a lender directly the next time they need funding.  And meanwhile some lenders are moving in the direction of providing a more holistic service to landlords – e.g. educating them on legal obligations, marketing and how to become more profitable.

With tenant demand almost certainly set to increase into 2014, it seems inevitable that even more landlords will be able to make a living from their rental properties in the future. If you are a landlord or are thinking about investing in rental property in Bath, we would be more than happy to discuss any questions you have about this topic either in person or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Reside5 – Plaque To The Future!

‘The tiresome journey from London – it took almost two days by coach.’
Lowndes, William, 1982. They came to Bath. Bristol: Redcliffe Press.

This journey was taken by many a celebrity visiting Bath in the 17th and 18th century, some of whom stayed and grew to love the bustling, cosmopolitan spa city.

Bath then was a boom town, attracting merchants, nobility, artists, writers and politicians. They would drink the waters, gossip, socialise, shop and attend concerts and the theatre. Maybe not that much has changed.

Here are a few famous residents of yesteryear. You’ll find their plaques dotted around the city. Please share your feedback (or indeed any vintage gossip!) with us via Facebook or Twitter.


Dickens plaque

Charles Dickens

35, St. James’s Square
Here dwelt Charles Dickens 1840

One of the writers closest to the English heart is Charles Dickens – the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era. His characters live on – in films, on the page and in our minds. His books, amongst them Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Pickwick Papers and A Christmas Carol are as compelling now as they were then.

Dickens often visited his close friend Walter Savage Landor at his house at 35, St. James’s Square. According to some, the plaque is a red herring, because it is believed that Dickens didn’t even spend one night there and would return after dinner to the York House Hotel on George Street.

The city gave Dickens inspiration for at least one of his characters – it is said that Mr Pickwick was based on Moses Pickwick, landlord of the White Hart inn.


wordsworth plaque

William Wordsworth

9 North Parade
Here dwelt William Wordsworth b. 1770 d. 1850

‘Rest and be thankful’ the poet William Wordsworth is famous for saying.

On the 29th April 1841, the Bath Chronicle announced that “The distinguished poet Wordsworth is at present residing in Bath, where we understand he will remain until the middle of June”.

Staying in the city to attend the wedding of his daughter Dora at St James’s Church, we like to think he rested and was thankful for some moments of solitude during his stay at number 9 North Parade.

Wordsworth had been in Somerset before, during the early days of his friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived near Coleridge’s home in Nether Stowey. Together, the two great poets helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature.


Jane Austen

4, Sydney Place
Here lived Jane Austen 1801 – 1805

One of the most widely read and beloved English novelists of all time, Jane Austen is so closely associated with the city of Bath she even has a festival dedicated to her. Visit in September to find people in period costume strolling around the city.

Jane Austen grew up in Hampshire. It was here that the majority of her  novels were written. When in 1800 her father Rev. Austen announced he was to retire from the ministry and move the family to Bath, Jane was reluctant; she was a country girl at heart. However, the city is the main setting for both her final novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

The Austen family lived at 4, Sydney Place for three years, then moved to 27, Green Park Buildings, where Rev. Austen died in January 1805. Afterwards they lived at 25, Gay Street. The Jane Austen Centre on 40 Gay Street is set up as a replica of number 25.


Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough

17, The Circus
Here lived T. Gainsborough R.A. b 1727 d, 1788

British portrait and landscape painter, Thomas Gainsborough moved to Bath with his family in 1759. As an ambitious, entrepreneurial young artist, he had decided the city was exactly the sort of place in which to build his career. It wasn’t long till his talents were attracting the likes of Lord Chesterfield, Sheridan, Burke and Elizabeth Linley, all of whose portraits he painted.

He lived and worked in Bath for sixteen years, renting his house in the Circus from a Mr Penny, who he paid a quarterly rate of thirteen shillings and fourpence.* During this time he was to fulfill his ambitions of building his career and was invited to became a founder member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

One of Gainsborough’s most famous paintings, The Blue Boy, was painted during his years here. It is thought to portray Jonathan Buttall, the son of a local successful hardware merchant who was a close friend of the artist. When it was sold to the American railway pioneer, Henry Edwards Huntington in 1921 there was a public outcry. It remains to this day in the Huntington Library, California.


William Wilberforce

36 Great Pulteney Street
William Wilberforce b. 1759 d. 1833 stayed here 1802 and 1805

The British politician and philanthropist, William Wilberforce, headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807.

He stayed in Bath on a few occasions: firstly in the Royal Crescent where the parents of his new wife lived – he married in Walcot Church in 1797. Later, in 1802 and 1805, the couple chose to live at 36 Great Pulteney Street, where you’ll find the plaque. In 1831 they returned and stayed at no. 9 North Parade.

According to biographer Anne Stott, Wilberforce said in his diaries that Bath was one of the worst possible places for finding any leisure in the morning, because the door knocker was continuously going. He was something of a celebrity in the city.


