How to Visit the Historic Roman Baths in Bath, England

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One of the most intriguing and interesting historical sights in South West England is the historic Roman Baths in Bath, England. It’s a sight you definitely must visit while in the area.

While it might be difficult to imagine a life where public baths were an integral part of community life, that was certainly the case for the ancient Romans who built the baths more than 2000 years ago. Visiting the baths will give you a unique perspective on what it would was like for the Romans.

main bath house in bath, england

The city of Bath as a tourist destination has a lot to offer, both in terms of historical and modern attractions, as we learned recently on our tour of South West England. We could have easily spent a full week in Bath, even though it is a relatively small town.

We stayed very close to the city center, at the lovely Brooks Guesthouse, which made it very easy for us to walk to the main attractions, including the Roman Baths, which are just one of the great attractions of this incredible place.

Bath is less than a 2-hour drive from Heathrow, but you can also take a train that will bring you right to the city quickly and easily.

Read our other England articles:

» If you’re looking for more help planning your trip, here’s our guide to traveling in England, our Essential Travel Guide to London, and How to Spend One Day in London.

How to Plan Your Visit to the Roman Baths

The Great Bath of the historic roman baths
The Great Bath at the Roman Baths in Bath, England

You’ll want to book your timed tickets well in advance of your trip, so you can get the day and time of your choosing. It’s very easy to book tickets on line, or you can go on a guided tour with a walking tour of the city through Viator.

What Are the Historic Roman Baths?

The Roman Baths is an archaeological site that contains the remains of a large Roman bath complex, built around the year 138. The Roman Bath (a significant structure first discovered in 1590, and subsequently restored in the 18th century), is the main feature of the site.

The Roman Baths were used as a public bath house where the Romans bathed together for health purposes and for socializing. The water comes from natural hot springs below the surface that were discovered on that location long before the Roman invasion.

Inside the complex, you will learn all about the bath houses and how Roman society used them. The building that houses the Roman Baths, aside from being obviously historic and grandiose, doesn’t give away much from the exterior, but once you get inside you’ll see just how impressive this place is, especially The Great Bath, in the center of the building.

The Great Bath from the terrace
The Great Bath from the terrace

Buying Tickets for the Roman Baths

Tickets must be pre-booked in advance. The tickets range in price depending on the season. They can go from £17.50 in the winter to £27.50 in the summer, and they are cheaper on weekdays than weekends.

There are family ticket prices available, as well as some special deals which combine other attractions and give you a small discount.

We visited the Roman Baths on a Friday in March, which is by no means the height of the tourist season, so it was very pleasant and not crowded, but I can imagine that June to August would not afford the same leisurely visit that we had.

If you can visit outside of the high season, I would really recommend it, as you will definitely have a better viewing experience and less traffic inside the tight spaces to contend with.

Opening hours vary. The typical hours are 9am to 5pm, but each season has it’s own variation, so check the website to be sure before you go. 

The Great Bath
The Great Bath

What to Do Inside

With your ticket you also receive a headset with an audio guide that you can follow around the complex. It takes about two to three hours to walk around, listening to the commentary that explains pretty much every aspect of the baths.

When you come upon something you’re interested in, you just locate the number corresponding to the commentary and punch it into your handset.

In this way, you can meander through the baths at your own pace and listen to as much or as little of the historical information as you want. It can be rewound or fast-forwarded to suit your preferences. 

Goddess Soeis Head
Some of the original, recovered stone work from the Roman Baths

Some sections of the complex have been restructured throughout the centuries to suit the current inhabitants, and some sections have been preserved to keep them from crumbling, but with the use of a little imagination, you’ll get a very good idea what it might have looked like for the Romans who once bathed there.

The Roman Baths collection contains thousands of archaeological finds from pre-Roman and Roman Britain. The baths themselves are below the modern street level and have four main features to see:

  • The Sacred Spring
  • The Roman Temple
  • The Roman Bath House
  • Finds from Roman Bath

Steps of the Tour

Roman Bath Terrace
Terrace of the Roman Bath
  • Start your tour by walking along the terrace, which overlooks the Great Bath and is lined with Victorian statues of Roman emperors and governors of Britain. This is where the best pictures can be taken, so plan to spend a bit of time here.
  • You’ll then walk through parts of the museum that explain life in Roman society and the town of Aquae Sulis – the Roman name for Bath.
  • Proceed through the walkway above the Temple Courtyard, and explore the area where Roman worshippers gathered to pray to the goddess Sulis Minerva.
  • You’ll then walk through the sacred spring where the water for the hot springs still bubbles up today. There are many items from the springs that you can see, like coins that were made as an offering to the goddess.
Sacred Spring
Sacred Spring where the water comes from
  • Next you will walk through the Great Bath, the centrepiece of the Roman Baths bathing complex. Surrounding the large pool are the changing rooms, saunas, heated and plunge pools that you can imagine the Romans indulging in, if you use a little imagination.

