Fancy a spa day? There’s something deeply relaxing about having a chilled day completely to yourself. When the only decisions to make are whether to go deep muscle massage or hot stones. And whether your face needs the express or the age defying facial. Oh, and the small matter of whether to have a 2nd glass of Prosecco with your lunch.
A Spa Day like no other
Visiting “The Roman Baths” in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath is honestly the ultimate Spa Day and the centrepiece of my surprise birthday mini break for Mr Bond. It’s thought to be one of the finest spas of the ancient world with 1900 years of immaculately preserved history. It’s lovingly restored and showcased in one of the most engaging museums I’ve ever experienced.
Seize the Night
I reserved tickets for their “Torchlit Carpe Noctum” evenings which ran throughout the summer. It turns out that an early evening visit in high summer is one of most magical times to visit. Reserved tickets will give you a discount, of course. They’ll also allow you to swoop past the inevitable queue straight into the high ceilinged air conditioned welcome area. We collected our audio handset and Prosecco vouchers, part of the package, to enjoy later in the evening.
Magic and Torches
The entrance opens to the upper terrace of the Great Bath dotted with victorian statues of Roman Emperors. What a sight awaits.
The still turquoise spring waters and the bright white Georgian stone. The dramatic burning torches – all set against the towering Bath Abbey and a perfect Somerset azure sky. Honestly? It took my breath away. I remembered in that moment all the feels I get in the presence of old things. And all the reasons that I spent 3 years mooching around medieval buildings as a history student.
It’s just the most magical place.
Self Care in the city
Now you might think self care is a new invention, but you’d be wrong. Today, we’re very keen on looking after our “self”, both inside and out. The news is that the insightful Romans had this nailed back in the BC years. They worked hard – building an Empire and taking over the world, and they knew how to play hard. Relaxing and reviving their bodies and minds in the thermal waters of this amazing Bathhouse.
Flowing hot and cold
So there’s more to this Bathhouse than you might first think. They cleverly channelled the hot spring water into warm swimming areas, heated massage rooms and changing areas. Perhaps even inventing the earliest version of under floor heating.
Cold water circulates through the plunge pool on the West Baths, brought to life for us with impressive animated projections and soundscapes.
The water itself, bubbling up from the “Sacred Spring”, contains 43 different minerals and was thought to be an effective treatment for many medical conditions. Today you can taste it at a water fountain at the end of the tour. If you visit in the winter you can thank the Romans for laying innovative foundations for today’s sustainable heating system.
It’s takes pride of place in what was the Temple area and is one of the best known objects from Roman Britain. The gilt-bronze head of the Roman “deity” Sulis Minerva, with 6 layers of gilding, would have stood atop a cult statue beside the Sacred Springs. and may well date back to the 1st century AD.
Sipping the bubbles
After a long hot (brilliant) day in the city, my favourite moment was sitting on a shaded stone bench overlooking the turquoise Great Bath, watching the torches flicker against the clear evening sky and sipping a glass of chilled Prosecco. Photos done, feet done, it’s time for deep contented breaths and final thoughts.
The Romans left an incredible legacy that we still wonder at today.
- They bring so much of their curious innovation to our modern world.
- The Romans were way ahead of their time in learning, invention and their determination to overcome everyday problems.
- We can learn so much about cultivating community and being ahead of the curve.
- Best of all, they teach us that straight lines are best, and buildings should be beautiful as well as cleverly designed.
For me right now, they offer the ultimate spa experience, which will never be exceeded. I’ll take this wondrous moment watching the Sacred Spring bubble up, with my glass of fizz, over any number of hot stones you can lay on me.
Have you visited the Roman Baths? I’d love to know what you think? Anyone visited in the cooler months? I’d love to come back in early spring and see what it feels like then.
That’s all for now.