Is there anything more quintessentially British than Afternoon Tea? For generations, it’s been one of the go-to ways of marking a special occasion. So whether you enjoy finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam or even like something a bit boozy to compliment the occasion, if you’re looking for afternoon tea in York, you’re well catered for.
A Traditional Afternoon Tea
Although in recent years, Afternoon Tea has become increasingly creative, with innovative businesses up and down the country offering their own unique spin on tradition, it’s worth clearing up what a traditional afternoon tea consists of. Firstly, you can expect to find simple sandwiches, with favourites including cucumber and cream cheese, Egg Mayonnaise, Coronation Chicken or even Roast Beef.
As well as the savoury, afternoon tea typically includes traditional scones, complimented with cream and jam. The order that you apply the cream and jam is subject of some discussion depending on where you’re from. The two combinations hail from Cornwall and Devon respectively, with each region being fiercely protective of their own method – although here in Yorkshire, we’re quite liberal and think that it’s completely up to you!
Another, important aspect of Afternoon Tea is the cake. Typically, afternoon tea’s in York will offer you a selection of homemade cakes and tarts. This can vary drastically depending on where you visit and is typically down to the baker in charge.
Modern Takes On Afternoon Tea
In recent years, Afternoon Tea’s grown in popularity, but not as we know traditionally know it. Countless restaurants and cafes offer their own take modern take on the British classic. These can include anything from pairing courses with locally sourced gins or a with quirky, unusual baked goods.
Where To Find The Best Afternoon Tea in York
Garden Room at The Principal York Hotel
Perhaps the most stunning setting of all the Afternoon Tea venues on this roundup, The Garden Room at The Principal serves a delicious selection of delightful cakes and pastries, served with boutique teas.
The views from the Garden room are exceptional and you can even see the York Minster whilst enjoying your carefully crafted offering. What’s more, the service is brilliant, and you can bolster your afternoon tea with a range of alcoholic drinks.
Address: Station Road, York YO24 1AA
Contact Details: 01904 653681
The Grand Hotel & Spa
The Grand Hotel & Spa is Yorks only 5-star hotel. Having earnt that accolade some years ago, upon sampling their Afternoon Tea in York, it’s easy to understand how they’ve done so.
Set within their fine-dining restaurant named Hudsons, guests are waited on by the highly trained front of house team, who will serve a four course afternoon tea with a focus on freshly and locally sourced ingredients.
Their afternoon tea comes highly recommended and is certainly an experience that all foodies in York should place firmly at the top of their dining bucket-list.
Address: Station Rise, York YO1 6GD
Contact Details: 01904 380038
Few hotel businesses in the world have amassed as big a reputation as the Hilton. Within the city of York, their reputation proceeds them, being one of the most central venues in the region. Just a stone’s throw from the vibrant offering of the historic city, the Hilton offers a wonderful option for those looking for Afternoon tea in York.
At £24 per person, the afternoon tea offering includes an impressive selection of traditional sandwiches ranging from Black Forest Ham with English Mustard, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese as well as a variety of options for Vegetarians.
Address: 1 Tower Street, York YO1 9WD
Contact Details: 01904 648111
Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms
A Yorkshire institution, Betty’s has branches all over the county, including in Harrogate and Ilkley. In 2019, they celebrate their 100th year as a business.
Their impressive longevity as a business is in no small part down to their creative and well thought out approach to service, with Afternoon Tea being perhaps their most intriguing offering. With a clear focus on their cakes, guests visiting Betty’s are sure to enjoy an indulgent experience which is perfect for a special occasion.
Address: 6-8 St. Helen’s Square, York YO1 8QP
Contact Details: 01904 659142
The Ivy Afternoon Tea
The Ivy, found in St Helen’s square has long since been one of York’s foodie hotspot’s, and it’s afternoon tea in York is always a popular destination for those looking for something sweet. The luxurious surroundings make for the perfect setting for a special occassion, and the attentive service is certain to make all guests feel welcome.
