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.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

England features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The joys of winter walking in the Lake District

The joys of winter walking in the Lake District

The Lake District is Britain's newest UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country's most popular hiking destinations – but in winter it sees far fewer w…

20 Nov 2017 • Ben Lerwill local_activity Special feature
Podcast: the extraordinary life of Aboriginal storyteller Francis Firebrace

Podcast: the extraordinary life of Aboriginal storyteller Francis Firebrace

Cowboy, pirate, Aboriginal storyteller, artist, cultural educator, filmmaker, soft-porn photographer. Francis Firebrace, now 81, has certainly led an extraordin…

14 Nov 2017 • Greg Dickinson volume_up Podcast
Podcast: adventures with the Natural Navigator

Podcast: adventures with the Natural Navigator

In a world where we rely so heavily on GPS to get from A to B, it's easy to tune out from the natural navigational clues that surround us. In this episode of…

07 Nov 2017 • Greg Dickinson volume_up Podcast
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook