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Life as a student in Bath

Tagged: Living in Bath

Moving on and into a new year: second hear housing

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📥  Faculty of Science, Rob (Physics)

Now that I’ve moved into my second year house where I have spent the summer and will spend the next academic year I thought it would be apt to write a post on the topic of second year housing. Hopefully this post can pick apart some of the aspects of finding housing that people ask about. It’s a big thing, getting your own place.

So the first thing that you’ll notice about being a Bath student is how early those conversations come up. You’ll often hear that you need to get your finger out and start looking early, and that’s basically to do with the issue of low supply and high demand. There’s a lot of students in the city, I think it’s almost 30,000, and there’s only 70,000 permanent residents. There’s space for everybody, of course, but what this means is that the better places sell quickly. It’s actually common for Bath students to sort their second year housing before breaking up for Christmas.

That pattern is one that me and my future housemates followed, and in fact it lead to an unforeseen issue within our halls – see, there were twelve of us in the same building, and from the start of the year we all managed to get along. Obviously some of the friendships within the flat were stronger than others, but on the whole we were all friends and I’m sure we will be next year, and long into our lives in Bath.

Now, you might think that this was blessing and nothing less, but when it came to the decision of who was going to move in with each other, well – then we really ran into problems.

It was a tricky discussion, the whole way through. We had a few emotional nights and some really awkward moments but we managed through and came to an arrangement that suited most of us pretty well.

What I’m saying is that you’ll be unlikely to know for certain who you really want to live with by the time you have to decide- a couple of months just isn’t enough, even living in halls together, to decide who you really get on with. Nonetheless it’ll be fine. Don’t worry. It’s a little difficult, but you’ll muddle through.

When I found out who I’d actually be living with I was overwhelmingly happy. Myself and three of the people who were in halls with me – Josh, another physics student, Phillipe – a chemical engineer, and Kaz- a psychology student. It’s a great group and at the time I was happy, now perhaps even more so.

Also, as a stroke of good planning, four more of our housemates are living a stone’s throw up the road – literally five minutes’ walk away. So, in conclusion – we got there.

We decided to live in Combe Down which is a little village situated a couple of kilometres away from the Uni, and a couple from town. They form a kind of triangle.

We chose to live in Combe Down because we’re all planning to cycle next year and it sits on top of the same hill as the campus. If you decide to live in Oldfield Park it means that you’ve got to brave a grueling trip up either Widcombe or Bathwick Hill – and they’re both inclined at 12% at some points. Coombe Down is a good place to live for cyclists, but maybe Oldfield Park is a better place for parties. It’s where the majority of students live and it’s heavily connected with the university via a near constant stream of buses.

As I said, I’ve just moved in to my new place. I’m staying in Bath to work over summer and because our contract is twelve months I’ve been able to move in early. It’s a four bedroom place with a bathroom, a toilet, a kitchen and a washroom. It’s got a ton of utilities – a washing machine, a dishwasher and even a tumble dryer. There’s also a dead nice garden complete with a pear tree and an apple tree. For the price I think it’s really a bargain. I’ve attached a few photos so you can get some idea of the place.

In terms of money, we’re each paying £390 a month, and that’s before bills, so it’s not cheap – but it’s an unfortunate part of becoming an adult.

Halls is a bit like a half-way house I guess, but this is the real deal. There’s nobody here to take the bins out, or to keep guard of the place, and you even have to buy your own loo roll! Nonetheless it’s definitely worth it for the sense of freedom and independence. You’ll just notice right away that what your parents always “went on about” – turning the lights off, not spending too long in the shower. All of those things make a lot more sense when you’re the one who has to foot the bill.

 

Bath in the spring- campus and beyond

  

📥  Rob (Physics)

The sun has returned! The nights are drawing out and Bath’s campus is bursting with life in every corner. From the spring flowers, to the famous campus ducks. Even the students look lively through the haze of coursework deadlines and hangovers. Sitting by the lake has become a common pastime on campus, whether to read, drink some beer, or even have a barbeque.

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The whole campus is full of these flowers

Turns out making friends with ducks is easy – just keep feeding them!

Turns out making friends with ducks is easy – just keep feeding them!

The change in weather has made me rediscover one of my favourite things – walking. I have a lot of free time of Thursdays which I’ve been using to explore the local countryside with my flatmates. I’ve discovered a couple of really interesting routes through the local area and plotted them on top of an ordanance survey map – if you come to visit with your family I’d recommend having an amble. These routes take a good half a day, but they go to and from campus so you could easily fit them in. I took a few photos of the walks which I’ve put below as well.

