With over 100 events at The Bath Festival 2024 (17 - 26 May), it can be hard to decide which to choose. Here, the festival team explain how you can find something perfect for you, whether you’re into art, or food, or even the great outdoors.

We asked the festival team for their top ten things to enjoy at the festival...

The Bath Festival 2024 poster

1. Party in the City

Join the celebrations for the opening of The Bath Festival at Party in the City, Friday 17 May. From 5pm til late enjoy music of all kinds, from choral to punk, from folk to funky, playing in pubs, churches, museums and open spaces all around the city centre. This is Bath’s biggest annual get together and it’s all for FREE!

Image: Party in the City, credit Nick Spratling

2. The Bath Festival Hub

If you’re visiting Bath between Saturday 18 and Sunday 26 May, call in to The Bath Festival Hub at The Guildhall in the centre of Bath to find out what festival events are going on. On both weekends Bath Box Office staff will be on hand to help you choose an event and buy tickets, while for weekday festival events you can book anytime at thebathfestival.org.uk.

3. Festival Book Club

Come and hear your favourite authors talking about their bestsellers, past, present and future. Joe Haddow, who runs BBC Radio 2’s long-running book club, has hand-picked some of his best-loved writers to invite them to Bath. If you like books, this city of bookshops and book lovers is the place to be!

4. Meet funny women

Ruby Wax, Sara Pascoe, Cariad Lloyd, Shaparak Khorsandi and Helen Lederer are among the Bath Festival line-up, sharing their own experiences in ways that are warm, funny and very relatable.

Image: Cariad Lloyd, credit Matt Crockett

5. Enjoy beautiful music in Bath’s historic buildings

The best way to immerse yourself in Bath Abbey’s recently restored interior is to sit and listen to the pure sound of human voices raised in harmony, filling this magnificent space. We’re lucky to have internationally acclaimed singers Stile Antico come to sing in this ancient church, known as the Lantern of the West (Tuesday 21 May). Check out The Bath Festival website for the full music programme.

6. Take a guided walk

One of the most popular strands of The Bath Festival are the themed walking tours, led by Fred Mawer Tours. Follow in the footsteps of the writers who visited the city, or find out more about five of Bath’s world famous crescents of golden stone.

7. Thrills and spills

If you like your fiction fast-paced and twisty, grab a ticket to hear bestselling crime and thriller writers Elly Griffiths (the Ruth Galloway series), Mark Billingham (the Tom Thorne series), Tim Weaver (creator of David Raker) or Claire Douglas (The Couple at No.9, The Wrong Sister).

8. Come and write

Find inspiration in Bath, a World Heritage City to write your memoir, poetry or the novel you’ve always wanted to write. Sign up for a festival writing workshop, or hear the secrets of an experienced literary agent first hand.

9. The wow factor

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, expert on the night sky, will share her enthusiasm for the wonder of the stars. West End superstar Michael Ball will be talking about his glittering career, while radio and TV presenter Gaby Roslin and music writer Giles Smith will be bubbling with enthusiasm for the music of ABBA. There’s also the chance to enjoy some armchair travel with the history of Venice in art, or to follow Irish folk singer-songwriter Cara Dillon as she takes a trip back into her past, with readings, poetry and song. And yes, enthusiasm is infectious!

Image: Maggie Aderin-Pocock

10. Be happy!

Dr Bruce Hood runs the most popular course at the University of Bristol. He collected data that showed a significant (10 to 15%) increase in how students viewed life, after they had attended his The Science of Happiness talks. Dr Hood will be sharing seven secrets of how to be happy with his Bath Festival audience (Thursday 23 May), which is lucky for us.

Still undecided?

The festival's events are organised into handy collections, so you can also browse their programme in smaller chunks!

The Bath Festival in Parade Gardens.
Image: The Bath Festival in Parade Gardens




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