World Heritage Bath
Bath is the only destination in the UK to have the whole city designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
2017 marks 30 years since Bath was granted this special status in 1987, and has been listed as a ‘cultural site’ with outstanding universal value and cultural significance.
Roman Remains and Hot Springs
Bath is the only place in the UK where you can bathe in the thermal water that comes directly from the natural hot springs deep beneath the city. Bathing can be enjoyed at the remarkable visitor attraction Thermae Bath Spa, which opened in 2006 and artfully combines ancient history with contemporary flourishes. Visitors are also offered the opportunity to relax and unwind in the warm, open-air rooftop pool and take in the spectacular views across Bath’s skyline from a unique perspective.
To experience the heart of the World Heritage Site where bathing in the spa water was enjoyed 2,000 years ago, visit the Roman Baths, a magnificent temple and former bathing complex. Here you can see the source of the city's spa water and walk in the footsteps of the Romans on the ancient, original stone pavements around the steaming pool. The extensive ruins and treasures from the spring are beautifully preserved and presented. You can also pop into the Pump Room and sample the hot spa water, rich in over 42 minerals and specifically drawn for drinking. Be warned though, it’s not to everyone’s taste!
18th century Architecture
During the 18th century, three ambitious local entrepreneurs set out to make Bath one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. A former mayor of Bath, Ralph Allen, created the beautiful and intimate Prior Park Landscape Garden, Richard ‘Beau’ Nash played a leading role in making Bath the most fashionable resort in 18th century England and John Wood the Elder designed many streets and iconic buildings, such as the Circus and Queen Square. His son, John Wood the Younger, followed in his footsteps and created the Assembly Rooms and The Royal Crescent.
Today Bath has around 5,000 listed buildings. The most famous is the Royal Crescent, comprising of 30 houses laid out in a crescent shape. Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the world. If you want to experience an authentic taste of Royal Crescent life today, book into The Royal Crescent Hotel and enjoy the luxurious bedrooms, opulent facilities, beautiful gardens, fine dining restaurant and relaxing spa – or just drop by for an elegant afternoon tea!
To experience Royal Crescent life in its original style, No. 1 Royal Crescent, the first house to be built on the crescent, is open to the public as a museum maintained by the Bath Preservation Trust. The house illustrates how wealthy property owners of the 18th century might have furnished such a wonderful home. Prepare to encounter many surprises as friendly, knowledgeable guides positioned in each room of the house reveal the secret history of the house and its former residents and guests. You can also find out how the city was transformed in the 18th century and how Georgian Bath was built by visiting the Museum of Bath Architecture.
World Heritage Sites near Bath
There are two more World Heritage sites very close to Bath that are easy to reach for a day out. Stonehenge is just under an hour’s drive from Bath towards Salisbury in Wiltshire. Mystery surrounds this remarkable monument erected between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC – after your visit, decide for yourself whether it was a place of sun worship, a healing sanctuary, a sacred burial site... or something different altogether! 27 miles from Bath is Avebury, where you will find the Avebury Stone Circle, the largest stone circle in Europe. This huge ring of over a hundred stones, stretching a quarter of a mile across, was originally erected around 4,500 years ago.