Love Local is our monthly feature about fantastic businesses in the UK that we’ve hand picked to let you, the lovely readers, know all about!
This is our first edition of “Love Local” and our aim is to help the local community and to provide you (our readers) with ideas of new places to visit on your travels. Staying with our Bath themed month, celebrating the grand opening of Bath Mill Lodge Retreat, our Love Local Business of Choice is The Pump Room Restaurant! Let’s learn all there is to know!
history of the Pump Room
A stunning building right next to the Roman Baths where you can enjoy a range of food, catered by the renowned Searcys, with a unique atmosphere created by the Pump Room Trio and resident pianist Jools Scott all makes for an unbeatable experience. The Pump Room has a steep history in Bath with the Duchess of York opening the building in 1795. There was a spot of bother during its construction, with the first architect resigning in 1795 and John Palmer taking up the reigns and completing the build in 1799. Despite this troubled start in the world, The Pump Room has gone from strength to strength and with the crystal chandelier sparkling in the centre of the room (I have always wanted one, a girl can dream) it looks much the same now as it did when it was first opened. Historically a favourite of Bath’s elite, who would gather to enjoy the afternoon tea and gossip about each other, Jane Austen would frequent the Pump Room and listen to all the goings on, enjoying the atmosphere and bustle of the Pump Room so much so, that it features in her novel Northanger Abbey:
“With more than usual eagerness did Catherine hasten to the Pump-room the next day, secure within herself of seeing Mr. Tilney there before the morning were over…”
During August there is an enchanting Jane Austen Festival and in honour of this, the Pump Room supplies a special Jane Austen Afternoon Tea for a limited time. The tea includes ginger beer, homemade scones, lemon curd, mini Bath Buns and a pot of Pump Room loose leaf tea – how tasty does that sound?
When visiting the Pump Room you must take a look at the statue of Richard ‘Beau’ Nash set within the wall. Beau Nash was a gambler and socialite, known as the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ during the 1700’s, he was a key player to Bath’s rise in social society, he introduced social integration by encouraging informality in manners, meaning the walls between nobility and middle-class patrons were broken down. Although his position was unofficial, he would meet the new people in Bath and judge if they were suitable to join the company of 600 people who had pre-booked tables, he often regulated the gambling by restraining compulsive gamblers, matched ladies with appropriate dancing partners at balls and brokered marriages, the Pump Room erected a statue of this fascinating character in his honour. I would have loved to have met him, he sounds like a great party planner.
what’s on offer?
Today the Pump Room is most famous for its traditional afternoon tea, which is available daily from noon. You can book a special package for a romantic tea for two, treat your mum or just treat yourself to something special to appease self-indulgence (go on, you’re worth it). The special packages include, depending on your choice, sessions at the Thermae Bath Spa where you can enjoy the Minerva Bath and the Aroma Steam Rooms (divine!), entry to the Roman Baths to see the unique history of Bath and a choice of a 3 course meal or afternoon tea at the Pump Room. With its range of 30 loose-leaf tea varieties you have so much choice, that there is no wonder why The Pump Room received the 2013 award for excellence from the Tea Guild Awards, which is considered the ‘Michelin Stars’ of the tea world. Not just English breakfast or Green Tea here guys, spend some time choosing your favourite brew then sit back and enjoy!
Plenty of special events, such as ‘Burns Night’ held in memory of the life and poetry of Robert Burns which is celebrated in true Scottish style, with a four course meal including Haggis (there is a veggie option for us squeamish folks!). Feel like a Princess in the Pump Room on your Wedding Day, holding up to 160 guests for a stunning meal and unique atmosphere. What about having a luxurious New Years Eve ball and ending the year with a bang? It’s a black-tie event with a five course (mmm, five courses…) dinner with wine, live entertainment, a fun casino, champagne bar and after you can dance away in the Disco! (no running and sliding on your knees in your dress clothes thank you).
A local delicacy inside the Pump Room walls is the ‘King’s Springs’ water fountain, containing the spa water that has been drank for thousands of years believed to have curative and medical uses. You can purchase a glass and see if it improves any ailments you may have, it has been used for over 2000 years so it must do something, that many people can’t be wrong!
So if you are looking for a fancy afternoon tea, a stunning meal out, or setting a romantic evening on the right track then look no further and book your table at the Pump Room, except on weekends where they work off a queuing system (so arrive early!). Perfect for large events and accommodating intimate atmospheres this stunning location can fit into any event. A must stop for anyone visiting the City of Bath.
Until next time ladies and gents, happy adventuring!