The Pump Room
If you’re in a hurry you won’t have time to visit the Roman Baths, but you can spend five minutes inside the Pump Room listening to the live salon music and sipping water pumped up from the spring. Do not attempt to complain when you suspect it is harbouring the remains of Jane Austen’s dog; it’s supposed to taste like that.
Dating from 1795, the Pump Room was built to cater for the demand to drink the spa waters and socialise. The recommended way to drink it was three glasses at 6am on an empty stomach. You can still drink the water, but medical science has moved on since then.
The modern building was started in 1791 by Baldwin, and finished by Palmer in 1796 after Baldwin went bankrupt.
There are meetings and conference facilities for up to 316 people and the room is a popular venue for corporate events.
Coffee and afternoon tea is available in the cafe.
Budget travellers can get the Pump Room experience at low cost just by going in for a cup of spa water.
This was another regular haunt of Jane Austen.
Classical concerts are often held in the Pump Rooms, and every day there is live classical music to accompany those taking tea.
If you prefer something a little more pleasant than the eggy-tasting spa water, the Crystal Palace pub next door has outdoor tables and good real ales.
You can eat in the high quality Pump Room restaurant.