Looking for quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire?
Tea drinking in Britain was made popular during the mid to late 17th century by King Charles II and his Portuguese wife. Despite the hot beverage being consumed widely for a good couple of centuries, the quintessentially British custom of “Afternoon Tea” didn’t make an appearance until Victorian times.
In the year 1840, the household of Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford would eat at approximately 8 pm. Anna found the length of time between lunch and dinner to be far too long as she began to feel hungry around 4 pm. The Duchess of Bedford requested a tray of tea, bread & butter and cakes to be delivered to her room and once this became a regular habit, she started inviting friends to dine with her in this manner.
For many years, Afternoon Tea was a British custom mainly associated with the upper classes and only the biggest names in the luxury hospitality sector offered this dining experience. In recent years, however, the popularity of this tradition has increased tenfold. Now, restaurants, cafes and even home bakers are offering their take on afternoon tea.
Although traditional china cups, finger sandwiches, and dainty cakes are still immensely popular, they are not exclusive to hotels and fine dining establishments. Many places across the country have also added a little twist to their afternoon tea, making it so much more than just tea and cake!
With Yorkshire being home to the best tea in the country, we thought we’d take a look and see where we could find quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire. We were not disappointed!
Where to Find Quirky Afternoon Teas in Yorkshire…
1 Clifton, York YO30 6AA
We’re kicking off our list of quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire with an offering which is vastly different to the majority of afternoon teas served in hotels and restaurants. Brand new for 2023, Afternoon Sea at Pearly Cow in York city centre comprises a stunning array of fresh seafood instead of the usual finger sandwiches and petit fours. Work your way through three tiers of superb quality seafood for £38 pp and for an additional £20 pp, you can wash it all down with unlimited glasses of rosé from Quatre Vin wines for a full 90 minutes.
A must-try for foodies and ideal for a romantic date with the other half, this alternative afternoon tea promises to deliver a delicious and memorable experience. Begin with fresh oysters then tuck into decadent smoked salmon scones, garlicky scallops, a bowl of mussels and a retro prawn cocktail.
Afternoon Sea at Pearly Cow is available on Saturday afternoons only and a £10 deposit is taken at the time of booking.
Cupcakes 2 Love, Doncaster
College Road, Doncaster DN1 3JH
Cupcakes 2 Love in Doncaster offers some truly magnificent themed afternoon teas. They are constantly adding new themes to their menu and we pretty much love every idea they have come up with. Available to book online in advance, they’ve offered numerous themes over the years, including Barbie, Beauty & The Beast, Fortnite, Friends, Harry Potter, James Bond, Finding Nemo, Lego, and The Lion King. They also create quirky afternoon teas for particular holidays such as Halloween and Christmas so these are perfect for a treat during the school holidays!
These guys are professional cake makers and supply wedding and occasion cakes in and around the Doncaster region. It’s no wonder their alternative afternoon teas are so aesthetically pleasing! Each 3-tiered stand includes appropriately shaped sandwiches, perfectly decorated cupcakes and a selection of other sweet and savoury treats. These quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire must be booked in advance so once you have chosen from their huge list of available themes, get yourself booked in and enjoy an Instagrammable feast with friends!
Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom
8-9 Grand Arcade, New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6PG
This gorgeous little venue in Leeds’ Grand Arcade serves a number of different afternoon teas in an adorably retro setting including a traditional British version with cheese, ham and egg mayo sandwiches, mini savoury bites and a huge slab of homemade cake. However, if you’re looking for something a tad different, we recommend giving the Caribbean Afternoon Tea at Just Grand! a try.
Served on a tiered china platter, it isn’t too dissimilar in presentation and composition to a classic afternoon tea but is vastly different when it comes to flavours. For £21.95 per person, you get four finger sandwiches with fillings such as Jerk chicken and peppered beef, a beef pattie, a salt fish pattie, a slice of matured fruit rum cake and freshly baked scone with jam and cream. Yummy!
Betty’s Vintage Hut, Littondale
Hesleden Lodge, Skipton BD23 5QL
Betty’s Vintage Hut is actually a shepherd’s hut situated in the owner’s front garden in Littondale! Its rural location means you can enjoy all the traditional elements of a good British afternoon tea as well as spectacular views of the stunning Yorkshire Dales countryside.
