Dainty finger sandwiches, moreish scones, delicate cakes and vibrant tarts – all sunk with a jolly good cuppa. What’s not to love?
Afternoon tea, it’s the ultimate indulgence. Whether you’re looking to mark a special occasion, toast an achievement or simply want an excuse to scoff the day away, Leeds is the perfect place to get your tea and cake on. But where are the best places to go? From the traditional to the innovative, the sweet to the savoury, the lavish to the local, here’s what should go straight on your hit list.
Left Bank Leeds
A former church and now a stunning community space, Left Bank Leeds offers an afternoon tea with heart. The second Wednesday of every month, this venue holds a pay as you feel tea-and-cake afternoon as an opportunity for city-dwellers to get together, get chatting, share stories and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
And it truly is beautiful. You can down your cuppa and slice of cake under magnificent gothic-style arches and admire the handiwork of the great Victorian architect, Temple Moore, who designed the space. It’s now Grade II listed but has been updated to the 21st century with, thankfully, a top-notch heating system. Pop along for tea and cake alongside a healthy dose of community spirit. It’s free, but donations are welcome (and more than worth it).
Left Bank Leeds, Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LJ. Free, donations welcome.
The words ‘ring road’ and ‘calm’ usually don’t go together, but at Weetwood Hall they certainly do. This hotel lies less than five miles north of the city centre off the northern ring road, and yet it feels like a total countryside escape. The 17th century Jacobean manor house is set in nine acres of sprawling woodland and gardens, meaning this afternoon tea comes with a view.
Despite the impressive building, there’s no air of pretence here thanks to the unfailingly welcoming staff who work hard to ensure your tea is top notch. It’s taken in the hotel’s Convive restaurant where the setting is modern and offers a pleasant outlook over the gardens at the back. The schmaltzy tiered cake stand is laden with an impressive selection of sweet and savoury snacks. Home baked scones and cakes are par for the course, while the mini quiche, candy floss and decadent raspberry posset are unexpected additions. They even do a G&T afternoon tea.
Weetwood Hall, Otley Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5PS. Afternoon tea costs £16.50 per person, £22.50 with a glass of prosecco or £21.50 with a G&T.
Did someone say free-flowing prosecco? This sophisticated city centre restaurant sure knows how to make an irresistible afternoon tea. Located atop Trinity shopping centre, Crafthouse is a sleek outfit with stylish food to boot. Their afternoon tea for two is no exception. Once you’ve found the blimmin’ place (take the lift next to Holy Trinity Church to avoid the crowds) you’ll be richly rewarded.
Mood-lighting, dark wood and marble table tops set the scene for a delicious afternoon full of locally-sourced ingredients, innovative savouries and sweet treats courtesy of renowned Pastry Chef, Stefan Rose. Not only is the taste considered but so is the appearance, and their goodies come in an array of tempting colours. Special seasonal menus also crop up from time to time. Add bottomless prosecco to the mix and job’s a good’un.
Crafthouse, Level 5 Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW. Afternoon tea with free-flowing prosecco costs £39 per person or £24 without the booze.
Just a minute’s walk from Leeds station, this city centre afternoon tea is ideally located for travellers on the go. But it’s not just convenience that makes this one of the best afternoon teas in Leeds. An exceptionally grand exterior leads the way to the 1930s inspired art deco Queen’s Bar, which is set aside for afternoon tea diners between 2-5pm daily.
The focus here is on the classics. Crustless finger sandwiches stuffed with smoked salmon and cream cheese, warm currant scones topped with clotted cream and jam, plus as much tea or coffee as you can drink. Not into the hot drinks? Never fear. For a little extra you can sup rose wine, champagne or a double measure of gin and tonic instead. Gin and cake? It’s what dreams are made of. For younger guests, the kids afternoon tea comes with added marshmallows and dipping sauces, plus a puzzle or two to keep them occupied.
The Queen’s, City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 1PJ. Afternoon tea costs £18 per person or £23 with a glass of champagne or gin instead.
Fancy a right fine Yorkshire brew and butty? Oulton Hall on the outskirts of Leeds takes its afternoon tea seriously with every single tea on the menu originating from local tea giants, Taylors of Harrogate. There’s even a special ‘Oulton’ blend on offer. And the local finery doesn’t stop there. There’s Yorkshire tea loaf, Yorkshire-sourced ham sandwiches, Wensleydale cheese and warm scones studded with chunks of yet another Yorkshire favourite – rhubarb. If you want to splash out, go for the champagne afternoon tea.
All this will be hand delivered to your table on silver service – by a butler no less. So you can relax into the lavish 18th century Drawing Room, which overlooks the gardens of the Grade II listed estate, and have all the goodies brought right to you. Fill up too quickly? Those butlers will gladly box up the leftovers to take home with you.
