It is my personal belief that a trip to Yorkshire which doesn't involve a trip to Betty's is basically sacrilegious. Now, sitting back in London, I feel a ridiculous amount of joy writing this review whilst munching on a Betty's ginger pig biscuit.
Sadly on this trip I didn't have time to sit in the cafe and order my usual, a MASSIVE PILE OF PIKLETS and I was a tad disappointed that this Betty's unlike the one in Ilkley didn't sell any out at the front that I could take home with me.
Instead I got slightly overwhelmed by the sweet stuff on offer and nearly ordered the whole shop. I managed to restrain myself and got the aforementioned Ginger Pig (wonderfully spiced gingerbread, just the right amount of burn) and two cakes in the shape of cauliflowers. This seems to be a bit of a thing at Betty's, making small sponge cakes into the shape of things with marzipan.
In the past I've had starfish cakes, crab cakes (arf arf) and carrot cakes. If you're not a marzipan fan, do not get them! They really are covered in it. I adore the stuff and have to say it is the best god damn marzipan I've ever had. So almondy and delicious. The sponges themselves are marvellous. Light and fluffy with just the right amount of vanilla buttercream on the inside.
The other joyous thing about Betty's is that it really is like stepping back in time. It is just the most charming place and from inside you can just imagine a little urchin pressing their face at the window staring at all the goodies lined up. (In reality, that little urchin is normally me before head in and spend too much money...)
I've just realised that I've written a massive review about a tiny little cake. But honestly, they're so good they deserve it.
Darn...i've finished the ginger pig!!!
I wonder if Betty's deliver....
When I was asking around "What is there to do in York?", the top 2 things they said were: York Minster, and Betty's Cafe, so yes please! I love a good tea and scone, and trying to soak in as much as I can!
I came here for tea on my first day, and the rooms are very posh. Ask for a seating in the main upstairs dining room - its much brighter. Downstairs is nice, but its just kinda dark. All silver teapots were used (which - get very hot). I believe you get a choice between 3 teas, so I was a bit disappointed in the small selection. I went with Betty's blend - but to be honest, it didn't taste anything different from other standard afternoon tea blends. I was told my scone would arrive "cold" (well, not heated up), but when I cut through the scone, I found it to be dry, crumbly - and I really overall, did NOT care for their tea service. It came to just under £7. Maybe a better idea is to just get tea and a cake from their trolly, as I really wasn't impressed with the scone!
I did however, come back for breakfast one morning, and I have to admit, it was a pretty good breakfast rosti! Its grated potato mixed with cheese and pan fried in a pancake style (so pretty much hash brown) topped with a poached egg, bacon (which was actually fried very well, has a thick enough slab of fat fried nice and crispy), and mushrooms. It was delicious - and they redeemed themselves through the food!
The food menu is more interesting than their tea menu (though they are known for the tea service!). Lots of swiss specialties to choose from, and the menu changes every season.
So, I do recommend Betty's for their food - for their tea, its a very nice tea service, very girly and posh, but I wasn't impressed with my tea/scone :(
If there's a long line outside, don't get in line. It's good, but not worth standing in line forever. If you're rolling through town and don't have the time to wait, PUSH your way inside the door and go left to grab something from the bakery. Everything there looks delicious and somewhat expensive. The bread is tasty. I brought a Sloe Gin fruit cake home for my brother and his wife, but am now realizing I never heard how they liked it. i should ask them if they still have the tin, it was a good tin.
I did go inside Betty's for tea when my mother visited. It was fun and fancy, the food was good, but it also felt a little Dickensian, seeing the solemn faces outside the window standing in line to come in. I felt a little rushed to make the table avaiable for new people, even though everybody has to wait.
I really love the cakes and pastries at Betty's, I just don't waste time standing in the queue waiting to get in since I live here. If you're just visiting in town and have the time on hand, I'd say give it a go. Their food is great and it's a nice place to go for afternoon tea, breakfast, lunch, whatever. You can also just buy cakes if that's what you're there for - you have to squeeze through the front door but immediately go to the left and you can buy something take away. Lovely part of York's tourist attractions.
We heard many good words before we went to York and we decided to try it out. We actually went twice, one for the afternoon tea, and the other time for the breakfast.
The Afternoon tea was frankly just ok. I think because I was expecting too much and it turned out to be nothing spectacular. Also we just had a wonderful afternoon tea experience at the Sketch in London, so we were a bit hard to be impressed at that point.
