15 March 2014

Afternoon Tea at Bettys York

It's been a little while since I've updated my 'Tea Trail' progress, but fret not, I haven't forgotten or abandoned my little project - just fallen behind a little!

My most recent tea-based excursion was to the mighty Bettys Café Tea Rooms in York. This is the one that I've walked past most often yet never actually visited, the queue outside serving as a barrier between me and tea. Having held it up in my mind as the pinnacle of all tea rooms for so long, it really was about time I actually went in to see if it lived up to my expectations!

best afternoon tea in yorkshire

Because I managed to get there on a week day, the queue wasn't quite an intimidating as ones I'd seen outside there on weekends (though don't be fooled into thinking it's going to be a short wait as the queuing continues inside!) Though we did get to peer around the shop while we waited and those gorgeous cakes on display definitely helped get me excited!

amazing patisserie counter

Tea-wise, I just went for the Bettys Tea Room Blend, which was full bodied and flavourful and served beautifully as always in classic Bettys silverware. I love how they always ask if you would prefer your tea with milk or lemon, its not sommething I've been asked anywhere else and it always makes me smile, though I can't really say why.

Tea poured from silver tea pot

The sandwiches for me are always the most problematic part of an afternoon tea, as there seems to be always one out of the (usually) four on offer that I'm not keen on (salmon, it's always salmon!). I usually just keep quiet and hide the offending fishy bits under a napkin or something but since the standard Bettys offering consisted of two sandwich options I'd rather avoid (the salmon, of course, and egg mayonnaise - not for me!), and out lovely waitress was so charming and accommodating I thought it couldn't hurt to ask about alternatives.

And our charming and accommodating waitress charmingly accommodated me by offering to swap them, so I ended up with: Cream cheese and cucumber, cheese and chutney (I think it was Wensleydale and I think it was apple chutney, but I can't quite remember!), roast chicken, and roast ham. The sandwiches were SO full! I don't think I've ever had such well-filled sandwiches - that looks like four or five layers of thick ham there? Really really tasty too! Best afternoon tea sandwiches of the trail so far!

Clotted cream scone

The scones were steady-away.

tiny bettys cakes

My cake selection was rather special - I don't know if the chocolatey thing at the back there had a technical name and Ill be entirely honest, I cant actually remember what it was... that's what happens when I leave it a few weeks between eating and posting I guess! I'll make sure to at least take notes next time! Though I do have an inkling it was chocolate orangey? I definitely remember it was very nice, though not as nice as the other two bits. The raspberry tart was amazing, so light I felt like I could just go on eating it forever, with fresh juicy raspberries - just sweet enough to not feel too naughty! The pistachio macaroon was equally as delightful, crisp on the outside, soft in the centre - a real treat! I meant to pick up more of these from the shop on the way out but totally forgot - so will have to go back sometime soon! 

We were sat downstairs in the 'basement', which was good because I didn't have to feel bad about taking my time while looking at the queues waiting for me to finish with the table, and because I caught a good glimpse of 'Bettys Mirror' where soldiers stationed around York in the war years engraved their names with a diamond pen. The mirror remains on display as a tribute to their bravery, and is a lovely reminder of the history of this old place.

I'm very happy to report that after years of dreaming of it, Bettys York did not disappoint! But it'll be a hard act to follow for the next place on my list! 


  1. Yay, steady - away scones ;)

    That all looks superb. Can't wait to try Harrogate. I love that they brought you great alternative sandwiches, lovely.

    I agree on the lemon/milk thing! It always makes me think I'm somewhere that appreciates 'proper' tea xx

  2. Kel, Your a woman after my own heart, I do love a good afternoon tea. This is an awesome post and I've I'm ever in York I will absolutely be trying it out.

    Where I live we really only have one good place for afternoon tea called Tea Jenny's which is such a lovely friendly little cafe but whenever I go usually with my mum we can never eat it all, the staff were more than happy to box it up for us as we asked and they told us that many of the customers who don't finish theirs never asked to take the rest away.

    I'm off to read more of your tea trail
    Nic :) xx

  3. This looks amazing, I wish I had gone for the full afternoon tea experience when I was there last week now!
    The macarons are stunning, I highly recommend the salted caramel ones and the lemon ones. I can't go to York now without buying some.
    I love afternoon tea so much, I am jealously reading your trail and wish that I could go out for afternoon tea more often!
    Rachel x
    The Inelegant Wench

  4. It looks amazing there - and those cakes, yum!! :)

  5. This looks great and the cakes look so yummy :) Great post!

  6. Ooooh I could eat all of that right now, looks AMAZING.
    I do love a good trip to Betty's!
    Michelle | Satchels + Pearls

  7. Still would love to visit here :) I must go! :)



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