This is a great little place to book for a small and peaceful gathering in the countryside. Anne does all her own baking so everything is freshly made with love, including the bread for the sandwiches and the jam for the scones. It’s all served on the prettiest of china so there’s a real vintage feel to this one. Betty’s Vintage Hut does get booked up quite quickly so if you’re planning a birthday party, baby shower or hen party and want to celebrate in the most idyllic setting with a vast array of tasty treats, we recommend booking well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Twisted Teapot, Barnsley
243 Park Road, Barnsley S70 1QW
The interior of Twisted Teapot in Barnsley could easily be mistaken for a movie set. With its bookcase wallpaper, opulent gold frames, oversized timepieces, and vintage accessories, it provides the perfect ambience for a quirky dining experience. Inspiration for the decor was evidently taken from children’s classic literature as it features elements which wouldn’t look out of place in Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland or The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Even the ladies’ toilets are accessed via a giant old wardrobe.
Unlike your traditional afternoon tea which takes place in the late afternoon and consists of three tiers of sweet and savoury delights, Twisted Teapot parties offer a whole evening of tempting treats in a magical setting. The themed afternoon tea sessions run in blocks throughout the year as the team alters the venue’s decor and menus to suit each one. All drinks on the menu are unlimited but they don’t serve alcohol. You are invited to take your own if you so wish. Certainly one of the most magical experiences on our list of quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire.
84 North Street, Ripon HG4 1DP
Now here’s a quirky afternoon tea in Yorkshire that should be added to your foodie bucket list! RealiTea in Ripon is an Anglo-Indian tea room that opened just 2 years ago in 2020. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am until 4 pm, this welcoming and fabulously quirky eatery serves all kinds of wonderful savoury dishes packed with authentic Indian street food flavours alongside a daily selection of irresistible homemade cakes and bakes.
You won’t find an Indian afternoon tea in many places so if you’re bored of bland and searching for spice, this one’s for you! The British Raj High Tea at RealiTea in Ripon is a traditional afternoon tea with an Indian twist. Of course, there are the obligatory cakes and scones but on this one, you’ll also get to sample some of their most popular savoury offerings like their homemade chicken kathi roll, samosas and chickpea curry. This one is priced at £24 per person and they do require 24-hour notice so be sure to book ahead.
Grand Pacific, Leeds
City Square, Leeds LS1 1PJ
You’ll find Grand Pacific in The Queens Hotel right by Leeds train station. The hotel recently underwent a multimillion-pound transformation and the results are breathtaking! Travel back in time to the golden age of high society at Grand Pacific in Leeds, where Eastern excellence meets British tradition. It isn’t just the interiors which will wow you at Grand Pacific; its Pan Asian-inspired menus are as dazzling as its decor so expect an afternoon tea that will delight almost all of your senses.
We have eaten our fair share of quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire and traditional ones too, however, this is one of our all-time favourites. You get a huge amount of food and the flavours are simply divine! Rather than a single stand loaded with all your sweet and savoury treats, you get a three-tiered platter for each course at Grand Pacific. The menu changes with the seasons but the components are always varied and delicious.
When I tried this one, the savoury stand included finger sandwiches with traditional fillings like egg mayo and coronation chicken plus a mini goat’s cheese tart, hoisin sausage roll, beautifully seasoned sashimi plus more. On the sweet platter, we were treated to a stunning selection of desserts including a mini trifle, lemon tart, chocolate truffle and the most delicious passionfruit creme brulee. This afternoon tea in Leeds really is outstanding!
Hetty and Betty
7 Baxtergate, Whitby YO21 1BW
Afternoon tea is quintessentially British but it isn’t the food offering we are best known for. Our friends (and foes) abroad will no doubt associate our wonderful nation with the seaside favourite, Fish & Chips. There’s an excellent cafe in Whitby which was one of the first to combine the two and offer customers a Fish & Chips Afternoon Tea. We’re already salivating…
Hetty and Betty have been serving quality food to the good people of Whitby for almost a century and it’s Whitby’s oldest Fish & Chips serving cafe. Open from 9:30 am until 3 pm Saturday to Thursday, this delightful eatery in Yorkshire’s most picturesque seaside town uses only locally sourced ingredients and MSC-certified fish. Their famous afternoon tea includes a generous portion of freshly battered fish with the fluffiest of chips plus a generous helping of mushy peas, some bread and butter and then the obligatory homemade scones for dessert. Amazing!
