Making a good recovery

More evidence released today of how much of a recovery Bath’s premier tourist attraction is enjoying. Figures released today by the Association for Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show that the Roman Baths & Pump Room was the 27th most-visited attraction in the UK in 2022, up from 51st in 2021.

The historic attraction welcomed 851,854 visitors during 2022, compared to 351,655 in 2021. The Roman Baths was the second most-visited attraction in the South West, after Stonehenge.

Councillor Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “These figures represent a welcome recovery for the Roman Baths and demonstrate the significance of Bath within the UK tourism industry. To be 27th in a list of such amazing visitor attractions is a tremendous achievement and I am delighted that so many people chose Bath and the Roman Baths as the place to create special memories with their friends and families.

“Last year’s visitor figures were below the pre-pandemic figures. In large part this is due to the absence of certain key international markets, notably China and the Far East, but I am confident that they will start to return this year and we will see a continuing healthy recovery. I would like to thank the team in Heritage Services for the skill with which they’ve managed the Service through the pandemic and into what is clearly an established recovery.”

The ALVA report shows that visitor numbers to the top UK attractions in 2022 were down by 23% on pre-pandemic figures. This is reflected at the Roman Baths and Pump Room, which in 2019 welcomed 1.3m visitors and was the 25th most-visited attraction. In 2019, 40% of visitors to the Roman Baths came from overseas, compared to 23% of visitors in 2022.

The past two years have seen many exciting developments at the Roman Baths. A new Roman Gym area opened in October 2021, revealing excavations never before seen by the public. With projections and new interpretation, the Gym gives visitors the chance to explore how the Romans kept fit and healthy, learn about Roman medicine, and see the remains of an ancient sauna (laconicum).

The Roman Baths Clore Learning Centre opened in 2022, giving school children and local community groups a chance to learn about the fascinating history of Roman Britain where it actually happened. The innovative Investigation Zone allows children to have a go at being mini archaeologists, excavating replica Roman artefacts and taking part in hands-on learning activities amongst real Roman archaeology.

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