The Best Places for Afternoon Tea in Bath

Listen to live music while enjoying afternoon tea at the Pump Room
Listen to live music while enjoying afternoon tea at the Pump Room | © Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Marianna Hunt
16 October 2020

A true Georgian gem, Bath still preserves all the charm of its 18th-century past. Drawn in by the fascination of its Roman ruins, the beauty of its buildings and the oasis of the Thermae Bath Spa, visitors come to this historic city searching for culture, relaxation and a quintessentially English experience. Thankfully, the charming tea rooms of Bath provide the perfect answer – here’s a list of seven you won’t want to miss.

The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa

Courtesy of The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa / Expedia

If the sweepingly magnificent Georgian architecture isn’t enough to bowl you over at the Royal Crescent, its panoramic view of the whole city will certainly do the trick. One of Bath’s classiest hotels, its building is an exquisite example of 18th-century architecture – the work of the famous John Wood the Younger. Nestled behind this Grade I-listed structure are the hotel’s tranquil gardens, which stretch out for over an acre. Enjoy your afternoon tea in this oasis of calm.

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The Bath Priory

Courtesy of The Bath Priory / Expedia

For a luxurious afternoon tea experience, head 3mi (4.8km) out of the city centre to the Bath Priory, a spa hotel. What better place to indulge in cake, finger sandwiches and tea than a grand 1835 Georgian manor on four acres (2ha) of gardens. Its award-winning restaurant serves afternoon tea in the Pantry or the terrace and lounges. Of course, all the cakes are home-made, and the scones are extra fluffy. There’s even the option to take your afternoon tea in a hamper and wander the gardens to find a tranquil spot to sit while sipping champagne.

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Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House

Cafe, Restaurant, Tea Room, Tea , British, Vegetarian, Fast Food
Map View

One of the world’s best-known cafes, Sally Lunn’s is famous for its Bath Bunn. Half-way between brioche and a bun and topped with a unique range of spreads, including coffee and walnut butter and the cafe’s special dulce de leche milk jam, Sally Lunn’s Bath Bunn is a true experience, and only a handful of people know its secret recipe. The eating house sits on a quaint side street in one of the oldest buildings in Bath, and the city’s historic atmosphere penetrates every nook and cranny, with each floor representing different periods. Dining here also gives you the chance to enter the cafe’s museum for free, where you can discover the history of the bakery and the renowned Bath Bunn.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Spa Hotel, Hotel
Courtesy of The Gainsborough Bath Spa / Expedia

In the heart of the city, you’ll find the stunning Gainsborough Bath Spa. This elegant building delicately combines Georgian elements with contemporary style to create a truly memorable setting. For its afternoon tea, the attention to detail in additional treats such as the traditional lavender biscuits and the shot of spiced hot chocolate make this so much more than a standard affair. You may even fancy a pamper session at the hotel’s Spa Village Bath afterwards, with exclusive access to the natural thermal, mineral-rich waters the city is famous for. A personalised aromatherapy treatment will leave you feeling lighter than air – even after an afternoon of tucking into scones.

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  • The Pump Room

    Cafe, Restaurant, Tea Room, Tea , British, $$$
    Map View
    The Pump Room restaurant, Bath, Somerset, England, UK
    © Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo

    Enjoy your afternoon tea with all the style of an 18th-century English lady at the Pump Room. Regarded as the social heart of Bath for centuries, this salon-ballroom retains all the glory of its past, with sumptuous interiors, live classical music every day and a fountain where you can try Bath’s spa water, celebrated throughout history for its healing properties. The Pump Room offers the most luxurious and authentically Georgian experience of afternoon tea in the world. Expect impeccable service and only the finest quality champagne.

    The Regency Tea Room

    Cafe, Restaurant, Tea Room, Tea
    Map View

    Perfect for Jane Austen lovers and history fanatics alike, the fascinating Jane Austen Centre also boasts a charming tea room. You can take afternoon tea in true Georgian style in this historic townhouse, just a few doors down from where the writer used to live. With exquisitely presented food, impeccable service and perfectly brewed teas, this quintessentially English haunt is one you won’t soon forget. Indeed, the Tea Guild awarded the Regency Tea Room an Award of Excellence – the guild’s highest accolade.

    The Bath Bun

    Cafe, Tea Room, Tea , British, $$$
    Map View
    Bath City Center attractions.  Somerset City.  The Bath bun tea shop abbey Green
    © Mr Standfast / Alamy Stock Photo

    Set just behind Bath’s landmark abbey, the Bath Bun lies at the heart of the city’s buzzing centre. However, its location behind the central streets in a tranquil square removes it from the hustle and bustle of the main shops and tourist traps. You can sit outside and relax under the luscious canopy of Abbey Green’s ancient trees and soak up the sight of the Bath Abbey. At the Bath Bun, the old character of the tea shop’s fabulous building, the waiters dressed up in true Georgian style and the delicious treats on offer blend to create a delightful afternoon tea experience.

    These recommendations were updated on October 16, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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