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Britain's only natural hot spring

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The city of Bath is named for its historic role as a spa. People would come from miles around to relax in its waters. This practice was made popular by the Romans and, although their bath house is still standing, visitors are no longer able to take a dip. Thankfully though, there is somewhere where you can soak in natural warm water, heated by the Earth itself. This is the Thermae Bath Spa, home to the only hot spring in all of Britain.
The complex was opened relatively recently, in 2006. The project was supposed to cost £13 million, but the final total was over three times this amount! The spa was eventually opened, ending a 28-year period when the city's thermal springs weren't available for use. It's unusual for the city to be without a public bath for so long. This has always been the most popular spa destination in the UK, even during the 18th and 19th centuries when similar towns were springing up all over the place.

Thermae Bath Spa
Photo heatheronhertravels
The Thermae Bath Spa proved to be a tricky construction project. Some of the old structures were still standing, and the architects had to incorporate these historical elements into a modern building. They did this with success, mixing the old, dark stone features with light, airy glass work. When you enter the Spa, you can choose which style you prefer. If you want to feel like a Georgian, you should head for the whirlpool, with its 18th century arches. The atmosphere is similarly traditional at the Cross Bath, which is housed within a separate, Grade I listed building. The pool is out in the open air, surrounded by tall stone walls.
On the other hand, you may prefer a thoroughly contemporary setting. This is what you'll find in the main building, titled the "New Royal Bath". Its design uses vast amounts of glass and natural light to achieve an open, calm ambience. The largest of the two main pools is the elegantly curved Minerva Bath, which takes up most of the ground floor. The highlight of the entire experience though, is the other pool, up on the roof. It has bubbling seats and massage jets, but the real treat is simply the views on offer, of the abbey, the houses and beyond. It's especially dramatic at night, when the air cools down and the water begins to steam.
The rest of the building contains a variety of other facilities, from saunas to shops. There's a cosy restaurant, where you dine in your robe and slippers. Visitors can also choose from over 50 different spa, health and beauty treatments, including massages, facials and flotation therapy.
The Thermae Bath Spa does a great job of mixing the traditional and the modern. Since its opening, it has once again given the city of Bath a reason to be proud of its name.
Visitor Information
The visitor centre at the Thermae Bath Spa is open daily, 10am to 5pm and contains information displays and products to buy. Various spa sessions are also available, which must be pre-booked. Tel: 01225 331234

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