If someone who had never been to England were to make a montage of typically British experiences, I can just imagine what it might involve (cue a mish-mash of red phone booths, getting caught in the rain and bumping into the Queen, Kate and Will or David Beckham on your way to the shops).

However, there are two stereotypes that maybe do hit a little close to home. We drink a lot of tea. And a lot of alcohol. So, you can imagine my delight when the opportunity came to combine two of these national past-times with a visit to one of Bristol’s quirkiest little tearooms.

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Situated on the notorious Gloucester Road in Bristol, where myriad independent boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants have set up shop, Cox and Baloney is a cute little cupcake of a store that I have passed by, craning my neck in the window many a time. The reason for this is that the main part of the shop stocks charming vintage treasures such as clothing, accessories, furniture and an abundance of homeware that comes very close to making me want to don a 50s style apron and get my baking hat on.





Luckily for me, this was rendered unnecessary by the adjoining tearoom next door. A magpie’s heaven, the Cox and Baloney tearooms are decorated with re-worked furniture, fairy lights and mismatched crockery that will have you exclaiming over every pretty little piece. Jars of loose teas are lined up along the counter – you are encouraged to check out the different aromas to help you make a decision – and with flavours from Mr Darcy (intense with lots of assam) to The Empress (smoked in baskets over wood fires), you’ll be spoilt for choice.




Once I’d stopped getting distracted staring around this little vintage grotto for just a minute, I was able to focus properly on the most important thing – the afternoon tea menu. This quintessentially British experience is usually relegated to rather stuffy hotels that can leave you looking forlornly at your crust-less cucumber sandwich and wondering how it has cost you your first born child… So, I was keen to see how this alternative little venue would play its cards – and it didn’t disappoint.



As well as a mouth-watering selection of afternoon tea packages, from towers of home-made cakes to selections of English sandwiches, Cox and Baloney also offer teapot cocktails featuring syrups created from their own tea leaves. Tea cocktails sound a bit out there? Think again. We went for a twist on the classic gin and tonic – gin, Earl Grey syrup, elderflower and cucumber – as well as a serving of plump scones, served with berries, sticky jam and thick, clotted cream. Heaven on a plate.



So, if you happen to come to the UK, drop by Bristol! We may not be able to offer you a ride on a red bus or a peek of the Queen, but we can serve you up one hell of an afternoon tea and cocktails in cups. What more could you want?



Pics by Alex and Sophie Saint

Alex Saint is a writer based in Bristol, England – a place she calls home due to its friendly, diverse atmosphere and never-ending list of fun things to do. She loves tattoos, quirky fashion, pugs and, of course, travelling.

Keep up with the Saint sisters and their adventures in Bristol, London and beyond at www.saintsonaplane.com and @saintsonaplane or Alex herself @alexsaint13