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Why choose between sweet and savoury when you can have both? For those who like the best of both worlds, you can’t beat afternoon tea. The miniature meal has been popular ever since the Duchess of Bedfordshire invented it during the 1840s to stave off her hunger pangs in between lunch and dinner. Nowadays, it gives us all an excuse to eat cake! As 9th August marks the beginning of Afternoon Tea Week across the UK, what better time to enjoy a fancy feast of petits fours and finger sandwiches?
There are so many amazing tearooms, cafés and coffee houses across the North of England and Scotland which serve up fantastic afternoon tea. Indulge in a traditional cream tea or tempt your tastebuds with some weird and wonderful dishes at one of the following venues.
Everyone in Yorkshire has heard of this long-running tearoom! Bettys is one of the best places to visit in the North of England for a classic afternoon tea and it has several venues spread across the county.
York is the lucky location of two Bettys branches, and either would make the perfect refreshment pitstop during a day out or weekend away in the historic city. While the Stonegate Bettys now only operates as a shop for takeaway treats, the tearoom on St Helen’s Square features elegant interiors and plenty of indoor seating.Book a table for afternoon tea and look forward to nibbling on a range of gourmet sandwiches, moreish miniature cakes and Bettys’ famous fruit scones. You’ll get a big pot of the venue’s house blend tea, or you could even choose to upgrade to a boozy prosecco or pink champagne afternoon tea. Bettys are also brilliant at catering to different diets, with separate veggie, vegan and gluten-free menus.
For afternoon tea with a view, make a beeline for Cloud 23. The venue sits on the 23rd floor of Beetham Tower, a landmark on the Manchester skyline. It’s part of the Hilton hotel, so expect impeccable service and a delicious range of decadent treats.Available Wednesday to Sunday, sit down at a table by the window and gaze out across the entire city as you tuck into sweet and savoury afternoon tea delights. There’s also the option to upgrade to a Veuve Clicquot Champagne afternoon tea for an additional £13.
The venue’s afternoon tea is award-winning, meaning you’re guaranteed to walk away with a very satisfied stomach. Enjoy fancy finger sandwiches stuffed with chicken and cranberry, pesto and mozzarella, and plenty more. Sweet treats come in the form of miniature lemon drizzle slices, vanilla cheesecakes and fluffy homemade scones. Feeling hungry yet?
Another afternoon tea venue in the North of England with brilliant cityscape vistas is Oh Me Oh My. The Liverpool-based bar and restaurant overlooks the iconic Liver Building and Albert Dock, with the best views seen from its spectacular roof garden.The menu here is a delicious combination of classic and contemporary seasonal treats, from carrot cake macarons to white chocolate choux buns. Oh Me Oh My doesn’t offer afternoon tea every day, though. You’ll need to check their website for dates and availability (although usually sessions take place on weekends).
For something extra fancy, The Ivy is a lovely pick. The branch of the famous London eatery sits in the Victoria Quarter of Leeds and has incredible Instagram-worthy interiors. When you’re not snapping pictures, you’ll be able to treat yourself with a tempting tiered platter of cakes, scones and savoury bites.
Mouth-watering options from The Ivy’s summer afternoon tea menu include mini truffle chicken rolls, lemon and raspberry donuts and a pistachio nasturtium crème brûlée. Wash that down with a choice of tea, coffee or a glass of champagne.
If Edinburgh is your staycation destination of choice, you could enjoy afternoon tea onboard the Red Bus Bistro. As its name suggests, this charming venue is a vintage bus which roams around the city while you eat.Afternoon tea sessions last for an hour and a half during which time you’ll dine on delicious bites and enjoy a sightseeing tour of Edinburgh. The menu tends to change with the seasons, plus there are options for different dietary requirements. And every person gets a glass of prosecco with their food!