Sunday 9 February 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Bettys, York

Last year, we compiled a list of our favourite tea rooms for The Independent's Top 50 Tea Rooms. Bettys York was one of our top picks and so we were very happy to recieve an invitation to sample the delights of Champagne Afternoon Tea at the famous York venue. Here's how we got on ...

Champagne Afternoon Tea.


From the outside, Bettys York is simply gorgeous. It’s grand, traditional and looks absolutely magical – and there’s a huge queue of people outside to prove it.
Today we were situated in the Belmont Room, Bettys upstairs tea room, reserved exclusively for their finest Afternoon Tea. There’s even a side entrance, solely for this room, just to make you feel extra special – like celebs of Afternoon Tea … ahem.
The Belmont Room transports you back to an age of tradition and sophistication with gorgeous wooden panelled walls, huge beautiful windows and perfect white tablecloths.
Setting the scene even more was a delightful pianist, which got Caroline just a tad excited!
Everything is very light and airy with honey coloured finishes and woven furniture – lovely.

Yummy sultana scones.

As a little girl, I loved nothing more than going to Bettys with my parents. The gentile surroundings and beautiful tea services, facinated my curiosity for times gone by and secured the establishment's place in my heart. As an adult, this love has continued, making Bettys one of my go to places for a good pick me up or escape from reality. 

However, in spite of this long standing adoration, I'm ashamed to say that I've never experienced the full afternoon tea delight - until now. Yes, I'd sampled their wonderful scones and enjoyed more than one cup of their fabulous hot chocolate in my time, but somehow a full afternoon tea had passed me by. 

Served in the Belmont Room, Bettys complete afternoon tea experience is everything that I'd ever imagined (and more). Complete with art deco surroundings and a live pianist, it has a charm quite unlike any other afternoon tea venue in the uk and is a delight to behold. As Laura said, I was particularly taken with the pianist, who played a selection of my favourite songs, including a Barry Manilow medley and selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber, which was a lovely surprise. 

Amazing cakes.


Having visited Bettys before, I was super excited to try their special Afternoon Tea. Getting ourselves off to a good start, we began with a glass of champagne each which went down very nicely, followed by a huge choice teas including some of Betty’s own unique blends. I chose a safe, Betty’s Earl Grey Tea, which was hit the spot perfectly and would make a lovely cup for at home – luckily, you can purchase some downstairs!
First things first, we started with a yummy range of finger sandwiches and it was good to know these could be topped up should we find ourselves not too full. These were; chicken and tarragon, Scottish smoked salmon, ham and honey mustard and egg mayonnaise. My favourite was the chicken as I loved the textured loaf and the filling was gorgeously creamy.

Sandwiches - need a refill?
To follow we each had two mini scones with jam and cream. The size was just right which left us with plenty of room for the fabulous cakes that were to follow.
And fabulous they were. Topped with the proud Bettys logo and laced with fruity, chocolaty goodness, these desserts were almost too good to eat.
From the selection, I tried the chocolate orange sponge, walnut cake and raspberry tart. Despite the chocoholic in me absolutely loving the chocolate orange, my favourite was the raspberry cake. Served on a biscuit base and dusted with sugar, it was just dreamy. On a whole, I think that the desserts complimented each other very well and I felt nicely full once finished.


The food at Bettys is top notch, and offers something for everyone. 

On this occasion, my sandwich of choice was the smoked salmon, which was beautifully fresh and exactly what I'd been hankering after all week, perfectly complimented with a thin layer of cream cheese, to create my fave combo. 

On the cake front, my pick had to be the wonderfully light berry meringue, which competed my afternoon tea experience perfectly, providing a brilliant contrast to decadent chocolate financier.

Boasting an excellent selection of home blended teas, Bettys is the perfect place to go if you fancy trying something a different, with over sixteen varieties of tea available for your delectation. However, being the traditionalist that I am, I opted for the 'Bettys Breakfast Tea' which I'm happy to report was some of the nicest breakfast tea I've ever tasted!

Beautiful tea set.


I felt a genuine warmth from the staff at Bettys. All those we met appeared to take a real interest in our day and asked questions about our trip which I thought was lovely. They couldn’t do enough for us.

Bettys staff balance the line between friendliness and formality perfectly, keeping a warm interest without being overbearing. Great work!

The famous Bettys.

Overall Thoughts

I find it amazing that many people have never tried Afternoon Tea yet most people I meet seem to have heard of Bettys. There’s a reason for that and it’s a true testament to the name which has been going strong since 1919, it’s not just about good cake and tea, it’s about the experience. Going to Betty’s should be a real event and I would highly recommend braving the queues and experiencing it for yourself … or just book before you go!
Bettys is without a doubt one of my favourite places in the UK and somewhere which everyone needs to visit at least once in their life - even if it's just to sample their incredible hot chocolate. By hook or by crook, you should get yourself down there now!

Bettys York is situated in York city centre at St Helen's Sqaure. Afternoon Tea is served in the Belmont Room from 12.30pm from Friday to Sunday. Booking is essential. To reserve your table, please visit their website here:

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Whilst this has not influenced our review, we believe in the full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.


1 comment

  1. A rather fine looking traditional afternoon tea! Its good to read about good service - something that some establishments don't hit the mark with. I think afternoon tea is about the food and tea....but also the service and environment too!

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