Their afternoon tea includes everything you’d expect from an institution with such a big reputation, and includes everything from delicious cakes to fantastic, creative sandwiches.
Address: 2 St. Helen’s Square, York YO1 8QP
Contact Details: 01904 403888
Within the spectacular grounds of Aldwark Manor, you’ll find a beautiful 4-star hotel. With no less than 120 acres of beautiful gardens surrounding the restaurant, the estate offers a wonderful afternoon tea experience.
Although some miles away from of the hustle and bustle of York City Centre, it’s a perfect escape for those wanting a truly bespoke experience, with a range of delightfully sweet and savoury treats which are sure to excite any afternoon tea lovers.
Address: Aldwark, Alne, York YO61 1UF
Contact Details: 01347 838146
Cafe Rouge has over 70 bistros across the UK, serving traditional French cuisine. Now, we know that Afternoon Tea is a British tradition but we also know that the French are exceedingly good of a particular component of the traditional afternoon tea – cake!
As well as the usual freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream, at Cafe Rouge you get something a little different. Instead of finger sandwiches, they serve the great French classic ” Croque Monsieur” as well as Mousse au Chocolat and a beautiful selection of delicate cakes. Afternoon Tea for two will set you back just £25 or £30 if you want to add prosecco.
Address: The Adams House, 52 Low Petergate, York, YO1 7HZ
Contact: 01904 673 293
York Afternoon Tea Cruise
If you’re looking for an afternoon experience within a truly special setting, what more could you desire than a trip down the River Ouse. From £26 per person, the tour will allow you to view the city from an incredibly unique perspective, whilst being away from the busy streets of one of Yorkshire most frequented tourism hubs.
The afternoon tea itself is great, with a well-reviewed selection of options for those who can’t wait to indulge in tasty cakes, delicate sandwiches and other delights. The tour needs to be booked ahead and should be reserved for a truly special occasion.
Address: King’s Staith Landing, King’s Staith, York YO1 9SN
Contact Details: 01904 628324
Countess Of York
If you’re looking for a truly vintage experience, there are few afternoon tea in York experiences which are as unique as this. Set on a beautifully restored rail cart which will take you through York in style, the afternoon tea here consists of a delicious array of homemade cakes and sandwiches, complemented by a variety of loose-leaf teas.
An ever unique experience, it gives you the opportunity to feel like a member of the old gentry, being as luxurious as it is fun. The china and teapots used are delightful and the service is second-to-none. Available at three times throughout the day, it’s well worth putting on your list of things to do in York.
Address: National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ
Contact Details: 01904 686 295
Within the stunning grounds of Middlethorpe Hall, those looking for afternoon tea will be elated about the offering here. At this William III country house, afternoon tea takes place in one of the grand public rooms or on the pretty south terrace.
You’ll get a choice of Taylors of Harrogate tea, a selection of finger sandwiches, home-made scones with jam and clotted cream, and an array of perfectly presented pastries and cake slices. Afternoon Tea at Middlethorpe Hall is sheer indulgence in a luxurious setting.
Address: Bishopthorpe Road, York YO23 2GB
Contact: 01904 641 241
York Cocoa House
Being home to some of the world’s biggest and best chocolate brands, York can add this indulgent treat to the long list of things it’s well known for. York Cocoa House was opened back in 2011 as a tribute to its chocolatey past. Here, they sell some exceptionally decadent treats and host wonderful chocolate making workshops. They also serve a fantastic chocolate-themed afternoon tea in their onsite cafe.
“Afternoon Chocolatada” features chocolate in some form in each of the tasty treats served on the tiered stand. Yes, even in the sandwiches! This is a real treat for chocoholics and there’s even the option to make your own chocolate lollipop to take home with you. Yum yum!
Address: 10 Castlegate, York YO1 9RN
Contact: 01904 675 787