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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Details

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

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Raúl Sánchez (2 months ago)
Starting by the price, I believe the 2 hour cost is slightly high (about 38?). I understand that you have 3 floors of options and they are really nice, but for that price you can get much more in so many other places. The equipment that it is given and the changing room are really nice. The floor with all the options of dry and we sauna, relax area, ice area… it impressive and my favourite. The top floor is nice but similar to a normal warm pool, not much. The bottom floor same as the top without views. If you go for a treatment I would not take into account this review. You could spend the time better around Bath, then go to your local spa for a better price and more time spent I guess.
JP Keeley (2 months ago)
It was very busy, we were hoping for more privacy and intimacy, but it actually felt like a cattle market. Also for £74 (for 2 people) I was expecting better quality robes and and toiletries in the showers. The roof top is impressive, lovely lighting, however the bottom pool looks like a holiday resort, would have been nice if it reflected the traditional style of pump rooms.
francis kavwenje (5 months 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 (6 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 (7 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!
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.