The East Baths area of the Roman Baths, adjacent to the famous Great Bath, will reopen this Easter with new displays immersing visitors in the sights and sounds of the Roman bath house.
Projections, soundscapes and CGI reconstructions will show the Roman Baths at the height of their popularity as a working, living and leisure space. Visitors will be able to watch, listen and step into the Roman Baths as they would have looked in the first to fourth centuries, as Roman characters of all social classes interact with each other.
Stephen Clews, Roman Baths & Pump Room Manager, said: “These immersive new displays will improve the East Baths experience for visitors of all ages, adding to the award-winning visitor experience at the Roman Baths. Local residents will be able to explore the revamped East Baths for free with a Discovery Card.”
The new interpretation will present the Baths as segregated by gender, with the eastern range occupied by females and the west by males, in line with Imperial Edicts issued at the time.
The East Baths contained a large tepid bath fed by water that flowed through a connecting pipe from the Great Bath. A series of heated rooms developed and grew in size until the site reached its maximum extent in the fourth century. The main features of the East Baths are a plunge pool (balneum), hot room (caldarium), warm room (tepidarium), tepid bath (natatio) and changing room (apodyterium).
The redisplay of the East Baths follows the introduction of two new Roman costumed characters; improved step-free access to 90% of the site; audioguide interpretation in four new languages (bringing the total to 12); and steps to make the Roman Baths autism-friendly, which resulted in open evenings especially for people with autism and their families.
These measures were recognised in spring 2017 with two South West Tourism Awards: a Gold in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category and Silver for International Visitor Experience. The Roman Baths will now be entered into the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, which will be announced on 24 April 2017 at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel in central London.