Bath is a truly beautiful city - so beautiful that in parts it seems almost like a film set. Designated a World Heritage site, it is gorgeous to walk around, full of little streets and wonderful views. But it is also offers loads of shops, restaurants and tea houses, which makes it a great place for a day out.
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Of course the city is known particularly for the Roman Baths, the remains of an ancient spa and Roman temple. No one should visit Bath without spending a few hours finding out about the bath-house where people took their dips nearly 2,000 years ago.
I had last been to the Roman Baths long before having children, so I was interested to see what the kids thought of it. Luckily the audioguides include one especially for children (not only in English, but also French and German) and this was a great touch. The English one is narrated by Michael Rosen, and it definitely kept the children engaged. However, I'm not convinced that it would have been as popular for younger children, as ours are at an age where they are able to concentrate, don't get easily bored and won't run off (and attempt to touch the water...)
The Baths are very well set out and genuinely interesting. There are models and displays to help you understand what daily life was like in Roman times and to understand the hot springs, the source of the city's spa water, and the only ones in Britain. Water comes out of here at 46 degrees.
You can see the source of the water and walk through all the different areas, including the saunas, changing rooms and plunge pools, which I found fascinating (probably more so than the kids), as well as a re-creation of the Temple courtyard and the actual Roman temple pediment, which was remarkable. There are also (another great touch for the children), costumed characters who will talk to you and explain what they are doing. In the pump room, you can even try some of the warm water, although I must say that it's not the nicest thing I've ever drunk!
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But the best bit (of course) was walking on the ancient pavement past the steaming baths themselves. That's not something you get to do very often.
We think you should allow at least two hours for your visit, and possibly more, especially as there is also a good and very well stocked gift shop at the end. If you decide to leave it until later in the year to visit, you could visit in the evening, when the Baths are lit by torchlight. However, this only occurs in the summer.
The Roman Baths are open all year round, except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. A family ticket costs £38, which is not cheap, but I think it is worth it for something so unique (and educational!).
More by us on Bath:
Jessica writes about the Sally Lunn Bath House
Jessica writes about No 1 Royal Crescent.
Labels: Bath, Roman Baths