Visiting Blackpool always gives me a lot of Nostalgia. While it wasn’t somewhere my family visited as frequently, I have very specific memories of the place. Getting stuck on top of the big wheel on the pleasure beach in the pouring rain with my mum, windy games of crazy golf and going on a school trip to the tower as a very little girl. Part of the school trip involved us eating our packed lunches in the ballroom so you can understand why I jumped at the chance of reviewing their afternoon teas on here.
I brought my lovely friend Mrs E with me for this trip. As as being a fellow Yorkshire resident; she also comes from Lancashire, so she also has memories of the place. We both wholeheartedly enjoyed eating sandwiches and cake watching different couples dancing. As somebody who has never properly learned how to dance with a partner apart from the odd waltz around the living room with her father, I was impressed by the couples gliding gracefully across the dance floor. Forget Strictly, I was imagining a time when young couples met up in that very ballroom in the not too distant past.
While this wasn’t the most luxurious afternoon tea I have ever eaten, it ranks pretty highly in both taste and atmosphere. The ballroom itself is beautiful and the music from the Wurlitzer organ was very pleasant (and no, there was no rendition of “I do like to be beside the seaside). In fact, we were so distracted by the scones and tea we stropped noticing the music being quite as loud. I think its good to note that while most of the visitors were older, it is something that is lovely for all younger people too and is especially suitable for families (you can buy Slush Puppies at the bar which are a personal favourite!) For those of you who don’t know; in the Tower at Blackpool there are several attractions including the Blackpool Tower Dungeon, the Circus and the Eye at Blackpool so the Ballroom afternoon tea is an ideal place to chill out in between these and would also make a more tranquil setting for an afternoon tea for those of you considering a girls day out in Blackpool (as we were).
For those amongst you wanting finer details of the food – you could tell everything was freshly made. I don’t know what brand the tea was but we both liked it. The sandwiches were made with a pleasant variety of fillings. The scones were sultana scones and were pleasantly soft rather than crumbly. The jam provided was in those little jars and was a high quality conserve and the clotted cream was also excellent. I particularly liked the variety of little cakes (although we saved these for later as we were both too full to properly enjoy them). We had tiffin, a fruit meringue, a freshly baked miniature apple pie and a miniature cheesecake. The cheesecake was so creamy! (D’s reviews of the cakes were also very positive).
I think from this post you can tell we really did have a wonderful time and appreciate being invited to visit so much. The staff were very kind and boxed up uneaten cake for me to take home (which D enjoyed later). The only downside of the entire trip was that I happened to pick a Saturday when the weather was so horrible and stormy we were completely soaked by the time we reached the Tower. (That’s weather in the North West for you!)
So Bettys is something of an institution in Harrogate (and, well the rest of Yorkshire). What can I say? Since moving to Harrogate I have become immensely fond of the place. It does help that one of my flatmates works for Bettys and on occasion brings home free cake. No cake is lovelier than a free Bettys cake.
Anyway, last week I went with some of the girls from work to Bettys and had a lovely afternoon eating scones and drinking tea. The staff were immensely accommodating of 8 girls turning up for tea and cake and didn’t bat an eyelid about us sitting in the shop for a good while sipping tea. We ate in the Montpellier Cafe Bar in the Harrogate branch – you can also dine in the tea rooms, or the Imperial Suite (if you’re pushing the boat out).
Anyway, here is a selection of photos from my visit.
Miss S, ED and I were a little bit naughty and got a couple of cakes to take home (I nibbled on my bits over the next few days). The shop reminds me a little bit of a Christmas grotto.
Now, I must add, to anybody who is put off entering Bettys due to the queue – don’t be. It moves pretty quickly and once you are inside you will be served really quickly. The staff are all really polite and knowledgeable (although I would say that, my housemate and cousin both work there). If you really have an urgent need for cake, there is a shop where you can buy cake to eat in the comfort of your own home (or on a picnic if you’d prefer).
If you live in Harrogate, York, Northallerton or Ilkley you’ve probably been in a Bettys branch. If you don’t, its worth visiting one of these places for cake (plus North Yorkshire is dead nice!).
You can find out a bit more about Bettys as a whole here and the tea rooms here.
So, as I think I mentioned it was my birthday on Monday. It was also a bank holiday and once again I applaud my parents for managing to have me at the beginning of May near to a bank holiday weekend. I mean, it is pretty amazing that I rarely ever had to go to school on my birthday.
Anyway, my parents, J and I spent a happy afternoon having afternoon tea at the Opus reserve bar which is part of the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. It was a gloriously sunny bank holiday and we had a completely lovely time sitting by the windows in the sun drinking tea and eating cake.
My parents and I all had traditional afternoon tea – which included the tea of our choice; sandwiches; freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream; and a selection of cakes and Prosecco and fruit jelly.
J (who had been making the most of the weather on a bike ride) chose the Gentleman’s afternoon tea. This is a great one for people who might not like traditional afternoon tea as they prefer savoury items. This one included – the tea of your choice; mini fish, chips and mushy peas; pork pie; Yorkshire pudding with gravy; freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream; and rustic sandwiches.
We spent a good while basking in the sun and drinking cups of tea.
Now, it always surprises me how full you can get on all the cake and sandwiches, but the staff were so helpful and happy to box up the remaining cakes for us to eat at home.
You can find out about afternoon tea at the Radisson here.