Soaking in a hot bath might be a peculiarly British past-time – our European neighbours and American and Australian cousins don't seem to share the same penchant. They often don't even bother to have baths installed in their (often far larger) bathrooms – but on a cold winter's evening many agree a long, hot soak is one of life's simple pleasures, not to mention a great de-stressor and precursor to a good night's slumber.
So what type of tub to choose? The freestanding bath is now de rigueur in most modern bathrooms, particularly if space allows for a separate shower enclosure or walk-in shower.
See these Crittall-style shower screens.
But that doesn't necessarily narrow down the options. In fact, it actually increases them. There is a far wider choice of freestanding baths than there is the 'back to wall' plain white baths of old.
The bath is also likely the largest piece of furniture in the room, so will set the tone for your bathroom scheme too.For that reason we've selected our favourite freestanding baths in our edit ahead.
The current offerings include period styles, such as the Corinthian at Ashton & Bentley, a classic roll top bath with ball and claw feet, the Avon at Drummonds, a contemporary take on a traditional French bateaux bath or the Belle de Louvain Rembrandt at Victoria Plum, acopper and nickel slipper bath, made for sinking into.
At the modern end of the spectrum, the Portman stone bath at Porter is a sight to behold, hewn from a single piece of Carrara marble it's the ultimate in luxury.
The Stand from Ex.t is elegant in its simplicity; its clean-lined symmetrical form balanced beautifully on a chic brass frame, while the Le Giare from Cielo at C.P Hart, with its egg shaped exterior is a sculptural piece that will elevate bath-time to new heights.
Those who want to bring a splash of colour to the bathroom will be pleased to know a bold palette is not restricted to traditional roll tops with their endless exterior paint options. The Primo Lux bath at West One Bathrooms is available in three cool muted shades, as well as white.
See these dark and dreamy bathroom ideas.
Corinthian bath in Farrow & Ball Hague Blue, £2,173.80, Ashton & Bentley
This classic roll topi s made from a composite stone and is available in a wide choice of colours or metallic finishes.
Le Giare freestanding bath, £8,771, Cielo at CP Hart.
Designed for Cielo by Claudio Silvestrin, this egg shaped tub is a sculptural piece of art.
Avon bath, £3,810, Drummonds
This cast iron bath is a contemporary version of the traditional French bateau bath.
Portman Stone bath, £11,940, Porter Bathroom
This stunning Carrara marble bath is hewn from a single piece of stone.
Belle de Louvain Rembrandt copper and nickel bath, £3,299, VictoriaPlum.com
Made from copper with a nickel plated interior, this bath will develop a rich patina over time.
Stand freestanding bath, £6,084, Ex.t at Tanini Home.
This simple elegant bath has a lightness in its style.
Primo Lux bath, £6,718, West One Bathrooms
This curvaceous tub comes in four cool muted colourways.