Our route map

My route map

Francesco made friends with this nice old lady from Bristol. She was fishing at a reservoir that we passed on the blue route

Francesco made friends with this nice old lady from Bristol. She was fishing at a reservoir that we passed on the blue route

This is Midford castle, again – part of the blue route

This is Midford castle, again – part of the blue route

A surprising place in the middle of nowhere – all of the houses in the settlement are in this photo. Hardly even a village

A surprising place in the middle of nowhere – all of the houses in the settlement are in this photo. Hardly even a village

The whole area is full of canals. You can even take a boat trip to the city from Bathampton

The whole area is full of canals. You can even take a boat trip to the city from Bathampton

Further afield

The Easter break has been a chance to discover some sights slightly further out from Bath. A number of factors – having some time off, really decent weather, and most importantly my girlfriend’s car, have made this possible.

Bath is surrounded by natural beauty. It sits directly below the Cotswolds, a region that’s characterised by its idyllic villages, rustic charm and seemingly never-ending hills. As well as the Cotswolds, there are the Mendip Hills area which is slightly southwest of Bath. The most attractive part of this area, in my opinion, is the region of Cheddar Gorge. It’s a geological wonder that seems to be out of place in the middle of rural England and there’s a dramatic walking route which traces the top of the Gorge. They can all be accessed by public transport though a car would obviously make the trip easier; if you’re here on an open day I’d say a trip to Cheddar is much better than Stonehenge – both more exciting and at the significantly cheaper price of zero pounds.

Castle Combe- So there’s not much here but it’s pretty as it gets.

Castle Combe- So there’s not much here but it’s pretty as it gets.

Cheddar Gorge- this is the best walk in the area, in my opinion. Dramatic but accessible. Much better than paying a small fortune to look at Stonehenge.

Cheddar Gorge- this is the best walk in the area, in my opinion. Dramatic but accessible. Much better than paying a small fortune to look at Stonehenge.

 

 

Semester two: a mid term update

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

The last few week have been hectic! I’m 3 and a half weeks into semester 2 and I have hardly stopped! It was so strange being back at first; one of the weirdest things about uni is that it becomes difficult to know where home is. After being back with my family for almost 6 weeks and working full time at my old job I felt well and truly settled in and as if I was back on my gap year. But now I feel sooo settled back in here! It’s a bit of a strange feeling but hey having more than one place to think of as home can’t be a bad thing, right?!

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure why but this semester just feels so busy! I started some volunteering work which I’m really enjoying. There are so many opportunities to get involved with things around campus and I feel like I was too busy settling in to get involved before Christmas. This didn’t matter too much because my focus was on making friends and understanding the requirements of the course, but now I’m starting to think more about my CV and it’s time to start taking up more opportunities! As well as volunteering I’ve been to a couple of Amnesty International events and last night went to a really interesting debate about feminism with one of my flatmates. I struggle to motivate myself to go to extracurricular things sometimes but going along with someone else definitely helps!

I also got a gym membership! I’m so glad I did; at the start of the year my parents offered to get me one but I worried I wouldn’t use it enough to make the £289 cost worthwhile. However the rates are reduced after Christmas and so I got an off peak membership for the rest of the year for £99. My accommodation is about 3 minutes away from the Sports Training Village so I really have no excuse not to go! And I’ve been using it a lot so far; my days feel much more productive if I start them with a workout, and I’ve been to a couple of classes with friends too. As well as that I’ve been going to zumba and yoga during the week, both of which are free classes run by the Three Thirty club. It’s a really good way of fitting some sport into your day! And finally I’ve been doing ballet classes at The Edge. I’ve always wanted to do ballet but gave up hope as I thought I was too old to be a beginner, until I stumbled across posters advertising beginner’s ballet classes. They’re so much fun!

I feel very professional with my ballet shoes

I feel very professional with my ballet shoes

The workload this semester has also stepped up. I may or may not be writing this post as a way of procrastinating… I’m not sure if it’s because the semester is one week shorter or if it’s because I’ve taken up a lot of other activities but it suddenly feels like I always have work to do! I love being busy and it’s not an unmanageable amount, but unlike last semester where I felt I had a lot of spare time I now always have reading I should be doing or a lab report or essay to be working on. I guess that’s what to expect when studying for a degree…

And obviously I’m still finding time to socialise. After the initial Freshers' Week and post freshers excitement we’ve toned it down and I’d say our flat averages one or two nights out a week. I sometimes don’t even manage that; to be fair with so much going on I’m pretty exhausted and sometimes being in bed by 11 is much more tempting than still dancing in a club at 3… but only sometimes.

going out 2

Ignoring deadlines for the night and going out

So I’ve found a few ways of dealing with this; I put everything into the calendar on my phone. I always had my lectures on there but now I add things like zumba and ballet so I know when I’m busy and can see clearly if I’ve planned too much for one day. I have also been planning my meals which is sooooo useful! At the start of the week I look through my fridge and cupboards, plan meals based on what I have and what I need, and make a food order based on the stuff that I’m yet to buy. It saves so much time and money and is helping me to eat all the necessary food groups and vegetables without leaving anything to go mouldy at the back of the fridge… Would definitely recommend.

