Roman Baths & Pump Room
Somerset BA1 1LZ
The only hot springs in Britain emerge from a fissure in the limestone Mendip Hills at what is now known as Bath. These springs had been frequented by ancient Britons and were given the name Aquae Sulis.
When the Romans invaded Britain they too discovered the healing powers of these hot springs. They recognised Sulis to be the same god as their Roman god Minerva.
The springs became famous when the Romans erected a temple in honour of Minerva. Romans flocked from all over Britain to worship at the temple and enjoy the healing properties of the springs. It was also a place where the local populace came, not only to bathe and obtain relief for medical ailments, but to gamble, meet friends, gossip and receive introductions to socially important people. Outside the baths were markets where patrons could buy everything from food to expensive jewellery.
A large bath complex was constructed. It incorporated a network of sluices and baths to make full use of the three sulphurous warm mineral springs which gush from the earth at a constant 116°F.
The great bath is full of steaming mineral water. Because the bath is now unroofed, the water is a green colour, a result of algae growing in the sunlight, however the water is as pure and clean as it was over 2000 years ago. Around the bath can be seen the other rooms including the hot steam room and the cold plunge bath which were part of the routine.
World Heritage Site
We now know these springs as the Roman Baths. UNESCO has deemed them a World Heritage Site, and they are a ‘must see visitor attraction".
The modest entrance is in Abbey Church Yard off Stall Street pedestrian precinct - it is only a small doorway; however it is well sign posted and not easily missed.
Once inside, the admissions desk is well staffed with helpful assistants who will arrange ticketing and free audio guides. We have found these admission staff to be especially helpful to disabled and handicapped visitors.
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Guided & Self Guided Tours
The free guided tour commences on the hour. However, you may prefer to leisurely explore this wonderful site on your own. Take advantage of the audio guides as the various historical parts of the baths are entertainingly described. Each feature has a number which is replicated on the guide. Simply select the number for the appropriate description.
The self guided tour commences at the gallery overlooking the Great Bath. Here are wonderful views over the steaming green spring waters.
Take the stairs down to the bath level and explore the alcoves and colonnades where once Roman citizens, soldiers and other notables enjoyed the healing waters. Enter this world with your audio guide dramatisation of the highly social scene.
Temple of Minerva
Then wander through the original hypocaust with its under floor heating, the cold plunge baths and beside the original springs and the remains of the Temple of Minerva.
Do not miss the ancient gilt bronze head of the statue of Sulis Minerva nor the stone carving of the Head of Medusa. To the ancient Celts and the Romans, the Head of Medusa represented the healing and evil averting powers of Sulis Minerva.
Georgian Pump Room
Your ticket also allows you entry to the adjacent magnificent Georgian Pump Room. Here you may actually drink the spring water (said to be foul tasting) or you may prefer to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in these beautiful surroundings (to the accompaniment of a string trio - if you are lucky!).
Plan Your Visit
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In peak tourist season, visitors may have to queue, but the wait is well worthwhile. If you only have time to see one attraction in Bath, make it the Roman Baths.
The Roman Baths are six metres below street level, with many steps throughout the site. Therefore, if you have mobility difficulties, please be aware of this before you visit. The centre endeavours to cater for visitors with special requirements. For information on what is available, contact the information office.
There is, however, a virtual tour of the site available on the ground floor for anyone who cannot access the lower levels.
Opening Hours & Facilities
The Roman Baths are open all year, except for 25th & 26th December. There are different admission times depending on the month of the year so it is wise to either telephone the Roman Baths information centre or visit their web site. The web site has downloadable information sheets in at least eight languages.
Contact & other Information
+44 (0)1225 477 785
The Bath Roman Baths & Pump Room are conveniently located in the centre of Bath, off Stall Street and facing the west facade of Bath Abbey. Follow the black pedestrian information finger posts on most street corners in central Bath.
Thermae Bath Spa
If you are interested in modern spa baths, turn across Stall Street & along Bath Street to the Thermae Bath Spa. The 18th Century Royal & Hot Bath and also the Cross Bath have been remodeled into a modern Spa and Steam Rooms - bring your swim gear.
Google Maps - Roman Baths, Bath