Strand Lane 'Roman' baths

Roman baths in London? The Strand Lane Baths, at 5 Strand Lane, London WC2R 2NA, have been reputed since the 1830s to be a Roman survival. They are in fact the remaining portion of a cistern built in 1612 to feed a fountain in the gardens of the old Somerset House, then a royal palace. Find out more about this London curiosity, owned by the National Trust and administered by Westminster City Council.

After a long period of neglect and decay, following the demolition of the fountain, they were brought back into use in the 1770s as a public cold plunge bath, attached to No 33 Surrey Street.

The idea that they were Roman probably began some fifty years later as an advertising gimmick, and has aroused both enthusiasm and scepticism ever since.

Even if they are not Roman, the fact that so many people have passionately wanted them to be is now as real a part of their history as their actual origins.third in the south wall of the corridor, just inside the entrance from Strand Lane. 

Viewing the baths today

The baths are managed for the National Trust by Westminster Council. If you’d like to view the baths today, please make an appointment to view them Westminster Council.  Please note, viewings are only available from Monday to Friday, and require at least one weeks advance notice.  

Viewing times in the summer are April - September , 12.00 noon -4.00pm, and in the winter are October to March, 12.00 noon to 3.00pm.

To arrange your viewing, please email dcreese@westminster.gov.uk or call Monday to Friday on 0207 641 5264.

The baths are also accesib;e as part of Open House weekend which takes place annually in September or on the the Somerset House Old Palaces tour, which currently takes place on Tuesdays.

Address: 5 Strand Lane, London WC2R 2NA

A sign in the Strand Lane 'Roman' Baths

The history of the baths 

The baths have been reputed since the 1830s to be a Roman survival. But they are actually portion of a cistern built to feed a fountain in the gardens of a royal palace and became a public baths in the 1770s.

Looking in to the pool at the Strand Lane 'Roman' Baths

The modern layout: fragments of a richer history 

The bath building of the Strand Lane 'Roman' Baths consists of the bath chamber and a longer and narrower entrance corridor running alongside it, with steps up to a door out into Strand Lane. Discover more about its layout.

The interior of the Strand Lane 'Roman' baths
The interior of the Strand Lane 'Roman' baths
The interior of the Strand Lane 'Roman' baths
Looking into the Strand Lane 'Roman' Baths
Looking into the Strand Lane 'Roman' Baths
Looking into the Strand Lane 'Roman' Baths