However I think the breakfast was actually better. I give Betty's four-star primarily for the breakfast. I had the classic English breakfast and my hubby had one of the Rostis - can't remember which one it was. Both were actually pretty good, especially the Rostis. Perhaps because it was not very common in the US, we really enjoyed it.
Waited about half an hour for the afternoon tea and about 10 mins for the breakfast. Servers were quite friendly. I would go back if I'll ever visit York again.
OK peeps lets be frank here- Betty's is way over-priced. Take one look at their incredibly elegant and pretty menu and you'll see what I mean!
Don't get me wrong, it's a gorgeous shop with such a great history to it, and going there for a cuppa is definitely a special treat!
Would I wait in line to get a seat here? No. I have visited Betty's a total of three times but I am in no rush to go again, particularly if there is a line of people waiting outside starring at you to finish up, and at very busy times feeling a bit rushed through. You go there I suppose more for the ambience rather than the food but I would not rave that it is the best tea room I have been to in the UK.
*Tip* If you do go make sure you request a table on the first floor (the main floor where the bakery is) rather than downstairs. It's fine downstairs- feels like a ship, but upstairs is a little prettier in my opinion!
Great place to spend an afternoon with good company and tea. I've been there multiple times, and it's always a hit!
Try the Betty's Traditional Afternoon tea, it comes with small sandwiches, scones, cakes, and cream. It might seem like a lot, but it really isn't. Plan to order this only for two persons as it would prove insufficient for more people. It comes with one tea pot of their own franchise blend. If you drink a lot of tea, it will be better to order an extra one instead of just sharing that one. I would suggest to go for the earl grey.
I can't wait to have a full day of indulgence with other girlfriends, and opt to go for the Betty's Pink Champagne Afternoon tea experience.
One last thing, it always has a long queue/line. You'll have to plan for this and be patient, especially if you're a large party.
Betty's Cafe Tea Room was certainly a treat after a long morning of touring the quaint city of York and seeing the university. I was warned by my friend, who's native of the area, that Betty's is a tourist trap and to not be blinded by their flawless silverware and delectable tea cakes. Let's just say I never told him I ended up going after he so vehemently bashed the place and I do not regret it one bit!
Betty's, is a perfect place to have that afternoon tea. The interior of the cafe is fitting to its location in the heart of York. With high strung windows in multitudes, the natural light elicits a country warmth from the perfectly set tables, the symphony of murmurs and the light clinks of the teaspoon. The menu is seasonal thus keeping their patrons on their toes. The menu offers an array of different cakes, house blend teas, specialty teas, coffees, breakfast items, main meals, sandwiches, wines, aperatifs and an assortment of desserts. Depending on the type of diner you are, a simple tea and cakes diner will look to spend about 10-15 pounds, where a full three course meal and tea type diner can expect to spend about 25-30 pounds. The prices may seem steep in comparison to many other cafes, but Betty's offers something that can not be bought.
The ultimate truth about Betty's is the amorous atmosphere it provides its customers. The staff is extremely friendly, the service area is roomy and bright and the whole feel of the organization inspires a need to be reflective. Be sure to be in great company when you visit Betty's because I'm 100% confident you'll have one of the best chats of your life when you're there. All in all, I know I had a great time and would love to go back given the chance.
The only con is the wait. On a busy day, you'll be asked to queue at the door and ogle their takeaway goods at the front counter.
I LOVE going to Betty's. While it's a treat, being that things on the menu are on the pricier side (in terms of a student budget), I still enjoy every trip. The place is classy and I can recommend going a bit jazzed up although there is no specific dress code. It's got an absolutely charming ambiance and the service is pretty good.
The afternoon tea is delightful with all the expected fixings. The sandwiches are of great quality as is everything else that comes with the afternoon tea. Being a Swiss tea house, you can expect the chocolate and cheese to be superb. It gets quite busy during lunch and high tea time because it's both popular and a tourist attraction.
There is a great selection of tea available on the menu, though it pales compared to your tea houses in Warsaw and the like. It's got plenty of black teas to suit your varying temperances.
I can very much recommend the Fat Rascal and a good ol' cuppa as a small meal or a bigger snack. It's a lot bigger than your average scone and quite hearty in terms of scones. I have visited the Betty's in York, the Ilkley house and the original place in Harrogate and liked them all.
This is a review on the downstairs cafe, only. Didn't venture up into the tea room.
