From Avebury we drove on to Bath, where we had afternoon tea at The Pump Room.
The Pump Room has to entrances. This is the main one.
And this is the side entrance, which is the one we took. They’re both rather impressive.
A first glimpse of the (in)famous Bath spa water. We’d been told many times over that it was disgusting, but we had to try it anyway. In truth, it was very mineral rich (as in I thought I might grow some extra teeth on the spot…), but the taste was tolerable.
The restaurant as viewed from the fountain:
And a close up of the fountain in glorious golden afternoon light. This building was clearly designed for beautiful light!
Tea was lovely, and made me fall prey to the tea fallacy (“Oh this doesn’t look like very much!” Followed by, “I am so full. How did this happen?”). We speculated about where Catherine Morland and Isobel Thorpe and Anne Elliot walked, and wondered what was different (and what was the same!) when Jane Austen would have come there.
We did not have time to take a tour of the baths, or to visit the Jane Austen Centre. The Fashion Museum, Bath Abbey, Sally Lunn’s, Pulteney Bridge, or the Royal Crescent, alas. But! We did get a glimpse of the baths from above!
Here you can see someone on a tour. I think he’s listening to an audio guide.
A detail of the building’s ornamentation.
The (outside) side of the Baths, which is classical style, but the spiderweb windows give it an unmistakably Georgian feel.
We had just enough time to wander a bit before driving back, so we headed for Milsom Street, passing the 18th century hospital for rheumatic diseases along the way. Now that taking the waters is not considered the height of medical care, the whole area has gone over to a shopping district.
Just a smudge further down we came to Milsom Street, where the fashionable people shopped in Austen’s day. As you can see, it’s still lined with shops today.
The site of the old circulating library is across the street from a Waterstones bookstore today.
And here’s a last view down Milsom Street, which is lined with shoppers.
We reluctantly left Bath then, but we would like to return in the future with more than an afternoon free to explore. There is so much to see there!