Old Friends Help Make Bath Special for My Readers

I’m in the glorious Georgian town of Bath, in England. While this town offers some fine sightseeing by day, it also boasts some fun evening entertainment — and an easy opportunity to get out of the city to explore the countryside.

Group watching tour guide in Bath

In England, street theater is a fun option after your pub dinner. There are cheesy ghost tours in many towns. But the best hour and a half of laughs I’ve enjoyed anywhere in Britain is in the otherwise sedate town of Bath: the Bizarre Bath Comedy Walk by Noel Britten and his partners. A ritual for me with each visit is to join Noel for what he promises includes “absolutely no history or culture” as we wander the back lanes of Bath. Listening to Noel tell the same old jokes, but spiced up with his sharp ad-lib wit playing off the international crowd gathered, makes this £9 and 90 minutes very well spent.

Rick Steves, Noel Britten and Maddy Thomas

I met Maddy Thomas 20 years ago when she was just starting her Mad Max minibus tours. Her vision was the perfect example of “find a need and fill it”: She offered train travelers a memory- and experience-packed day of touring outside Bath — hitting the highlights that are tough to reach without a car, like stone circles and charming Cotswold villages. As Maddy helped me suss out restaurants in Bath last night, we stumbled upon Noel Britten heading out to meet his Bizarre Bath group for his night’s work. Noel’s Bizarre Bath Street Theatre Walk and Maddy’s Mad Max Tours have, for nearly two decades, helped make my guidebook readers really thankful for my England guidebook. And I’m thankful for the hard work of Maddy and Noel.