Betty Cafe Tea Room, Harrogate, Harrogate
This is the flagship Bettys Cafe Tea Room and shop on the top corner of Parliament Street. Its wrought iron canopies, italic insignia and hanging baskets are as much defining emblems of Harrogate as the town’s municipal flower beds and its queues are daily testament to this small chain’s enduring popularity.
The Montpelier Café Bar on the ground floor serves sandwiches and cakes but the full tea room experience comes with a window seat in the café or on a weekend with afternoon tea in the Imperial Room (the only place you can make a reservation).
Once settled the prizes are intact with all the tortes, éclairs, and cream cakes trundling by on the laden trolley. Old fashioned favourites are revived with buttery cinnamon toast and hot pikelets. Yorkshire traditions are upheld with warm fat rascals, Yorkshire tea loaf, parkin and curd tart. Try out one of their superb rare coffees with top of the range Blue Mountain Peaberry or a speciality tea – China Rose Petal. It’s not just about cakes. There are grills and rarebits, salads and sandwiches and a sensible children’s menu. Some whingers complain about high prices for a pot of tea and a toasted teacake. Well, whinge away. We like it for the setting, the people-watching – classic Harrogate dowagers still totter in regularly – the invariably charming service under pressure and the high standard of produce and cooking. Go off peak – try breakfast or five o’clock tea – and enjoy Bettys Cafe Tea Room, one of Yorkshire’s timeless treats.