Got there, wanted to grab a couple things for the walk, and asked if we could get a tea to go? The expression on the counter-girl's face looked as if someone had farted, as she snidely said, "Takeaway is at Starbucks, down the street."
Really? You work the counter at a sweets shot. A simple "no" would do.
Chalk up another one for international friendship and understanding...
Walking into this shop is like walking into an immaculate bakery. There isn't the smell of fresh baked bread, but there is a sweetness in the air. The hustle and bustle of the cafe upstairs isn't audible to the patrons downstairs.
I visited Betty on a visit to York and I really wanted to try English tea. The actual tea was nothing spectacular. It's not like I could have ordered Darjeeling. But the scones. My goodness, with the clotted cream. I still miss English clotted cream. Some of the best stuff of earth. Service was prompt. As for friendly, I can't remember if they were just very professional or very quick with their service. There isn't the warmth I'm used to.
A good place to spend some time eating some great English nosh.
We spent a month in York and our meal at Bettys was our least favorite meal. Bettys is a tourist trap and the lines are long at popular times. We made the mistake of eating dinner here. Our meals were only so-so. Our dessert, however, was very nice. I would recommend Bettys for tea and cake and skip the other food.
It also took a long time for the waitress to come to our table and she wasn't very friendly (at least to us).
I've been here twice. The first time I was surprised to see the massive line, but heard so many great things about it that I decided I'd give it a try. Waited, waited, waited...finally got seated. We were put in a little corner downstairs away from everything else, so that sucked a bit of the ambiance away from it, but I tried to go forward and enjoy some good teas and food.
Honestly, from what I've experienced, it's pretty average. The food wasn't anything to rave about, nor was the tea. One positive was the customer service - the wait staff was very friendly, even if our server did take a bit too long to bring us our check after we asked for it a few times.
PROTIP: If you're looking for a quick and delicious snack, run in front of the line to the bakery section. Grab a couple scones. They're available at a fraction of the price of what you pay when you're sitting down, they're just as good, and you get to jump the queue. The restaurant would get 3 stars, but the quick and yummy cheap scones bounce it up to 4.
The ambiance at Betty's is charismatic enough to give it five stars, based solely on that aspect alone; this is an ingenious Swiss enterprise opened in 1919 with a distinctly English feel, that could transform even the most cynical tourist into an Anglophile.
Thankfully there is more substance to this little slice of heaven than just an alluring façade; the servers are warm and the food is hearty (fair warning: it's pricey, but what isn't here?)
I prefer little Betty's rather than the larger one; you can wait in line on an indoor staircase, as opposed to outside at the other one and the dining room(s) are intimate and cozy, complete with fireplaces, English country decor ( think teapots and flowers) and subdued voices.
I don't have a negative thing to say about this place:
The Betty's breakfast blend tea is delectable and mellow
The breakfast Rösti is a delicious Swiss option (one of several) on the menu; potatoes, egg, bacon, gruyere, tomato...I was assured by a Swiss woman we met on the stairs that this was an authentic dish and beloved by her father (OK, I'm sold.)
Needless to say, I cleared my plate.
Betty's is just one more reason to visit this enigmatic city.
As a former broke college studying abroad student, Betty's was our "girl's day out" must stop destination. The tea, scones, and cream were a divine and quintessential piece of English heaven. I advise anyone visiting York to spoil yourself with a day at Betty's.
We really enjoyed the excellent rhubarb crumble, red wine and tea at this elegant tea house. There was a live pianist who made the experience truly memorable. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants tea or a light meal in elegant surroundings
I HAD to make a yelp account just to review this place. The fact that it doesn't have all 5 stars is insane.
My mom and I traveled to York for the day from Manchester and needed somewhere to stop to eat when a local recommended Betty's to us.
Absolute best breakfast I have ever had. We didn't get tea but instead simple eggs and english muffins. They really know how to perfectly execute the dishes. Along with fresh squeezed orange juice and very nice waitresses, this place is perfect for visitors to the city. The building is adorable as well as the narrow steep staircase that takes you to the upstairs dining room. I still dream about this place!
Enjoyed afternoon tea at Betty's and was quite pleased. Being a tea novice, I'm at a bit of a disadvantage as to the official proprieties and etiquette that go along with afternoon tea. Unless it's in a bag with a string and tag I don't know what to do with all the tea paraphernalia. That being said, I found Betty's service efficient and pleasant, tea hot ands tasty and relatively leaf free (when I remembered to use the strainer), and sandwich quarters, scone and sweets light, delicious and filling.