I've saved so much more I can afford avocados again!

I've saved so much more I can afford avocados again!

And finally, I have been trying to normalise my sleeping pattern. Obviously things like nights out affect this but I try to go to sleep and wake up at a similar time every day so that my body adapts to the routine and I don’t find myself needing a nap all the time. It’s pretty much working well (fingers crossed!)

Laura x

 

Open Days- things to do while visiting Bath

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📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Hannah

The season for open days is coming up! An open day can be really useful to help you decide which universities you want to apply to. You’ll be able to visit your subject department, learn more about the course, meet some of your future lecturers, and get an opportunity to explore the campus and accommodation.

While open days are often pretty busy with trying to cram in all the talks and events you want to attend and trying to see as much of the university as possible, it’s also a good idea to get a feel for the town or city that you’ll be living in for the next three or four years. While I haven’t been into the city centre on a regular basis during my first year at Bath, I’ll be living in the city next year and in my final year after I have completed my placement. That's twice as long as I’ll spend in my first year university accommodation, and so open days are a good opportunity to see what Bath has to offer. If you’ve got some time to kill before your train home after the open day, or if you will be spending the night in Bath, the city has some great places to explore.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey on a sunny day!

Bath Abbey on a sunny day!

One of the main attractions in Bath is the beautiful Bath Abbey. Entry is free (although they do ask for a small donation), and there’s a lot to see inside. When I visited the Abbey with my family (it’s a great thing to do when family and friends come to visit you in Bath) we spent ages reading the plaques and stone tablets of people who had been interred in the abbey and buried in the churchyard. People from all over the world have been buried there – I think we read nearly all of them! You can also go up the bell tower, and although they do charge (around £7), it offers amazing views of Bath. There are only certain times of day you can go up though so make sure you check in advance if this is something you want to do!

Museums

Hopefully you will visit Bath on a sunny day, but if not there are plenty of things to see and do indoors as well. Bath is famous for its link to Jane Austen, several of her novels are set here and she herself lived in Bath for part of her life. The Jane Austen Centre offers a wide range of information about her life, her family, and Bath society during the Regency period. The museum is situated in a house very like the one she would have lived in, and there are frequent talks and tours. There is also the chance to dress up in Regency period costume – something me and a friend enjoyed a lot when she came to visit me!

Trying my hand at old fashioned writing in the Jane Austen Centre

Trying my hand at old fashioned writing in the Jane Austen Centre

If, like us, you hadn’t had quite enough dressing up in the Jane Austen Centre you can also visit the Fashion Museum which has a really good exhibition of fashion from the 1700/1800s to modern day. Again, there is a whole room dedicated to dress up, this time with crinolines, corsets and a special backdrop so that you can take photos. The fashion museum is also free for Bath university students so it’s a good place to go when friends visit you at Uni.

Enjoying the Fashion Museum

Enjoying the Fashion Museum

You can find out more about the great museums in and around Bath here.

Walks

If the day you visit Bath is sunny then I would recommend either the Bath Skyline Walk or a gentle stroll alongside the River Avon. The Bath Skyline Walk is a round walk of around six miles that starts in the city centre, climbs to the top of the hill where you get amazing views of the city and then descends back down. The walk is accessible from the University campus – walking round the edge of the golf course just above the university you will soon find signs pointing you to the walk. If you prefer a walk more in the city there is a path that runs just alongside the river and gives you great views of the city.

Shopping and Eating

And last, but not least, what lots of people come to Bath for: shopping. Bath has an excellent range of shops- both chain high-street stores (Primark, H&M, Topshop, Zara etc.) and also many smaller boutiques and independent stores. Wandering round the shops is also a good way to get to know the city centre and to try out some of the great cafés and restaurants in Bath. If you’re looking for a light lunch or a snack I would recommend the Boston Tea Party (amazing lemon cake) and although I am still to try it, the world famous Sally Lunn’s is very popular as well.

Whatever your tastes you should be able to find something to see or do in Bath that suits you. I think that getting a feel for the town you are going to live in is as important as getting a feel for the university, so don’t pass up the opportunity to sample what Bath has to offer!

