In History

Roman Baths

By Emma Kirkup

Wiltshire makes a great base for a day out to the World Heritage Site of Bath. Bath is just a short hop across the border into Somerset and there’s easy access by train from Salisbury, Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster, Chippenham and Swindon (to name just a few places!).

I took the train from Salisbury, passing through the beautiful Wylye Valley. If you do this journey then keep an eye out for Langford Lakes Nature Reserve and views towards the Westbury White Horse that you can see along the way – particularly if you sit on the right-hand side of the train if you are facing the direction of travel!

Despite my visit being on a cold, February day, the city of Bath was buzzing with tourists when I arrived. My first trip of the day was to the Roman Baths, probably the most well-known of Bath’s attractions. I’ve visited the Baths a few times in the past but think the last time was probably in my college days, so I didn’t really remember it that well.

After picking up an audio guide (available in several different languages), I explored the exhibition area which showed what the Roman Baths would have looked like when fully intact.

Within the Roman Baths

There were plenty of finds on display as well including coins, jewellery and stoneware. I don’t remember seeing the excavated areas from the previous times I’d visited either.

Walking around the Great Bath, it’s pretty amazing to think that it was used around 2,000 years ago. You could see the steam coming off the water and when it’s cold like it was on the day I visited you can see why the Romans were so inclined to indulge in the spa.

Roman Baths

There are other areas of the Baths that you can see too including the cold water plunge pool (I wouldn’t have fancied going in this quite so much!) and the Sacred Spring where you can see the steaming water flow through. Onsite you’ll also find costumed characters who’ll bring to life some of the stories from Roman times and look out for free guided walks of the site at various times of the day.

Sampling the spring water

Just before finishing your visit, you get the opportunity to sample the spring water. It is said to have medicinal benefits. I can’t say it’s my preferred drink as the taste is a bit odd but it’s certainly an unique experience!

Once I’d finished my visit and browsed in the shop, I made the 15 minute walk through the city, across Pultney Bridge towards the Holburne Museum

Holburne Museum

The museum is free to visit but charges for temporary exhibitions. I was greeted by some very friendly staff who explained more about the museum and how it started with Sir William Holburne’s collection from his Grand Tour of Europe. In his will, Holburne requested that his treasures should be left to the city of Bath, which is what started the museum off. Since the death of Holburne, over 2,000 items have been added to the collection.

Holburne Exhibition

There are room guides in each of the main rooms who are on hand to answer questions. I was particularly drawn to some of the Asian pottery on display.

The Grand Detour

Temporary exhibitions take place throughout the year, at my time of visiting Djordge Ozbolt’s ‘The Grand Detour’ was taking place both within the gallery and in the museum’s grounds (which will be running until 5 March). Coming very soon will also be a Bruegel exhibition (running 11 February – 4 June). Look out for events throughout the year as well including children’s art workshops, beginners self-portrait courses and concerts within the galleries.

You can easily stay in Wiltshire and use it as a base for exploring Bath’s attractions particularly if you stayed somewhere like Bradford on Avon, where it’s only a 10 minute train journey into the city.




Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply