The Pump Room
The Pump Room is the perfect place in which to recapture a sense of Regency times in Bath. Its elegant décor and refined atmosphere seem out of step with the fast pace of 21st century life but are all the more worth experiencing for just that reason.
Entry to the Pump Room is free, whether you enter straight from the street or from the Roman Baths at the end of your tour there. But before you consider that a great bargain, bear in mind that the room now hosts a classy but relatively expensive café, and that is how the money to maintain it is made. I decided that it was worth paying the premium for the setting and was shown to a small table laid with crisp white linen. Light lunches are served but I wanted only a snack, so settled for the local speciality, a bath bun, and a pot of Earl Grey tea, which cost £5.50. Not too pricey when you consider where you are, so relax and enjoy the setting, the gentle noise of silver spoons stirring tea in porcelain cups, and the music of the piano or the string trio that play here.
Even if you don’t want anything to eat or drink, do come inside to see the room and perhaps to “take the water.” Drinking a glass of this lukewarm, slightly metallic tasting water was the highlight of a morning visit to the Pump Room in Regency times, and the main draw for many of the city’s older visitors who put complete faith in its healing properties. Today you can follow in their footsteps for just 50p, or indeed for nothing if you show your Roman Baths entry ticket.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Therme Bath Spa
The Spa opened in August 2006 unique in the fact it is Britain's only natural thermal spa. Also what makes the spa such an amazing visit is the open air rooftop pool which gives you a superb aerial view of the city of Bath.
We were fortunate to visit the spa on a warm day so the rooftop pool was open, it incorporates bubble jets as well as a drench shower which pummels your back & neck. The temperature of the water is 35 degrees & it is like taking a warm bath.
Next level down is the steam rooms, there are 4 in total each with a different scent - don't worry you about burning your derriere as there are padded mats to sit on. There is a waterfall shower in the center & foot massagers on one side (which were out of order when I went). The next level down are the treatment rooms. On the basement level there is the Minerva bath which has jets of water that propel you gently through the water around the curvy columns, it is here where you can relax with a book on a sunlounger.
I went with a group of 8 girls & we all booked a 2hr spa session for GBP20 this was adequate time. The treatment time is in addition to your 2 hours, I chose the 45min hot stone spa massage refresher for GBP40. If you order a treatment then you are supplied with a towel, gown & slippers. The lockers operate on a wristband system which opens & locks the lockers also you may charge any purchases from the cafe & pay later.
The locker rooms are unisex but the cubicles are all private, showers are located on the ground floor. I higly recommend this as a relaxing treat, I slept very well that evening & my skin felt great. After all these natural mineral waters were used for many years to treat ailments of the skin, muscular disorders & breathing problems.
DO BOOK EARLY THOUGH for the Session & the Treatment.
Free Walking Tours
For a great insight into Bath, Especially if you're short on time, I can't recommend this highly enough!
I joined the afternoon tour. We were told that it would be about 1.5 - 2 hours. Well 2 .5 hours later our tour ended, and it was one of the best guided walks I'd been on, and all for free!!
We learnt about the origins of Bath and its history, the architecture, noteable people ( Beau Nash, Jane Austin etc) The Pump rooms, Baths, Abbey, Circus & Royal Crescent and lots more besides.
As it was my 1st visit to Bath, and I was only there for a few hours, I found this an excellent intro to the city and it's attractions.
Donald, our guide had been leading these walks for 22 years, and was a mine of information. A gentleman! polite, informed, patient, humorous and very sprightly, he could certainly shift at a great pace between sights! However, he took time to answer everyones questions, and treated his group as individuals, remembering their questions and returning to add further to his answers as we went along.
Donald, along with his fellow guides are volunteers of The Mayors Corps of Honorary Guides, who have a love and interest of Bath.
Tours run Sun-Fri 10.30 and 1400
Sat 10.30 Throughout the year
plus May - Sept
Tues, Fri and Sat 1900
Meet at the sign by the entrance to the Pump Rooms. Tours go whatever the weather!
School groups/clubs etc requiring their own private guide,-2 weeks notice required . 'phone no. below or write to
The Mayors Office, Guildhall, Bath BA1 5AWRelated to:
- Historical Travel
Bath Aqua Glass
If you fancy giving someone a traditional gift from Bath then consider visiting the Bath Aqua Glass shop. This glass is gorgeous and all hand blown, you can watch how the blow the glass in the Theatre of Glass (Walcot Street).
You can get all sorts of gifts from vases, glasses to jewellery. The fused dichroic Colection gives a shimmering look to the glass its created by passing a small square of glass through a vacumn while sending a high voltage through it & coating the surface with evaporated titanium.
The other collections are the Pebble collection or the swirling colours of the Roundel Collection, and many others.
Do be advised though that these gifts are fairly expensive although they do have some special discounted items
Jane Austen tour
I'm a big fan of Jane Austen so I suggested that we take the Jane Austen tour of Bath given by the Jane Austen Centre and fortunately everyone was game to go. Well, except Mr. Flower, so we left him at home.
The tour leaves from in front of the KC Change Visitor Information Centre in the Bath Abbey Churchyard every Saturday, Sunday and Bank holidays at 11 am and lasts approximately 90 minutes. In July and August, there's an additional tour on Friday and Saturday at 4pm. Cost is £5.00.
The tour takes you to sights that were featured in the two novels set in Bath, "Persuasion" and "Northanger Abbey" plus places Jane Austen and her family lived and frequented in Bath. After Jane's father died you could see that their level of income decreased by the size and location of their lodging. The tour goes inside two of the places featured in the novels, the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms.
If you have an MP3 player, you can also download a free audio tour that covers the same ground as the walking tour.
Long after the Romans, Bath became a very fashionable place to hang out. The architecture and many of the attractions at Bath originate to this time when society decamped to Bath.
The Pump Rooms were very much one of the central places to be seen.
They are part of the Baths Complex itself but there is free entry
The restaurant in the Pump Room provides you with an opportunity to relive these times. English food served in elegant surroundings with linen tablecloths, table service, fresh flowers. Fresh food prepared on the premises, cooked to order using local produce. Great ambience. Live music by the Pump Room Trio or a solo pianist
We stopped at the Assembly Rooms while on the Jane Austen tour, they are mentioned in both "Northanger Abbey" and "Persuasion" which are both at least partially set in Bath. Admission to the Assembly Rooms is free, there is a charge for the Fashion Museum.. The Assembly Rooms were designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769 and were the hub of fashionable society in Bath, they would hold balls here for the young ladies to snare the eligible bachelors. The older men would go off and play cards while the mothers of these young ladies scoped the room to find the best match for their daughters.
Thermae Bath Spa
Thermae Bath Spa is a place where you can able to relax in the warm mineral waters. As well as relaxing in the spa, you can indulge in the many treatment the spa offers. You can choose to relax in either The Royal Bath, the main complex, or The Cross Bath, an intimate spa held in an historic and sacred building, known as The Cross Spring. It's an expensive experience with prices starting from 14 GBP for 1.5 hour session at The Cross Bath and from 24 GBP for a 2 hour session at The New Royal Bath. However recommendable for the experience the spirit of Bath and it's historic and spa culture.Related to:
- Spa and Resort
This market has been in existance for over 700 years!
Originally the site of the medieval Shambles, or meat market
The present Market is in an 18th century building, and houses a variety of stalls selling everything from food to 2nd hand books, jewellery,toiletries,old fashioned sweets, pashminas and much more besides!
Many of the businesses are family owned, which probably adds to the friendly atmosphere.
In my photo is a stone pillar, known as The Market Pillar, where a plaque explains the origins of the expression 'to pay on the nail'
This has confused me a bit, because I'm sure I saw the same info at the corn exchange in Bristol..I'll have to recheck my facts!!
Cafe and Take- Away stalls.
Mon -Sat 0900 -17.30 and Suns in December.
Next door is The Guildhall built by Baldwin in 1766, with a reputation of having one of the finest rooms in the area, due to its minstrel gallery, 3 fireplaces and some magnificent chandeliers.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Always save a little for next time
Should I ever get back to Bath, there are still a few things that I'd like to do
There's a free walking tour every day given by the Mayor's Office
The Thermae bath spa reopened after being closed for a number of years, where better to take a bath than Bath?
