Reviews York

York || Afternoon Tea at Bettys

One of the things I was most excited about when we moved to Yorkshire was having Bettys at our doorstep. Slightly sad, but definitely true. On a scale of 1-10 my love for Bettys is off the charts. I was over the moon when I got to attend their blogger’s afternoon tea in London a few years ago. (You can even see me in the video they filmed, briefly.) 

Since living in York, Sam and I have popped in for the occasional sweet treat and always a Fat Rascal, but I’d yet to have their full afternoon tea here in York. Mostly because to buy from the bakery shop, you don’t have to wait in the massive queue that stretches around the corner. But all that has changed because last week, I had my first afternoon tea at Bettys in York. 

If you want to have full Lady Betty afternoon tea at Bettys York, you need to prebook. We were seated upstairs in the Belmont room which was modelled after the Queen Mary II. All the art deco details and ship-like porthole windows truly set the mood. (Which was helped by the talented pianist who was playing a series of popular musical theatre songs – one table started gently singing along to “The Sound of Music” which made my heart glad.) 

I was so excited to tuck into the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea (which is only offered in York and Harrogate). We started with glasses of fizz. Champagne for Sam, and a rhubarb fizz for me. I highly recommend the rhubarb! It’s seasonal and it was perfectly tangy! When it came to picking teas I stuck with a safe option of Bettys Afternoon tea blend, because I knew that it was made exclusively to match our tea, and Sam opted for a lovely earl grey. We were then offered a pea puree starter topped with a tomato mint salsa. I loved it. I wanted to eat more but in reality, its small portion was the perfect palate cleanser before settling in to so many elaborate cakes. Next we had tiny salmon roulade and pork pie slices. The pork pie slice even had a tiny apple jam in the middle; it’s the attention to detail that truly makes afternoon tea at Bettys special. 

And then the pièce de résistance came out of the kitchen: the afternoon tea tray. There were classic egg salad sandwiches, chicken and tarragon, and a gorgeous Yorkshire ham. My favourite sandwich was a the sundried tomato and Yorkshire ham, but they were all scrumptious! I’d hardly blinked my eye and we’d gobbled all our sandwiches and set upon our scones. There were rose and lemon scones. The rose was absolutely perfectly balanced and provided a subtle hint; however, the lemon scones held the key to my heart. They were divine and I could eat them every day without getting tired of them. I’m an ALWAYS, ALWAYS jam then cream person. 

The dessert tray was the most decadent: gooseberry macarons, miniature religieuse, battenberg slice, merengue, a pistachio and chocolate dacquoise, and a chocolate and passionfruit cube. They were all stunning and outrageously decadent, but if I had to pick one favourite, it would probably be the lemon religieuse. 

Without a shadow of a doubt, Bettys offers one of the best afternoon teas in England, and I’d recommend it without hesitation. I was so stuffed that I didn’t even nip downstairs to buy a Fat Rascal, which is really saying something. 

Have you had tea at Bettys before? And here’s a loaded question: jam then cream or cream then jam? 

Bettys York is located at 6-8 St. Helen’s Square, York, YO1 8QP

***Our afternoon tea at Bettys was complimentary, but all my opinions are forever my own. (Plus I’ve always loved Bettys). ***

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  • really nice!

  • Angie SilverSpoon

    Ahhh..I ate there years ago when I lived in Leeds!

  • ninegrandstudent

    I have to admit the prebooked ones look a LOT better than the standard ones we saw the other week – I would have been really disappointed had we gone for one. Luckily we went more for the Swiss food which was DIVINE. Will definitely be back next time I’m up!

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

    • You can only pre-book the Lady Betty tea, which is their proper afternoon tea. They serve a “cafe” option for the afternoon tea without booking, which is supposed to be a step down in opulence. And if you’re going to go out for afternoon tea, opulence is what you want, right?

      Did you have the raclette rosti by any chance? I dream of it! x

  • Laura Torninoja

    Ahh I’ve head SO much about Betty’s – I need to go to York soon just so I can try it… Everything you had looks divine, and I just love that decor. I can only imagine how lovely it was with all that piano music in the background too… <3 x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • There are Bettys locations in Harrogate, Ilkley and Northallerton if any of those locations are easier for you to get to; but only the Harrogate and York locations serve this afternoon tea! x

  • I have to say that Betty’s will always be my indulgent treat when I’m back in my home town. I adore their chocolate macaroons and handmade chocolates!
    Bee xxx

  • I love afternoon teas! They are probably one of the best life things, and this looked like a splendid time! Going to have to say cream them jam, here 😉

    • It’s the amount of food that you get! When else in life can you tell someone to just keep the tiny food coming?! x

  • This looks like a beautiful place! Rose and lemon scones sound amazing, in fact all the food just looks amazing! I have jam then cream 🙂 x

    Kayleigh |

  • Ahh I was so sad when I couldnt get in last time I was in York. I need to be more prepared next time I venture North!

    Jasmin Charlotte



  • I have to admit to cutting across a 10km race to get myself into Betty’s when we went! 🙂

  • Jam then cream (but my whole family do it the other way around)! I am so jealous, I would love to go to Betty’s for afternoon tea. This post has got me wondering when I could have a little weekend away….

  • Of course, jam then cream! You can spread the jam and then flop the cream over, but not the other day around! 😉 Well I think it’s safe to say that with this post, you’ve just completely convinced me to book a trip to York very soon, perhaps July!

    • York is so beautiful in the summer but be forewarned that sometimes you can barely move for all the tourists there at that time of year! x

      • Oh damn, okay I may wait until September or October maybe 🙂

        • I first visited in September and the weather was perfect then, and the crowds had thinned out nicely (though, it’s always somewhat crowded). xx

  • Rose scones omg #want! I’m planning a trip up at sometime over the summer – you’ll need to give me all the recommendations! x

  • Ah I’ve been to Betty’s a few times, both Harrogate and York! Hen Do’s and birthdays!
    Gorgeous place!
    And your photos are stunning!

    Holly xx BLOG:

  • Betty’s looks amazing. I wish that we had more of a tea culture out here!

    • Afternoon tea is the British “thing” that I most easily get on board with. Unless we are counting Harry Potter 😉 x

  • Amanda, what have you done, we now can’t be friends – of COURSE it’s cream then jam, the cream acts like a butter?! You can’t put the jam first! However, afternoon tea is simply one of my favourite things in the whole world, and Betty’s is also abso-bloody-lutely marvellous, so a combination of the two would be amazing! Alice xxx

    • But jam is the stable/sticky base for applying a literal ton of clotted cream! How else can you pile it so high 😉 x

  • Jam then cream, always jam then cream! I had this afternoon tea with Sarah in Harrogate and I’m hoping it’s still on the next time my mom comes to visit so I can take her. Completely worth it, and like you said, the atmosphere makes it! The chicken sandwich was my favourite.

    • I honestly can’t fathom why you’d ever but on cream first! The jam forms a stable base to put on shit-tons of cream. I’m definitely putting it on the list for my mom too! x

  • Jam has to go on top because it’s prettiest. It’s like a hat for the cream.

    • It is probably the prettiest way to eat a scone, but I pile on so much cream that it would just topple over if I then topped it with jam! x

  • Jenn Sie

    beautiful photos as always!