The main draw to Bath is, obviously, the namesake baths in the city. These were built by the Romans around the naturally-occurring hot springs in the area all the way back in the AD 60s. A popular spa destination-cum-shrine even then (when the settlement itself was known as Aquae Sulis) that eventually fell into disrepair in the 5th century, the original Roman baths were covered up in silt and virtually lost for hundreds of years. Eventually they were restored by the Victorians and today the unassuming front of the baths hides a labyrinth of rooms and halls that include the ancient hot, cold and warm bath rooms, as well as the museum that now houses Roman artifacts and oodles of information about the saga of the baths’ construction, use, disappearance and renaissance.
The whole place was supremely fascinating. We saved our visit for later on in the evening, near to closing time, in order to miss out on the massive crowds of tour groups going in, and it turned out to be a great idea, even though we ended up having to rush through the last bits. I wasn’t lying, the place is huge inside and we most definitely did not leave ourselves enough time because we thought it was much smaller than it actually was (don’t let these pictures fool you, they’re just the tip of the iceberg)! If you go, leave yourselves a good 2-3 hours. I didn’t take many pictures inside due to the low light, but I did manage to get one of the Sacred Spring where citizens would throw in coins in in an offering to the goddess Minerva. Magical magical magical. I could have stayed there all evening, sitting by the pool in the fading light, the equally gorgeous Bath Abbey looming in the background….
Nowadays one cannot actually use the baths as a public bath (surprise surprise) but that’s where the nearby Thermae Bath Spa comes in! Located right around the corner, they use the natural thermal waters, filtered, and offer all sorts of amazing fancy-pants treatments. And they have an outdoor rooftop pool! While we didn’t splurge for any treatments-massages, facials and all that-we did pay for a few hours of all access treatment, which included a steam room with a variety of aromatic saunas, a fun little indoor pool and the aforementioned rooftop pool. Perfect for our last day with no plans in Bath, particularly in the middle of a heatwave! We were not the only ones with this brilliant idea, and the rooftop pool was poppin’. I felt like a movie star. Jon and I are already planning on going back sometime for a romantic little vacation, including spa treatments and maybe a little sunset rooftop pool hangouts. A girl can dream!
Oh, and we had this dinner before seeing the baths, while sat in an outdoor bistro across the street, while being serenaded by two very amazing buskers from Mexico….it was equally amazing. Look at it!