Tea at Bettys is classier than anything down south

We don’t just eat Yorkshire puds in Yorkshire


Bettys tea rooms in Yorkshire are nationally renowned for their posh cakes, bakes and savoury treats, with thousands of people flocking to one of their six tea rooms across Yorkshire every year.

“Yorkshire?” I hear you say, as we are not exactly renowned for our posh eating habits up north (think rhubarb and Yorkshire puds) – but Bettys is something else.


Bettys is a sanctuary of luxury food and drink where ordinary people, like you and I, can pretend we are posh for an hour while we sip on a porcelain teacup of Single Estate Rwandan Gisovu (yeah, we don’t know either).

People travel far and wide to Bettys tea rooms to savour the taste of Bettys’ English heritage, and it’s perhaps the only tea room north of Watford where you’re offered honey and lemon with your tea (loose leaf, always) as an alternative to milk.

But it’s the true Yorkshire super fans who really adore Bettys. There’s a niche cult who regularly follow the updates to the menu, the swap from the cucumber to the prawn mayonnaise sandwich in the afternoon tea selection, and the new member of staff at the Ilkley tea room.

These are the people who visit regularly, week in week out, to savour a bite of the silver tea strainer lifestyle.  There’s nowhere quite like Bettys where a group of retired ladies can flock together and discuss their love for champagne and gooseberry macaroons.

And although the decor slightly resembles your posh granny’s living room, with lots of beige cushions, florals and the odd antique teapot, Bettys has become secretly cool among the younger generation in Yorkshire.

It’s not uncommon to see a group of teens or 20-somethings half way down the mile long Saturday lunchtime queue every now and then, waiting to see what the hype is all about.

But who can blame them? Once you have tasted Betty’s pink fondant fancies (complete with floral decoration), you will never want a standard Mr Kipling one again – sorry Mr K, but it’s true.

Bettys is so overly British that there’s not an event which goes by where they don’t produce a specialty cake.  Every occasion on the Great British calendar is marked with a special addition to the menu, so much so that there are currently Corgi shortbreads available to celebrate the Queen’s birthday – cute, but almost too cute that you don’t actually want to eat it.

The eating in experience is quite spectacular.  The waiting staff are dressed in Victorian-style pinafores, with shoes like the ones the nursing student in your halls would wear on placement, and an embroidered blouse.  So, probably not the best place to work if you don’t want to look like Anna the maid from Downton Abbey.

All the teas are served with a tea strainer, so if you aren’t familiar with the method then maybe Google it before you go to save the awkward moment when you’re served.

Here are our best Bettys picks if you are visiting anytime soon:

Fondant fancy: The best Victoria sponge squares dipped in yellow or pink fondant icing and decorated with little flowers (or fireworks if it is bonfire night). Defo the classic of the classics, 10/10 from us.

Fat rascal: Despite the slightly euphemistic name, a fat rascal is basically just a really fruity scone with a face made out of glacé cherries and almonds.  Pretty good when toasted and served with butter, and one of Bettys most popular bakes.

Swiss breakfast rösti: The best of the breakfast menu in our opinion.  What can be better than a combo of cheese, potato, cream, bacon and a poached egg?  The answer is nothing.

But, of course any place that serves cream cakes, bread and coffee is going to be popular in our books.

However, one of the very few down sides of the spectacular that is Betty’s is the price tag. With the afternoon tea coming in at £26.85 per person, it’s probably best to give mum a call and see if she fancies taking you.