The Pump Room, Bath

Nov 15, 2010 by

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.

Enjoying an elegant lunch in The Pump Room. © Annette Rubery.

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  1. Yes, the waters are downright sulphurous and taste just as bad as medicine ought to to be truly effective. Residents of Bath enjoy the mixed blessing of free access to the Pump Room fountain, though I can’t say it features as a regular part of my personal health regime.

    The music is worth mentioning too: provided unobtrusively by a solo pianist or the Pump Room Trio (which carries the distinction of being the longest-established resident ensemble in Europe).

    • admin

      I never knew that about residents getting free access! By the way, I love your website – beautiful design. I must say, I have a weakness for corduroy too…

      • Bless you for your kind words! I love corduroy all the more now that I know it’s a native cloth. Manchester should really embrace it as Harris has its tweed.

        Bath is rather kind to its residents: we enjoy free access to the Roman Baths, the Assembly Rooms/Fashion Museum and qualify for discounts on a number of other attractions (including 10% off in the Pump Room). This may stem from enlightened self-interest: we’re probably left with a subconscious sense of obligation and are therefore compelled to comment favourably about the city on blogs etc… ;)

  2. admin

    Hee hee! Perhaps you’re right… but Bath struck me as a very civilised corner of England, so I’m not surprised that it’s kind to its residents.


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