Supposedly, the Celts first built a shrine at this spot, but for sure the Romans built a temple to Minerva and the adjoining bath house beginning in 60-70 AD. We toured the Museum, Baths, and Sacre Spring area and it was really interesting. The museum is well done.
Toby loves the audio guides at places like this, and often comes away learning more than I did. For example, I have no idea what this is that they are posing next to.
The water isn't safe for bathing, but it is safe for selfies.
We did let the kids touch it briefly to feel how warm it is right after coming out of the ground.
The Bath Abbey next door is lovely I am sure, but we had to get back on the road to travel to another Abbey.
Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131. However, in 1536, King Henry VIII famously warred with the Church and dissolved the Abbey. It lay forgotten until rediscovered in the Romantic period as tourists of the 1700s and 1800s took to the countryside. It featured in poems and novels of the time, and was especially made famous by Wordsworth's poem.
I read parts of it to the kids as we drove up, but what they really love is climbing on ruins.
I think what makes it so lovely is the joining of religious devotion and nature.
Stone pillars, carefully carved arches...but a carpet of grass and a ceiling made of sky.
Personally, I think more churches should look like this.
After we had our fill of exploring Tintern Abbey, it was back in ye olde minivan to drive to the Cotswolds for the next two nights.