 

Exploring the beautiful city of Bath!

  

📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year, Ruth

Being at university in Bath has the amazing advantage of living in one of the most beautiful parts of the country (an opinion shared by many). If you’re not already sold by the University of Bath, then the city should definitely do it! Being a first year student I haven’t spent a huge amount of time in the city, mainly because everything I could possibly want is on campus so I have no need to! However, when friends and family visit I love showing them around- so this blog will basically tell you how beautiful Bath is and the best things to do with your time in the city!

The various walks around Bath are the perfect thing to do when family visit and I have also enjoyed them with flat mates. Bath is known as a world heritage site for a reason, and many of the walks combine the stunning architecture of the city with the beautiful countryside and stunning views. Recently, when my family visited, we ‘walked to the view’ a route that starts and finishes right next to Bath Abbey. It was a perfect summer’s day and it was great to sit on the top of a hill looking over Bath in the sun – all we needed was a picnic! I have also completed the ‘Skyline Walk’ which is slightly longer, it took 6 hours for us but then again, we did get lost! It is, however, great to do with friends as it starts from the university and again has great views of the city. One thing my friend from home loved was a casual stroll along the canal whilst having a much needed catch up.

Enjoying the skyline walk with flat mates

Enjoying the skyline walk with flat mates

Another place to visit is the Roman Baths and I feel that this is a must as a Bath student. I took my grandparents here and they loved it. I was unsure (history is not my thing) but actually ended up really enjoying it! The attraction is right in the centre of the city and is therefore incredibly easy to get to. Also, note that as a student in Bath you get in free so definitely worth a visit!  Why not try out ‘The Roman Bath’s Kitchen’ afterwards for a spot of lunch? It is delicious!  Right next to the Baths is the iconic Abbey so make sure to show people around whilst you’re there, the inside of the Abbey is particularly impressive so pop in and have a look.

A trip round the Roman Baths

A trip round the Roman Baths

One other thing that is obligatory as a University of Bath student is a photo in front of the royal crescent. Any friends and family that visit will no doubt want to make a trip to the royal crescent – Bath is famous for it! Just don’t forget the photo! Right behind the Royal Crescent is the Royal Victoria Park which is a perfect place to visit. It has stunning gardens as well as crazy golf and tennis courts to keep everyone entertained!

I saved the best till last, shopping! In my opinion, there is nowhere better than Bath. It has the perfect balance of high street stores and exclusive boutiques. Being a student, window shopping is a regular occurrence, but I still love it! A family favourite is ‘Fudge Kitchen’ every time they visit Bath my family are eager to go and try out some delicious fudge. The well-known Pulteney Bridge also has an array of shops which makes it a great hit with visiting family- especially as it was used in the filming of a Les Miserable scene- there’s a fun fact to tell your visitors! After all of that shopping you will most definitely be feeling like some refreshments. My advice would be to visit ‘Sally Lunn’s’ which is Baths oldest house turned into an eatery, make sure to try out the famous ‘Bath Bun’ whilst you are there.

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge

I hope this blog has helped you realise that you will never be bored in Bath, and made you excited to show your friends and family around in the future. One of my favourite things to do is show off this beautiful city that I now get to call home!

 

How to stay active at university, even if you hate sport

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📥  Charlotte (Sociology), Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

As a student here at the University of Bath, I would say that the most heard statements are as follows: ‘Which sport do you do?’, ‘Who’s holding the pre-drinks?’ and ‘I should probably clean my room’. The former is a tricky one for me as I’m at one of the sportiest universities in the country, yet I think my 90 year old grandma is probably more agile and better suited to sport than me… no really.

I’ve never really experienced that ‘runners high’ they speak of, I’ve never fancied starting my morning with a ‘few lengths’ of the Olympic swimming pool here at the Sports Training Village and quite frankly, I only signed up to do cheerleading for the outfit. I’m a guilty of being a sportophobic! I’m sorry #TeamBath (yes, Instagram is riddled with this hashtag, everybody loves Team Bath!).

Even though I’m not the sportiest of sorts, I do think it’s really important to stay active and on your toes at university. Spending hours upon hours cooped up in your room studying isn’t great for prolonged periods of time, and if the only exercise you get is dancing at clubs; it’s probably time you got a little more exercise in. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy and active, even if you’re not fully immersed in every sport here at Bath.

Sadly, I can't say going to the gym is my favourite part of the day!

Sadly, I can't say going to the gym is my favourite part of the day!