Oulton Hall, Rothwell Lane, Oulton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8HN. Afternoon tea costs £23 per person Monday-Thursday and £33 per person with champagne or £26 per person Friday-Sunday and £36 with champagne.
Easily accessible by car or bus from Leeds, Harewood House lies just up the A61 from the city centre and is an extremely popular destination for anyone in need of a countryside retreat. The house itself, owned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood, is a Georgian behemoth and surrounded by over 100 acres of gardens. It’s a fine place to spend a day exploring, and there’s no better way to refuel than with their quintessentially English afternoon tea for two.
This is taken in the award-winning Terrace Cafe, where lucky visitors can soak in views over the formal gardens and rolling parkland beyond while they tuck into mini salmon and cheese bites, homemade quiches, finger sandwiches, Pimms jelly, macaroons and all manner of delightful cakes. And although it may be hard to tear your eyes away from the tea and cakes, don’t forget to cast your eyes upwards where you’re almost certain to spot red kites soaring overhead thanks to their successful reintroduction to the estate in 1999. You might also be lucky enough to spot one of the 200 or so resident red, fallow or roe deers that call Harewood House home.
Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LG. Open March-November only. Afternoon tea costs £45 per person with a minimum booking of two people. Add a glass of prosecco for £7. Price includes full access to the grounds, house and Bird Garden too.
You’ll find this smart and sophisticated afternoon tea at Radisson Blu, right slap bang in the city centre. Set inside the hotel’s FireLake Restaurant, guests will find sleek, industrial-style furniture with plenty of dark woods, heavy leathers and stylish lighting to give a soft glow to your dining.
Your afternoon tea is similarly trendy with a mouth-watering selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries arriving on a multi-level wooden stand with different compartments for each treat. Keep it traditional with pots of tea or upgrade to a champagne afternoon tea if you’re in need of a real treat. Top tip: ask for one of their leather booths – they’re cosy, private and give the occasion a real sense of exclusivity.
Radisson Blu Hotel, The Light, 13 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL. Afternoon tea costs £14.50 per person or £18.50 with a glass of prosecco.
42 The Calls
A smart boutique hotel nestled on the edge of the River Aire, 42 The Calls (so named for its address) was formerly a working flour mill. Many original features including oak beams, industrial girders and mill gears still hang from the ceiling, making this a destination for those who want a slice of quirky history with their afternoon tea in Leeds.
Your experience will be enjoyed from the private River Room, with direct views out over the water from three vast windows at one end. Because it’s private, you have to have at least four diners at busy times, but that makes it the ideal choice for larger family groups or celebratory occasions where you just want to scoff, celebrate and sup in peace. The menu changes seasonally, but you can look forward to a selection of handmade cakes, dainty desserts and savoury sandwiches.
42 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW. Afternoon tea costs £18.95 per person or £21.95 with a glass of prosecco.
The Mansion at Roundhay Park
Did you know Leeds’ Roundhay Park offers a marvellous afternoon tea? Check out this impressive profile – Greek Palladian style building, Grade II listed, 700 acres of surrounding parkland with lakes and woodland, all just 15 minutes from the city centre. The Mansion is located on the west side of the park, just a two minute stroll from the upper lake, and is a smashing match if you’re looking for that perfect afternoon tea for two.
It’s served in the Garden Room and you have two options to choose from – you can get the main afternoon tea with all sorts of delicious sandwiches and an ever-changing selection of cakes, or the ‘celebration’ afternoon tea which comes with a glass of Galanti prosecco for each guest. Got an odd number of guests? No problem, just take the opportunity to sample a couple of extra side dishes from The Mansion’s a la carte menu instead.
The Mansion, Mansion Lane, Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HH. Afternoon tea costs £38 for two people, or £46 if you include prosecco.
A simple, French-themed tearoom in Leeds city centre, Le Chalet is an independent oasis offering hungry city dwellers an array of French breakfasts, baguettes and pastries. Afternoon tea is a must, although don’t go thinking it’s all macarons and glazed fruit tarts. They’re there, of course, but accompanied by good ol’ British sarnies, scones and an enormous range of teas. It’s a British-Franco affair food-wise, but the decor channels a Parisian cafe vibe.
Choosing your tea from the extensive list may take some time (look beyond the English Breakfast if you can), but the boozy side of things is more straightforward. You can upgrade to a single glass of bubbly or – ooh la la – a bottomless fizz afternoon tea if you’re really feeling frisky. And don’t forget to stop off at the patisserie counter before you go. They may well have a chocolate eclair, fluffy mille-feuille or comte cheese with your name on.
