Roman Baths visitor numbers hit 1m milestone four years on from devastating impact of pandemic

March 22, 2024

More than a million people visited the Roman Baths & Pump Room last year, the first time the key figure has been reached since before the pandemic.

The figures, from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show visitor numbers at the historic site, pictured, grew by 25% last year against 2022 to just over 1.06m. 

It is now the 29th most visited attraction in the UK rankings and, after Stonehenge, the second most popular in England outside of London.

The figures represent a significant bounce back for the Baths, which are owned by Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council, following the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Bath was hit harder than many other cities as international travel dried up and domestic tourism was geared towards outside attractions.

The Roman Baths suffered a near 73% fall in visitor numbers in 2020 to just over 350,000 compared to 1.3m the previous year due to lockdowns. 

That sent it tumbling to 51st place in a table of most-visited UK attractions as gardens, parks, forests and zoos reaped the benefits when predominantly indoor sites were forced to close for long periods or reduce their opening hours. 

However, Bath has bounced back strongly since then, with the Roman Baths in particular enjoying a strong recovery.

Tripadvisor reviewers named it the world’s eighth best attraction and number one in the UK in 2022 and readers of consumer magazine Which? voting it the UK’s third best historic attraction. 

Earlier this month the council said its historic sites, which also include the Victoria Art Gallery and the Fashion Museum, made higher profits than expected last year as US tourists returned to the city in large numbers.

B&NES cabinet member for economic & cultural sustainable development, Paul Roper, pictured, said: “It is a huge achievement to have welcomed over 1m people to the Roman Baths for the first time since the pandemic.

“I am delighted that so many people chose our beautiful historic site as the place to make memories with their friends and families.

“To be 29th in a list of the country’s best museums, historic sites and attractions is a ringing endorsement of the Roman Baths as one of the country’s must-see visitor destinations, and reflects the importance of Bath within the UK tourism industry. 

“These visitors contribute a huge amount to the local economy and all of the profit made at the Roman Baths is used to improve the lives of local people and conserve the site for future generations.”

The Roman Baths team are busy getting the historic site looking its best to welcome visitors ahead of the peak tourism season starting at Easter, including a spring clean of the Great Bath during which the enormous lead-lined bath was fully drained of hot water.

Figures released last week by Visit West, the region’s destination marketing organisation, showed the value of tourism to the region to be worth £2.13bn, with the sector employing around 41,000 people.

These reveal it has almost fully recovered from the impact of Covid-19, with the contribution to the regional economy now 91.5% of its pre-pandemic 2019 figure.

Visit West, which runs the Visit Bath website – one of the UK’s most successful consumer tourism sites – also said nearly a third of tourists coming to Bath and the West of England had been influenced by seeing the region on screen in shows such as Bridgerton.

ALVA's 2,200 members represent the UK's most popular, iconic and important museums, galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, zoos, historic houses, heritage sites, gardens and leisure attractions.

Between them they get more than 119m domestic and overseas visitors a year – around 28% of all the visits made annually in the UK.

Photo by Chris Wakefield


Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across the Bath area for just £75 a month. Email for more information.