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 in the region we could find a quirky afternoon tea. We were not disappointed!
Where to Find a Quirky Afternoon Tea in Yorkshire…
Cupcakes 2 Love, Doncaster
Cupcakes 2 Love in Doncaster offer 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, their current themes include Beauty & The Beast, Fortnite, Friends, Harry Potter, James Bond, Finding Nemo, Lego, and The Lion King. We love the look of this Game of Thrones afternoon tea!
These guys are professional cake makers and supply wedding and occasion cakes in and around the Doncaster region. It’s no wonder their 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. For adults, the cost is £25 and for children, it’s £18 (10 – 15 years) or £7.50 (3 – 9 years).
Betty’s Vintage Hut, Littondale
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 or even as a pit stop to refuel and refresh during a walk through the Dales. 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.
Afternoon Tea at Betty’s Vintage Hut costs £15 per person ( minimum of 2 people and maximum of 10).
Taylormade Treats, Bingley
Taylormade Treats in Bingley is an award-winning cafe and patisserie serving breakfast and lunch.
Up until recently, they were also offering wonderful bespoke occasion cakes so you can expect their sweet treats to be exceptionally good!
Taylormade Treats offer the typical afternoon tea with the expected components but they also offer a magical Unicorn-themed version for all ages. Adults and children over 12 (£13.50) receive a selection of sandwiches, a mini savoury treat, scone with jam and clotted cream, mini unicorn treats, a mini unicorn milkshake and unlimited tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. Children (ages 6 – 11 for £8.50 and under 5’s for £6.95) will get finger sandwiches, rainbow vegetables, mini unicorn milkshake and sweet treats plus unlimited cordial and hot chocolate.
Twisted Teapot, Barnsley
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 ambiance for a quirky dining experience. Inspiration for the decor was obviously 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. For £23, you get drinks on arrival, a starter, a main and then the customary 3 tiers of cakes and desserts. All drinks on the menu are unlimited but they don’t serve alcohol. You are invited to take your own if you so wish.
Countess of York at The Railway Museum, York
The Countess of York at The Railway Museum offers one of the finest afternoon tea experiences in York. Board the beautifully restored rail carriage and tuck into a fine dining afternoon tea menu of sumptuous starters, perfectly prepared finger sandwiches and a selection of exceedingly good cakes and desserts.
Their Afternoon Tea menu for Spring 2019 includes Minted Pea with Watercress Soup, Red Leicester and cherry tomato tartlet, 3 varieties of sandwich, freshly baked scones with berry preserve and vanilla-infused cream and a selection of 5 mini treats. Their Traditional Afternoon Tea is £23.50 and they offer a Champagne Afternoon Tea for £30.50.
Cake’ole in Skipton is a treasure trove of sugary creations. The Skipton cafe was the first Cake’ole to open and the owners have since opened venues in Keighley and Bradford. The quirky decor found in each of their cafes provides the perfect backdrop for their marvellous cakes, which are much sought after by locals as well as celebrities and TV personalities.
Their main menu is lengthy and includes sandwiches, paninis, breakfasts and a delicious array of sodas and twisted milkshakes. Each day, their impressive cabinet displays a different selection of magnificent cakes which are just as pleasing on the eye as they are on the palate.
In addition to their Traditional Afternoon Tea which includes sandwiches, crisps, scones, and their famous cakes, they also offer an afternoon tea just for kids. Prices for this start at £6 per child (minimum of three children) and includes either a soda, milkshake or twisted milkshake. Beautifully presented in their signature “Mad Hatter’s tea party” style, the kids afternoon tea stand is brimming with savoury treats as well as pretty cakes and sweetshop favorites.
Dulcie Butterfly, Boston Spa
Dulcie Butterfly is a vintage tea room with a shabby chic gift shop on Boston Spa High Street. Decorated with pastel colours and pretty floral patterns, one would expect this feminine tearoom to have a predominantly female customer base. However, just as afternoon tea is no longer reserved for the upper classes, it is no longer a custom associated primarily with females. Dulcie Butterfly serves a wonderful afternoon tea, especially for men.
The Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea costs £13 pp and includes pork pie, half a scotch egg, pickles, crisps, 2 cheese selection and crackers, chutney, a jam and cream scone, and a pot of Yorkshire tea or coffee.
Malmaison in Leeds is located in Leeds city centre and is part of a chain of trendy boutique hotels. As well as the usual elements such as the scone with jam and cream, afternoon tea at Malmaison includes treats one wouldn’t normally associate with the custom. Just as their hotel is vibrant and modern, as is their take on the traditional afternoon tea.
For £19.95 you’ll get a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, dark chocolate mousse, a strawberry shake, Battenberg slice, salted caramel banoffee tart, lemon meringue cupcake, Mal slider (a miniature homemade burger), Coronation chicken wrap, oak smoked salmon with cucumber and cream cheese on rye, and your choice of tea.
York Cocoa House, York
York Cocoa House is a working chocolate manufactory based on Castlegate, York. The city’s link to this popular treat is no secret as some of the UK’s most famous chocolate brands started out here. At York Cocoa House, you can get your hands on some delicious chocolates to take home with you or even book one of their workshops so you can have a go at making your own.
However, indulgence doesn’t stop there! In their onsite cafe, you can tuck into a splendid chocolate-themed afternoon tea. Priced at £17.50, the Afternoon Chocolatada is an absolute must for chocoholics. Each item on the menu contains chocolate in some form, whether it be sweet or savoury.
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