I'm not a great one for history. I'm not a great one for the whole 'spa experience' thing. And I baulked at the £12 admission. But my fiancee wanted to have a look round and we'd got a discount ticket as part of the city bus tour. Having done the tour, I would have gladly handed over double the admission for the enormous privilege of viewing what the curators of this truly marvelous exhibit have thus far unearthed. The experience was immeasurably beyond my expectations. We spent an absorbing three hours looking around the fabulously presented ancient Roman baths. Technical wizardry allows you to see the ruins as they really were, projected right onto the remains as they are now; complete with spectral, be-toga'd Romans wandering about the place taking the waters. The museum side of things is like none I've been to before and recorded tour guides are available pitched at brainy history-fanatical adults, less demanding but keen to know adults, and children alike. A revelatory visit, and one which I have already recommended to friends and family, and await a return visit myself, with eager anticipation. An absolute joy! Go there now, and don't forget to taste the sulphurous waters themselves on the way out through the Pump House!
The Roman Baths, Stall Street, Bath
+44 (0)1225 477785
Google map: bit.ly/hAfuFs
The Thermae Spa in Bath offers what most do not – flexibility. A visit is easily slotted in before a shopping trip, after lunch or when your feet need a rest after exploring this stunning Georgian city. There is no need to book.
Although there are full ranges of treatments available, it is not really necessary to book one to have the full spa experience. A two-hour spa session at £24 is a relatively cheap and wonderful way to relax. That gives you plenty of time to use the four scented steam rooms, swim in the enclosed thermal ‘Minerva’ pool and have a glass of something in the Springs café. Finish the visit by floating in the naturally warm spring water Rooftop Pool overlooking the picture perfect Bath Spa rooftops.
The modern spa does feel a little utilitarian in places, after all, the council part owns it, but that adds to a unisex vibe that means men won’t feel as though they landed in the middle of an episode of ‘Sex and the City’. But remember, Bath being a tourist magnet, it is worth avoiding during the busiest times of the week.
Walking around the city of Bath is a pleasure for the sight. The only World Heritage city in the UK, the architecture and the beautiful surroundings are one of a kind. And if architecture is what you're craving, don't miss the Royal Crescent or (more importantly) the Abbey. Lose yourself in the awe of its Perpendicular Gothic style and bathe in the colored light of the impressive stained-glass windows. If you're lucky, you can attend the choir's rehearsal. Heavenly music for a heavenly place (and I'm agnostic).
Nearby you will find the Roman Baths. Worth a visit, one of the best museums I've ever seen. But if bathing is what you want, then go to the Spa. A bit too expensive for the amount of services you can get, but you'll gain access to the impressive rooftop pool. Be sure to go at night and enjoy the breathtaking views of Bath, the illuminated Abbey, the moon shining upon you and the cold rain falling on your head while your body stays comfortably warm in the water.
If you're up for it, you can catch a bus to Stonehenge near the Abbey and Puteney Bridge (check that out as well). Now, as much as I'm fascinated by the history and the mistery behind this Neolithic monument, the visit there is not pleasant. The place is cold and chilly and the only thing to do is walk around the stones at a distance while listening to an audio-guide. What makes this visit particularly unenjoyable is the fact that such an important monument is placed right next to a couple of roads. The brochure promises that plans are being made to divert the road and solve the problem. I really hope they do, for the sake of future visitors. After grabbing a hot chocolate from the coffee shop, the bus takes you back to good ol' Bath in an hour. Enjoy the beautiful views of the countryside in the meantime.
Get lost in the streets of Bath, admire the century-old buildings around you and have a cup of tea inside St Michael's church while the organist is rehearsing. This lovely little city will leave an impression on you that time won't be able to fade.
One of the city's oldest restaurants enthusiastically recommended by the owner of the guesthouse we stayed at. What a treat! A beautiful Georgian townhouse with a wonderful ambience. The food is modern British and delicious. All the food is freshly prepared and locally sourced and the waiting staff are gracious and knowledgeable. They told us all the best places to visit and where we could buy some of the cheeses from their magnificent cheese board.
We loved this special place.
There's plenty to keep you occupied on a day trip to Bath. You might well take in a visit to the Assembly Rooms and its Museum of Costume. But if your visit coincides with certain Sunday afternoons, you have the opportunity to dance in the sumptuous Georgian surroundings of the Ballroom.
In the 18th century the Assembly Rooms would have been packed with guests dancing, playing cards, tea drinking, talking and flirting. Today, at the monthly dances both experienced and novice dancers can waltz and quickstep around the Ballroom to a live band. Afternoon tea and refreshments are available.
This may be the most atmospheric dance venue in England. The next dances are on 13th September and 11th October.
The Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath
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