Roman Baths and Pump Room
...the only natural hot springs in the UK, discover their fascinating history
The most famous attraction in Bath, the Roman Baths provide a captivating look back into the lives of the Romans and the Georgians who continued the development and see the effect of later 19th century additions. Discover what the nineteenth and twentieth century archaeological investigations have uncovered and learn about how the baths were used.
Discovered by local tribes it wasn’t until the Romans came that the hot thermal spa area was developed with the construction of buildings, reservoirs and temples.
The Romans built a complex series of baths, changing rooms and open spaces and dedicated the temple to Sulis Minerva, the offspring of the goddess Minerva and a local deity. A gilt bronze head of the goddess survives to this day and can be seen in the museum.
Archaeological finds on display include tombstones, statues and other offerings thrown in to the springs for the gods. There are information and translations about these findings to enable the visitor to understand more about the reasoning. The tour of the museum includes a good audio guide to help understand the layout, the use and the timing of addition of each of the buildings and rooms that you pass through.
The Baths themselves are below modern street level and comprise four main features; the bath house, the temple, the hot springs and the archaeological finds.
Walkways run over the excavated roman baths so they can be viewed from above to get the best visual impact with the tour finishing in the Georgian Pump room at ground level where spa water can be sampled.
During July and August the Baths are open until 10pm so that they can be viewed by candlelight in such a way that the Romans would have used them.
The grand Pump Room was built between 1789 and 1799 and features a north colonnade of 9 bays with unfluted columns and a similar south colonnade with a 19th century upper floor. Built of Bath stone and facing onto Stall Street it is a grade I listed building which has been a popular meeting place for centuries where you can now dine in elegant surroundings whilst listening to the Pump Room trio.
Further information can be found at the roman baths website – see related link.
Other attractions in the area:
Thermae Bath Spa
Beckford Tower Museum
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015