As you know, I and LM popped off to Bath for a few days at the very beginning of 2015. We stayed at the glorious Queensberry Hotel and spent our time seeing and doing and eating and discovering some of the loveliest spots in Bath. One of the highlights of our mini break was our morning at Thermae Bath Spa. What a magical place.. and what stories it has to tell!
Did you know that Bath is is the only place in the UK where you can bathe in warm, mineral-rich thermal waters, which come directly from the natural hot springs? Well it is. It’s unbelievable. And this is also why the entire city is now a World Heritage Site… and rightly so.
The springs are situated deep beneath the city and there is actually archaeological evidence that there were people hanging about the hot springs (on which the City of Bath is built) at least 8,000 years B.C! That folks, is a very long time ago.
You can imagine how amazing this was for people to discover… and the Romans, (who rather liked claiming things for themselves) built an actual reservoir (but how? No power tools then y’know) around the hot springs, and then a rather sophisticated series of baths.
The picture above is of The Cross Bath, which is now recognised as an official sacred site. The Celts revered their goddess Sul here, in whose honour the Romans named their spa town, Aquae Sulis… the history is phenomenal and rather overwhelming. That, and the fact that you know you are bathing in water that’s millions of years old.
That’s really old.
Just 100 metres from the original Roman Baths, sits the restored Spa, which draws its thermal waters from the Hetling Spring, the Cross Spring and Kings Spring which deliver over one million litres of water every day at a temperature of 44 – 46 degrees centigrade. (Isn’t this amazing! As I write it I almost can’t believe it.)
LM and I arrived on Saturday morning, just before this queue had gone around the building.. we picked up our wristbands, robes, towels and slippers (SPA READY!) and headed into the changing rooms with its very snazzy locker system – just zap your wristband and bish bash bosh.
We both had massages booked and were in dire need. I was coughing and spluttering and LM was headachey and ouchy. Massages were in need and what better place to have them.
I was booked in for the Aromatherapy Massage, while LM had the Full Body Massage. I love aromatherapy massages as I’m a bit of a wimp. I’m not very good at pressure around my back or shoulders – what makes most people sigh with happiness, makes me writhe in agony and want to leap off the table and punch the mean person that’s inflicting the eye-watering pain… so this light-pressured massage was perfect for me. I also chose some oils which aided the respiratory system, so I was breathing much better afterwards as well.
The room was warm, dimly lit, charming and cosy. The towels were as soft as marshmallows and I fell asleep. Properly. Just for a moment, but I knew I was asleep because I woke up when she dinged her Indian bells. I hope I didn’t snore.
Both massages were wonderful. The practitioners were very experienced and knew exactly what they were doing. There are lots of wonderful treatments to choose from – I look forward to going back another time and trying something different…
We were both incredibly relaxed afterwards.. and feeling ready for a swim.
We stepped into the warm Minerva Bath and drifted away. It was quite busy in the pool, but not in any kind of way that mad the experience less enjoyable. The design is beautiful – all ergonomic curves and large, grand columns. We went round the ‘lazy river’ a few times (less than 20. More than 2) which is like a gentle rapid pulling you along around a jacuzzi…
Then it was upstairs to the Aroma Steam Rooms…
This was PERFECT for me! Each of the four circular pods had a different infused vapour, and so I headed straight for the eucalyptus mint. Vicks nasal spray, eat your heart out – this was like magic. An instant cure for my cold! There was also lovely large ‘waterfall’ shower, which has various settings, including a light misting of water.. and a strong shoulder-pounding shower.
We stayed here for around 20 minutes, going in and out of the various steam rooms and then ducking under the shower to cool off… and then, when we were nice and steamed, we headed up to the rooftop pool.
We could not have been luckier with the weather – glorious afternoon sunshine flooded the bubbling pool, so we sat back on the air seats and took in the amazing views over the city…
It was rather chilly when we got out the pool (it’s JANUARY for heaven’s sake) but we quickly shimmied back into our robes and and scampered down to Springs Café Restaurant, where we enjoyed an extremely delicious lunch of Salmon Salad Nicoise, fresh juice and mint tea.
We had the most wonderful morning at this very special place. It felt like such a treat and a privilege, to swim in these waters and tread where so many have walked before…
We floated out of the spa and wandered the beautiful streets of Bath, before heading straight for Society Café, where we met up with dear friends, drank hot chocolate, ate cake and started to plan our next visit… it’s just too special to stay away for too long…
Have you been to Thermae Bath Spa? Tell me! I’d love to know about your experience…
Thermae Bath Spa
The Hetling Pump Room
Hot Bath Street
LM and I were guests of Thermae Bath Spa. And if I hadn’t loved it, I wouldn’t have written about it.