I still haven't tried one of Sally Lunn's buns
Then there's the Jane Austen Centre, the Fashion Museum, a boat ride on the River Avon.....
The Canal Towpaths
Go across the bridge of the River Avon from city center, past the museum and you come to the canal that parallels the river. Turn left and walk along the towpath. You will come upon many narrowboats tied up alongside the path. Eventually you will come to The George, a popular pub next to a lock, of course. Just a nice stroll not too far from Bath, take in lunch and a pint at The George and hike back to town. Absolutely delightful!!Related to:
- Family Travel
The Assembly Rooms and Costume Museum
Evoking all the graciousness of genteel life circa 1800, the Assembly Rooms still support social life in today's Bath. The building houses a magnificent ballroom, a large and elegant foyer, the (card) gaming room and bar and the Banquet Hall where guests were called to 'tea and refreshments' promptly at 9:00 PM each night of the ball. (Scenes in the film Persuasion were shot here.)
Beau Nash was Bath's social arbiter and Master of Ceremonies from 1705 - 1755. It was his job to provide entertainment to the social set who poured into Bath each season. His private apartment is located behind the Banquet Hall, but is not on view.
The Costume Museum is located on the lower level. Here visitors can see the plain and flamboyant fashions of earlier centuries, to gain a greater understanding of the architecture of historical garments.
A special exhibition for 2004 is entitled 'Jane Austen - Film and Fashion'. It features actual 19th century garments displayed next to costumes designed for the spate of Jane Austen films made in the mid 1990's. Especially interesting are the gowns made for Gwynneth Paltrow as Emma.Related to:
- Theater Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
'There are so many good shops here...one can step out of doors and get a thing in 5 minutes' (Mrs. Allen in Northanger Abbey)
To the young Jane Austen coming from a country parsonage, this street - with its variety of shops and markets - was a dream destination. The principal shopping street of Bath appears frequently in her novels.
Bath's best quality shops still draw customers to this area. JOLLY'S, a Victorian era department store, anchors the western half of the street. Higher up at #26 the CARGO HOMESHOP has interesting accesssories (like a Target/ Crate & Barrel fusion).
On a drizzly Saturday afternoon in late March the street was buzzing with pedestrians. Take a pleasant stroll along Milsom to New Bond Street, then east and over the Pulteney Bridge, for a variety of shopping experiences.Related to:
- Spa and Resort
- Women's Travel
Not too far from Bath is Longleat House, an Elizabethan house. The magnificent house belongs to an aristocratic family- Lord Bath.
The Safari Park was the first to open outside Africa in 1966. It opens at 10am until 5 or thereabouts.
It is featured in a BBC TV programme, so on holidays the place will be crowded with visitors driving round to see kangaroos, giraffe, lions, wolves, deer etc. The monkeys jump on the cars and can cause damage , especially to aerials and windscreen wipers!
The deer are tame and will come to the car window for titbits.
There is also a lake with an island for gorillas, hippo and elephants, and many other creatures make this a very interesting outing for children and adults alike.
In addition there is the Hedge maze, a three dimensional maze covering 1.48 acres and taking about 90 minutes to complete [unless you give up like we had to!]
There is a Butterfly garden, a Railway, and of course the House itself to explore.
A passport ticket gives access to all attractions and can be purchased online. As there is too much to see in one trip, the passport ticket can be used at a future date with the same year.Related to:
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
4th Annual Jane Austen Festival
Devoted fans from around the world enjoyed visiting Bath between September 18 -26, 2004. This year the Jane Austen Festival placed special emphasis on COSTUME. The Grand Opening featured a Georgian Costumed Promenade. Later in the week the theatre work "Undressing Mr. Darcy" played to a sell-out crowd. Concurrently the Museum of Costume featured the special exhibit 'Jane Austen: Film and Fashion' with displays of the type of clothing Jane herself might have worn while dancing in the Assembly Rooms.
From its beginning as a weekend activity, the Festival has grown into a week-long event of talks and presentations centered on Bath's most loved novelist. Contact the Festival Box Office by May or June 2005 to make reservations for next year's festival.Related to:
- Theater Travel
- Arts and Culture
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