Here in Britain, we generally agree that a nice cup of tea is one of life’s little bright spots. There are not many problems that a hot cuppa and a tasty biscuit cannot soothe. It is hardly surprising, then, that the elegant tradition of afternoon tea has stood the test of time around the nation. Combine a steaming beverage with a fine selection of mouth-watering cakes and delicately constructed sandwiches, all beautifully presented on a sophisticated vintage cake stand, and we will think we have died and gone to food heaven.
If you are looking to treat a certain special lady to a quintessentially English tradition this Mother’s Day, or you are a mother yourself and want to start dropping some hints, there can be no better place to take afternoon tea than the city of Bath. Here are some of our top spots to take tea in the city.
Push the boat out for your mother and treat her to a decadent afternoon at The Royal Crescent Hotel. This spectacle of Georgian architecture, sitting in one of the most picturesque and iconic crescents in Bath, offers an elegant spread of perfectly crafted finger sandwiches, exquisite cakes, creative savouries and a selection of classic scones and buns. If you feel like sipping some bubbles in these high-class surroundings, book the Champagne Afternoon Tea where you will be served a flight of three champagnes – only the best for mum.
2. The Priory
This exclusive hotel restaurant boasts a Michelin starred Executive Chef overseeing the kitchens, so you can rest assured that your afternoon tea is going to be top notch. The sumptuous interior is an indulgent combination of glittering chandeliers and soft furnishings with tasteful paintings decorating the walls. Afternoon tea at this beautiful hotel includes a variety of homemade sandwiches, decadent cakes and warm scones served with thick, clotted cream. A wide selection of coffees and teas are also available to choose from.
Drop into The Pump Rooms beside the famous Roman Baths in the city centre to experience a snippet of life at the height of the Georgian social scene. With its magnificent columns, grand decor and talented musicians providing a gentle soundtrack to your afternoon tea, you can be transported to a more elegant and sophisticated time when Bath was a fashionable centre for those that wanted to see and be seen. The Pump Rooms offers the iconic Bath tea experience with a selection of packages to suit a variety of budgets. Tea packages include a pot of tea or hand-roasted coffee with complimentary refills.
This quirky little tea room, next to the Assembly Rooms and Fashion Museum, celebrates all things vintage with wartime posters, embroidered teacloths and vintage crockery to complete your experience. Even the staff are done up to the nines in authentic pinnies and bright red lipstick. Afternoon tea is served all day and includes deliciously flavoursome buttermilk scones, complete with clotted cream and strawberry jam, as well as homemade cake and loose leaf tea. This little gem of a tea room provides a laid-back, fun-loving atmosphere – ideal for those that prefer an informal setting.
5. Sally Lunn’s
One of Bath’s best-known cafes and a firm favourite of locals and tourists alike, Sally Lunn’s is popular for its renowned buns – delicious treats that are half-bread, half-cake. The closely-guarded secret recipe of the buns has caused them to become something of a regional speciality and they are often referred to as the original Bath Bun. Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Bath, this atmospheric little establishment is a little bit quirky, a little bit wonky and always very busy, so be prepared to queue. Expect afternoon tea to come with a sweet or savoury bun or two, slathered in a variety of interesting preserves and spreads such as cinnamon butter, lemon curd or milk chocolate butter.
Just outside of Bath, in the picturesque market town of Bradford-on-Avon, you will find the famous Bridge Tea Rooms, double winners of the UK’s Top Tea Place. As you might expect from this title, afternoon teas are their specialty! Set in a beautifully atmospheric, former blacksmith’s cottage which encapsulates all the charm of this historic town, expect to be served tea, cake and scones by staff dressed in traditional Victorian garb whilst classical tunes softly play in the background.
The list certainly does not end here – other must-visit destinations include the Garden Café at the Holburne Museum, which opens onto the stunning Sydney Gardens, and Bath’s newest deli-cum-gift shop, Cake Café, which is handily opening directly opposite Pritchards! We are very much looking forward to sampling its homemade cakes and breads!
Wherever you choose to take tea this Mother’s Day, be sure to book in advance if possible in order to avoid disappointment on the day. Bath loves its afternoon tea and you can expect the residents to be out in full force.