The Pump Room, Bath
The Grand Pump Room was officially opened by the Duchess of York on December 28, 1795. The elegant hall still looks much the same as when it was first built, aside from the addition of tables and chairs.
The Grand Pump Room was originally left empty of furnishings, leaving visitors to mingle about in spacious elegance. The room was heated by two large fireplaces and musicians entertained guests from the west apse (as they still do). Hot mineral water from the springs was pumped to a fountain where an attendant filled glasses for those who wished to drink it.
In Victorian times, it was customary to drink a prescribed number of glasses of the curative mineral waters before breakfast, so the doors opened at 6am in summer and the room was fully packed by 8am. The Grand Pump Room was the place to see and be seen; where Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey ladies "walked together, noticing every new face and almost every new bonnet in the room."
Tea in the Pump Room doesn't come cheap (£23 for two), but as a one-time splurge it is really worth it. I highly recommend the Traditional Pump Room Tea pictured at right. The clotted cream is divinely rich (just a step away from butter), the scones are moist and fresh, and the tiny sandwiches are perfection. Then there are the sweets, which are very rich and very good.
And of course, no visit to Bath is complete without a taste of the warm mineral water from the sacred springs (50 pence for a small glass) - the taste is indeed "objectionable" but has long been believed to cure all your ills.
The atmosphere of the Pump Room is elegant and historic without being intimidating (casually-dressed tourists are welcome) and the service is prompt and unobtrusive.
Interesting items of antique furniture line the walls of the room. The clock was given to Bath in 1709 by Thomas Tompion, England’s best known clockmaker.
The Pump Room Trio entertains diners and water-drinkers with classical music Monday to Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons. A solo pianist plays every lunchtime and afternoons in the winter.
Tip: Your indulgence in the Pump Room is probably best left until after your sightseeing, as it is so rich that you may not feel too energetic afterwards (at least we didn't)!
Tip #2: You don't have to dine at the Pump Room to try the mineral water.
Quick Facts on the The Pump Room
|Names:||Grand Pump Room; Pump Room; Pump Room, Bath|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Address:||Abbey Churchyard, Bath, England|
|Coordinates:||51.381203° N, 2.359966° W (view on Google Maps)|
|Opening Hours:||Morning coffee menu: 9.30am-noon Lunch menu: noon-2:30pm Afternoon tea: 2:30-5pm Last orders at 4pm|
|Cost:||Free to enter; menu prices are steep.|
|Tips:||Reservations recommended for lunch and tea times on weekdays. On weekends there is a queuing system and food may sell out before closing.|
|Lodging:||View hotels near this location|
Map of the The Pump Room
Below is a location map and aerial view of the The Pump Room. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.
- Personal visit (September 2005)
- The Authorised Guide Book to the Roman Baths at Bath
|Title:||The Pump Room, Bath|
|Link code:||<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/england/bath-pump-room">The Pump Room, Bath</a>|