Another record-breaking year for Baths

The Roman Baths & Pump Room building recorded another record breaking year in 2016, making it one of the most visited attractions in the UK, outside of London.

roman baths
The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

Visitor numbers increased by 40,000 to 1,216,938 in 2016 compared with 1,176,527 in 2015.

It means The Roman Baths & Pump Room was the second most popular tourist attraction in the South West last year, after Stonehenge.

The Roman Baths & Pump Room also retained its position as the 26th most-visited attraction in in the UK, according to figures just released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).   Their list was topped by the British Museum, with attractions in the capital scooping the top ten places. 

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones, (Conservative, Lansdown) Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is the third year running the Roman Baths & Pump Room has enjoyed a record-breaking year. Staff constantly strive to improve the visitor experience, and recent developments have included new costumed characters beside the Great Bath, the introduction of audioguides in four new languages, and new facilities for disabled visitors. 

“There are more improvements to look forward to this year, including the redisplay of the East Baths to include the latest modern interpretation, which will be ready in time for Easter. Also, in response to increased visitor numbers, the Roman Baths will be extending its summer evening opening, which will begin on 17 June and run until the end of August, giving visitors a chance to explore the historic site by torchlight until 10pm.”

The increase in visitor numbers was driven mainly by domestic tourism, which was supported by Roman Baths marketing in London and South West England.  2016 was also a record breaking year for the number of Mandarin-speaking visitors to the Roman Baths, with more than 100,000 passing through the doors.

In the latter part of the year, following the US Presidential election, there was a noticeable increase in visitors from North America.

Overall, the value of the pound did not increase overseas visits to the Roman Baths & Pump Room in 2016, but the number of inbound visitors is expected to go up in 2017.