With so many names of note recorded on the city’s plaques, it has been difficult choosing just five. Lives and stories line Bath’s Georgian walls, and future Reside5 blogs will certainly explore some of the lesser-known personalities.

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First time landlords invest as tenant demand increases

Bath shutterstock_101583367

A recent study by major buy-to-let lender, Paragon Mortgages, found an increase in borrowing by first-time landlords as compared to the same time period last year.

Similarly, the percentage of business coming from landlords looking to grow their rental portfolios also increased.

John Heron, director of Paragon, said: “It would seem that an investment in property is increasingly attractive against a background of low returns on cash and volatility in global markets.”

“With perceptions shifting in terms of the improved availability of buy-to-let finance too, the lending industry is in a good place to support the ambitions of both new and experienced landlords.”

Also of interest to new landlords are the increases in average monthly rental costs in England and Wales – up by 3.5% in the 12 months to May 2013, according to LSL Property Services’ buy-to-let index.

David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, said: “With wage growth so weak compared to inflation and house price growth, it looks like deposits will become less affordable – which will keep demand for rented accommodation high.”

He added that “private renting will become a more and more vital aspect of the economy.”

In line with these findings, we at Reside are seeing local demand for properties increasing significantly. July 2013 was our busiest month ever in terms of properties let, which were up 44% compared to July 2012 and 116% compared to July 2011. New properties added to our website also rose by 33% in July 2013 compared with last year.

Given also that rent arrears and voids are in decline, according to the National Landlords Association, this suggests that now is an excellent time for new landlords to consider investing in rental properties.

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Reside5 – Bath’s Festivals

Bath’s place in the arts dates back to the 18th century, when the old Orchard Street Theatre was built and local luminaries included Thomas Gainsborough and Jane Austen.

The city now boasts five theatres and a cultural calendar of events to be proud of.

We’ve put together a list of some of the finest festivals in our area – on right now and coming up in the next few months.

Our Reside 5 festival review covers sports, music and literature. Hopefully something for everyone. If you know of other Bath festivals coming up this year please share your suggestions with us via Facebook or Twitter.


Iford-festival-2013

1. The Iford Arts Music Festival
8th June – 10th August
Twitter: @ifordarts
(Photo courtesy of Iford Arts Festival)

A varied season of opera, jazz proms and classical cloister concerts are performed in the Grade 1 listed Harold Peto gardens of Iford Manor, six miles from Bath. Covered, seated cloister seats are available or you can listen while you picnic.

Coming up: Acis and Galatea by Handel, London Horns and Brazilian jazz from The Minas Project and the festival finale – Soothsayers and Brejeiro.

See www.ifordarts.org.uk for more info.


Bath-Folk-Festival-2013

2. Bath Folk Festival
10th – 18th Aug
Twitter: @BathFolkFest

Bath’s third Folk Festival mixes internationally acclaimed acts and local talent with concerts throughout Bath. This grass roots festival, run by musicians and dancers, for musicians and dancers, is fast becoming a well respected fixture on the folk music scene.

Confirmed acts for this year include Lunasa, James Fagan and Nancy Kerr, Damien O’Kane Trio, and Karen Tweed with Kevin Dempsey and Carolyn Robson.

See http://bathfolkfestival.org/ for more info.


Special-Olympics-Bath-2013

3.  The Special Olympics GB National Summer Games
28th Aug – 1st Sept
Twitter: @SOGreatBritain

Held every 4 years, this is the country’s largest sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This year it comes to Bath where 1,700 athletes will compete in athletics, artistic gymnastics, football, badminton, golf, table tennis, tennis, swimming and more.

See http://www.bath2013.org.uk/ for more info.


Bath Festival of Chilrdren's Literature 2013

4. Festival of Children’s Literature
Sept 27th – 6th Oct
Twitter: @Bathfestivals

This year’s festival lights up the city once more with stories, readings and workshops. Well loved characters and stories rub shoulders with newer arrivals waiting to be discovered.

Michael Rosen brings his stories and poems about everything from a farting fish to chocolate cake, while local resident Mandy Sutcliffe introduces the world of Belle & Boo. Older children can learn to write about ghosts and vampires at a horror writing workshop with Alexander Gordon Smith. Axel Scheffler, Jeremy Strong are also in attendance along with a dramatic adaptation of Lord of the Flies and much, much more.

See http://bathfestivals.org.uk/childrens-literature/ to find out more.


Mozart-Fest-2013

5. Mozartfest
8th – 16th Nov
Twitter: @bathmozartfest
(Photo kindly supplied by Bath Mozartfest)

The 23rd Bath Mozartfest brings a programme of orchestral, chamber, quartet and choral works to fill some of our finest venues with glorious music.

The Assembly Rooms, Bath Abbey, the Guildhall, The Forum and St Mary’s Bathwick will feature performances by the Nash Ensemble, the Takács Quartet, The Halle Orchestra, Lawrence Power, Andras Schiff, Alfred Brendel, the Prague Symphony Orchestra and many more.

