Historic Bath has been a spiritual and healing centre for 2000 years. In 1987 it was inscribed as a place of Outstanding Universal Value for its “Roman remains, 18th century architecture, 18th century town planning, and its role as a setting for social history, inspired by its hot springs and natural landscape.” Bath is also a candidate for the Great Spas of Europe UNESCO project.
Modern Bath is a thriving city, with many internationally-renowned festivals, its rich architectural heritage, and an enviable cultural and sporting scene, although mineral waters continue to be its mains attraction. Visitors can’t miss the Thermae Bath Spa: a modern day spa featuring a unique rooftop pool with breath-taking views over the city.
Although ancient Britons were known to have worshipped at the springs, they were said to have been discovered in around 863BC by Bladud, a prince who had been exiled from his father’s kingdom and forced to roam the country because he had leprosy. He noticed that his pigs were cured of skin problems after rolling in the hot mud around the springs, and soon after was cured himself. He founded Bath in gratitude for his cure, dedicating the waters’ curative power to the Celtic goddes Sul. When Romans arrived in the AD 60s, they identified this goddes with Minerva,calling the place Aquae Sulis and built a magnificent thermal complex around the springs that can still be visited today at Bath’s Roman Baths
In the 18th century, with the rise of popularity for Bath’s mineral springs, the city is transformed under the design of English architect John Wood the Elder. The creator of the Georgian Bath saw the spa town as an imaginary place, a garden city of great vistas and grand public spaces merging with the surrounding landscape. This model was exported and copied in spa town all over Europe.
Bath Tourist Information Center
The Regency’s way of life and the magnificent Georgian architecture of Bath is brilliantly evoked in the novels of Jane Austen, who lived in Bath at the beginning of the 19th century. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are both set in the spa town.
Springs & Spas
Bath’s thermal water is 10,000 years old, having fallen as rain on the Mendip Hills south of the city, then heated at great depth and rising to the surface via a geothermal fault system, through three springs in the town centre. They flow at 45ºC, being the hottest in the UK.
In the past, the waters were renowned for drinking, more than bathing, and the 18th century Pump Room is a testament of the waters and the social customs that grew up around the taking of the waters for the cure – customs that were copied throughout the spas of Europe.
Nowadays, Bath is the only place in the country where it is possible to bathe in natural thermal mineral water.The city offers unique spa experiences such as bathing in the open air rooftop pool of Thermae Bath Spa, or undergoing some luxury restorative treatments at Lucknam Park. There is a wide range of fine spa hotels as well, including the five-stars Gainsborough Bath Spa, with its own supply of thermal water, opened in 2015.
Cross Spring, Hetling Spring, Sacred Spring (Roman Baths)
Sulphate, calcium, chloride, sodium, bicarbonate, magnesium, silica, iron.