Roman bathsA major renovation of the Roman Baths in Bath has been completed at a cost of £5.5 million, with improvements designed to help visitors imagine what life was like there 2,000 years ago. Roman and Victorian stonework has been cleaned, in some cases with lasers, while the Great Bath has been de-cluttered by the removal of random items of masonry that had accumulated over the years.

The aim of the five-year redevelopment was to transform the baths into an attraction for the 21st century, creating a fun and interactive day out and at the same time improving accessibility for disabled visitors. Audio guides are provided in a number of languages, including an English alternative by Bill Bryson and one in Mandarin.

“We had to up our game to retain our position as a leading visitor attraction,” said Stephen Bird, Head of Heritage Services at Bath and North East Somerset Council.

“We needed to bring the baths into the 21st century but without changing it into a fairground ride,” added Mr Bird. “We want people to be sure that the time they have spent here has been worth it. We have great comments from people, saying that this is the best museum they have ever been to.”

Some of the measures taken to bring the baths to life may startle traditionalists. Projected images of Romans flicker in the background, while actors in character mingle with visitors, telling their stories and engaging in conversation about their lives.