The Pump Room

The Great Hall of the Roman Baths
The Pump Room near the Roman Baths in Bath, England

Another section of the Baths is The Pump Room, which was used much the way it is today, as a separate gathering place in conjunction with the Baths – today it’s a restaurant.

It’s directly next door and can be reached easily through a set of stairs at the end of the tour. Drop off your audio headset, walk up the stairs and you’re ready for afternoon tea at The Pump Room.  

Do keep in mind that The Pump Room is a very popular restaurant, so you absolutely must book ahead, even for afternoon tea.

Enjoying afternoon tea at The Pump Room
Enjoying afternoon tea at The Pump Room


If you’re going to be visiting Bath or the nearby area you really won’t want to miss seeing The Roman Baths. They are quite interesting and leave a lasting impression. I don’t think a trip to Bath would be complete without a visit.

A big thank you to VisitBritain for hosting our visit to Bath. See all the coverage of our trip to the south west of England. (As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own honest reflection on our travel experiences.)


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How to Visit the Historic Roman Baths in Bath, England

19 thoughts on “How to Visit the Historic Roman Baths in Bath, England

  1. Chris Thompson says:

    Such a great post! I would really love to visit this place one day. It’s very interesting and transports you to whole other era. Keep up the good work!

  2. Kathrin says:

    I’ve been to Bath a few weeks ago and I just LOVE this city so much! It’s so beautiful, I love the architecture and all the little shops and cafés. And so much history there as well! I haven’t been inside the baths because I only had a few days there and was actually visiting a friend. I guess I have to go back and actually experience the things Bath is so famous for 😉

  3. Vicki says:

    I love that there are still remnants of British and Roman History dotted around the country! The baths are a true representation of a past life and it’s great that we can still visit them in all their glory! 🙂

  4. TRISHA VELARMINO (@psimonmyway) says:

    I’ve tried the hamam in Istanbul and Marrakech but I keep wondering if it’s the same in England! Will definitely look into this when I visit! Was this a press trip with Visit Britain?

  5. Veronika says:

    Wow, this looks great! I have been to some Roman bath styled pool here is Czech Republic, but I guess it was not as large as this one. It must be awesome just to be soaking in the termal water now when the weather is chilly!

  6. Hugo says:

    I really need to visit Bath! Like you mentioned, it’s quick and easy to visit from London (where I’m based). I’m thinking of using a weekend or potentially a long weekend to visit the city. Interested not only in the baths but also the architecture. Bath is a World Heritage Site which is something I really enjoy discovering and visiting.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      You absolutely must check it out, Hugo! You’re so close by. Bath is a really fascinating place.

  7. Curious Claire says:

    Bath is my favourite place in England and the first place I talk about when people ask me where they should visit in England. The Roman Baths are so fascinating and the whole city is just beautiful. Great post 🙂

  8. chrysoula says:

    I have been to Bath numerous times and it is among my favorite places in the UK. I loved the Roman Baths and especially afternoon tea at the Pumping Rooms they remind me of the Jane Austen books.

  9. Lotte says:

    I missed out on visiting Bath when I was living in the UK, thank you so much for taking me there on this virtual mini tour:-).

  10. Karla (Karla Around The World) says:

    The structures are quite old but they have this unique charm to them. I have heard a lot about these Roman Baths but I never had the chance to visit one yet.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      It’s an awesome thing to see – all those old buildings. Definitely worth a visit if you get a chance!

  11. antonette says:

    I had heard of Bath before but just thought it was a town, never expected to see a roman bath there. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Alex says:

    It’s beautiful what Romans made in their time. You should preserve it more. In Serbia we have many ruins from that time, so we should to. Hope in the future it will be more taken care, both yours and ours. Cheers From south and east Serbia!

  13. Pingback: Soaking in the Warm Waters of Thermae Bath Spa (Bath, England) | Savored Journeys

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