24 Feb 10 of the Best Afternoon Teas in Yorkshire
Not long ago I came across this quote; “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy tea and it’s kind of the same thing”.
Brits are stereotyped as having a bit of an obsession with tea and I must say I do love a good cuppa. It really does solve everything. One of my favourite things to do on a special occasion is enjoy afternoon tea, and I’ve indulged in this tradition in hotels all over the world.
I recently had to describe to an American friend what ‘afternoon tea’ was.
“Well it’s a British tradition where you get dressed up and drink tea served in bone china. There’s a silver cake stand with dainty little finger sandwiches, scones and fancy cakes, and sometimes you have champagne too…”
She looked at me like I was from Mars, or perhaps Downton Abbey.
Yorkshire is famed for its ability to make a good brew and offers some of the finest tea room experiences in the country. Afternoon tea is elegant, luxurious and very relaxing, and definitely a must-do when visiting this part of the world.
From the famous Bettys to luxurious hotels with a view, here’s a list of 10 of the best afternoon teas in Yorkshire.
1. Bettys Harrogate
Established in 1919, Bettys is a bit of an institution and is known throughout the country for its posh tea. There are now several different Bettys tea rooms dotted around Yorkshire including locations in Harrogate, RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Ilkley, York, Stonegate and Northallerton. I went here with my Mum when I graduated from the University of Leeds, where we had champagne afternoon tea in the Belmont Room of their original Harrogate store.
2. Clocktower at Rudding Park
Set amongst 300 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland, the Rudding Park Hotel and Spa is one of the most relaxing and luxurious hotels in Harrogate. You can enjoy afternoon tea in the Clocktower restaurant underneath the striking pink glass chandelier, relax beside a 400-year-old olive tree in the conservatory, or sit outside on the terrace. Sandwiches choices include honey roast Yorkshire ham; tomato, mozzarella, rocket and balsamic; and smoked salmon, cucumber and watercress. The cake selection includes passion fruit charlotte, seasonal fruit tart, milk chocolate & hazelnut delice, and rhubarb sponge.
3. The Talbot Hotel
TV Chef James Martin is executive chef at the Talbot in Malton, so you can expect the afternoon tea to be top notch. At £19.50 per person the full afternoon tea includes a port pot of freshly brewed Yorkshire tea or one of their specialty teas, along with scone, jam and cream, selection of sandwiches, a slice of cake baked to a recipe by James Martin and treat of the day. For an extra £9.50 per person or £15 per couple you can add a glass of champagne.
4. The Terrace Tea Rooms, Harewood House
Harewood House is a beautiful 18th century stately home situated between Leeds and Harrogate, and the seat of the Earl and Countess of Harewood. You can have a look around the house, with its Chippendale furniture and opulent Robert Adam interiors, then take a stroll around the exquisite gardens designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. The highlight is afternoon tea on the outdoor terrace, overlooking beautiful views of the Yorkshire landscape.
5. Drawing Room at Oulton Hall
Oulton Hall is a magnificent 18th century former family mansion, set amidst beautiful landscaped gardens and lawns. Afternoon tea is served by a butler in the luxurious Drawing Room, and consists of sandwiches, delicious pastries and house speciality rhubarb scones accompanied by the finest leaf teas.
6. Middleton Post Office Tea Parlour
This is certainly afternoon tea with a twist! Located in the village of Middleton, just a short walk from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the Middleton Post Office will take you on a journey back in time. The cakes are all homemade and the china and silverware is all vintage with a 1940s feel. Best of all the afternoon tea here is a more affordable option at £9.50 per person and is accompanied by a pot of tea or cafetiere coffee.
7. Daisy Tea Rooms
The Daisy Tea Rooms in Scarborough serves up afternoon tea in a friendly, home from home environment inside a Duchy of Lancaster property. You can choose to dine inside the old Georgian farmhouse, or sit outside in the lovely garden.
8. The Devonshire Arms
After taking a walk in the fresh air around the Duke of Devonshire’s Bolton Abbey estate, the Devonshire Arms is the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea. You can relax in comfy sofas next to a roaring fire and catch up with the latest news by choosing from their selection of newspapers. The ‘Wharfedale Tea’ includes thirst quenching tea, selection of sandwiches, raisin scone and Yorkshire Parkin and is a favourite of The Duchess of Devonshire.
9. Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa
The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa is Yorkshire’s only 5* hotel, boasting 107 luxury bedrooms and an invigorating spa within its Edwardian building. Afternoon tea is served daily from 1pm-5pm, presented in a tranquil environment offering viws of the historic City Wall of York.
10. The Black Swan, Helmsley
This boutique hotel set in the North Yorkshire Moors has an acclaimed tea room that has won a Tearoom of Excellence Award numerous times and was voted the ‘Top Tea Place 2010’. Opened by Marco Pierre White in 2007, this Tearoom boasts a fine selection of 20 teas, all carefully chosen by the Tearoom Manager. The Afternoon Tea at The Black Swan changes seasonally to make use of the freshest local produce available.
photo by andy & eilidh on flickr