My first pointer would be to walk-it-out. The campus at the University of Bath is small compared to many other campuses across the country, but to me and my little legs, it seems rather vast. At least every other day I try and take a stroll around the University site. The edge of campus is actually very woodland-y and provides lovely views while pacing around. There’s even a castle backing onto the golf club here, and that’s a special sight – the view from it, it is utterly stunning. There’s also an American Museum on the University site, as well as a cat and dog adoption centre so walking to one of these places is a great way to get in some exercise, with an engaging reward at the end.

Sham Castle, 4 minutes from central campus. A great location for a stroll and photo-snapping session.

Sham Castle, 4 minutes from central campus. A great location for a stroll and photo-snapping session.

If you like scenic places, or just like to have an Instagram feed packed with nature or a Snapchat story oozing with sunsets and nice rivers, there’s many National Trust sites around Bath, which are beautiful and walking the routes with friends is a great way to keep your ticker going. Starting at the university is an admittedly incredible ‘skyline’ walk around the edge of Bath, looking down onto the gorgeous city and only a mile from Bath Spa train station is another National Trust site called ‘Prior Park Landscape Garden’ which is glorious and has a beautiful bridge plonked in the middle called the Palladian Bridge – a real treasure and an equally good day outside.

Another way to stay active at University is by participating in amateur and recreational sports- clubs are readily available for people who have never done sports before and are welcoming to total beginners. Clubs with basic, beginner branches include Netball, Rugby, Lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee and Cheerleading. There is also a terrific group called the 3:Thirty Club who arrange sessions based around getting active for those that aren’t particularly sporty: past sessions have included tag rugby, girls self-defence, yoga, improvers swimming and boxercise. Perfect for those that feel a little daunted by official clubs and want to get fit with like-minded people.

The ultimate way to get the most toned calves ever here at the University of Bath is staring you right in the face: Bathwick Hill! This is the rather steep, and slightly ominous hill up to the University. This does have a real gradient, and there should be prizes for those who make it up by foot without being out of breath, even the elite athletes studying here! Walking this hill takes around 20-30 minutes and is a brilliant way to sweat-it-out and get the blood pumping. The reward at the bottom is Bath’s stunning canal, and all the shops along with the historic sites (Bath isn’t a UNESCO World Heritage site for nothing!) in town so I suppose it does pay off!

Walking along the scenic Avon and Kennett Canal is a lovely way to keep fit.

Walking along the scenic Avon and Kennett Canal is a lovely way to keep fit.

There’s a litany of beginner to 5k running programmes here at the University, and the cycling club also offer frequent rides for people new to road biking.

Jumping for joy at how easy exercising can be in Bath, even if Lacrosse or Rugby aren't your calling.

Jumping for joy at how easy exercising can be in Bath, even if Lacrosse or Rugby aren't your calling.

There you have it – How to not be a couch potato at University, even if the ‘spinning’, ‘Zumba’ and ‘hockey’ buzzwords just don’t appeal to you!

Keep healthy!

Charlotte.

 

Adding spice to university life: gym, vegetable plots, and the Bath Award

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, First year, Yousuf

Things had started to get pretty repetitive for me in university. Bus – Class – Lunch – Class – Bus is the cycle I’ve been in since September. However, I have managed to find some extra-curricular activities to add some spice to my routine.

After a long wait I have finally convinced myself to get a gym membership (halfway through the year). I have delayed getting a gym membership for a while due to a mixture of university workload and procrastination. I was also very unsure of what I would be doing in the gym because I’m not that avid of a gym-goer, so I was surprised that the gym offered me a free service when I joined that set me up with a trainer who wrote out a workout schedule for me.

Early mornings at the gym

Early mornings at the gym

After booking a meeting with the trainer I settled with a programme that I do on my own and gets changed every six weeks. I have also seen trainers that provide a personal training service too, but that wouldn’t suit me because I prefer my timetable to be flexible. Having a space where I can put on my music and row till I can’t feel my legs anymore is greatly appreciated … at least until I have to waddle into campus next day.

The main reason for my awkward induction to the Sports Training Village gym was because I was getting bored of swimming being the only sport I do whenever I get tired of work. I am slightly regretting not joining a sports society to learn a new sport, but there is always next year. The gym will be keeping me busy until then with all the different things that I can do. It’s slightly becoming an obsession as I am starting to look at different techniques which push me to my limit.

I have also begun to apply for volunteering opportunities through the Students Union. One of these is a community garden where students get to prepare and plant a plot in a park in the city of Bath where anyone can contribute to/benefit from what is planted. The idea is to get people familiar with plants that are local to the area, and all of it is organic. I really enjoyed this more than any of the volunteering opportunities I have had before because I really believe in organic produce and using public spaces for more than just flower and tree galleries. I also have gotten to meet some really cool people who have similar interests.

