Pittville Pump Room is the jewel in the crown of Cheltenham’s Regency architecture. Visit this historic landmark to appreciate its 19th-century grandeur and opulent décor. Drink from a water pump that is rumoured to possess healing powers, attend live music performances and take relaxed walks around a garden dotted with ornamental lakes.
The structure dates back to 1825, when lawyer Joseph Pitt commissioned a local architect to build a residence to rival the ones in Cheltenham’s town centre. Today, it’s a popular venue for balls, concerts and weddings. Position yourself at the front of the building and admire an imposing façade adorned with Ionic columns. Perched above the colonnade are statues of the Greek gods Asclepius and Hygieia and the revered physician Hippocrates.
Step inside to the main auditorium, which originally served as a ballroom with a sparkling marble floor. Look up to see a balcony supported by intricately carved columns and a decorative dome. Go to the apse to find an original marble and scagliola (imitation stone) water fountain. Drink from the fountain, whose natural alkaline water is believed to contain medicinal qualities.
Experience the superb acoustics of the auditorium by attending a concert. Watch recitals by the Cheltenham Philharmonic Orchestra, string quartets and wind bands, among others. Browse art exhibits, visit flower shows and have fun at masquerade balls.
Wander through the building’s beautiful public garden, called Pittville Park. Check out the Victorian-era bandstand and the graceful bridges, which cross duck ponds. Sit on the grassy lawns with a picnic and observe as wedding parties pose for photos. Children will enjoy the large playground and the aviaries, home to colourful birds including peacocks.
Walk to the site in just 20 minutes from Cheltenham’s town centre. Public buses stop close to the landmark and there’s a free car park at the rear of the building.
Pittville Pump Room is open daily, except when there is a private event. Admission is free. Find a concert schedule at the box office and on the official website of the Cheltenham Town Hall.