Betty’s Cafe Tea Room Harlow Carr, Harrogate
For years Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms made do with five tea rooms in the genteel Yorkshire hotspots of Harrogate, Ilkley, Northallerton and York (where they have two). Everyone wondered why they didn’t open more branches or re-open their long-lost Leeds operation but Bettys have been doing very nicely thank you for the last 90 years without having to roll out the brand across the UK. Then a few of years ago they sprang a surprise by opening Bettys Cafe Tea Room, Harlow Carr, the Royal Horticultural Society garden on the edge of Harrogate.
It was, of course, a perfect fit. The RHS gardens cover 58 acres of plant research, information, courses, a plant centre and shop but above all a haven of good gardening. Even so, until its own revamp and the arrival of Bettys, Harlow Carr was more of a specialist taste than a hot destination.
Now both bedfellows are going great guns. The inevitable Bettys queues are testament to its success but go off peak and it kicks off or rounds off a lovely day out with your mate or your mum especially in summer when you can sit on the terrace or picnic in the Betty’s Tea House in the garden.
At breakfast, lunch or tea this branch has all the best of Bettys: bacon and Raclette rosti, steak pie, butternut squash and chestnut pasta, salads and sandwiches and of course their ever delicious baking: scones, fat rascals, vanilla slice, meringues, curd tart, fondant fancies or simply a slice of Yorkshire tea loaf.
And above all their selection of superb teas and coffees remains the most romantic itinerary of the world. Where shall we dip into today: Nepal Snow River or Peruvian Pangoa? El Salvador Apple Grove or China Rose Petal? The choice is beguiling, but that’s the raison d’etre of all the Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms.