Restaurant Review: Afternoon Tea at The Royal Crescent

Royal Crescent Hotel
Afternoon tea in the Royal Crescent Hotel’s beautiful garden

Everyone who visits Bath is familiar with the vast golden sweep of The Royal Crescent, looking out over Bath from atop a great expanse of immaculate green lawn. Right at the centre of the crescent is the discreet frontage of the Royal Crescent Hotel, and tucked away behind is possibly the most beautiful place in Bath to take afternoon tea. Surrounded by shady trees and elegant Bath stone buildings, the hotel’s garden feels like a secret escape from the noise of the city, so it’s the perfect place to relax and treat yourself.

The Royal Crescent Hotel has recently launched a new afternoon tea selection, with a choice of three menus ranging from The Duke of York (almost entirely savoury, making it perfect as an alternative to lunch – and also, apparently, much more popular with men), through the Elizabeth Montagu (a balance between sweet and savoury) to the quintessential Royal Crescent Afternoon Tea, with the classic selection of sandwiches, cakes & scones.


Royal Crescent Hotel

Dainties from the Elizabeth Montagu menu

For my review, I chose the Elizabeth Montagu, with the Royal Crescent’s handpicked champagne flight. Although, as you might expect, high tea at the Royal Crescent doesn’t come especially cheap (£49 for this option), there’s no question that it’s worth the money, and in fact I was very impressed with what you get for this price. Very often, ‘afternoon tea’ is an excuse to charge a fortune for a few dry sandwiches and cakes and a glass of sparkling wine, but of course, what you get at the Royal Crescent is in another league entirely. The Elizabeth Montagu included a selection of warm canapés, which was a very pleasant addition to the traditional form, as well as sandwiches, cakes and dainties, a scone with jam & cream and a bath bun. I usually enjoy the savoury elements of an afternoon tea most, so I enjoyed the canapés very much, particularly the kedgeree with spiced mango yoghurt. The dainties were also delicious, particularly the seasonal macaroon (rhubarb & custard in this case) which was gorgeous as well as fabulous. The champagne flight was very well chosen, to complement the different elements – a dry white and a rosé for the savoury, and a sweeter white for the sweets.


Royal Crescent Hotel

Champagne flight

My dining companion opted for the quintessential afternoon tea, which offers the same sandwiches but a much wider range of cakes, and a single glass of champagne (£32). She pronounced her sandwiches so delicious that she had a second helping, and also very much enjoyed her tea, a fruity blend called Granny’s Garden – very appropriate.

Throughout, the service was absolutely impeccable, which really does make all the difference. The staff were smiling, pleasant and very attentive, full of information on the different choices, and eager to make sure we had the best possible experience. Of course, I’m always alert to the fact that I might be treated a bit differently if I’m doing a review, but as far as I could see, all customers were being looked after just as well.

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise therefore that I enjoyed every bit of my Royal Crescent experience, and would heartily recommend it to anyone. It might not be something you’d do every week, but special treats don’t come much more special than this.

To visit the Royal Crescent’s website and book your own afternoon tea (booking is essential), click here.

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