There’s a fair amount of buzz around this Quayside café, what with owner Abbie Atkinson being the other half of House of Tides’ Kenny. Violets is good enough to succeed on its own terms though: it’s as much a patisserie as it is a straight café, with meringues, lavender madeleines and other sweet treats around, plus breakfasts, brunches, lunches and a fairly stonking afternoon tea.
5–7 Side, Newcastle NE1 3JE
Hall Garth Hotel
Here you’ve got the traditional afternoon tea, in which a mini gin-cured gravadlax and soured cream bagel and lemon and a thyme roast chicken open sandwich is followed by chocolate and walnut brownie and cream gateau, or a savoury option with quiche, sausage roll, scotch egg and farmhouse cheese. Ruddy marvellous.
Coatham Mundeville, Darlington DL1 3LU
01325 300400 www.hallgarthdarlington.co.uk
The Running Fox, Felton
Nestled by the River Coquet, this one’s so popular it’s got its own range of branded mugs. That’s big-time. Everything here’s satisfyingly well-portioned, and there’s a refreshingly DIY aspect to the menu: customise your tea by picking your sandwich, a slice of pie or quiche, a scone, a slice of cake and dig in. If you’re feeling heretical, try the coffee: it’s roasted in Middlesbrough by Caffe Vinci.
2–4 Riverside, Felton NE65 9EA
01670 787090 www.runningfoxbakery.co.uk
The idea of being stuck underground in a room cheerily referred to as The Vault might not sound like a particularly pleasant way to pass an afternoon, but here it’s a joy, not least because they’ve got a multitude of ginormous scones to choose from.
29 Newgate Street, Morpeth NE61 1AT
01670 519005 www.facebook.com/cafevault
When somewhere promises ‘traditional Yorkshire afternoon tea’, it’s really promising all that’s good about food on a four-tier platter, so it had best deliver. This one not only comes good on the nibbles – the buttermilk scones and finely wrought bits from their award-winning pastry chefs see to that – but it’s in some of Yorkshire’s most amazing scenery too. It’s also got a helipad, which is handy.
Bolton Abbey, Skipton BD23 6AJ
01756 718111 www.thedevonshirearms.co.uk
Butlers Tea Room
The Grade I-listed Cusworth Hall’s a pretty impressive place – lakes, parkland and views across the town abound – and the afternoon tea here’s just as handsome. Scones, an array of teas which would make Twinings blush and a quirky selection of cakes make it a must-visit.
Cusworth, Doncaster DN5 7TU
01302 390959 www.butlerstearoom.co.uk
This one’s a really appealing blend of the delicate and dainty with the hearty and wholesome. Try the Yorkshire rhubarb panna cotta, or their cucumber and black pepper crème fraiche sandwich, a bite which finally manages to find a way to make sure the cucumber sandwiches don’t just sit there, pleadingly, waiting to be eaten, before being carted off to the great tearoom in the sky like they normally are.
Yorkersgate, Malton YO17 7AJ
01653 639096 www.talbotmalton.co.uk
We tried to write a list of afternoon tea spots without Bettys, but we couldn’t. It’s literally not physically possible. They’ve been at it 96 years, so you’d expect them to know a thing or two about the medium – for the full experience, get the Lady Betty afternoon tea experience, which will give you the full silver service, Jazz Age feel while enjoying their craft bakery sandwiches and lemon and rose scones.
Harrogate, Harlow Carr, York, Ilkley and Northallerton