Bath earns second UNESCO listing – this time for its spa heritage

2 August 2021

One of the most remarkable facts about Bath is that the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its beautifully preserved Georgian architecture and important historical sites such as the Roman Baths complex. 

Well now, Bath has another extraordinary achievement to add to this – a second listing in the UNESCO World Heritage record books. The city has been awarded its second UNESCO status, this time for its history as a prominent spa time. 

It is now one of ten new Great Spa Towns of Europe, along with Baden-Baden in Germany, Vichy in France and many others. But crucially, Bath is the only one of the ten to already have a UNESCO inscription to its name. 

The Great Spa Towns of Europe project

Bath’s new status was determined by a UNESCO committee in China, who are working on a new project – Great Spa Towns of Europe. This project focuses on historic spa towns across the continent, where fashionable resorts grew out of natural mineral springs. 

Bath is a classic example of this, becoming famous as a resort for health, leisure and fashionable society between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. The project positions these great spa towns as the pioneers of modern tourism, as they were the first to attract visitors from far and wide. 

There have been many famous and highly successful spa towns in Europe over the centuries, but only a few remain in a good state of conservation. Bath is proud to be counted as one of them. 

The other Great Spa Towns of Europe include Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně in the Czech Republic, Montecatini Terme in Italy, Spa in Belgium and Baden bei Wien in Austria. In Germany, aside from the iconic Baden-Baden, there are the towns of Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen – both of which also made the UNESCO list. 

Wonderful news for Bath

Understandably, Bath and North East Somerset Council is over the moon about the recent accolade. This includes Councillor Ruth Malloy, who led the project to win Bath this latest UNESCO recognition. Speaking of the city, she said: 

“You cannot fully tell the story of European spa culture without it. Realising the opportunity of a very rare second inscription has involved many years of hard work but it now offers us benefits of enhanced cooperation in the fields of heritage conservation, health tourism and visitor marketing.”

Bath is having a bumper July when it comes to international accolades, not only with this second inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The city was also recently featured on the TIME World’s Greatest Places list for 2021, one of only three destinations in the UK to make the cut. 

This kind of global recognition is great news for Bath’s hospitality and tourism industry, as it aims to bring the crowds flocking back as the city recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Want to see what all the fuss is about in Bath? Start planning your visit right here – take a look at our fabulous selection of city centre apartments with beautiful period features, and keep an eye on our blog for the latest news and events in Bath.