Sally Lunn’s Tea Room occupies the oldest house in Bath (c. 1482). It derives its name and reputation from a young Huguenot refugee who worked there in the 1680s as a baker’s helper. She introduced the baker to the French art of making brioche — a very light, semi-sweet bread — and greatly influenced the creation of what became the bakery’s trademark bun, a rich round bun eventually named the Sally Lunn Bun.
The Sally Lunn Bun was as popular a delicacy in Colonial America as it was in Georgian England, and is still popular, especially in southern states.
The Sally Lunn House is now a living museum where diners can experience a taste of Bath in the late 17th century. You can visit the original kitchen in the cellar and see the oven where Sally used to make her buns. The house is located at the heart of the city of Bath, just a couple of streets over from the ancient Roman Baths and the Abbey.
Morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea are served in three themed rooms. The menu displays a great variety with every imaginable way of eating a Sally Lunn bun, both sweet and savory. Candlelight period dinners are offered in the evenings.
Try the Sally Lunn cream tea, which consists of half a toasted and buttered bun served with strawberry jam and lots of local clotted cream, or the Jane Austen cream tea (Jane Austen lived in Bath for a time) which is the same, except with raspberry spread. Both are served with either tea or coffee.
Great place for a mid-afternoon tea break. The prices on the daytime menu are very reasonable, the service is friendly, and the Sally Lunn bun lends a bit of diversity to the normal afternoon tea routine of scones and clotted cream. The rooms are small and cramped, but give an authentic feeling of dining in Georgian times and could be seen as a rather cozy, intimate setting. I was a bit skeptical at being served “half” a bun, but the buns were large enough to satisfy even my appetite. Expect some crowds, of course, as this is a “must-see” stop on many a tour.