C’mon in-the water’s just fine in Bath, England pt.3

Things we loved that have Bath in the name:

If you’re challenged for time then head straight to the bath triumvirate, all located within baby steps of each other.

Start at Bath Abbey, one of the England’s finest medieval churches, where after climbing the towers 212 steps you’ll be rewarded with an incredible panoramic view.

Then cross the street to the Roman Baths, one of the great thermal spas of the ancient world. Built around Britain’s only hot springs, the Romans came, conquered, built a stunning temple and bathhouse and then relaxed!

This was their ultimate pleasure spot and the audio tour (with some pithy observations by Bill Brice, included in the admission price) lays it all out. Please allow yourself at least 90 minutes for this fascinating tour. Many creative uses of modern technology have been implemented to bring the history alive which makes a visit to this famed bathing establishment engaging, informative and fun. We even struck up a conversation with two Roman laborers (talented actors strewn about) until it turned out that one was a father looking for a wife for his son (who had no discernible prospects.) Although we hadn’t expected to enjoy what we thought would be a fusty, musty muesum, this turned out to be the highlight of our stay.

*Tip: If you go at sunset, you’ll be able to see the baths dramatically lit up by torches.

After all that history and exploring you’ve earned the right to some relaxation so head over to the Thermae Bath Spa where you can bathe in the warm restorative waters discovered 2000 years ago. The yin-yang design seamlessly combines the historic old brick buildings with the modern stone and turquoise glass walls that make up the contemporary Royal Bath building, which was finished in 2006.
In addition to its four natural hot thermal baths, (including the popular open-air rooftop bath offering spectacular city views) there is also a series of aromatic steam rooms infused with essential oils such as frankincense, eucalyptus mint, jasmine or lavender oils, a ‘waterfall’ shower provides with fibre optic lighting, and 20 treatment rooms offering your choice of over 50 different treatments- a recent inductee is the “Chocolate Indulgence Dream Flotation”

What fun to catch up with a friend or colleague in the healing waters of the open air rooftop pool, then grab a healthy bite (phew, they have wine) in the cafe. Clearly the thermal baths are a town treat and a unique alternative to unwinding at a gym or bar.
Tip: instead of another boring happy hour check out their weekday Twilight Package, offering a meal in the Restaurant, choice of a drink, a 3-hour spa session and complimentary use of towel, robe & slippers.

Nightime fun:
Bath comes alive at night, and if you’re up for something a bit livelier than bathing, there is no shortage of jumping bars and clubs. For something a bit more cerebral, see what’s playing at the recently restored, Royal Theater, which offers a variety of quality entertainment all year. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing The Browning Version dramatically underplayed by Peter Bowles.
Just what we were looking for the play was contemporary, moving and so very British!

A newcomer to the entertainment scene in Bath is Komedia, which is rocking the town with a chopsuey mix of comedy, cabaret, music, a variety of theme nights and also serves excellent food.

So (sorry to disagree with Jane Austin) but we really found the water is just fine in Bath. For help in planning your visit their extremely helpful tourist bureau.

Posted by Janice Nieder on November 06, 2009 in Travel

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