Le Chalet, 31-32 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JD. Afternoon tea costs £16.95 per person, £22.45 with a glass of bubbly or £35 with unlimited fizz.
Just Grand! Vintage Tea Rooms
If the delicate pastries and dainty sandwiches are all a bit too prim and proper for you, Just Grand! Vintage Tearooms, in Leeds’ Grand Arcade has a solution. It’s a retro tearoom, but the canny folk inside offer afternoon tea naysayers the chance to swap pastries for pork pies, replace cakes with crisps and boot out the champagne in favour of a bottle of local ale. This is their gentleman’s afternoon tea and a firm favourite for anyone who loves the idea of eating an afternoon away, but isn’t actually a massive fan of tea and cake (don’t worry, you don’t actually have to be a gent to enjoy it).
It’s a popular option, but rest assured this vintage tearoom hasn’t completely done away with tradition. For the conventionalists, their main afternoon tea comes with homemade scones freshly baked on the premises each morning (try the black treacle and date), fruit cake accompanied by generous chunks of Wensleydale cheese and a grand selection of loose leaf teas to wash it all down with. From dependable Yorkshire Tea to a more adventurous Chocolate Orange Truffle, there’s something for everyone.
Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom, Ground Floor, 8-9 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG. Afternoon tea costs £13.50 per person, £17.50 with a glass of prosecco or £11.50 for the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea.
In need of a spontaneous afternoon tea in Leeds? Browns to the rescue! As you might expect from an establishment that claims to champion British heritage, a good cuppa is easy to come by at Browns. It is one of the few venues that can cater for walk-in afternoon tea guests as long as there’s availability, making it ideal for a quick’n’dirty afternoon indulgence.
The building was originally the banking hall of the Leeds Permanent Building Society, and the high ceilings and beautiful wood panelling make it a sophisticated setting. Mini brioche rolls and crostini come packed with fillings like Devon crab, chicken and avocado, and the obligatory free range egg and cress. Your sweet tooth will be sated with home-baked buttermilk scones and a drool-inducing choice of mini desserts including salted caramel macarons and Earl Grey and lemon cake. Yep, they put tea in the cake too. That’s just how they roll.
Browns, Unit H28 The Light, 70-72 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8EQ. Afternoon tea costs £16.50 per person or £23.50 with a glass of champagne or a G&T.
There’s an Americana vibe going on at Malmaison’s afternoon tea in Leeds city centre. Tea and scones feature, yes, but tea-goers are also treated to a cheeky Louisiana slider (that’s a tiny burger, FYI), bagels rather than sandwiches, a double chocolate cupcake and a seasonal fruit ‘shake’ served retro-style in an old-school milk bottle. There are choux buns, cheesecakes and wraps too. It’s a decent riff on the traditional and makes for an afternoon tea with a difference.
Portions are generous and it’s all lovingly presented inside the hotel’s modern Chez Mal Brasserie. If your sweet tooth hasn’t already gone into overdrive, give it even more to work on with the addition of luxurious cocktails like Orange Brûlée (Disaronno, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, cream and chocolate) and Black Forest Martini (Butterscotch Schnapps, Cherry Heering with fresh fruit, grenadine and cream).
Malmaison Leeds, 1 Swinegate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AG. Afternoon tea costs £19.95 per person or £27 with a glass of champagne or a cocktail.
The Arch Cafe
You can do good as you feel good at The Arch Cafe in Leeds city centre. You’ll feel good thanks to this social enterprise’s tasty tea offerings. Choose from a traditional spread or the more alternative gentleman’s afternoon tea. The former is for those who enjoy the sweeter things in life, while the latter replaces cakes with savoury pastries. Whether it’s tarts or sponges you’re munching on, they’re all baked fresh every day and made with as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible.
So that’s left you feeling good, but why will you be doing good? Because this Grade II listed building, previously a charity school, continues today as the headquarters for Age UK Leeds, which means the profits from your afternoon tea will have a positive impact on the lives of elderly people who live in the local area. Now if that doesn’t deserve a celebratory cake, we don’t know what does.
The Arch Cafe, Bradbury Building, Mark Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JA. Afternoon tea costs £22.95 for two.
The former Tetley brewery in central Leeds has been transformed into a contemporary arts centre and they serve up a wonderful afternoon tea. The Tetley’s spread is simple enough – you’ll enjoy savoury sandwiches followed by a selection of sweet treats including cakes, macarons and a beer fruit scone with jam and cream. The offerings are honest, simple and good value for money. But it’s the presentation that’s particularly noteworthy here.
