Spa and Hot Springs of Bath

Bath, United Kingdom

The spa and hot springs of Bath are traditionally associated with the Romans. It is true that the Romans developed the baths and built a massive complex, with temples and administrative buildings, around them. However the site dates back to the Celtic period, and the baths have been in used almost continuously since the Romans left. The spa was revitalised in the 18th century and appears on the novels of Jane Austen. Today the Roman spa is a museum but there are still places nearby where you can take the waters.

Roman Baths

Constructed in around 70 AD as a grand bathing and socialising complex, the Roman Baths is one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world, where 1,170,000 litres of steaming spring water, reaching 46°C, still fills the bathing site every single day. 

The Roman Baths is the site of extensive ruins and an interactive museum filled with many treasures and visual snippets that transport you back to Roman times and the lives of the Aquae Sulis people. Walk on ancient pavements as the Romans did 2,000 years ago, and explore chambers historically housing changing rooms and tepid plunge pools. 

Modern Age

In the Elizabethan era, when the city experienced a revival as a spa. The baths were improved and the city began to attract the aristocracy. In the 18th century Bath had become perhaps the most fashionable of the rapidly developing British spa towns, attracting many notable visitors such as the wealthy London bookseller Andrew Millar and his wife, who both made long visits.

Since 2000, major developments have included the Thermae Bath Spa, the SouthGate shopping centre, the residential Western Riverside project on the Stothert & Pitt factory site, and the riverside Bath Quays office and business development. In 2021, Bath become part of a second UNESCO World Heritage Site, a group of spa towns across Europe known as the "Great Spa Towns of Europe".

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Founded: Celtic
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

francis kavwenje (39 days ago)
Wow, what an experience with the waters in the pools here. After a full morning of a cycle guided tour, we went into the spa. Starting with the roof top pool, we worked our way down the one way system. The water in the pool just felt like silk on skin. I was pretty surprised to learn that the waters weren't heated but were rather at that temperature naturally. Enjoyed the sauna floor too, different kinds from Georgian to Roman steam rooms and hot & cold showers too. I was looking forward to the ice room but it is exactly what it says. A room with ice for one to rub on the skin. If I was picky I would say that a room with an ice bath to dip one's self in would be awesome. Definitely an experience to be had. It receives 4 out of 5 stars only because the treatments were all fully booked so we couldn't experience that. Looking forward for a return so that the full experience can be enjoyed and star rating added.
Emily Mcgeachy (2 months ago)
The spa was a great experience, 5 floors of different relaxation choices. The roof top pool is amazing, it was a beautiful sunny day when we were there but would love to go back and enjoy the rooftop on a cold winter day. The mineral pool in the bottom floor was very relaxing and very well looked after/maintained. The one and only down fall would be having no AC in the changing rooms. They are so hot your body is instantly soaked in sweat after cleaning off
Matteo Ranzato (3 months ago)
Really enjoyable but important to manage expectations as there are restrictions at the moment. We knew that only two pools would be open and decided to book nonetheless because we wanted the experience. Everything met expectations and the pool on the rooftop is breathtaking. There were only a couple of moments when the pools felt a bit crowded, but filtered out shortly after. £40 pp feels a bit if a push given the steam room and sauna aren't open, then again the pools are quite impressive and worth a visit if you're in Bath for a weekend away!
Sheena Raimondi-Monroe (4 months ago)
Nice gentle float in the roof top pool, had to queue for a little while beforehand. Nice views on 1 side. The lower pool was also nice, gentle whirlpool (not strong). Sauna, steam room and hot tub were not opened, which disappointed us. It was an overall nice experience but wouldn't rush back to go again due to our hotel having nice spa facilities also, including an outdoor hydrotherapy pool and big lush gardens etc.
Sonia McEnroy (6 months ago)
I had a lovely day at Thermae Bath Spa. As a first-time spa visitor I wasn't sure what to expect but the staff were lovely, the treatments were relaxing and the place was very clean and professional. The rooftop pool is fantastic and the views are amazing, especially at twilight. The lower level pool is not as hot but I could have stayed a lot longer. I've heard that the sauna with its different temperature and fragrance cubicles may have either been changed or closed since I went but it was my favourite part of the spa. There was a varied mix of children, adult groups and individuals on the day I went which provided a relaxed atmosphere. A great day out for individuals or families.
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.