This is a local chain. This particular location was busy, cozy and cell-phone free. I went there a couple of times -- once for breakfast and once for tea. They have en extensive offering of teas and coffees. I discovered pikelets for the first time -- a kind of pancake and one of the only things on their menu without eggs. The only pastry that they had without eggs was a little too sweet for my liking. The service is friendly and the place is clean.
A 'must visit' place if you are in York. Yorkshire meets Switzerland and, strangely, good things happen.
A must for everyone visiting York. Great treats for lunch.
Love the Betty's Tea Room décor and service was great. Order the Betty's Speciality Afternoon Tea: came with 3 sandwiches (shrimp w/avacado, chicken mixed in w/eggs, and bruchetta), rasian scone, 3 desserts (lemon bar, eclair, and rasberry tart), and jasmine tea (many other choices). Everything was tasty.
Lovely decoration and location. Good service. Pretty good food. Overall a nice experience. However: not cheap; full of tourists; usually have to queue to get in. A better bet may be "Little Betty's" (same chain) just up Stonegate. This is a bit more cosy, but with the same upper-class service.
It's a great place. The tea is very good. My cheesecake is also very yummy.
Betty's deserves it's fame. I tell everyone I know to go to have tea here at least once.
I went here with my friend who is at uni in York for her birthday. The service is amazing. It's so lovely to see how things used to be! We had some lovely ginger cake and I bought a fat rascal from the shop to take away with me which was also delicious. It gets sooo busy at the weekends, especially running up to christmas with queues around the square! But it is worth it, it's a yorkshire institute.
I didn't get chance to venture in this place myself but have heard great things about it and people were still queing outside to get in after 4 pm on a freezing cold saturday so this place must be something really special. I'd suggest if your going to visit leave yourself plently of time to que to get in or perhaps try durning the week. They sell a large selection of tea and coffee as well as yummy cakes.
this is the place to go, to be seen. its known as big bettys as there are 2 bettys tearooms, in york. has a really nice open plan feel and is always busy!
it has nice big glass windows for people to look at people eating, as they walk pass. or for the people eating to look at the people watching them eat?
as its so expensive, the cafe serves everything with exceptional presentation! and afternoon tea, the cakes are served on them tiered plates, not sure what you call them? so worth the extra few pounds, just for the service and presentation!
the shop section sells a fab selection of breads and cakes. along with chocolates and savoury items. the window display always looks so inviting!
I believe this is one of the most well known tea shops in the UK. And its quite old too. I always look forward to going here, not always top notch, but decadence and just to be surrounded by gentile folk who all enjoy a cream tea like me. Queues are out of the door as its slap bang in the middle of the touristy area, but well worth the wait. or there is Little Betty's around the corner and they have one in Harrogate. A yorkshire institution.
A really lovely tea room. veeery expensive though. people que outside the door at all times for a table. it it open till late too. They sell really beautiful and tasty pastries and cakes.
Very high standard tea rooms with lovely atmosphere,and very polite staff and out standing service. A little more expensive than a typical tea and coffee shop but worth every penny.
Exclusive to York and Harrogate, Betty's attracts a higher calibre of tea-drinkers who are confident enough of its quality and service to queue out of the door. Although the place is charming and retains almost all of its Edwardian traditions in décor, recipes, service and dress, Betty's is an expensive treat and may be seen as a little stuffy. The trays of cakes and cucumber sandwiches are certainly delicious, and the glass windows all around make it an excellent spot for people-watching. It's not for everyone, but if you eat there I recommend a visit downstairs where you can see another level of Betty's history. Scratched on the glass by the toilets are the signatures of pilots and soldiers from the Second World War who attended Betty's when it was the social hotspot and nightclub of the 1940's. Quite possibly those who remember it as such still go, for I'd venture to say that most of the clientele has surpassed pension age, and subsequently it might be less busy on a Monday morning.
Betty's is so popular it has become a tourist attraction itself, with people queueing out of the doors into St Helen's square every day in high season. It's a traditional English tearoom with a history. Architechtually it's based on a ship and there are full length windows on the ground floor so you can watch the world go by.
The best things to have are probably cakes and tea or coffee, with the milkshakes being very good too. Although the meals are good, they're nothing special and are over-priced. You'd get something much cheaper and better elsewhere in York.
