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The Downs Tea Room
The Downs Tea Room occupies the old sports pavilion,
commanding pride of place overlooking Bristol's verdant downs,
lined by playing fields and horse chestnut trees. On a summer's
day one's imagination blisters with the smell of grass and the
sound of far-off amateur rugby but not so today, however, for the
conkers had long been collected and the golden leaves weaved a
crispy carpet round our feet. The first gusts of a wintry breeze had
blown away the children and the joggers and the wicker picnicers,
leaving only a hardcore of tepid teafarers outside in the cold,
clutching their hot chocolates in shivering hands. The poetry of
this beautiful setting demanded crumpets festooned with butter
and tongue-scalding soup and tea poured from hot water bottles.
We were to be disappointed, though. Despite the abundance of
seemingly able-bodied staff we carried our own trays - unaided
and one-handed - outside into the cold. From their limited
selection we had chosen huge American muffins, swathed with
chocolate but dry, bland and unpalatable and ultimately went
back, which to their credit they accepted and accredited without
fuss. (Clearly we were not the only ones to think so because all
but a few mouthfuls of the previous occupant's tea were still in
residence when we arrived and unless the birds provided a better
service that the waiters are probably still there today). Sadly
unambitious yet inexplicably well received - I charitably wonder if
we picked a bad day.
The Downs Tea Rooms
Alexandra Road,
0117 923 8186
9:30 am - 4 pm daily