Bath

27th July 2007 at 01:00
Why go?

Bath is the original and best-known British spa outstripping the current fashion by at least 2,000 years. The Romans bathed here and Jane Austen and her crowd took to the waters. There is archaeological evidence that people were using these springs up to 10,000 years ago. The mineral-rich spring water is the real deal.

Why go now?

The school year is over you deserve it. After a multi-million-pound renovation and many false starts, the 2,000-year-old tradition resumed last year, again pumping out 1.25 million litres a day, with a visitor centre at Thermae Bath Spa as well as an up-to-date spa for treatments.

Won't it be expensive?

Thermae Bath Spa (The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath Street, 01225 335 678, www.thermaebathspa.com), has taster sessions, including massage, facial and two-hour spa session, from pound;65, or just to bathe in the waters book a two-hour spa session without treatments for pound;20.

I'm not into washing

Until the end of August, the Roman Baths on Stall Street (www.romanbaths.co.uk) are open in the evenings until 9pm (last admission 8pm) and you can see the steaming waters and stone colonnades by torchlight. The current abbey (www.bathabbey.org), dating from 1499, grew from a community revived in the 10th century by Benedictine monks after being destroyed by Viking invaders. Daytime or evening, the rest of Bath repays a mooch, being full of graceful Georgian architecture, cafes, art galleries and antique shops. Try Walcot Street. Or taste the waters in the Pump Room in Stall Street (50p for visitors).

Money's no object

The building of the beautiful Royal Crescent Hotel (01225 823 333, www.royalcrescent.co.uk) was begun in 1767 and its Dower House restaurant is celebrating its 26th year in The Good Food Guide. Its Bath House Spa offers Japanese treatments and a Gothic-style pool. New this year is the Bath House Earth and Stone Treatment, which combines a cleansing clay-based mud treatment with hot stones placed along the spine (pound;90).

I'm a bloke don't tell the head but I'm quite metrosexual

The Cowshed at Babington House, outside Bath, near Frome (01373 813 860, www.babingtonhouse.co.uk cowshed.php) offers treatments from pound;25 for a manicure in private cabins but only for members or guests.

My body is a temple

Demuth's off Abbey Green (01225 446 059, www.demuths.co.uk) is vegetarian and the owner, Rachel Demuth, also runs a cookery scl***

Renata Rubnikowicz www.visitbath.co.uk

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