Having said that, a visit to Bettys is worth it. Do venture downstairs and see the mirror signed by WW2 servicemen, I believe it's listed or historically protected in some way and is interesting. Even if you don't eat in the cafe, do buy something from the shop, the cakes are amazing.
This is strictly for the tea rooms, where I found the lunch options bland, sandwiches on less-than-fresh bread with very average fillings, all packaged as high tea and costing really inordinate prices. Nothing I tasted, from start to finish, including cakes to finish, justified Betty's special reputation and the constant queues (tourists to York must be a bit gullible).
Either they changed the menu or it's listed separately, but I'm nearly certain they served a special 'champagne tea' costing £50. Absolutely shameless.
The bakery has higher standards, and is certainly good for some local specialities, but that's takeaway and not part of this review.
Lovely coffee, hot chocolate and cakes. Not the cheapest but worth a visit. Can get busy as it is a popular tourist spot so you might have to queue but they seem to go quickly. Despite being a bit of a tourist trap the food was lovely and the service very nice.
You can't get much quainter than a Yorkshire morning or afternoon tea served at Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms overlooking St Helen's Square in York.
Although the Harrogate branch of Betty's was the first to open, the York branch is the quintesential 1930s tearoom with uniformed maids and a wonderful selection of teas and cakes.
You will almost always see a queue of 20+ people, especially between 11am and 4pm waiting to be seated, but don't let this put you off. The wait is worth it if you value individual service and lovely food. It's not a quick lunch but then back in the 1920s and 30s people didn't bolt their food and the time spent chatting and sipping tea was considered part of a healthy lifestyle.
If you really can't wait you have two options - Betty's does takeaway cakes and buns (the speciality is a cross between a rock cake and scone called a fat rascal) from it's main store, and there is a Little Betty's shop just a couple of minutes walk away on Stonegate (cobbled street towards York Minster)
The only thing to watch out for is that you may not get a table in the main tearoom overlooking the square - but if you are taken down to the basement, don't worry too much because although it has no windows, the service is just as good.
Wonderful pre-war atmosphere, beloved by my parents in the 1930s. Possible an original example of fusion cuisine: Swiss plus Yorkshire. Quality of food and service is outstanding, as demonstrated by the queues that form shortly after it opens at 9:00am. Queuing reaches peaks at mid-morning, lunchtime and tea-time. Go at 9:00am on the dot on a Sunday morning and have a decadent breakfast over the Sunday papers (available at Betty's). I always order the breakfast club sandwich, a double-decker confection of local bacon and sausage, with chutney. It's not on the menu but the kitchen always provides
I had the opportunity to visit York mid-September to see what all the fuss was surrounding this northern town. The first hint that it was more than your average town was when I tried to reserve a bed and breakfast one week in advance. After calling 15 B&B's, I gave up and booked the lovely Hotel du Vin (more about that later). It was all for the best, but just reminded me that in England to get anything decent (hotel rooms, restaurant reservations, concert tickets, tennis court times) you have to be organized and book way in advance. Bettys was recommended to me by a Yorkshirewoman (I assume they aren't called Yorkies!) and it was our first port of call. Apparently it is an institution up in York, so I shouldn't have been shocked to see a lineup snaking around the side but as we were only two and were OK with sitting in the basement (which was fine) we were seated right away. I was hungry and obviously felt quite rich as I went for the GBP 20 (CDN 30) Bettys Specialty Afternoon Tea. I was presented with a very nice pot of tea and a tower of goodies. On the bottom I had three deluxe open faced sandwiches, followed by a sultana (raisin) scone (and no you can't get have one without raisins) followed by a selection of sweets including an éclair, macaroon and lemon cake. The food wasn't outstanding and probably not worth the price but it was a bit of an experience. I really felt that all the food was made in house (due to the fact that there was a big booklet advertising all sorts of courses you could take chez Bettys) which is a bit of a miracle these days and the food was very good (although not fantastic). The highlight was the atmosphere, and the low point was probably the service. Although they were very polite and got me my tea straight away, the bill took absolute ages.
Bettys is a fantastic old style tea rooms. They have the option to eat/drink in or take-away from the wonderful pastry counter. If you want to experience Bettys in York make sure you go early morning or outside Peak hours, or you wil be queuing up down the street. It is worth the wait though!
The most amazing cafe in the centre of York. Be prepared for long queues, especially for the afternoon tea rush. It's expensive, but worth every penny. The tiny, dainty sandwiches are a treat, the tea is delicious, and the waitresses are all in old-fashioned uniforms. A delight.
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