Bathing the Roman way - City of Bath

The city of Bath
Ok, this took a while to upload but here we go… Bath has always been lovely, it was lovely when I visited it last year, it was lovely when I went it again this year during Easter for my "pick your own tulips" trip. The city of Bath is one of the most beautiful and traditional cities, well maintained to preserve the ancient Roman ancestry. The lovely roman architecture is well intact that could be explored and studied by many, especially the roman history fanatics. This is definitely a "must-see" place to visit when in UK.

Bath is especially famous for the Roman baths and natural hot springs formed in the city established by the Roman empire in early times of 60-70AD. And that's exactly where the city gets its name from. The city itself is famous for more than a handful of attractions, with Roman bath spas for historians, the "400 years of fashion" museum for fashion enthusiasts, The Jane Austin museum for literary pundits, lovely parks to walk your pooch around, or delicacies at interesting tea rooms for foodies like me, Bath has something for everyone.

The first time I went there was with my bestie just for half a day. We travelled there via coach from London, reaching the coach station about 12-ish in the noon and were meant to leave for Southampton via train by 7:30PM. So, not too long to travel the whole of the lovely city, especially since most of the attractions close latest by 5. So, we set our schedule: we would visit the ancient bath spas, eat lunch, visit the Jane Austin Centre (since we both are such literary geniuses :p) and if possible quickly whoosh through the vintage fashion museum. Well, we got till the Jane Austin Museum but that was the end of it as it turns out JA museum closed by 4:30PM… Bummer… But that only means I will be coming back ;) Well, we enjoyed every second of the time we spent there… The spectacular view of the city, the wonderful architecture of the old buildings, the intricate skills and endeavours of the romans in enjoying the little luxuries in life by building their own special spas… We had fun to our heart's content. 

Entrance to the Roman Bath Museum
Coming to the main attraction, located at the heart of the busy shopping centre is the Roman baths Museum. As I mentioned earlier, it was established by the Romans about 1950 years ago. However, the first shrine dedicated to Goddess Minerva was built at the site by Celts after discovering the Hot springs way back in 800BC. But from 60-70AD, after the Romans took over the country in 40AD, they started building the structure that continued for next 300 years. From then till the 5th century when the Romans withdrew from Britain the Roman Baths were maintained by the Romans whose relics are still excavated that can throw valuable light on the Anglo-saxon chronicles in UK. It is believed that the original roman baths were destroyed in the 6th century. Well, as a consolation we can still see the prototypes and re-constructed architecture though.

The building has several sections and rooms for both hot spas and steam treatments, and even areas for relaxations. The museum is also equipped with a gift shop at the exit and a "Pump room" which is a restaurant, surprisingly reasonable in price, that served us some quality meals. Inside the museum we took a long and winding tour of the entire bath… We had a first hand experience of how the Romans must have lived, spent their leisure time, groomed themselves, wore on the daily basis, ate, their currency, how they fought wars, and enjoyed life in general. There was even a full fossilised skeleton of what appears to be an excavated roman.

Here are some of my accounts of the trip to the Roman bath:

View atop the Roman bath
The level above the first set of pillars is a later addition including reconstructions carried out in the 19th century, with the entire structure being redeveloped from 12th century up until the 19th century with additions of the pump room, the visitor's entrance that used to be a concert hall in 1897, and the gift shop at the exit...

Rain drops dancing on the steaming still water
The steam rises...
Steaming warm water from the spring always filling up the bath, keeping it ready for a skinny dip anytime of the day. Must say, the Romans must have had some lavish lifestyle… In the picture below you can see the Abbey from the bath.

Top of the Abbey house
The inside is of course marvellous. It is huge, bursting with informations and facts all about the old British heritage and culture. With excavations found from the earliest of the time the site was built to the most latest amendments made to the town that directly affected the site. We even got to sip a cup of bath water but trust me, you DO NOT want to do that because a.) Bath honestly smells like sewers a little and b.) Bath water tasted horrendous, like diluted sweat that gets into the mouth when you wash your face after a workout (ewwwww!!!) :(

A ceramic bust of Goddess Minerva and the little statues of her owl of knowledge.
So, right next to the Bath, by the 2nd exit which is at the opposite end of the gift shop, is the Abbey house.

Roman Bath and Abbey house 
Abbey house as you can see is quite beautiful. Standing high and tall, the building walls are all engraved with beautiful detailed statues and designs quite spectacular by their own self.

Abbey house
I really love medieval architecture, I don't really know a lot about them but they sure are a site to see.


The frontal view
Abbey house entrance
A tiny red me for scale by the Abbey house's majestic entrance :) Well, we didn't have the time to go in and have a look around as we still had plenty of places to visit in about a hour's time before everything closed down for the day. So we headed out to the next big attraction (especially for us book worms) slightly beyond the town centre  - The Jane Austen Centre!

The Jane Austen Centre is quite a charming little place where you can find dedicated lovely ladies dressed up in the costume from the Jane Austen era, find all the books written by the great writer herself, and have scrumptous tea at the Jane Austen tea shop. Bath holds several annual exhibitions, promenade and other such festivals dedicated to Jane Austin alone. The Jane Austen Festival  is a nine-day festival of costume, music, drama, dancing, food, fashion, talks, tours and fun at a variety of venues in and around the city. That would be soooo glorious, hoping to attend one in the future!!


By the entrance
Jane Austen Centre with people in costume from JA era

From there on we walked back to the town centre. I was really happy not only for the wonderful time I have had since the morning but also because everything was so "authentic." The medieval architectures, the ambience, the town decor, the feel of the place, even the rain... All felt like true England, the England that I had hoped for prior to my stay here in UK. Really an amazing place...

Town center
A sorry bust of Mark foster. JK! It's artistic and grand...
Soon, it was time for us to go. But before that, we grabbed ourselves a last tea and nibbles at one of the finest-coziest tea-shops in the town out of the MANY that are available.

What would the life be without a cup of tea?
Well, that was one fine piece of tart! Oh and brownie for my best friend. So, with that we finally wrapped up our plans for the day and headed back to Southampton via train. But before wrapping up the accounts, an honourable mention that I must make is of the one place that I have been meaning to visit but have missed, the Bath Fashion Museum. 

The Bath Fashion Museum displays outfits from era long gone to up-to-the-minute trends, the history and evolutions of fashion since 400 years in UK and the west in general, from Georgian to charlestons to Great war to the best dress of 2014 to wedding garments to even sportswear it has dresses and clothes and dresses and shoes and dresses and all sorts of accessories, hats and jewelleries... All the western garments one could find. I could totally go crazy with joy in there!!!

 Bath Fashion Museum display
Bath fashion museum display
The museum also holds several monthly exhibitions and also major shows, award functions and fashion events. I am sooo booking my diary with at least one of them fine events! Yup, a visit much anticipated...


So, with that, I bid you farewell until my next globetrotting adventure either in UK or overseas, or just the next post on anything actually... Till then,

Loads of love,

aJBcj