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Discover the benefits of Bath

By Kate Morfoot on 3rd December 2016

Kate Morfoot, a leading food and travel writer from Love To Eat To Travel, goes on a discovery of one of the UK’s most unique cities.

The city of Bath has long been renowned for its curative medicinal springs. Throughout the ages, Romans basked in the waters to recover from their battles and Kings and Queens visited the city, known then as Aquae Sulis, to be cured of their ailments. Bath today is a compact city that offers visitors plenty of interesting things to see and experience whether you’re a lover of architecture, museums, walking, shopping, spas, or local food and drink, Bath has it all.

The city’s most popular attraction is the Roman Baths. With steaming springs, hypocaust (underfloor heating) systems, and the remains of the temple to Sulis Minerva, this extraordinary Roman site is captivating. The magnificent Roman temple houses Britain’s only hot spring and bathing complex which still flows with natural hot water, rising at a rate of 1,170,000 litres each day at 46 degrees. At the Roman Bath also allows the public to visit the Pump Room which offers lunch and afternoon tea. The Pump room was once the heart of the Georgian social scene, but today still serves delicious brunches, afternoon tea with superior service.

The tranquil setting of the Spa Village by night.
The tranquil setting of the Spa Village by night.

Now you can experience the warm, mineral–rich waters of the Baths within the recent opening of the Thermae Bath Spa. The thermal waters which fell over 10,000 years ago and then sank to a depth of 2kms are heated by high temperature rocks before rising back through one of the three springs in the city centre; The King’s Spring, The Cross Spring and the Hetling Spring. The Thermae Bath Spa is open to everyone to relax and enjoy. Or, you can indulge in the open-air top roof pool. This can be enjoyed by day and night, so you can float away in the Minerva Bath and soaking up the best steam room experience, accompanied by aromatic essences including eucalyptus and mint and lemongrass and ginger. Look out for the new wellness suite launching next year which will include saunas, a steam room, an ice room, and other exciting experiences.

Spa treatments offer indulgence in a range of thermal treatments; water massages, hot stone therapies, facials and beauty treatments. The Oriental Massage is one of their signature treatments that combines massaging with stretching using aromatherapy lavender oils.

The Cross Bath Spa is a Grade-1 listed building and home to the only place in the UK where visitors can see the naturally mineral rich spring water come to the surface from a specially commissioned open-air thermal bath within stunning Georgian surroundings. This is where the mineral-rich waters rise from the Cross Spring. The beautiful Georgian space is available to hire for private parties or for exclusive sessions.

The stunning courtyard room at the Gainsborough Hotel.
The stunning courtyard room at the Gainsborough Hotel.

Across the road is the deluxe Spa Village Bath within The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel on Beau Street, where hoards of Roman coins were discovered during the hotels refurbishment two years ago. The opulent spa enables guests to ‘take the waters’ in luxury as they journey through the Bath House Circuit, which includes dipping in three natural thermal pools of varying temperatures and using traditional and infra-red saunas and steam rooms. Guests are also provided with small bags of Cornish salt infused with specifically made Neals Yard aromatherapy salts to suit their mood during the spa experience.

For a city so small, Bath has more museums in one square mile than many cities twice its size. Cultural heritage is a hugely important asset and tourists flock here to admire the beauty of Georgian buildings, and the imposing Bath Abbey. To see how the Georgian gentry and servants lived, head to the No.1 Royal Crescent and visit the Herschel Museum of Astronomy where William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus from his back garden. You can also visit the majestic Bath Abbey and take the Tower Tour up the 212 steps to catch a bird’s eye view of the city or simply relax in the square nearby to admire it and watch the artists and musicians perform.

Shopping in Bath is a dream; the small scale of the city making it easy to navigate as a pedestrian. The city has certainly ensured that food power overrules wheel power! The Milsom Area is the city’s top place to shop and find great fashion shops and restaurants. This area is also home to Bath’s flagship store, Jolly’s, which was the UK’s first ever department store, opened in 1831. Nearby is ‘Upper Town’, where you find Brock Street and Margaret’s Buildings known for great cafes, jewellery and art. Also check out the Artisan Quarter for the famous Bath Aqua Glass and The Corridor Shopping Arcade which is Britain’s finest example of an indoor arcade built in 1819.

A fine dining dinner of pickled mackerel at the  Johann Lafer restaurant in the Gainsborough Hotel.
A fine dining dinner of pickled mackerel at the Johann Lafer restaurant in the Gainsborough Hotel.

For the foodies among you, Bath doesn’t disappoint with its gastropubs and fine dining restaurants. The Malborough Tavern serves a limited menu but it offers locally sourced food, boasting good quality dry aged steaks to beer battered Haddock and chips. Affiliated to The Malborough Tavern, try The Chequers on 50 Rivers Street. Sample the best burgers in town at the Burger and Lobster restaurant at Milsom Place.

For fine dining, The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel partners with Johann Lafer, the world renowned Michelin Starred chef that combines locally sourced food with Asian flavours. The Head Chef Daniel Moon launched his outstanding six-course tasting menu in October, consisting of Goat’s Cheese Panna Cotta, Smoked Ballotine of Var Salmon, Chicken Liver Parfait, Wild Mushroom Risotto and Roast Breast of Creedy Carver Duck and Valrhona Chocolate Dome to finish. It’s an exquisite tasting menu set within the beautiful surroundings of the hotel. The hotel is currently offering 241 lunch menus.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel located in the centre of historic Bath, is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and opened in September 2015. It is an exceptional example how the old building (which was formally a hospital, an almshouse and an educational facility) can be transformed into a five-star high calibre hotel, housing the luxurious Bath Spa Village, a fitness gym, ninety-nine bedrooms, and the Johann Lafer Restaurant and bar. The bedrooms are all unique, due to the nature of the building. Huge Georgian windows and high ceilings are a familiar feature, some of which overlook the city of Bath and the Bath Abbey.

The historic exterior of the Gainsborough Hotel.
The historic exterior of the Gainsborough Hotel.

For more information about Bath: visitbath.co.uk

Book your stay at The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel & restaurant. Rooms rates start from £285 per night.
Tel: 01225 358 888. www.thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk.

The Thermae Bath Spa offers two hour sessions which cannot be pre-booked. To Book spa treatments at New Royal Bath Thermae Spa telephone 0844 888 0844.

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