Afternoon tea in Bath is something I get asked about a lot. I don’t know whether it’s the Austen vibes in the air round here, making people long for dainty patisserie & finger sandwiches served on exquisite china to the accompaniment of the harp, or just because everyone knows I love a piece of cake, but I’m often asked for my recommendations.
If you’ve read my post from a couple of months ago, then you’ll know that when money is no object, my absolute favourite spot for afternoon tea in Bath is the Royal Crescent Hotel – from mouth-watering food to stunning location, it ticks all the boxes. But I don’t think they’d mind me saying that it’s not something one can afford to do every week – so as a follow-up, I’ve put together a list of other spots in Bath where you can be assured of a simply smashing tea (as the Famous Five might say) on a slightly more accommodating budget, and sometimes with a bit of a twist too. Let’s tuck in…
Bea’s Tearooms: The Classic Option
Hidden away at the top of Saville Row, near the famous Assembly Rooms, this stylish 1940s-themed tearoom is my number one recommendation to anyone looking for a classically fabulous afternoon tea. The food is absolutely sublime – but although the cakes at Bea’s are sensational, it’s the savoury afternoon tea here that really impressed me, with a selection of feather-light tarts and quiches and incredibly light, rich cheese scones that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since. It’s all served on a collection of the most beautiful vintage china and silverware, which really completes the experience, and the interior decor of the tearoom itself is great fun, with all sorts of authentic war-era touches, from the ration-book menus and wartime posters to a selection of gorgeous knickknacks and accessories from nearby vintage boutique Vintage to Vogue (also well worth a visit).
How much does it cost? £15 per person, for either the sweet & savoury or just savoury menu. The first menu includes sandwiches, scones with jam & cream, and a slice of cake, whilst the second one offers sandwiches, tartlets & quiches, and cheese scones, and tea is included for both options. Considering how generous the portions are and how delicious the food is, I can’t help feeling that this is a huge bargain.
Where is it? 6-8 Saville Row, Bath, BA12QP.
|Beautiful china makes the tea taste better|
Comin’s Teahouse: The Serious Tea-Lover’s Option
Whatever you think of when you imagine a teahouse in Bath, I’m willing to bet that Comin’s will surprise you as something completely different. It’s a wonderfully tranquil space, with clean white walls and bare wooden floorboards, where taking tea is accorded the reverence due to such an important act. You can choose from a huge range of single-estate loose-leaf teas, carefully selected & imported by Comins themselves from all over the world, and all served with the correct traditional utensils and vessels – or you can get the lovely staff to recommend a tea for you, and find out just how much these chaps know about their chai (hint: it’s a lot). But it’s not just about the tea – the cakes aren’t half bad either. My particular favourites were a flourless chocolate sponge (light and yet rich, fabulous) and a pistachio, coconut and orange cake which was new on the day I visited, but has now deservedly become part of the regular menu.
How much does it cost? £15 per person, and it must be booked 24 hours in advance. The afternoon tea menu here includes a selection of tartines (that’s French for open sandwiches – my favourite was the coronation chicken), followed by tasters of all that day’s cakes, and one of Comin’s blueberry scones with jam and cream. You also get to try two different teas, which is a nice touch – one to go with the savouries, and one to go with the sweet dainties – which you can either choose or have chosen for you. I started with Gunpowder, a Chinese green tea, fabulously deep and smokey, and then washed the cakes down with Himalayan Hand-Rolled, a Nepalese black tea.
Where is it? 34 Monmouth St, Bath, BA12AN.
|Gunpowder green tea, in a traditonal Chinese gaiwan bowl|
|The Comins Afternoon Tea|
The San Francisco Fudge Factory: The Serious Sweet-Tooth Option
This is afternoon tea as Willy Wonka might have imagined it: cakes, sweets and sugary confections without a sensible sandwich in sight. I should also mention that there is no tea – instead, it’s all washed down with a glass of bubbly. But I’ve decided that it still counts as afternoon tea, because you can eat it at teatime – and also because it’s simply enormous fun. The Fudge Factory is easy to spot in Bath because there’s always a crowd of people looking in the window at their amazing concoctions, including their famous fudge apples – that’s an apple on a stick covered in fudge, chocolate, chocolate chips and marshmallows. Who said getting your five a day was boring?
How much does it cost? £25 for two people. Afternoon tea here includes, for each person, a glass of prosecco, a slice of cake, a fudge apple of your choice, and a selection of different fudges, which you can also choose, all made freshly on-site – I’d particularly recommend the salted caramel, and the chocolate chilli. I have to confess that I couldn’t eat it all though, so yes, if you’re wondering, they do also offer doggy bags to take home. Currently the only seating at the San Francisco Fudge Factory is outside, so book in advance and be advised that it needs to be a sunny day!
Where is it? 6 Church Street, Abbey Green, Bath, BA1 1NL
|Fudge: Chocolate Irish Cream, Salted Caramel,|
Belgian Milk Chocolate, Coffee & Walnut