The small Yorkshire town of Harrogate has become famous over the years for a couple of reasons. The Turkish Baths and Health Spa with hot saunas and spa pool are a perfect place to relax which can be followed with a leisurely afternoon tea at the nearby Bettys Tea Rooms.
It was the latter that we intended to visit on our quick stopover in the town.
A little historyWhat I didn't realise before I opened the menu and read the short history was that Bettys was formed by a Swiss confectioner by the name of Frederick Belmont in 1919.
The following year he opened a Craft Bakery whose craft skills are still used today.
Nobody knows the real identity of Betty and there are several stories that are told but as the menu states it really is a mystery.
Get there earlyWe arrived at lunchtime on a sunny Friday afternoon and as we headed over to the tea rooms we could see the queue snaking around the block. And this was just the queue to join the queue inside for the original tea room.
Not wanting to waste time waiting for lunch we had a browse through the adjoining Bettys shop. The window display shows a range of cakes that'll have you drooling down the window, especially a Bettys Fat Rascal, made with citrus peel and topped with almonds and bright red cherries. Inside the shelves are full from top to bottom with cakes, biscuits and coffee that you can have in the tea room.
The following morning and without the queues we headed straight inside and sat at a table facing the piano. The friendly head waiter recommended the daily special, 'Egg Royale' (egg and salmon atop a muffin) and we duly obliged along with a cafetiere of coffee each to wash it down with.
What's great about Bettys is the service, each member of the team is attentive and friendly and with them dressed in the traditional aprons we felt as though we had stepped back in time. The food isn't bad either.
Be prepared to payThe only downside for me to Bettys Tea Rooms is the price. With its popularity comes the additional cost. A cafetiere of coffee set us back £4.55 per person and was enough for two small cups and the special Egg Royale cost £7.95.
However a visit to Harrogate really isn't complete without a visit to Bettys Tea Rooms so if you find yourself in this corner of the UK, I can recommend the Brazilian Recanto coffee.
Have you been to Harrogate? Did you go to Bettys Tea Rooms? Do you know the identity of Betty?