As well as music by Mozart, the programme includes the work of Dvořák, Janáček, Haydn, Ravel and Schubert and Beethoven.

See http://www.bathmozartfest.org.uk/ for more info.


With such a busy few months in prospect, we can’t possibly expect you to attend all of our top five festivals… But we would certainly like to see you give it a go! So whether you’ve been swooning to Schubert, spurring on the sports stars or studying Scheffler’s sketches, please do get in touch to tell us about it.

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You spin me right round…

We’re always looking for new ways to show our landlords’ properties, and better ways to help our tenants decide which properties suit them. So when we came across BubblePix, producers of a brand new technology that creates 360° photographic images, we saw an exciting opportunity.

(photo credit: BubblePix)

The BubblePod creates 360° images that will give our prospective tenants an honest view of property interiors – before they decide to visit.

We’re proud to announce we’ve made a small investment in BubblePix and that inventor Tom Lawton has agreed that Reside will be pioneering this exciting technology.

There are two elements to the technology: the BubblePod and the BubblePix App.

The BubblePod is a clockwork turntable that grips your smartphone and smoothly, silently rotates it by 360º.

Meanwhile the BubblePix App on your phone captures the 360º image. Users can shoot and share images in less than a minute.

Reside has agreed to act as a test bed for the early production versions. This means we’ll be one of the first letting agencies to use these images to present our properties.

Once they go into production, this will create a fantastic tool for letting agents everywhere.

To find out more about the BubblePod, click here.

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Reside5 – Public Sporting Facilities

Every year, the tense tiebreaks and luscious lawns of Wimbledon inspire many of us to turn off the telly, reach for a racquet and indulge in some very rusty but much-needed exercise.

Bath has a wealth of high quality public sports facilities just waiting to be raided by those of us in the grip of Murray-mania, which is why we have decided to share with you five of our favourite Public Sporting Facilities in the city.

There’s something for everyone in our latest Reside5, but be sure to share your own recommendations with us on Twitter or Facebook.


1. Tennis in the Park
Royal Victoria Park, BA1 2NR
Twitter: @ExcelTennis
(photo credit: twitter.com/ExcelTennis)

Anyone can turn up to Tennis in the Park, who offer a membership-free pay and play system. A total of seven courts are hidden away in a sheltered corner of The Royal Victoria Park, four of which are indoors and floodlit during the winter.

Set in such tranquil surroundings, however, grunters of the Sharapova variety may wish to tone down their performance.


2. Odd Down Cycle Circuit
Bloomfield Road, BA2 2NU
Twitter: @OddDownCircuit
(photo credit: nowbath.co.uk)

This brand new 1.5km (that’s 0.93 miles to you and me) cycle track was built by B&NES council with the help of a £600,000 grant from British Cycling and is one of only 17 such closed road cycling circuits in England. The track received a grand opening from the UK’s King of the Pedals, Sir Chris Hoy, and is designed to encourage more people in the area to take up the sport.

Open family sessions run several times a week from as little as £1 per participant, and inhabitants of penthouse apartments with no storage space can always borrow a bicycle from the track.


3. The Sports Training Village, University of Bath
Claverton Down, BA2 7AY
Twitter: @TeamBath
(photo credit: atcinternationallanguages.com)

This round-up would not be complete without mention of the University of Bath’s impressive sporting facilities, many of which can be booked for public use. The Training Village has played host to a variety of international sports stars and teams, and if you’ve ever idly wondered whether bobsleigh could be your calling then look no further.

A state of the art gym is available to members, and virtually every other sport is catered for – from badminton to volleyball. This is truly the place to discover your area of expertise in time for Rio 2016!


4. The Approach Golf Course
Weston Road, BA1 2DS
Twitter: @Aquaterral

Fans of a Reside5 (let’s call you Reside5ers) will recognise Bath Approach Golf Course from our Viewpoints of Bath blog a couple of months ago. Not only can anyone walk in off the street and enjoy a reasonably priced round of golf, but the panoramas over Bath are not to be missed.

Club hire is included in the admission price, so don’t worry if you’re a 5 iron short of a full set – there’s something here for everyone.


5. Bath’s Pétanque Pistes
Various Locations
(photo credit: flickr.com/bathintime)

If you find that golf is rather too much of an adrenaline rush, you may wish to consider the wonderfully social and gentile game of pétanque. Bath has several pétanque pistes, most notably in Queen Square and Alexandra and Alice Parks, all of which can be booked through the council or used for free if you happen upon an empty one.

The Bath pétanque scene is a busy one, with popular Tuesday and Thursday leagues always on the look-out for new teams and players, and several other competitions running throughout the summer. In fact, visitors to Queen Square on a Thursday evening will often be able to spot the low-flying Reside pétanque team in action.


We hope we’ve given you 5 good reasons turn off the telly and explore some of what Bath has to offer, but before you dig out your tennis whites why not tweet us to let us know what sport you’ll be playing today.

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