afternoon tea pump room bath | Ladies What Travel
Afternoon tea reviews,  Restaurant Reviews,  Reviews,  UK

The best afternoon tea in Bath? A visit to the Roman Bath’s Pump Room restaurant

Situated in the shadow of Bath Cathedral, and with windows overlooking the city’s wonderful Roman Baths, the Pump Room restaurant is rich in history. A Grade 1 listed building, it was a social hub in Georgian times, often frequented by famous local author Jane Austen, who wrote about the Pump Room in two of her famous novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

The Pump Room restaurant is a beautifully grand setting in which a stylish afternoon tea is served by impeccably dressed staff. Having wanted to visit since before I even moved to the area, it’s crazy to think that with my Global Afternoon Tea Challenge I hadn’t got round to visiting before! However, it seems I waited for a suitably special occasion, which ended up being when LWT’s Lou and Laura came for a day trip!


afternoon tea pump room bath | Ladies What Travel

afternoon tea pump room bath | Ladies What Travel

Walking through the double doors into the high ceilinged room I was far from disappointed with the view: crisp white tablecloths, classical portraits on the wall and an opulent chandelier greeted us as we headed to our table in the heart of the Pump Room. Shame we came ‘casual’ – I have to admit we all felt a little underdressed at this point!

We were also serenaded during our meal by a pianist and the famous Pump Room trio – supposedly Europe’s longest established resident musical ensemble. Playing gentle classic tunes as we dined was a lovely touch that added to the grandiose setting, as did the way you could wander over to look into the steaming ancient baths next door.

If that wasn’t enough, what made the setting even more unique was the Pump Room’s fountain, which pumps hot spa water directly from the Roman Baths. (This same water is used to heat the Pump Rooms during winter months too!).

afternoon tea pump room bath | Ladies What Travel

 Drink the hot spa water from the Roman Bath’s fountain

Revered for its curative abilities for 2,000 years, many people in Georgian times visited the city simply to ‘take the water’, which contains over 40 minerals. Let me tell you now, it really doesn’t taste nice! Still, at least we got into the spirit and partook!

The Pump Rooms afternoon tea menu

We each ordered a classic afternoon tea from the menu. Lou requested a vegetarian version, which they were happy to cater for by removing any meat sandwiches and adding extra veggie ones!

There was an impressive tea menu offering a wide variety of loose leaf teas, and not long after our chosen pots arrived, two three-tiered trays were placed in front of us. We first quickly made our way through the dainty sandwiches, which included classics like cucumber, honey roast ham, egg mayonnaise and roast beef and watercress. A savoury highlight had to be the salmon pate ‘shot’, served with crispbreads but I also liked the savoury cheddar scones.

Next came sweet scones that we turned into cream teas with lashings of jam and clotted cream. Somehow we still managed to make our way through the delectable selection of sweet treats, which included a raspberry choux bun, a chocolate and coffee opera cake, fresh fruit tart, and my personal favourite – fresh macarons.

afternoon tea pump room bath | Ladies What Travel

afternoon tea pump room bath | Ladies What Travel

The full Pump Rooms afternoon tea menu options is available to download here.

Where’s the best afternoon tea in Bath?

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I haven’t visited all the most highly rated afternoon tea venues in the city, however, when it comes to luxurious settings I think the Pump Room could be hard to beat.

I absolutely loved the setting and its level of class reminded me of my afternoon tea at The Peninsula in Hong Kong. However, I’m not going to lie, I found the food a little average. There wasn’t anything wrong with it at all, but on the other hand there wasn’t anything I found spectacularly outstanding. I guess that with that backdrop I was hoping to be just as wowed by the food.

Even so, I would still recommended having afternoon tea at the Pump Room if you’re visiting Bath, simply for the experience itself. It’s definitely worth dressing up and spending an afternoon here drinking a glass of sparkling wine or a good quality cuppa – but if you’re game for trying the spa water I recommend starting with a small sip!


Have you had afternoon tea at Bath’s Pump Room restaurant? What was your experience like? Perhaps you’ve had a great afternoon tea experience elsewhere in the city? We’d love to hear your recommendations – please share in the comments below!


afternoon tea pump room bath | Ladies What Travel


Find out more about afternoon tea at the Pump Room, or book your visit here. Our afternoon teas were complimentary for the purposes of this review. However, as always, all views are my own.


Wanderful Wednesday | Ladies What Travel

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)


  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    What a lovely setting for a girly afternoon out but it’s such a shame the food was slightly under par – you know that a tea has been like that if it’s all pleasant but lacks the wow factor but nevertheless, I’d still be intrigued to give it a try when I finally make it to Bath!

    • Keri

      There definitely was a wow factor – but it was more the setting than the food. Still very much worth a visit though, I really enjoyed it there and would happily go back!

    • Keri

      Bath is just one of those places you have to have afternoon tea! There’s lots of different spots to choose from – i’m slowly working my way through them all lol!

  • Katherine

    All of these afternoon tea posts are doing my head in! I love them all but I read them at breakfast time here and they just make me so hungry for English cream teas. I’ll have to suffer through 😉 Thank you! #CityTripping

  • Sarah

    Oooh yummy! I’ve popped my head in here before and it looked amazing, but we weren’t really dressed appropriately. I would love to return for some fancy occasion! That’s really good that they could accommodate vegetarian. I have to eat gluten free so I will have to look into it and see if they could accommodate that too 🙂

    • Keri

      I’m sure they do Sarah, most places do these days. I should be gf as well, as on the low fodmap diet at the moment, but I’ve not been able to stick to it when it comes to scones and cake! 🙁

  • Tilly Horseman

    I like the addition of the savoury extras to the sandwich course. Always nice to have something a bit different. Makes the afternoon tea slightly less predictable!
    I am on a similar afternoon tea challenge… hoping to discover all the best aft teas across the North of England and in particular Cheshire. Like reading your reviews, thank you.

  • Van

    I’ve been wanting to experience a proper afternoon tea for ages but haven’t got around to it so far… Your pictures are so gorgeous though – so much yummy food!!!

  • Lauren

    This looks like a truly amazing place to enjoy an afternoon tea! So luxurious! It’s a bit disappointing that you found the found merely average, but like you said, at places like these it’s really the ambiance and experience you’re paying for. I think I’d still like to give it a try 😀

    • Keri

      Yeah it’s still worth it Lauren, definitely. The food wasn’t bad at all, just not WOW! I think I’ve been spoilt by having so many teas lol!

  • Anna

    Oh I know what you mean… when you expect the deliciousness of the food to match the gorgeous setting. That sucks it’s just average. It looks pretty good though from this side of the screen :). And I do love an afternoon tea in a nice atmosphere!

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