Skipton Boat Trips
The Wharf Office, 3 Coach St, Skipton BD23 1LH
Afternoon tea is often associated with elegant tea rooms and high-end hotels but sometimes it’s nice to break from the norm. In the beautiful market town of Skipton, you can enjoy a traditional afternoon in a more unusual setting. With Skipton Boat Trips, you can tuck into a fabulous afternoon tea aboard one of their canal barges whilst enjoying a 2-hour cruise along the scenic Leeds-Liverpool Canal. You’ll set off from Skipton’s picturesque canal basin and be served the traditional finger sandwiches, mini cakes and freshly baked scones as you soak up the stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales.
This is one of the best things to do in Skipton and one of the quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire that offers an experience rather than just food. Vegan and vegetarian options are available so do state your preference when booking. There’s also a fully licensed bar on board so you can pair your perfectly prepared afternoon tea with a glass of wine or perhaps a local ale.
Victoria Gate, 3rd Floor Rooftop, Leeds LS2 7AU
Another afternoon tea in Leeds worthy of a spot on our list of quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire is the excellent Japanese-inspired afternoon tea at Issho in Leeds. This really is something quite different to the usual offering. Instead of finger sandwiches and mini savouries, you get a delicious selection of freshly prepared sushi including Tuna Tatiki, Vegetable Maki, Salmon Avocado Maki and Tuna and Salmon Nigiri.
The Japanese influence doesn’t stop there! The desserts included in this £33 alternative afternoon tea in Yorkshire include Caramel Purin, Matcha Cheesecake and More. For an additional £19.30 per person, you can add free-flowing prosecco to your Japanese afternoon tea. We love the sound of this one and the venue is super stylish with a brilliant rooftop terrace offering superb views across Leeds city centre.
Granary Wharf, Wharf Approach, Leeds LS1 4BR
Another one of the best quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire with an Italian theme is this wonderful offering from Leeds favourite, LIVIN’ Italy. This friendly bar, restaurant and deli is a must-visit when exploring the Leeds foodie scene whether looking for after-work drinks or casual dining. Situated on Leeds’ trendy Granary Wharf, this relaxed and contemporary social spot serves an extensive menu of authentic Italian cuisine and all of their dishes are made using the finest of ingredients.
Afternoon tea at LIVIN’ Italy is priced at £25 per person and foodies will adore the plethora of perfectly flavoursome dishes that are included. Begin with savoury dishes including Mini Arancini Carbonara, Mini Margherita Pizzas and Short Rib Sliders, and then satisfy that sweet tooth with Chocolate Cake Cubes, Frollino Biscuits and a Tiramisu. The price includes a glass of prosecco but you can pay an extra £8 per person to wash it all down with an Aperol Spritz instead.
Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Bolton Abbey, Skipton BD23 6AF
There are numerous afternoon teas in Skipton on offer and we have already included one which we felt was a more unusual offering. However, there’s another one that deserves a spot on our list of quirky afternoon teas in Yorkshire. Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway offers one of the best things to do in Skipton – a scenic journey through the glorious Yorkshire Dales aboard an elegant steam train!
They offer various experiences throughout the year including a great Santa experience but their afternoon tea is probably one of the most popular. Climb aboard one of their lovingly restored carriages and soak up the magnificent views of the stunning Yorkshire Dales countryside which is right on Skipton’s doorstep. Priced at just £29 per person (or £49 for a VIP experience in Queen Victoria’s Royal Saloon carriage), this afternoon tea features all the expected components like finger sandwiches, scones, tarts and mini trifles.
The Steel Cauldron, Sheffield
3 Spooner Road, Sheffield S10 5BL
Open Wednesday to Sunday, this enchanting wizard-themed tea room and bar in Sheffield is beyond amazing! Step into a mesmerising world of mystery and magic and enjoy afternoon tea with a difference! The Steel Cauldron in Sheffield will both ignite imaginations and tantalise the tastebuds with an afternoon tea served in the most magnificent of settings.
Harry Potter fans will adore this quirky afternoon tea in Yorkshire but even those who haven’t quite fallen for J K Rowling’s world of wizardry are bound to love this experience. Available from 11:30 am. their now famous ‘Wizard’s Tea’ is a magical version of the traditional afternoon tea and it includes an array of quirky and colourful culinary creations. They offer a couple of different versions of this, including one specifically designed for little wizards and one for those with a more savoury tooth but their Enchanted Wizard’s Afternoon Tea is probably their bestseller. For £18 per person, it includes a selection of classic sand-witches, a slice of cake, a chocolate frog, jelly beans, a cauldron of popcorn with a chocolate wand, crisps and pretzels.