The ritual of afternoon tea used to be seen as a formal social event between upper class women in the 1800’s. Nowadays it’s a guilt-free treat that appears to be fully back in fashion for people of all ages and class to enjoy on a day off from 21st century family life. Especially since vintage trends have come back around, it’s hard to avoid vintage style tea cups in shops and themes at weddings or parties. Tea rooms are appearing everywhere and tourists in the UK see them as a typically British place to visit.
There are articles everywhere telling us the best places to visit for afternoon tea and outside of London one of the most popular locations is Bath. Fitting with the historic buildings and atmosphere of Bath there are lots of places to choose from including The Pump Room, The Bath Bun and Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms. As a graduation present from my sister we had decided to go for afternoon tea in Bath – any excuse for cake, pretty teacups and to feel ‘classy’ for at least an hour. After researching we chose the Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms and would recommend it to anyone.
With a bit of help from Google Maps we found Bea’s down a small cobbled street, about a ten minute walk from the busy shops. This was the perfect locations for a small tea room, to relax after a busy morning shopping and suitably next to an antiques shop instead of a high street name. Walking through the door you’re immediately taken back in time, with the waitresses made up in pinafores and land-girl style headwear, background music from the 1930’s and 40’s and vintage décor and war time posters. There’s outdoor seating as well as the main room and a small room with two tables off of it. We sat in the small room, next to window filled with teapots and a glass cabinet stocking mismatched teacups and saucers. Downstairs are two private rooms which can be used for parties of up to 20 people, ideal for a birthday or hen party.
Vouchers for tea rooms seem to be on every website nowadays especially around Christmas, but you don’t need any offers to visit Bea’s with it being one of the most affordable we came across. Afternoon tea (which is actually served all day) for 2 costs £29.95 or £14.95 for just one. The service is extra friendly and we were served quickly even though the tea room was basically full. The waitresses talk you through what an afternoon tea includes and you have a choice of cake. Even if you’re in Bath and not wanting afternoon tea I would recommend this place even just for a slice of cake! An endless choice of flavours included coffee, ginger, chocolate, lemon and cherry and they were fresh, generously sized slices.
The three tiered stand of sweet and savoury treats is just how you’d picture an afternoon tea being served. Sandwiches include salmon, egg and the traditional cucumber, with the middle layer being a scone each with jam and cream and on top is your choice of cake. Although it doesn’t look like a feast, the carb filled stand is definitely enough between two and we struggled when it came to the cake! The chocolate and ginger cake is one I’d recommend for a different yet rich flavour. We both chose traditional English breakfast tea which comes in a patterned vintage tea pot with fresh leaves and drank from dainty china sets, reminding me of my Grandma’s house. There are plenty of other teas on offer including Earl Grey and herbal or green tea as well as coffee and milkshakes.
Whilst the food itself is of a high standard and affordable price, I think it’s the whole atmosphere of Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms that makes it an exciting and different place to visit. It’s a place to escape the modern day and indulge in little luxuries whilst constantly looking around at the décor. Even the toilets are decorated as air raid shelters! So if you’re going to go for afternoon tea you might as well go all out and visit a place that has put in as much effort as this. Or to still enjoy the atmosphere and location you also visit for breakfast or lunch, which sticks to the theme and includes ‘Grandma’s Bubble and Squeak’, homemade pie, quiche and soup.
So if you’re on a touristy visit to Bath or, like me, are just down the road but fancy something different, you won’t leave Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms disappointed or hungry!