I’m not going to lie – one of the things we were most excited about on our recent trip to Bath was not the Georgian architecture or main touristy sights, but the opportunity to tuck in to a quintessentially English slice of afternoon tea.
Don’t get me wrong, we managed to fit a LOT into our day with a self-planned walking tour taking in the Abbey, the Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge. But the real stars of the day were all the quaint little tearooms down the twists and turns of the cobbled streets.
With tearooms at every corner enticing us in with cakes in the window, we were completely spoilt for choice. We must have spent the first half-hour or so just wandering around and peering in the wooden-panelled windows in sheer awe at how cute each one looked.
Fanciful displays of cake and scones had us drooling as we wandered round, mentally making notes of how to re-decorate our own kitchens at home with twee china cups, flowery curtains and…colourful cakes on constant display.
One of the tearooms someone suggested to me over on my Facebook page was Sally Lunn’s, set in one of the oldest buildings in the city. We were absolutely gutted – but not overly surprised – to find a queue forming just as we got there. As we had a coach to catch back to London and were absolutely starving by this point, we opted to try out one of the other tearooms nearby.
In the end, we returned to the 19th century Georgian Tearooms just round the corner from the Abbey. The Grade II listed building used to be a dairy, and inside there are lots of visual reminders of this.
The interior is all still in keeping with the history of the city, decked out with chandeliers, old paintings and antique-style teapots. Even the waitresses and piano player (yes, there is live music playing – I’ve never felt so posh in my life) get in on the action, dressed like something out of…an earlier version of Downton Abbey.
As for what our afternoon tea entailed – I’m ashamed to say my eyes were (on this occasion) much bigger than my belly. As well as a teapot of tea to share, we had sandwiches, massive scones, biscuits and cake to get through! The cake did defeat me, but luckily the lovely waitresses let us take it home in a small box.
If it’s a traditional piece of English culture you’re after, Bath certainly has it in spades. The afternoon tea we tasted was by far one of the best I’ve ever had, and gave a little snap-shot into English life gone by.
Have you enjoyed afternoon tea in Bath?