Business of the month: Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House and Museum
One of Bath’s most famous exports is the Bath Bunn, which you can sample, made to the same recipe at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House and Museum, where not only can you stop for a tasty treat, but you can also find out more about how these historic bunns were made.
Find them by the Abbey
Tucked away on the beautiful North Parade passage, in the shadow of the famous abbey, Sally Lunn’s occupies a prime spot in the historical centre of Bath. The narrow sandstone passage opens out onto Pulteney Bridge and is just a stone’s throw from the abbey and the Roman Baths. It is the oldest house in Bath and the home to the city’s most famous delicacy, the Sally Lunn Bath Bunn. Originally made famous by the lady herself, Sally Lunn, after fleeing persecution in France in around 1680, she brought her French craft and skill to the streets of Bath. Baked fresh every morning to the same recipe used by Sally all those years ago and adorned with a smorgasbord of delicious sweet and savoury toppings, hundreds of guests join the team at Sally Lunn’s every day to tuck into their bunns with a gigantic smile on their faces. The staff at Sally Lunn’s are a close-knit team, who really love what they do and take price in delivering an amazing experience to everyone who comes through the door. Many of them have lived and worked in Bath all their lives and love to pass on their knowledge of the city and its heritage.
Simon Lloyd-Williams, one of the team at Sally Lunn’s, said: “It is a privilege to live and work in a bustling World Heritage city that boasts such a variety of attractions. Bath has a great community spirit among its independent businesses, which all strive to champion the city’s unique heritage as well as celebrating innovation and diversity.
It isn’t just the food to tempt you into visiting the bakehouse…
If you venture down into the building’s basement, you’ll find the remains of the Roman wall and an original oven which dates back to 1100. The museum element of Sally Lunn’s is just as interesting and provides just as great an experience as the eatery upstairs. The basement museum, excavated in 1985 shows the remains of the Roman building which stood on the site c. 200 AD, as well as the original street before it was lifted up by builders during the Georgian era.
These days, the team at the historic eating house feel privileged to stand side by side with other independent businesses who share their values and wish to conserve Bath’s rich history and spirit.
Simon added: “As an independent business, we are able to give our customers a truly authentic experience of historical Bath. We take pride in welcoming visitors from all over the world and showing them a genuine part of the city’s history, as well as being able to give each guest that special, personal touch.”
While we’re sure one of Simon’s favourite activities will be perusing the menus at Sally Lunn’s and debating over which flavour bunn to have when he’s in town, he also recommends setting some time aside to do almost nothing. Bath is such a beautiful city, it seems to wrong to rush through it from one attraction to another, take your time, enjoy a morning coffee and read the paper in one of the city’s beautiful coffee shops. Simon suggests taking a stroll through Parade Gardens and then ending the day at a sunny beer garden, to really soak in your surroundings.
Sally Lunn’s historic eating house is unique in that it has remained a destination for visitors to Bath for decades. It is a unique reminder of pre-Georgian Bath. Set in a narrow, cobbled street, long known as Lilliput Alley, it has not been greatly altered and still has many original features, such as the gabled roof, Hanoverian arch and Tudor fireplaces.
Simon said: “Many of our guests remark on the beautiful, historical interiors of the house and the charm of its uneven floors and exposed timber beams. We see ourselves as a living museum, as we still use Sally’s original secret recipe and draw a huge amount of inspiration from the period in crafting our menus and creating an experience for our customers. The bunn itself is delicious served both sweet and savoury and has become a regional speciality as well as a little piece of history.
“Today, our menus skilfully blend tradition with contemporary flair, centuries after we first opened our doors, we’re thriving as a coffee house, tea shop and bistro, much loved by locals and tourists alike.”
Sally Lunn’s is open from dusk to dawn and as well as historic trenchers, they also serve homemade savoury pies, which are perfect for when the autumn nights start drawing in. Open hours are 10 am until 10 pm, with an all-day menu served until 6pm, a pre-theatre menu served from 5pm – 7.30pm and an evening menu, which is served until 9pm.