afternoon tea at bettys

A Swiss-Yorkshire Afternoon Tea At Bettys

There are very few places in the world where the Dales meets the Alps. Bettys, however, is one of them. Combining Swiss finesse with our home of Yorkshire’s charming hospitality, Bettys is the epitome of England’s traditional afternoon tea culture. Here, discover the story behind one of the world’s most renowned tea room empire…

afternoon tea at bettys

A Tale Of Frederick Belmont

Bettys‘ beginning is intertwined with the life of Frederick Belmont. The Swiss gentleman arrived in Yorkshire’s leafy spa town of Harrogate a century ago with just a single Gladstone bag of belongings. With a natural flair for high-class cuisine and an education from one of Switzerland’s finest cookery schools, Belmont opened his first tea room in Harrogate in 1919. Blending Yorkshire’s warm and friendly nature with the Swiss’ artisan approach to baking, Mr Belmont was the talk of the town for quite some time. The puzzlement of Betty’s identity is still alive to this day. However, rumour has it that Frederick had taken a particular liking to English actress, Betty Balfour.

Wartime In York

Just before WWII, Belmont traveled on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary. Inspired by the grandeur of its art deco interior, he commissioned the ship’s craftsmen and designers to renovate an old, dilapidated furniture shop in the heart of York. Situated in St Helen’s Square, Bettys York became the regular meeting place for airmen stationed in the city during the war. To this day, a mirror etched with hundreds of servicemen’s signatures hangs on the wall in the basement. Bettys history is also reflected through their classic Victorian uniform. Untouched for decades, Betty’s staff run the tea rooms in historic attire, reminiscent of the traditions it upholds.

afternoon tea at bettys
afternoon tea at bettys

England’s Tea Culture

A cornerstone of Yorkshire and a desirable tourist spot for travelers around the world, Bettys tearooms have become the most desired place to experience England’s iconic afternoon tea. Observe the queues outside the tearooms on a weekend and you’re bound to come across, say, a Chinese lady and a German gentleman both waiting with equal anticipation. Like eating snails in a tiny Parisian restaurant or arancini in a Sicilian seaside eatery, Bettys’ afternoon tea offers that quintessential English experience the world both craves and expects.

Bettys’ Afternoon Tea

Dating back to Edwardian times when afternoon tea was an elite social pastime, this English sweet and savoury delicacy has been perfected by Bettys over the past ninety-five years. Afternoon tea at Bettys is presented on a fine china tea tray with three tiers, an assortment of small cakes are always displayed on the top level, followed by freshly baked scones served with fruit preserves and Yorkshire clotted cream. On the bottom tier lies an array of savoury sandwiches. Not forgetting the tea, of course, this is served in silverware and poured into a traditional cup and saucer.

afternoon tea at bettys

How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Tea


1. Filter your water

Use a water filter before making your tea to ensure purity.


2. Don’t overboil

This causes minerals to escape and collect as a film on the surface.


3. Use fresh water

Re-boiled water concentrates nitrates and salts – this will make your tea taste peculiar.


4. Temperature is key

Really hot water will make your tea bitter. Cold water will make it flavourless.


5. The perfect cup or pot

This is a personal decision – choose a cup you feel comfortable handling.


“Inspired by historic British prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone, the Gassano holdall boasts a traditional hinged frame opening with a signature buckled aesthetic.”