Cost – £19.95 (February 2019)
Parking and Access – There is some parking available on the street directly outside Bettys Tearooms. Alternatively there is a car park nearby to the rear of the building, which is only a short walk away. There are toilets available at the entrance to the Tearoom, with both the disabled and ladies toilets being accessed on the flat. The men’s toilets are up some stairs. There is flat access to the Tearoom.
Background – I love Bettys. I have loved going there for over thirty years. It is probably my most favourite chain of tearooms in the country. However, I am based in Cambridgeshire and Bettys Café Tearooms are all in Yorkshire, so I don’t get to visit very often at all. And I had never had their Afternoon Tea!
There is a reason for that. It’s their Yorkshire Rarebit, which is so super scrummily delicious that I can never get past it on the menu. I have to have it!
This time, however, our trip to Yorkshire was to be all about having Afternoon Tea at Bettys.
I had spotted an offer for two nights at a hotel which included a voucher each for Afternoon Tea at Bettys. Brilliant! We booked straight away, Then it occurred to me that we could try their “Lady Betty Afternoon Tea” on the second day. So we booked that too. And with very careful arrangement of eating times we somehow managed to squeeze in the rarebit as well! I was in Bettys heaven for the whole weekend!!
Some people think Bettys is overhyped, expensive and touristy. And in some ways, maybe it is a bit. But the service is excellent and so is the food. And the many people eating inside who had Yorkshire accents indicates that the locals love it too.
An added bonus, as far as I was concerned, was that 2019 is Bettys centenary year having been first opened in 1919.
For our traditional Afternoon Tea we chose the Ilkley branch of Bettys. This is one of the smaller branches, but still has a good sized tearoom. It has a lovely old-fashioned canopy outside, as do many shops in Ilkley, and has a shop selling their lovely cakes, bread, pastries and chocolates at the front of the building.
Inside the tearoom there is beautiful stained glass windows to the rear,
and a collection of fancy teapots all around the room.
The waiters and waitresses are all dressed in a black and white uniform and are very attentive to the customers needs.
There is a maitre d’ in charge, dressed in black, who seats people from the inevitable queue. The tables are made of a brown marble and the chairs are a comfortable wicker or long leather banquettes.
I was on tenterhooks going in – would Bettys let me down?? Luckily, it didn’t!
Contents – Four triangular sandwiches each (smoked salmon, Yorkshire ham and mustard, coronation chicken and cucumber, dill and cream cheese). One medium sized fruit scone, a pot of strawberry jam and a pot of clotted cream. An orange and lemon macaroon, a mini fruit tartlet and a chocolate and hazelnut pave. A pot of Bettys Tearoom blend tea.
Options Available – The Tea is also available with a glass of Champagne.
Comments – There are six Bettys Café Tearooms in all. Two in York plus one each at Harrogate, Northallerton, Harlow Carr Gardens and Ilkley. We chose to visit the tearoom in Ilkley. Bettys Café Tearooms do not take bookings at all, apart from for their Lady Betty Afternoon Tea (which is not this Afternoon Tea). It is a very popular place to visit, so there are often queues for all of the Tearooms. We had to queue outside the building to start with, then we queued inside as well. There are comfortable seats beside the inside queue and the staff will bring anyone who needs to sit, inside to a seat whilst the rest of their party waits in the queue. We queued for around twenty minutes in total. We were given a menu to peruse whilst we waited.
Once we were shown to a table in the tearoom, the waitress arrived quite quickly to ask for our order. The staff in Bettys are all very smartly dressed in black and white uniforms and are very polite and helpful.
The table was laid with a little pot of fresh flowers
and knifes and forks on a round white patterned plate with a Bettys centenary paper napkin each.
We had been given Afternoon Tea vouchers by the hotel we were staying at as part of a package so we told the waitress we would be using these vouchers. We also ordered a cold drink each – one homemade lemonade and one sparkling apple juice. These drinks were £3.50 each.
The cold drinks arrived first, followed shortly by the tea. The tea was made with loose leaf tea (Bettys is a sister company to Taylors of Harrogate who make tea and coffee). It was served in individual heavy stainless-steel teapots with a small jug of milk, a pot containing hot water and a tea strainer each.
The tea was Bettys own Tearoom Blend. It was of a good strength. We didn’t need a refill as we had our cold drinks as well. We managed to get three cups out of each teapot.
Finally, the Afternoon Tea arrived on a three-tier cake stand with round white plates.
The sandwiches were very fresh and well filled. We had requested no mustard in our ham sandwiches and this was catered for with no problem. The sandwiches were on mixed brown and white bread. My favourite was probably the coronation chicken.
The scones were medium sized, pre-cut in half and very fruity. They were tasty but were of the softer, steam cooked type. They had not been warmed up.
There was just about enough of the strawberry jam and barely enough clotted cream between us. We didn’t ask for any extra.
There were three small cakes each. However, they were all really delicious. The macaroon was freshly made and actually tasted of orange and lemon (one half of each). It was filled with lemon filling. The fresh fruit tart had a good amount of fruit on top. The pastry was of the soft variety (I would have preferred it to have been crisper). Finally, the chocolate and hazelnut pave was absolutely delicious! I commented that I would have happily eaten a whole tray of this wonderful little cake, which had a lovely crisp layer in it. However, I looked in the attached shop on the way out and they didn’t appear to sell it at all! Probably just as well!!!
Service was very good with our waitress checking all was well every now and then during our Tea.
At the end of the Tea we were presented with the bill on a ‘silver’ plate.
Thank you for these posts. I visited Betty’s in York some years ago and thought it was one of the most charming tea rooms I had been in. I wish I’d sampled the afternoon tea (though the chocolate cake I had was lovely) but if I venture back to Yorkshire this will be top of the list.