No sooner was it New Year than I found myself in the middle of Glasgow Airport ready to fly down to Bristol on another extended work trip. This time? Staying in Bath for a week and commuting to Corsham daily. This has been my second trip to the area and I keep kicking myself that I don’t try and squeeze in some time to explore the city in all its glory.
Luckily, I was able to finish up work early one day, head to my favourite coffee shop, Colonna & Small’s to pick up more Nespresso® capsules and a much needed Flat White before heading to The Roman Baths, the one place I’ve been dying to visit.
One of the finest historic sites in Europe, The Roman Baths, were constructed in 70 AD as a grand bathing and socialising complex, our modern day spa. It is now one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. Six meters below modern street level, the site has four main features, the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and finds from Roman Bath.
Standing in the Terrace, you cannot help but be transfixed with your surroundings. The Great Bath can be viewed from the Terrace and alined with Victorian statues of Roman emperors and governors of Britain. Think Caesar and Hadrian.
I soon entered the Temple Pediment and discovered Gorgon’s Head which was a powerful symbol of the Sulis Minerva, a goddess with healing powers. Strolling through to the Temple Courtyard and Minerva, the sacred area, where Roman worshippers gathered to pray. Digital reconstructions are dotted around the area so you can envision how the area looked during Roman times which was fascinating.
At the heart of the site, the Sacred Spring and Great Bath were the reasons I visited. 1,170,000 litres of water, rises here every day and has for thousands of years. The Romans thought this was the work of the gods and regularly gave offerings within the Sacred Spring. The Great Bath is a magnificent pool, lined with lead, and filled with hot spa water, at a temperature of 46°c.
The East Baths and West Baths adjacent to the Great Bath contain further suites of baths and heated rooms which sadly were a little too dark for photos, but contain a whole host of ancient Roman ruins.
You can also sample the hot spring water at the end of your tour. The thermal waters contain over 42 different minerals, the most concentrated being sulphate, calcium & chloride. I wasn’t a fan of it, a tad too metallic for my tastebuds. A little like marmite, you either love it or hate it.
It look me just under 2 hours to explore the entire site, well worth the money as you also get a free audio guide included. I would suggest visiting The Roman Baths during dusk, just as the torches are lit and it transforms into a magical oasis away from the busy city. Incredible.
Sadly, you cannot jump into the hot springs anymore, but there is a Thermae Bath Spa nearby where you can relax in spectacular baths, fed by the spring water and refresh yourself in a series of aromatic steam rooms. A two hour spa session is between £35-38 depending on what day of the week you go. Sounds like bliss and something I definitely want to do the next time I’m in Bath.
Address: The Roman Baths, Abbey Church Yard, Bath, BA1 1LZ
Opening Hours: 09.30 – 17.00 (Winter) / 09.00-21.00 (Summer)
Admissions: £15.50 for adults during Winter season, increasing to £17 during the Summer.
Have you ever been to Bath? Where do you visit while in the city? Let me know where to explore the next time I’m there!