This morning I went on a tour of the Roman Baths in the city centre. This is what most people come to Bath primarily to see, and I waited a few days because I wasn’t sure which tickets to get. If you just pay adult admission for the Roman Baths it’s £15.50, but if you buy a Saver ticket, it gives you admission to 3 different sites, for £21.50. I just wasn’t sure if the other two sites were worth it. Now, having done my Bath tour, I had a peek at both the Fashion Museum, and the Victoria Art Gallery, and I felt much more confident in purchasing the Saver ticket.
I decided to try and get in first thing, to avoid crowds, and hordes of people in my pictures. I was also rewarded with a beautiful day – blue skies, and a balmy 25 degrees! I was the first person in line, so when the doors opened, I queued for my pre-booked tickets, and received my audio headset straight away!
The Baths were built by the Romans after they discovered the thermal vents under the ground created natural hot springs. They believed the springs had healing powers, and built an entire spa around the area to take advantage of the healing properties of the waters.
The hot water in the Spring rises at a rate of 1,170,000 litres each day. The temperature is 46 degrees Celsius. The upper deck of the Roman Baths was actually constructed much later by the British, and features Roman emperors in an effort to make the design seem more ‘Roman.’
The Roman Baths were a deeply religious place, and were associated with the goddess Minerva. There have been many statues, tablets and other artifacts found during excavation of the area that demonstrate the profound religious connections the people felt with the Roman Baths. Below is one of the best preserved examples of these religious symbols and carving – this piece is unique because it infuses both Celtic and Classical Roman styles.
In addition to stone tablets and statues, there were also coins, pottery, broaches, and an assortment of religious depictions of the goddess Minerva discovered during the initial excavations.
Then it was on to the baths themselves!
The stacked tiles in the pictures above formerly supported a raised floor, originally designed by the Romans. The space between the stacks allowed steam to billow in and around, gently wafting upwards to create a steam room.
The audio tour of the Roman Baths took me around 45 minutes, although the length of the tour varies greatly depending on how many of the audio tracks you wish to listen to.
Just before I left, I went into the washrooms, and was pleased to note a sign that said, ‘All the heat used in these facilities is powered by the thermal springs’ – which I thought was an excellent idea, and quite interesting.
After I left the Roman Baths, I wandered around looking at shops, until I made my way down to Pulteney Bridge again. I walked past the bridge and headed up to Great Pulteney Street. Although we didn’t venture down this way during my Bath Tour, the guide had mentioned that a great number of movies, and television shows had been filmed on this street (including Vanity Fair, and The Duchess), so I took a peek, and was rewarded with some familiar sights!