There’s only one place I would ever go for lunch or afternoon tea in York, and that’s Bettys Café and Tea Rooms.
Established in 1919, Bettys is a Yorkshire institution for a reason. I drank my first hot chocolate in the flagship branch in central York, hungrily ate my first club sandwich in the Harlow Carr café after running round the parks, and bought my Dad tea in the Harrogate shop. I couldn’t wait to take Ian there so, on Friday, we joined the queue (it always looks a bit scarily long, but it moves quite quickly) and waited happily in the cold.
All of the Bettys tea rooms have a shop and acafé, and the shop is well worth a look around even if you don’t want to eat there.
They stock just about every kind of tea or coffee you could want, as well as piles of delicious looking pastries, cakes, macaroons and biscuits.
The Christmas treats were particularly hard to resist as we queued on our way in!
We were seated downstairs in the Oak Room. Some people prefer to eat in the main dining room – I actually don’t mind, although I do recommend that if it’s your first visit, you ask to wait (they’re used to it and don’t mind at all). Downstairs is a big, oak panelled room with cosy corners where we sat and ordered drinks – tea, obviously!
Bettys is great either for a casual snack – they do amazing scones and tea cakes – or for a bigger lunch, which is what we were after. My boyfriend picked a classic macaroni cheese.
I went for chicken Caesar salad with bacon, which I didn’t expect to be so impressive – I loved the touch of having the bacon wrapped around the chicken, and the little pine nuts were great for adding extra flavour!
Oh, and I had a bowl full of completely gorgeous, crunchy yet fluffy chips.
I recommend practically everything on the menu. I go every time I go to Yorkshire and it’s always a treat – the service is impeccable, attentive and friendly, and whilst it is slightly on the pricier side, it’s something everyone can afford once in a while. If you get a chance, go!
To walk off all that food we decided to take a little trip to the Jorvik Viking Centre, which is a reconstructed Viking village, built on the remains of an actual Viking settlement which you can see beneath your feet.
It’s fascinating – and also good for lazy people, as you just hop on a ride, which takes you round the various Viking houses!
It’s a really fun tour, as well as informative – I’m a bit of a history geek and I found seeing the skeletons of actual Vikings particularly impressive.
Oh, and messing about in the gift shop, obviously...
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the shops, and the little street called the Shambles. I could spend forever (and a fortune) here...
On the way out, I grabbed a black forest hot chocolate in Costa, which I just had to mention here because it was SO good – next time you see a Costa, go and grab one!
We walked back to the car over the river, enjoying the view.
For dinner, we headed to a little Indian on the outskirts of York which my boyfriend visited as a child – the Taj Mahal. It was really quiet, which is a shame because the ownership has recently changed hands and the food is excellent. Anyone in the York area, I recommend you give it a go!
Last few days in York tomorrow…it already feels like so long ago!