Don’t Leave Bath Without Seeing the Roman Baths
No trip to the city of Bath would feel complete without a visit to the attraction from which it takes its name. As you might have guessed, the famous Roman Baths are the most popular place for people to visit, and there’s plenty to keep visitors young and old entertained and enthralled.
Contrary to popular belief, the area’s natural hot springs were used by the Celts years before the Romans set foot on British soil. Once they did, the town of Aquae Sulis was founded, and the Romans got to work transforming what was a simple set of hot springs into a structure worthy of the gods from whom they believed such waters flowed.
Adding a grand bathing complex, stunning temple, and several additional hot, warm, and cold bathing areas, the Romans were responsible for creating the attraction that still drives visitors to Bath each year.
Today, 1,170,000 litres of spring water, which reaches up to 46 °C, fills the bathing site each day. We now know that the water comes from the King’s Spring, which first fell as rainwater over 12,000 years ago.
The epicentre remains The Great Bath itself – a wonderful complex of ancient pavements that rest just below street level. You can view them from the Terrace while taking in statues and chambers shaped thousands of years ago. Make sure you pick up an audio tour before you start off – Bill Bryson provides a colourful commentary on the site’s history.
Of course, you can always ask the costumed interpreters what life was like in the building’s Roman heyday. Particularly popular with children, these authentic actors portray anybody from a Roman legionary to a priest or a slave girl, and each one is based on a real person who lived and worked at Aquae Sulis 2,000 years ago.
After you’ve explored the baths, make sure you slip into the Pump Room for a sip of spa water. It contains 42 minerals, and many locals still believe it to possess healing powers. If you’d prefer something a little more refined, take afternoon tea at the Pump Room restaurant.
Whether you’re visiting with the kids or taking a mini-break with your partner, the Roman Baths will leave you speechless.