By booking a self catering cottage in Bath, you are basing yourself in one of the most famous cities in the country, part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the most iconic attraction here is the iconic Roman Baths.
With this in mind, no trip here would be complete without visiting the site, which has been a firm favourite among locals and holidaymakers alike since the times of the Romans. Read on for our guide to this popular venue.
What are they?
Also known as thermae, these are facilities that were used by the ancient world for relaxing, bathing and for their perceived healing properties. The source of the water is completely natural, being heated by geothermal energy deep underground which causes the liquid to bubble up and leak out through cracks in the rocks.
It wasn't only the Romans who were fascinated by this site, but also - much earlier - the Celts. When Romans invaded England and later settled in what became the city of Bath, they constructed a temple and bathing complex where they could take full advantage of the warm waters.
The first thing you may notice is that the site is not entirely Roman in origin. In fact, the entrance hall is Victorian and features a stunning dome ceiling that is carved with images of the four seasons.
If you're wondering why so much of the complex is Victorian, it's because it was not until the 19th century that the baths were discovered and fully renovated and explored.
Marvel at the waters
The next point of interest on your tour is that of the Sacred Spring, where the water bubbles up at a temperature of 46 degrees C. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water is produced every day and this has been going on for millennia.
However, unlike the Romans, we now know the process is geological, rather than the work of the gods. A classical temple can be seen that is one of only two remaining in the UK. This is where the statue of the goddess Sulis Minerva was housed, dedicated to the deity who was believed to have healing powers.
The Great Bath
This will be the high point of your tour, as the steam from the hot waters rises into the air creating an ethereal feel. To add to the feeling that you have stumbled back in time, guides in Roman costume wander around the edge of the pool - so if you have any questions left about the Roman Baths, ask them and they will be able to fill you in!