The first time we visited Bath, England, we were leading a bike tour and camping at various RV and tent campgrounds. The campground showers often trickled lukewarm water onto a cracked tile floor. Upon entering the city, our ten-year-old daughter thought she was quite witty by asking, “Are we going to take a bath in Bath?” Twenty years later, on our second visit, I overhead another nine or ten-year-old smirkingly ask his parents, “Are we going to take a bath in Bath?” I guess some humor lasts throughout the ages.
The truth is, yes, you can take a bath in Bath (if you are over 16 years old.) Simply enjoy the relaxing pools and steam baths located in Bath’s Thermae Bath Spa, located in the heart of the city. The spa is an ideal place to take older teens as a treat or for a romantic way for you and your partner to bathe away your traveling aches in the naturally heated mineral pools.
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Modern and New in Bath
Due to a massive remodeling and rebuilding campaign, the “new” spa opened in 2006 with the latest in building design and spa treatments. What remained the same, was the mineral-rich water. Every day, over one million liters of water springs forth from the hot springs. From the 1970’s until 2006, all that water simply ended up in the river Avon. Today that water feeds four baths at the Thermae Bath Spa. And don’t worry, you won’t find tepid showers with cracked tile floors!
Minerva: The Largest Pool
The day we arrived, it was cold and windy. I craved warmth. After getting our robes, towels and slippers at the spa, we changed into our suits and stepped into the modern Minerva pool. The water was hot! I was getting warm! The pool offers massage jets that obviously massage your body. Most of all, they got my circulation going to where I was getting warm, internally and externally. While not extensive like pools in major resorts, a “lazy river” cycle of water flow gave a relaxing “ride” as I held on to my pool noodle and aimlessly drifted around the pool. While the majority of all Bath buildings are Georgian architecture, this section of the spa is a mixture of glass, stone, light and water. Even though it was drizzling outside, the pool area conveyed an atmosphere of brightness.
A Steaming Good Time
My husband had to drag me out of the pool to try one of the four steam rooms. Each room is infused with a different aromatic essence. My favorite was the eucalyptus room where even my nostrils got a steam workout. Walking from one steam room to another led you underneath a waterfall shower that changed from a light mist of water to an invigorating shower.
Hunger is a great motivator, so we left the steam rooms and headed for lunch in the Springs Café restaurant. The plastic SmartBand around our wrists charged whatever we wanted, so there’s no need to figure out what to do with a purse or wallet as you swim or eat. Allan looked around the café and commented how everyone looked the same. We all had wet hair, white robes, white slippers and blue wristbands. “We could be in a cult!” he whispered.
Up on the Rooftop
At least it would be a cult of people enjoying themselves on their own terms! While I was ready for a nap, (and there is a relaxation room for people to recline and relax), Allan wanted to check out the open-air rooftop pool. I’m glad we did. Imagine being on a rooftop pool with amazing views of church spires and buildings with detailed brick architecture hard to find in the US. The spa offers twilight and evening swims where the view takes on a whole different appearance with the night sky and lights from the city.
From Bamboo to Hot Stones
The Thermae Bath Spa also offers over 40 different treatments. Choose from a Bamboo Massage, Indian Head Massage, Mum-to-Be Massage, Serenity Candle Massage…you get the picture! These treatments would make a great addition to your time at the Spa with a partner or perhaps as a mother-teenaged daughter event.
If you are traveling with younger children, it might be difficult to get away for an adults-only spa time at the Thermae bath Spa. But if at all possible, make the effort to take part in a historical aspect of enjoying the mineral waters. Then you too, can say, “I took a bath in Bath!”
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For other couples-only spots, check out these romantic spots in England.
If you’re traveling with kids, try these things to do with a family in Manchester, England.