This first-century Roman bathhouse complex was a meeting point for patricians who came to bathe, drink the curative waters, and socialize. The baths fell out of use with the Roman exodus from Britain but were rediscovered and excavated in the late-19th century. Explore the Great Bath, which is filled with steaming, mineral-rich water from Bath’s hot springs.
The Roman Baths are the headline attraction in Bath, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being just 115 miles (185 kilometers) from central London and within day-tripping distance of Oxford, Brighton, Bournemouth, and Southampton, Bath is a very popular day-tour destination for visitors to South England.
Organized day tours often combine a trip to Bath and the Roman Baths with a visit to the prehistoric Stonehenge monument, the picturesque Cotswolds village of Lacock, Windsor Castle, or the cathedral town of Salisbury. If you want to begin your tour in Bath itself, try a guided walking tour of the Georgian city that includes other top attractions such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus, and Gothic Bath Abbey. Hop-on hop-off tour buses also stop at the Roman Baths.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The hot water that flows throughout the Roman Baths complex, via the Sacred Spring, is untreated, hence bathing is not allowed.
- Wear sturdy shoes as the stone floors are uneven.
- Audio guides are provided, and free tours take place hourly.
- The complex is below street level, and features narrow walkways that may trigger claustrophobia.
How to Get There
Bath-bound Great Western Railway trains depart from London’s Paddington station and take about 90 minutes. The Roman Baths are about a 10-minute walk from Bath Spa train station.
When to Get There
The Roman Baths are the city’s showpiece attraction and, as such, draw big crowds, particularly during July and August weekends. If you are visiting at this time, arrive before 10am or during the evening. In summer, it’s possible to visit at night, when the baths are lit by torches.
Drinking the Thermal Waters
Within the same complex as the Roman Baths is the elaborate Pump Room, a lavish 18th-century construction that served as a socializing spot for Bath’s Georgian elite. The Pump Room now houses a restaurant as well as the King’s Spa fountain, which spouts mineral water directly from the springs. Visitors can try the warm thermal waters, which are said to have curative properties. Be warned: The sulfur-tinged flavor is not to everyone’s taste.