Ah yes, the afternoon tea. As soon as you mention England to anyone who has been, it’s often memories of scrumptious scones and piping hot tea that come up. But a great afternoon tea is so much more than that. It’s about the setting, and about the ambience. A really memorable afternoon tea also needs more than just scones to stand out. After all, the afternoon tea ceremony has a long and hallowed history to live up to.
Afternoon tea as a tradition had been around since the mid-1800s. It is often credited to the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, who elevated it to a substantial afternoon meal in upper class circles. The contents of the menu at an afternoon tea has changed over time, but the decadence of the tradition remains. Below we list some of our favourite places in Bath to have afternoon tea like an English nobleman or woman.
The Pump Room
The Pump Room is a great place to stop for tea in Bath, as it’s part of the Roman Baths, one of Bath’s most popular attractions. After you learn about the fascinating history of the Romans in Bath, you can sit down for a well deserved break with a nice cuppa. The room itself is stunning; columns along the walls and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, whilst a pianist plays for your enjoyment.
Their afternoon tea menu is nothing short of divine, with plenty of savoury as well as sweet options. How does a poached salmon shot with crisp bread or roast beef & watercress sandwich sound? Or how about a chocolate & coffee opera cake or a raspberry choux pastry? You may want to skip dinner after this!
Don’t forget to “take the waters” by trying a taste of the mineral-rich spa water which you can drink from the fountain. It’s an acquired taste, but it’s meant to be good for you.
The Royal Crescent Hotel
Tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel is a truly grand affair, an occasion fit for any lord or lady. But you may have trouble choosing what to have, as there are five different afternoon tea menus to choose from. There’s even a special afternoon tea for the little ones!
The menus are adventurous and delicious, with surprises such as brie, truffle & ham tart, lamb kofta with an Asian glaze, and gin & kaffir lime panna cotta. You’ll also need to choose between the wide selection of carefully selected teas, and maybe add a cheeky glass of champagne to the spread? As if the food wasn’t enough, you can choose to have your afternoon tea in the splendid garden belonging to the hotel. The setting is sure to elevate your experience to another level.
Indulgence Café, in Bathwick Street, is a very popular spot with locals, and it’s easy to see why. Started by passionate patisserie chef Katherine Small, this place serves up some of the freshest and tastiest baked goods in the city.
Luckily, they have also decided to be part of the afternoon tea scene in Bath. This means you can come here to enjoy your finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and get a taste one of the cakes from their daily selection, all washed down with with a pot of tea or a glass of prosecco.
For a tea in sumptuous, traditional surroundings, look no further than Bailbrook House. Situated just outside of Bath in the beautiful countryside that is spread all over Somerset, this grad II listed building will make you feel like you have been transported to a different time and place.
There are two different rooms for you to choose from when having your afternoon tea. Both are decorated with grand window drawings and luxurious soft furnishings. The loose leaf tea is brewed to your liking and, apart from the usual spread of sandwiches and cakes, you can also enjoy the traditional Bath Bun with your tea.
Comins Tea House
For something completely different, you should try an afternoon tea at Comins Tea House in Monmouth Street. Here, the focus is truly on the tea, as they only source the best tea from far flung corners of the world. There’s a feeling of taking part in an ancient tradition as you sip these unique beverages.
However, this doesn’t mean that the edible accompaniments are to be sniffed at. You will start with something savoury, in their delicious open sandwiches on farmhouse bread. The toppings are always fresh and flavourful. This will be followed by a selection of Comins cakes and blueberry scones with clotted cream and jam. All washed down with top quality tea of course! The exciting thing about afternoon tea here is that the flavours will be unlike anything else you’ve experienced at a traditional afternoon tea.
As you can see, there are plenty of options if you want to have afternoon tea in Bath. And we’ve only scratched the surface! To book your next stay in Bath, please go to our listings page for Bath.