The vegmead vegetable plot in early spring

The vegmead vegetable plot in early spring

The one and only, Rodney the Rhubarb!

The one and only, Rodney the Rhubarb!

Another opportunity I am looking forward to is teaching secondary students about electricity and magnetism with an engineer from Airbus- I can’t wait!

Last, but not least, I have started to look at the Bath Award and to about the criteria I need to meet in order to complete it. The Bath Award is an award given by the university to students who take on tasks that provide them with key skills that they will need when they graduate and enter the world of work. Its requirements are fairly straightforward and I think it will reflect all of my extra-curricular activities nicely by the time I graduate. So I can both enjoy my time volunteering and rest assured that the time I spent will be appreciated by future employers.

 

My Bath Bucket List

  

📥  Charlotte (Sociology), Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

Living in the city of Bath is very special, and I always find myself feeling a little too soppy when strolling the historic streets, and declaring to my friends and family at home that I’m lucky enough to be living in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I knew on my first Open Day at the University that it was the place for me, and I consider Bath a ‘mini London’; it’s got every shop you’ll need, a cornucopia of tourist attractions, pretty efficient public transport and some brilliant eateries. It’s packed with visitors snap, snap, snapping away with their cameras and its arts and culture scene is thriving.

I suppose what is different to London is that Bath seems more ‘gentle’. The pace is a little slower, the people are much friendlier and there’s much more of a sense of calm and a shared curiosity to learn and explore. That’s exactly why I love Bath, and feel uber lucky to reside here! The bonus is that the University is truly great, and interacts closely with the city and what’s happening ‘downtown’.

Today, I thought I’d jot down my top 8 things to do in Bath. A ‘Bucket List’ I suppose. To help me out, I’ve linked in the Bath Leap List here, this is a whole pamphlet bursting with things to see and do in Bath and in surrounding cities. There’s stuff for students, and some more nature-y based things for your parents and families who love a woodland stroll.

If you’re a lover of the Great British Bake Off, or a lover of bakes and sweet treats in general, you must treat yourself to a Sally Lunn’s Bun. Sally Lunn’s is the oldest house in Bath and is placed down a tiny and very quaint backstreet in Bath. Sally Lunn’s offers buns which are a mix of scones, brioches and bread rolls all in one and they’re very light, and truly tantalising. You only have to take to Instagram to see all the toppings offered, and the surroundings inside the shop are gorgeous. The waitresses wear traditional uniform to serve Bath’s special buns and it’s a wonderful hour to spend filling your tummy in Bath. They’re unmissable!

Of course, the next go-to is the Roman Baths. Could you visit Bath without popping in?! As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Roman Baths are very central in the city and are a treasure. Immersed in roman history, quirks and traditions, the Roman Baths are an integral part of Bath’s history. The Roman Baths also hold events such as Tunnel Tours, behind the scenes trips at the Baths and even T’ai Chi on the Roman Baths terrace! Why not?

Only a minutes’ walk from the Roman Baths is the Guildhall. Here, an indoor market is held during the week and on Saturdays – it sounds a little odd, but really is a great place to visit. There’s fresh foods, homeware stalls, a sweetie stall that seems to offer every marshmallow flavour under the sun and even a café among the market stalls and shops. The building is very beautiful, and only adds to the experience.

The Guildhall Indoor Market. It's awesome

The Guildhall Indoor Market. It's awesome

There’s no way you can miss the magnificence of the Bath Abbey when exploring Bath; it’s pretty triumphant and immensely gorgeous. As bellowing, and slightly scary as the Abbey may look, both inside and out it’s crafted to perfection. Indoors is tranquil, comforting and ornate and the Abbey only asks for a donation to go in. There’s usually things held inside the Abbey such as bake sales, choir rehearsals which you can sit in on, and the Christmas Carol concert is second to none. Absolutely worth a trip inside!

Part of a dreamy stroll I regularly do along the Kennett and Avon Canal, leading to Pulteney Bridge

Part of a dreamy stroll I regularly do along the Kennett and Avon Canal, leading to Pulteney Bridge

Walking along the canal in the city of Bath is very refreshing as unlike other canal strolls, the Bath canal really is riddled with locks which you frequently see families operating to get their narrowboats down the Avon & Kennet Canal. There’s many a dog-walker around, and many spots to stop for a picnic in the most scenic of settings.

The one and only Pulteney Bridge!

