I absolutely love afternoon tea and I have been searching for the ultimate afternoon tea in and around Leeds. Naturally, I don’t let that stop me from sampling outside of Leeds!
What do I want from an afternoon tea? Great scones, preferably warm, delicate patisserie items and decent sandwich fillings. These are the basics. To improve on that I want a selection of types of tea, immaculate presentation and fizz. To exceed further, show me something different. Always, always, give me value for money.
Where else could I start, other than Betty’s…
Betty’s, Harrogate, York
The afternoon tea of the North! I have had afternoon tea here several times and never been disappointed. Intricate little patisserie items, warm scones, good sandwich fillings and great service. They always swap out my egg sandwiches and replace with a salmon one. It’s a little on the pricey side, but worth it.
Creams British luxury, Leeds
I like the fact that you can choose different types of afternoon tea at Creams. You can get a traditional afternoon tea or an Eastern style one that comes with a naanwich instead of a sandwich. Great idea! I have tried both and they are both nice. They are also reasonably priced and I love a Creams macaron. Although perfectly pleasant, not the most memorable.
Mama Doreens, Harrogate, Moortown
Oh Mama Doreens. Mama Doreens reminds me of my school reports, Lots of potential but lacks effort. Mama Doreens cakes look amazing and they taste pretty good. The shops are gorgeous and the staff are friendly. Their afternoon tea hits right on the nail with the unique factor. So what lets it down? Organisational effort. I had booked in for a festive afteroon tea for my friend and I. A couple of days before I was due to go I gave them a ring to ask what was included. I asked for a couple of swaps to be made and I also reserved a couple of their cupcakes to take home. The lady on the phone was perfectly pleasant and confirmed my swaps. A couple of days later I arrived excitedly. The tearoom in Harrogate was dressed up all festively. The afternoon tea arrives but my swaps haven’t been made and some of the things advertised were missing. I give the staff a shout and a young lady goes downstairs and returns with extra quiche. I advised that I didn’t want extra quiche but I wanted for the sandwich fillings that I had asked for. The staff explain that as it is 4pm and “you have left it until the end of the day”, this is all that is left. No no no I say, I’ve had this booked in for weeks and I confirmed details two days ago. Surely you should cater to order? But this was shrugged off. When I came to leaving I went to buy the cupcakes I had reserved. Of course they were not there either. My friend and I both left very disappointed. I contacted Mama Doreens a few times to address my experience. I heard nothing. I chased it up. Nothing. I contacted again and suggested that if I was to be offered a discount, I would like to purchase another afternoon tea to see if I got a different experience. Nothing. If they had stayed in Moortown I might have been tempted to buy the odd cupcake every now and then, although many occasions I found they hadn’t bothered to open, I certainly wouldn’t travel to Harrogate for it.
Before the bad service 8/10, after the bad service 5/10 (if you get what is advertised)
Cosmopolitan Hotel, Leeds
Perhaps not somewhere I would have thought of for afternoon tea but I had a voucher and thought I would give it a try. It was lovely! Big warm fresh scones, massive slabs of fluffy Victoria sponge, cute little pavlovas, decent sandwiches and a decent glass of fizz! Definitely somewhere I will return to.
Devonshire Fell, Burnsall
A lovely building in a gorgeous location. I was asked if I wanted to sit in the lounge or the conservatory, I chose the conservatory with it’s beautiful views. The atmosphere was relaxed with a Live Lounge album playing quietly in the background. My favourite thing about this afternoon tea was the patisserie items. Perfect in terms of looking and tasting fantastic! I have recommended this place for afternoon tea several times since I had the pleasure of going.
Sunshine Bakery, Leeds
Oh my! Sunshine Bakery! I have been here several times, I’ve lived close to here for 6 years and yet I had not tried their afternoon tea. I longed for somewhere cutesy with beautiful cupcakes and I found this little gem! Small yet perfectly formed, nestled in Chapel Allerton. Their afternoon tea is just fantastic! £13 for standard but upgrade to a hot sandwich for £1, I encourage you to do this! I chose a jerk chicken hot sandwich and it was immense. I just loved this afternoon tea. Everything looked great, it tasted great, it was really colourful, great price and I had to take home a doggy bag, it was so huge! I can’t recommend this place enough for a fantastic all round afternoon tea. Sensational!
Great scones, good patisserie items, nice presentation. I enjoyed it and I would go again if invited but it wouldn’t be top of my list.
Really cute little place with homemade treats. I’ve had afternoon here three times and I’ve enjoyed each time. The slabs of cake are huge, you’ll never leave here hungry! The last afternoon tea I had here was definitely the best. The sandwich fillings were of fantastic quality, I’m talking thick cut deli ham. The service was great as usual. I don’t know what it is about this place but I always leave feeling ever so slightly underwhelmed. I wonder if it’s because the cakes don’t taste as amazing as they look. Not that you should fault a place because their cakes look too good! Nevertheless I’ve returned in the past and I wouldn’t rule out returning again.
The Langham, London
I can’t talk about afternoon tea without talking about The Langham. It is the home of afternoon tea. It is the epitome of luxury without being stuffy and pretentious. They won my heart when they played happy birthday to me on the piano to be fair! Okay so The Langham is pricey. It’s not your everyday place but it’s absolutely worth a visit if you love afternoon tea. You start with an amuse bouche, not that you need it with the amount you eat. They cannot stop feeding you, even when we were full they insisted on bringing us just one more sandwich, whichever we liked the most. The scones were perfect and kept under a blanket for warmth. The pastries and cakes were intricate and delicious. Of course there was a choice of tea. The highlight for me was the balsamic Victoria sponge. I would absolutely love to return here.
The Lakeside Hotel, Lake District
It’s hard not to love it here with it’s beautiful setting. I’ve had afternoon tea here twice and enjoyed them both but been absolutely stuffed both times. I saw notable improvements from the first time I came here and he second. The first time seemed to be about filling the tiers with as many treats as possible. The second time showed that they had reduced the options but increased the quality. Nevertheless, I did leave a couple of things because I didn’t care that much for them after the first taste. It’s not like me to leave anything sweet so this wasn’t the best sign. Despite this, it’s definitely somewhere to try if you are in the area. What I do love about this place is the tea. You are presented with an array of test tubes with different numbers on the corks. You also receive a menu where you can correspond the tubes with the number in the menu. There is plenty of choice and it’s so fun sniffing your way through all the tubes!
Please feel free to suggest anywhere that might make the 10/10 spot!