Afternoon Tea. It’s an iconic British tradition dating back to 1840. Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford and friend of Queen Victoria, is known as the creator of this dainty delight. Anna would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon with still four hours to wait before her dinner was served fashionably late at eight o’clock. Rather than just grabbing a few biscuits to keep her going, she invented a whole new meal. What a Queen.
In the recent years, Afternoon Tea has undergone a re-awakening. From the traditional to the quirky and everything in between, we’ve chosen our top ten favourite places across Yorkshire to partake in this culinary custom.
Alexander’s Bar and Kitchen is a cool collision of tropical and tradition and their Afternoon Tea is no different, effortlessly mixing the classic with the contemporary in a three-tiered stand of beauty.
Start savoury with a classic cucumber sandwich alongside a slice of locally produced Yorkshire pork pie with rhubarb HP sauce. Freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream are accompanied by a raspberry mousse oval, a chocolate & pistachio opera and a white chocolate & ginger macaron with brushed gold.
There is a choice of ten teas to accompany your meal – again, from the classic breakfast tea to a more daringly named ‘gunpowder tea with peppermint’. If you want to go really rogue, you can swap your tea for coffee or hot chocolate.
Alexander’s have just introduced a special complimentary upgrade to Sparkling Afternoon Tea for a limited time only as a ‘Springtime treat’. Normally £30, everyone can now enjoy Alexander’s sumptuous vintage afternoon tea inclusive of a glass of prosecco for just £25. Offer ends May 31st and excludes bank holidays.
Just Grand! Vintage Tea Room, Leeds
Tucked away in the Grand Arcade of Leeds city centre there’s basically a time machine masquerading as a café. As soon as you step through the door you immediately feel like you’ve stepped back in time. With its period furniture, mismatched china, and retro kids’ corner, this family-run business has created a warm and cosy environment that in a weird way is very familiar – think Granny’s house on a Sunday.
They offer a Traditional, Prosecco, Gentleman’s (move over scone and tea: hello pork pie and ale) and a children’s version of the British classic. The cakes and scones are all homemade on site – sometimes being baked right in front of your eyes in the open plan kitchen – and always delicious.
The scones here are on another level: Ginger & Apricot, Black Treacle & Date, Earl Grey & Lemon, Lime & Blueberry, Homemade Lemon Curd & White Chocolate, Strawberry & Black Pepper, Lavender, to name but a few.
Cocoa Wonderland, Sheffield
Cocoa Wonderland in Sheffield is any chocoholics dream – even the savoury dishes contain chocolate!
The menu includes: Wensleydale & chocolate chutney sandwiches, open sandwiches with hummus and a balsamic chocolate glaze, cocoa nib scones with clotted cream & homemade strawberry jam, brownie of the day, freshly dipped chocolate strawberries and a chunk of award-winning Tipple Tails ‘Coco Bazaare’ chocolate fruit cake.
To top off your Afternoon Tea experience, make up your own duo chocolate box of handmade truffles from their extensive collection – choose from over 30 varieties made in store and locally.
And if that wasn’t enough, you can wash it all down with their speciality ‘proper’ thick hot chocolate made with cream and the finest Belgian dark chocolate as well as a choice of 15 varieties of tea – including The Chocolate Cake Tea (honey bush tea with chocolate and rose petals) and Black Forest Tea (black tea, chocolate & truffle oil).
Check out their website here
The Black Swan, Helmsley
The Black Swan Tearoom in Helmsley is both charming and traditional, offering a fabulous quintessentially English Afternoon Tea experience.
The menu includes: Cucumber with Cream Cheese & Chive sandwiches, Free-range Hen’s Egg with Mustard Cress sandwiches, Prawn & Marie Rose sandwiches, Sausage Rolls, Homemade Scones and some incredible puds! The carrot cake is to die for…
Check out their website for more info
The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey
You can’t get much posher than The Devonshire Arms. Situated in Bolton Abbey on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, The Dev is one of Yorkshire’s most sought-after hotels and boasts an incredible Afternoon Tea menu.
Enjoy all the classic flavours in the bright and airy conservatory overlooking the beautifully manicured Italian Gardens on a perfect summer’s day – a proper posh treat.
Upgrade your afternoon tea and enjoy a glass of Laurent Perrier N.V champagne. Or, go all out and put the ‘high’ in high tea with their helicopter Afternoon Tea experience.
The Grand, York
Yorkshire’s only five-star hotel, The Grand in York offers an elaborate Afternoon Tea overlooking amazing views of the historic City Walls.
Choose from the classic Grand Afternoon Tea, a sparkling wine, champagne, or – our favourite – a Hendrick’s gin version. Yep, teapots filled to the brim with Hendrick’s G&T and little tea cups filled with ice and a rolled cucumber shaving.
The food features all the popular flavours as well as some more quirky delights such as a warm cranberry & fennel sausage roll and a dark chocolate & pistachio Pot de Crème.
This list would not be complete without a mention of Betty’s. The first Betty’s Café Tea Rooms opened 100 years ago in Harrogate in 1919, and today there are six across Yorkshire. What better way to celebrate the centenary of this Yorkshire institution than an Afternoon Tea?
The traditional Afternoon Tea is served all day every day in the six Café Tea Rooms, whilst the luxury Lady Betty Afternoon Tea is available in York or Harrogate on select days. With specially devised menu, an immaculate table-setting, and even a pianist to serenade you, the Luxury Lady Betty Afternoon Tea is a truly unforgettable experience.
Visit Betty’s website here
Middleton Post Office Tea Parlour
Middleton Post Office Tea Parlour is a family run business in the picturesque little village of Middleton in North Yorkshire.
Located in the old Post Office with authentic 1940s china and silverware, it is truly like stepping back in time.
Enjoy a truly Yorkshire Afternoon Tea at this adorable tearoom, located within walking distance of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. All their cakes are home-made, and their bread is baked locally at Sinnington. Or, if savoury is more your style, why not try the Middleton Savoury Medley – pork pie, ham sandwich, cheese scone with cream cheese and onion marmalade & a pot of tea or cafetière of coffee.
Click here for more info.
Issho – meaning ‘together’ in Japanese – is a contemporary Japanese rooftop restaurant & bar in Leeds city centre.
If you are searching for a unique Afternoon Tea then look no further than Issho. Issho’s afternoon tea features a range of sweet and savoury Japanese treats, including edamame beans, temari sushi balls, sliced sea bass, chocolate & matcha green tea brownies, and mochi ice cream balls.
Turn tea into truly fabulous and add free-flowing prosecco for just £15.
Find out more here
Jameson’s Abbeydale Road Tearoom, Sheffield
Jameson’s has been a well-known name in Sheffield since 1883. Originally famous for antiques, it’s now renowned for its huge range of Afternoon Teas.
Choose from Traditional (£13.95pp), Splendid (£17.95pp including Breckland Orchard posh pops), Jameson’s Yorkshire High Tea (featuring good ol’ Yorkshire flavours like a cheese & Henderson’s relish scone served with butter & red onion chutney at £19.95pp), Magnificent (complete with chocolates and prosecco at £24.95pp) or go all out with the Regal Afternoon Tea (£80 for two people including a bottle of Pol Roger Champagne).
Find out more here
Let us know your favourite place for Afternoon Tea!