Bath Rugby’s Recreation Ground
Bath Rugby’s Recreation Ground
Home to one of the world’s most historic rugby clubs, the Recreation Ground has played host to the Bath Rugby since 1894 – only 29 years after the club was formed – and remains one of club rugby’s most iconic stadia. In 1894, a lease was granted to the Bath and County Recreation Ground Company which was thereby permitted to make the site suitable for rugby and cricket matches as well as other sports. It’s been a sporting hotbed in the local community ever since.
The Rec has played host to some fantastic Bath sides over the years, particularly the 1988/9 team which secured the club’s first Premiership title and the 1993/4 team which rampaged to a unique ‘Grand Slam’ of titles – the league, the Pilkington Cup, the Worthington Tens and the Middlesex Sevens. Recent years have been more barren, however, with Bath’s most recent Premiership title won in 1996.
The stadium itself
Situated within a stone’s throw of the River Avon, the Recreation Ground might not boast the most luxurious facilities in rugby – as well as a relatively modest capacity of 13,500 – but it does have a unique character which makes it a favourite among fans from across the country, not least because of its impressive views of the surrounding city.
There are five stands at the Rec – the Wadworth 6X Stand, the Thatchers Terrace, the Centurion Stand, the IPL Stand and the Novia Financial Stand. The latter of these is in fact made up of two tiers of temporary seating, which is removed at the end of the season to allow cricket to be played. The Wadworth 6X, located on the western side of the ground next to the smaller Centurion Stand, is the largest of the Rec’s stands. On the southern side of the ground is the IPL Stand, which includes seating towards the bottom and hospitality boxes higher up. Fans who prefer to stand can either opt for the Thatchers Terrace at the northern end of the Rec, which has two standing sections.
If you’re looking for protection from the elements, there’s covered seating to the rear and the front of the Wadworth 6X stand – but the seating towards the front is uncovered. The Centurion Stand also offers covered seating, but both stands feature supporting pillars which may partially obscure your view of the action; this is something to bear in mind when you come to book tickets.
Booking tickets for matches at the Rec is simple:
- Tickets for home fans cost between £10 and £54, but this varies depending on the fixture and the ticket type.
- Season ticket holders and members can buy tickets before they go on general sale, which they usually do three or four weeks before the match.
- There are also discounts for younger fans aged 3-16 years and concessions for older spectators.
Matchday hospitality packages are also available starting at £120 per person.
Due to its central location in Bath, the Recreation Ground has good transport links and is easily accessible via a number of methods of transport.
The Rec is roughly a five-minute walk along the River Avon from Bath Spa railway station, which is itself only a 15-minute train journey from Bristol. Direct services to London Paddington and Southampton run every 90 minutes while trains to Cardiff are every 70 minutes. Connecting services to other destinations run to Bristol Temple Meads.
If you’re travelling from east or west, Bath is within easy reach of the M4’s junction 18. Those making their way from north or south can reach Bath via the M5. In terms of parking, there’s none provided at the stadium itself beyond a very small number of disabled spaces. There are, however, a number of car parks in Bath as well as park and ride services in the north, west and south of the city – these buses run every quarter of an hour. If you do require a disabled parking space at the Rec, make sure you first get in touch with the club to reserve one.
There are four international airports within around 100 miles of Bath – Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham and Heathrow. Bristol is the closest, located only 20 miles from Bath. Destinations including Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Paris and Dublin can be reached from Bristol. Southampton Airport is about 60 miles from Bath and has its own railway station – Southampton Airport Parkway – although those travelling to Bath by train will probably need to change once. Birmingham Airport also enjoys good road and rail links.
Those travelling to Bath from Birmingham Airport by rail will need to change at New Street and again at Bristol Temple Meads before making the final leg of the journey to Bath Spa. Those travelling to Bath from Heathrow can do so by road. National Express coaches to Bath take about two-and-a-half hours to reach their destination. Rail Bus services also run to Reading, where travellers can hop on board a London-Bath train.
Around the ground
Eating and Drinking
There are plenty of pubs close to the Rec, and we’ve assembled a useful list of them below. The Boater in particular is renowned for its range of local ciders. There’s also the Clubhouse Bar in the stadium itself, which opens two hours before kick-off. In addition, there’s a huge range of restaurants and cafes elsewhere in the city. Pubs and restaurants near the Rec
- The Cork – features two bars, a large terrace area, craft ales and live sports coverage
- The Bath Brewhouse – specialises in fresh food, a diverse range of ales and live TV sports
- The Boater – includes a picturesque waterhouse garden, four bars and three dining areas
- The Assembly Inn – serves a range of real ales and also boasts two pool tables and live sports coverage
- The Pig and Fiddle – offers six draught ciders, live music and an intimate atmosphere
- The Lamb & Lion – serves reasonably-priced food all day and also has a large beer garden
- The Huntsman – a listed building with the oldest façade in Bath, this pub offers real ales and great food.
- The Royal Oak – serves a wide range of beers including a rotating guest ale, while there’s also pub-grub favourites, light bites and more on the menu.
- Gascoyne Place – A historic Bath city centre pub, Gascoyne Place good food, friendly service and a laid-back atmosphere in an evocative venue.
Eating and drinking inside the Rec
- The Clubhouse Bar is the Rec’s most popular bar. It opens around two hours before kick-off and continues to serve after the game. There are other bars located around the stadium.
Finding a place to stay in Bath can be tricky depending on the time of year and the volume of tourists, so it’s good to book well in advance if you can. There are, however, a number of hotels – including two Travelodges – and bed-and-breakfasts in the city itself, so be prepared to look around.
Hotels in the city include Berdoulat & Breakfast, which offers homely accommodation in a historic 18th– century building and is renowned for its home-cooked breakfasts.
Another option is to find accommodation in Bristol, which is only a short road or rail journey away from Bath.
Bath has long been a tourism hotspot and, as you might expect, boasts a wide range of great attractions to enjoy. The city’s 2,000-year-old Roman baths are particularly popular among visitors, while the prehistoric Stonehenge is only a short journey away. The Grade I-listed Royal Crescent – a row of 30 terraced houses built between 1767 and 1774, designed by architect John Wood the Younger – is also well worth a visit. 1 Royal Crescent is open to the public as a museum, demonstrating how the home’s Georgian residents would have lived both above and below stairs.