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Aire Ancient Baths London

  • Health and beauty
  • Charing Cross
  • Recommended
  1. Aire Ancient Baths London
    Photograph: Morgan White
  2. Aire Ancient Baths London
    Photograph: Morgan White
  3. Aire Ancient Baths London
    Photograph: Aire Ancient Baths London
  4. Aire Ancient Baths London
    Photograph: Aire Ancient Baths London
  5. Aire Ancient Baths London
    Photograph: Aire Ancient Baths London

Time Out says

Probably London’s coolest spa: an underground bathhouse in a historic building near the River Thames.

What is Aire Ancient Baths London?

An atmospheric, subterranean day spa tucked away discreetly off the Strand, Aire Ancient Baths takes inspiration from way back: specifically, ancient Roman, Greek and Ottoman bathing rituals. The London outpost opened in 2021 in a beautiful Georgian building, with treatment rooms upstairs, the baths themselves down in the double-height brick vaults of the basement, and a legion of friendly, black-clad staff keeping everything running like a machine.

Upon arrival, you’re greeted and ushered into the changing rooms, where you’ll find a robe and slippers ready. Then it’s down a candlelit staircase into the bathhouse itself. There are large warm and hot baths, ice-cold plunges, a bubbly hydrotherapy pool and a salt-rich one for floating weightlessly, and a gently scented steam room. If you’ve booked a massage or treatment, staff find you and whisk you upstairs, then return you to the baths when you’re done.

Vibe is king here: the bathhouse and corridors are hushed and darkened, lit by hundreds of (real) candles. Phones and children are banned and guest numbers are kept low, so you’re rarely sharing a pool with more than two or four other punters – and pretty much everyone respects the ‘Silence’ signs dotted around the walls. 

Is it worth visiting?

Look, this isn’t one of London’s cheapest spas: prices start north of £100 for basic access to the baths. Then there are various add-ons (massages, scrubs, aromatherapy or even a wine bath) that can take the price up to several hundred a head. So it’s definitely a treat – but well worth it.

Aire launched in Spain 20 years ago, and I’ve previously visited the outposts in Barcelona and Seville. The London one is more expensive, but the atmosphere here is just as relaxing and otherworldly – a proper escape from modern life. All the staff, from receptionists to masseurs, are super-proficient and friendly too: you will feel taken care of. Take a partner, a friend or your mum (or dad), or go solo and just switch off for a few hours.

How long can I stay?

Every session includes 90 minutes in the baths themselves. Make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes before your slot starts, so you have time to change. If you book an extra treatment, that extends your time on-site – so if you’ve booked a 60-minute massage, you’ll be here for around two-and-a-half hours (plus changing time). Sessions run from morning until evening.

What do I need to bring?

All you really need to bring is your swimming costume, plus anything you might need to get dressed afterwards: deodorant, moisturiser, make-up, maybe a hairbrush. Waterproof slippers, towels and robes are provided. So are shampoo, shower gel and conditioner (from L’Occitane), but bring your own if you’d rather.

Tickets, accessibility and booking

You can book online or over the phone. Try and do so at least a week in advance, especially if you want a weekend slot. The variety of treatments and combos available makes booking a little baffling, but if you don’t want a massage or any other extras, book for the ‘Ancient Baths’ experience. Aire Ancient Baths London has disabled access, with a lift and pool hoist. Deaf visitors are provided for with written information on tablets.

Where’s good to eat near Aire Ancient Baths London?

After working up an appetite in the baths, you could do a lot worse than lunch at Tandoor Chop House or Barrafina, just across the Strand. Otherwise, you’re on the cusp of Covent Garden’s excellent restaurant scene. And if you’re thirsty? Well, Aire is a mere stumble from the legendary (and equally atmospheric) Gordon’s Wine Bar. Now that’s a date night.

James Manning
Written by
James Manning


2-3 Robert St
Tube/Rail: Charing Cross
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