The Pump Room, Bath
I couldn’t leave the subject of Bath with just a note about The Pump Room, which is naturally near the top of the list when visiting the city (in fact it gets over one million visitors a year). We went for lunch in the the restaurant – just to soak up the atmosphere in what was the beating heart of Bath in the Regency period. It’s a very fine building – built from the characteristically yellow Bath stone (the construction was started by Thomas Baldwin in 1789 and completed by John Palmer in 1799) and it overlooks the part of the Roman Baths known as The King’s Bath.
The neoclassical salon still has a rather grand feel about it; I feared it might be a bit of a tourist trap, but the food in the restaurant was surprisingly good. An absolute must, though, is a visit to the Pump Room fountain (above), where you can sample the spa water at 50p per glass. I have to say, the warm, slightly salty taste (presumably from the natural mineral salts) was absolutely disgusting, but this is perhaps the closest you can get to a genuine taste of history. And the good news is… the scrofula patients haven’t bathed in it first.