In the Glasgow suburb of Bearsden, surrounded by housing and retirement developments, lie the ruins of an ancient Roman bathhouse.
Part of the Antonine Wall outpost, which represented the northernmost settlement of the Roman Empire, this bathhouse was one of the rest and relaxation options available to Roman soldiers stationed in Caledonia. A majority of these soldiers are believed to have originated in the province of Gaul, which included land in present-day France, Belgium, Germany, and more.
Dated to the 140s, the bathhouse featured steam rooms, heated floors, latrines, and a cold-water pool known as a piscina. The bathhouse was short-lived, however— it’s believed the Romans abandoned and demolished these buildings around the year 170. Modern archaeological research has unearthed various artifacts from across the site, many of which are now on display across the city’s museums. Researchers even discovered hints of what soldiers ate based on the remains found in the latrines.
Nowadays, the general floorplan of the bathhouse is clearly visible amid the array of apartment buildings in this Glasgow suburb.
Know Before You Go
Additional sites related to the Bathhouse can be found along the nearby Milngavie Road/A81. To the south, near Boclair House, visitors can find remains of the Antonine Wall. To the north, next to the Waitrose supermarket, a modern public garden recreates the Bathhouse using plants brought to the British Isles by the Roman Empire.
A train journey from Glasgow's Charing Cross Station will take about 30 minutes. When leaving the Bearsden Station, cross Dryman Road to an unmarked Jubilee Lane that runs parallel to the train tracks. From here, it is a 10-minute walk, turning left onto Roman Road. The bath is located across the street from the Antonine Care Home (8 Roman Court takes you into a residential facility with no access to the Bath).