There are hours’ worth of entertainment in Bath’s premier attraction, the Roman Baths, with commentary provided by hourly guided tours and audioguides (both free). Highlights include the Sacred Spring, part of the temple of the local deity Sulis Minerva, where water still bubbles up at a constant 46.5°C; the open-air (but originally covered) Great Bath, its vaporous waters surrounded by nineteenth-century pillars, terraces and statues of famous Romans; the Circular Bath, where bathers cooled off, and the Norman King’s Bath.
Among a quantity of coins, jewellery and sculpture exhibited are the gilt bronze head of Sulis Minerva and a grand, Celtic-inspired gorgon’s head from the temple’s pediment. Models of the complex at its greatest extent give some idea of the awe which it must have inspired, while the graffiti salvaged from the Roman era – mainly curses and boasts – offer a personal slant on this antique leisure centre.
You can get a free glimpse into the baths from the next door Pump Room, the social hub of the Georgian spa community and still redolent of that era, which houses a formal tearoom and restaurant.