The Thermae Bath Spa’s Roman roots

Known to
the Romans as Aquae Sulis (Waters of Sulis), this former Celtic shrine became a
place for legionnaires to recuperate when they weren’t subduing the Britons.

They kept the original name of the settlement, but worshipped their own goddess
Minerva here.

The latest incarnation of Britain’s only natural thermal spa
opened in 2006, but floating quietly in the ground floor Minerva pool, watching
light ripple across the ceiling, the modern visitor can’t help but ponder all
those who came before.

Celts, Romans, Georgian nobility, World War I wounded and
modern pagans – all have been drawn to Bath and the soothing effects of the
famously warm waters.

Influence of the architecture of Bath

If Bath was busy under the Romans it was frenetic during
the Georgian period (1714-1830), which had a huge influence on the city’s famous

During this time, it was second only to London on the aristocratic
social scene and royalty, celebrities and hangers-on flowed here.

Jane Austen,
Bath’s most famous resident, immortalised the era in her writing.

Today ladies
enjoying the spa’s steam rooms wear the latest in lycra rather than petticoats
held down with lead weights to prevent ‘indecency’.

The health benefits of the Thermae Bath Spa

The Thermae Bath Spa offers
old-fashioned bathing but also modern treatments, such as hot stones and Watsu.

As well as the Minerva, Rooftop and Cross Bar pools, there are four
steam rooms with different scents.

I’ve brought my cold with me from London so,
after a substantial lunch, I settle into the Eucalyptus and Mint Room for a
sinus-clearing siesta.

They do have a good spa here, but then they have been
doing it for 2000 years.