The Roman Baths

A Brief History of the Roman Baths

15th October 2018

There’s a huge amount to see and do in Bath, but if you only come once – you absolutely must visit the Roman Baths. This landmark is one of the city’s most visited attractions and is a must-do on any sightseeing itinerary.

But what makes the Roman Baths so special? Here’s a rundown of all the essential Roman Baths facts and details you need to know before your visit…

The Baths are nearly 2,000 years old

Like many very old buildings, the site of the Roman Baths in Bath has been added to over the decades. However, there was first believed to be a temple on this site back in 60-70 AD, with the bathing complex built up over the next 300 years. The buildings you see above ground were designed and built in the 18th century by the famous architects (whose work you’ll see all over Bath) John Wood the Elder, and his son John Wood the Younger.

It’s heated by natural hot springs

The name of the city itself derives from the fact that Bath sits on natural hot springs, which people believed had healing properties. Bath used to be known by its Roman name Aquae Sulis (meaning ‘the waters of Sulis’) before receiving Saxon names such as Hat Bathu (meaning ‘Hot Baths’).

The hot springs made Bath a popular spa town over the years, with everyone from the Romans to the people of the Georgian era including the city’s most famous resident Jane Austen.

The Roman Baths are still filled with large amounts of natural hot spring water to this day, although visitors are not allowed to swim in the waters as it enters the pool through original lead Roman pipe systems.

The size of the Roman Baths is unique

As well as being beautifully preserved, the Roman Baths in Bath are unique for another reason. The complex is very large, especially the 1.6-metre-deep Great Baths – a huge hot swimming pool that you wouldn’t normally find in a Roman bath facility. The Great Bath is just one part of this enormous complex, which also consists of the Sacred Spring, Roman Temple, Grand Pump Room and numerous underground bathing chambers.

Also well worth a visit is the on-site museum, which offers a huge amount of Roman Baths information including more about the history of the site.

You can taste the spring water in the Pump Room

Although it’s unsafe to swim in the waters of the Roman Baths, you can taste the natural spring water in The Pump Room. A new borehole was built in 1983 which provides a clean, safe supply of spa water, which is believed to contain as many as 43 minerals.

For incredibly easy access to the Roman Baths in Bath, as well as convenient access to a spa you can actually bathe in, why not stay in our Hot Bath apartment? Our large, sparkling apartment looks out at the Thermae Bath Spa and is just a short walk from the Roman Baths itself. You’ll be right in the heart of the city.