Walking along the canal is lovely, as there's many bridges and a lots of locks

During the autumn months, walking along the canal is particularly nice as the scattered leaves and auburn trees are very beautiful. Walking along the canal will lead to the Pulteney Bridge in the centre of town, and the end of the walk could not be more eye-catching (or tourist flocked!).

Pulteney Bridge

The one and only Pulteney Bridge!

Pulteney Bridge is where some scenes of the Les Miserables movie were shot, so you can’t not come by and have a selfie! The weir under the bridge is fast-moving and makes an interesting photo. The bridge was built in 1774 and is of Palladian Style in the heart of Bath. Many would argue that the bridge resembles the Ponte Vecchio in Florence which adds some exoticism to Bath!

What would a trip to the city of Bath be without visiting the Royal Crescent? The Royal Crescent is a key (and rightly so) attraction in Bath. The Royal Crescent epitomises Georgian architecture, and was built over 230 years ago. The crescent is very distinctive, and cannot be visited without taking a selfie outside of the 30 terraced houses! Just next door the Royal Crescent is the Royal Victoria Park, the starting point where many hot air balloons are launched in the summer – it’s a great place to be.

If you love good food and drink, and also love trying out independent places as opposed to chains; Kingsmead Square, slap-bang in the middle of the city is the perfect place for you. Bursting with independent coffee houses, brunch stops and tea rooms with a farmers market on a Saturday – Kingsmead square is the best place to re-fuel. I can recommend the Society Café for a stunning cappuccino and equally perfect pain au chocolat or if you’re grabbing dinner in this district; hit up The Stable which prides itself on only serving cider and stonebaked pizzas – they’re divine.

That’s all for today, but what I’ve suggested is only scraping the surface! Bath is very busy and bustling and you’ll never struggle to find things to fill up your days here!

Charlotte.

 

Surviving Second Year Architecture

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📥  Charlotte, Faculty of Engineering, Second year

Second year. The year the work load increases dramatically. The year that people expect you to actually know things and, for Architecture Students, the hardest year of the undergraduate course.

Or so we were told in our introductory lecture at the beginning of the year.

I mean, thank you head of year for gently easing us back into university life after a summer spent free of work load and responsibility. The pre-crit stress that we all felt last year (reduced to a distant memory whilst sipping Piña Coladas on the beach in Zanzibar) came back into focus as we were given the course outline in the same room that we had pinned up and presented our work in only months previously.

In just one semester we had 2 projects, 6 assignments and 1 exam. Now, this may not seem like a lot to anyone who has yet to study architecture but trust me, the two projects alone are enough to raise your blood pressure.

Yet, the thought of February and of relative freedom whilst on placement kept us sane as we struggled through each of our assignments. Yes, unlike any other architectural course, Bath offers a ‘Thin Sandwich Placement Course’ which essentially means that instead of undertaking a year of practical experience in the third year, you do two half year placements; one in semester two of second year and the other in semester two of third year. This is designed so that each experience prepares you for the following university year as well as giving you the opportunity to work in two different practices in order to expand your knowledge of the breadth of architectural practices.

Now, this does cause housing problems especially if you decide you want to go home for placement, venture to London or go even further afield rather than staying in the Bath or Bristol area. You will need to find another student to swap your tenancy with for the second semester but the university will help you with this. There is a business course which has placement at opposite times to architecture students thus typically a group of architects will be replaced by a group of BBA’s after January exams.

Unfortunately, this swap means that you do need to vacate your residency prior to the start of semester two and you may not necessarily have secured a placement by that time. Thus, you are either forced to return home or like some of my friends, to camp out on their sofas as their BBA friends took over their bedrooms.

I, however, decided to remain in Bath for placement meaning I still (thank god) have free rein over my bedroom. It’s depressing though, as the semester starts and I have still yet to find a placement, I find myself wishing that like my flatmates I too have lectures to go to and work to do. Instead my days are blank. I have sent out applications to 29 practices in Bath and I constantly refresh my inbox expecting a gushing email off someone begging me to work for them any minute.

7 have replied to me so far. 5 to say they are sorry but cannot offer me a placement at this time but that they are impressed with my portfolio blah blah blah. 1 is reviewing my application and 1 has asked me for interview. So now I am counting down the days to said date.

Portfolio ready for Interview

Portfolio ready for Interview

During the first semester I dreamed of being free. Now, I dream of a project of sorts to keep me occupied. Don’t get me wrong, the first few nights of going to bed without setting an alarm were bliss. I could wake mid-morning and not have to move until my rumbling stomach made it impossible to hear what McDreamy was saying on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. But, quickly the novelty of doing nothing all day has worn off. It’s funny, starting a series when you actually have time to watch multiple episodes a day is not as fun as beginning ‘Gossip Girl’ a few weeks before June deadlines last year.

