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“Decent afternoon tea in an unusual venue”

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
Ranked #3 of 42 things to do in Bournemouth
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Private home of extensive travelers Sir Merton Russell-Cotes and his wife Lady Annie was one of the last Victorian manor houses ever built.
Reviewed 2 April 2018

If there is an opportunity on any of our trips away to have afternoon tea we will take it so when we saw the Russell-Coates gallery/museum perched high on the hill above Bournemouth Pier offered tea for two for £26 we were on for that. The museum was donated to the town by a local hotel owner and is stuffed full of high quality Victoriana he collected along with his beloved wife on their trips round the world and in galleries back home. It’s £6 (incl gift aid) if you want to get in to see the collection, but you can get into the airy and light café on the third floor for free. We introduced ourselves and sat down in a quiet alcove with a padded art deco bench and arial sculpture above us. The tea was brought over on the traditional three tiers. We are both veggies, which the team were aware of when we booked, and catered for. The sandwiches were on lovely soft bread but were a touch heavy on the margarine – which should have been substituted for butter. The four sandwiches were cheddar cheese, Mozzarella, basil and tomato, egg mayo and cream cheese and cucumber. With the next tier we tucked into a crumbly sultana scone, raspberry jam and Devon clotted cream which hit the spot. Finally it was time for the final tier of mini desserts – macaroons, a mini Victoria sandwich, lemon curd tart, white chocolate caramel slices and chocolate tiffin; all very rich and decadent. It all came with a very strong coffee for me and pot of tea across the table. You also get free refills which was a nice touch. Afterwards, a decent effort at afternoon tea inspired us to go round the house which is huge space and houses some really interesting pieces including a stunning fin de siècle moorish alcove, fine marbles and a Rossetti. The living quarters themselves are a peon to the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th century, with rich hand painted wallpapers, exquisite tile work and original electric light fixtures. Not a square inch of the house remains un-embellished and for the first time visitor, it is quite overwhelming to the senses. There is also a rolling exhibition space featuring the collection of crime writer Frances Fyfield. For six quid it was well worth the admission fee especially if you like high end Victoriana.

4  Thank Sedgeo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"beautiful house"
in 57 reviews
"late victorian"
in 26 reviews
"amazing collection"
in 19 reviews
"guided tour"
in 37 reviews
"treasure trove"
in 22 reviews
"fascinating place"
in 22 reviews
"overlooking the sea"
in 25 reviews
"on display"
in 30 reviews
"free entry"
in 31 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 78 reviews
"nice cafe"
in 44 reviews
"royal bath hotel"
in 30 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 47 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 26 reviews
"rainy day"
in 44 reviews
"visiting bournemouth"
in 28 reviews
"the cliff"
in 39 reviews

148 - 152 of 1 896 reviews

Reviewed 1 April 2018

I am sure that will find this museum absolutely fascinating, but, it just did not float my boat. Maybe because it was a very dreary day or I just wasn't up to visiting a museum. Who knows? Just not for me.

1  Thank Ashgaroth24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2018 via mobile

Beautiful Art Nouveau house with an amazing collection. A museum like no other. So many beautiful and interesting items to look at. The set out flows nicely and the place has a really homely and welcoming feel to it. You definitely get a sense of Merton & Annie's passion and character. Staff were great and we had some lunch in the cafe which was very nice and reasonably priced.

Thank claireandchris164
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2018 via mobile

Staying in Bournemouth for a weekend getaway, we were unsure of what to do and stumbled across the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

What a wonderful eclectic mix of architectural styles situated above Bournemouth beach alongside the Royal Bath Hotel. The house has a superb collection of art and sculpture within a beautiful house. The collection is rich and diverse, and a true reflection of their travels and passion for art and sculpture from across the globe. Their was a pianist playing in the main hall and the cafe was of a high standard, we enjoyed afternoon tea with a selection of cakes.

This was the highlight of our stay in Bournemouth.

3  Thank anglo-australian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 March 2018

This was a planned visit so we had some idea of the museum and its history. The reality far surpassed the expectation and getting in free with our Art Cards was a bonus. It's worth the entry fee anyway! THere are things of beauty and interest in every nook and cranny - just go and see.

1  Thank Chez_labeille
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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