Helping out at Bath Cats and Dogs Home

Helping out at Bath Cats and Dogs Home

In order to pass the days, I have re-organised my whole bedroom, carried out a much needed clean of the bathroom, volunteered more frequently at ‘Bath Cats and Dogs Home’ and even cycled to and from Bristol one day when I was feeling extra motivated to leave the house.

My newly organised bedroom

My newly organised bedroom

I spent over two hours in Bristol’s Starbucks finishing my book and recovering before forcing myself to remount for the 13 miles back to Bath. It is a lovely sign posted off road route which is relatively flat except a few assents on the outskirts of Bristol. Definitely a must do for anyone who has a bike in Bath – though it does get a little busy during peak commute/school times. A bell is a useful investment; I could only politely yell at the school kids to get out of my way.

The Bath to Bristol Cycle Way

The Bath to Bristol Cycle Way

I am really excited to start a placement and to be working full time – partly so that I can truthfully sing Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ but also so that I can experience life as a grown up and decide whether or not it’s what I want to be. I’m not sure how useful I will be to the lucky practice who hires me, but I guess I’m a fast learner. At least that’s what I will tell them in my interview tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

 

'Tis the season to be jolly in Bath

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📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year, Ruth

I know some people will not accept this statement until December 25th but in Bath, Christmas has arrived! The city has become even more beautiful since the festivities begun. It all started with the Christmas light switch on which I missed due to illness (sympathy welcome.) However I do know that this event had music, food and all things christmassy so I’m sure it was a good one.

Merry Christmas from Southgate Shopping Centre

Merry Christmas from Southgate Shopping Centre

Thursday 26th November saw the arrival of the Christmas markets – some of the best in the country. Having visited the markets in both Manchester and Birmingham they are the best I’ve been to. Although my first trip was in the wind and rain our Christmas spirits could not be dampened. I love how the huts are mainly around the Abbey, it makes the perfect backdrop, especially when it is so tastefully lit at night. The markets have everything from cute Christmas gifts to wooden ties (yep I was as surprised at this concept as you probably are.) There is also no end of food and drink, I bought some yummy fudge from one stall whilst my friend got some roasted chestnuts from another, not forgetting the mulled wine! It is the perfect opportunity as well to get family and friends down to Bath to explore the markets with you.

 Bath Christmas Market surrounding the Abbey


Bath Christmas Market surrounding the Abbey

Another Christmas addition to the city is the ice rink, I am not an ice skating fan (mainly because I cannot stay on my feet for more than 10 seconds at a time) but I have heard that this is magical if you are. Some departments even hire the rink out, so ice skating fans- choose your degree wisely! Bath is busy at the best of times, especially to me coming from a town rather than a city, but nothing had prepared me for how busy it would be around Christmas! It is a bit of a pain because the bus journeys to and from campus are considerably slower however it just shows the popularity of the markets! Other events I’m looking forward to include the carol services held in the Abbey and the various Christmas balls – so exciting!

Christmas tree outside the abbey

Christmas tree outside the abbey

On a smaller scale my flat has also entered enthusiastically into the Christmas spirit. Over the past few weeks those returning from home visits have bought back numerous Christmas decorations. However the most exciting of all was a Christmas tree which has now been unusually decorated with beer cans, not quite sure how I feel about this…  We have planned a flat Christmas meal which I am very much looking forward to, although organising a meal for 18 people is going to be challenging.

Our flat Christmas tree!

Our flat Christmas tree!

A tip I wish I’d had would be to look out for job opportunities in the markets/ice rink. My course mate secured a barmaid position on one of the stalls which will help her to fund Christmas! If you're interested your can Find more info about part-time student work at Bath here.

On this note, I have had to job hunt for something in my home town for over Christmas as the whole season is proving expensive! We’ve organised secret Santa within the flat and my friendship group from home and then on top of that there’s family to buy for and Christmas meals/trips out to pay for. Job searching was stressful especially as I was the only one in my flat looking for part time work over Christmas, so if that might be you then think in advance where you could contact.

I’m loving December in Bath, and I’m sure now you will understand why, but I still cannot wait to go home for Christmas. My dad is coming to pick me up mainly because the train home is complicated and expensive but also because I have a lot of baggage that I want to take back. The thing I am most looking forward to Is simply spending time with my family, although sitting on a sofa and walking on a carpet will be blissful (both these experiences are lacking in the Quads.) I’m also planning on making the most of home time by stocking up on food and getting some washing done to save money on laundry.

Merry Christmas everyone!