Your platter of food arrives as a sort of deconstructed Ploughman’s lunch. It’s unexpected but fun, with all the nibbles spread across a rustic wooden board, ready to be delved into. This is an afternoon tea for those who don’t want to worry about which fork goes where. Make sure to explore the fascinating building when you’re done – entry is free and there are plenty of exhibitions, events and galleries to get stuck into.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ. Afternoon tea costs £14 per person or £18.50 with a glass of prosecco.
Afternoon tea in the Doubletree’s 13th floor bar, Sky Lounge, comes with a view. The decor in general can only be described as ‘hotel chic’, but the rooftop setting is a marvellous place to enjoy delicacies like slow cooked salt beef on granary bread and apple crumble tartlet, while admiring the panoramic views across the River Aire and beyond.
If any of the items on your menu aren’t to your taste, just let them know and they’ll do their darnedest to substitute it with something more up your alley. And if you’re there for a late sitting, take the opportunity to accompany your afternoon tea with unlimited bubbles, served for 90 minutes. Carrot cake and prosecco famously go together, right?
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Leeds City Centre, Granary Wharf, 2 Wharf Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR. Afternoon tea costs £24.95, £29.95 with a glass of fizz or £39.95 with unlimited prosecco.
When it comes to smart and sophisticated dining, Harvey Nichols has cornered their market. It’s hard not to succumb to a champagne afternoon tea in these surroundings – it all takes place in their Espresso Bar, under the impressive canopy of the Brian Clarke’s incredible stained glass ceiling, so expect an indoors-outdoors vibe and a spot that’s perfect for people watching.
The menu echoes this sentiment, with familiar faces given a sophisticated twist, and it changes so regularly that you’ll never have the same thing twice. One month you might get ham hock fritters with English mustard, the next it could be smoked salmon mini bagels. And the sweets? Expect unusual delights like strawberry tarts, chocolate and pistachio choux buns or even chocolate brownies with passion fruit meringue. Unlimited tea or coffee plus scones with clotted cream and Harvey Nichols’ very own preserve are also welcome additions.
Harvey Nichols, 107-111 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AZ. Afternoon tea costs £20 per person or £28 with champagne.
Think of your perfect Leeds afternoon tea scenario – what do you see? If there’s fine bone china, flowery cake stands, pastel colours, frilly aprons and a whole load of bunting, then Dulcie Butterfly’s vintage tea room in Boston Spa will make your imaginings a reality. This place is quaint to the max with every single available surface covered in quirky knick-knacks, pretty ornaments and retro furnishings.
Afternoon tea is undoubtedly the best way to experience it. Lashings of Yorkshire tea come with a selection of sandwiches, followed by jam and cream scones, plus a hefty slice of Mrs Gumdrop’s homemade cake. A teacup full of crisps is a sweet addition too. Those who prefer the savoury can opt for the gentleman’s afternoon tea instead where pork pie, scotch egg, pickles, cheese and crackers take centre stage. Children are welcome (and will almost certainly love it) but make sure to book ahead as this tiny tearoom gets very busy.
Dulcie Butterfly, 148 Boston Spa High Street, Boston Spa, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6BW. Afternoon tea costs £13.95 per person, the gentleman’s afternoon tea costs £13 per person.
The Lost and Found
Victorian-themed cocktail bars aren’t the usual setting for a classic afternoon tea, but why the heck not? Lost and Found in Leeds city centre proves why this is a match made in heaven. This Birmingham export only opened in Leeds in 2016 but has been welcomed with open arms thanks to their superior hand-crafted cocktails and exclusive vibe. So much so, that a second venue has just sprung up on Albion Street in the Grade II listed building that formerly housed The Leeds Club.
Both Leeds venues serve afternoon tea with a pleasant mix of traditional (smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches just shouldn’t be messed with) and unconventional (the lemon posset deserves a big heck yes). The decor is impressive and still retains the grand feeling of a Victorian gentleman’s club – plenty of marble counters, dark woods and antique furnishings here. And your visit wouldn’t be complete without one of those special cocktails to round off the celebrations.
The Lost & Found, 3 Albion Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6JL & 12 Greek Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PT. Afternoon tea costs £18.95 per person or £23.95 with a cocktail.
The Billing Tea Room
Lucky, lucky Rawdon residents. This charming local tearoom is a much-loved addition to busy Town Street and rightfully so. Independently owned, the focus is all on freshly made and locally-sourced ingredients in a welcoming environment, and The Billing delivers on all fronts.
Friendly staff will take your order from one of two afternoon tea options – traditional or gentleman’s. The former will provide a hearty portion of open sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, plus a selection of homemade cakes with fresh fruit. The second focuses on the savoury and has pork pie, fruit cake and cheese instead. Both come with a very generous pot of tea and all is served on an eclectic variety of vintage crockery. It’s utterly endearing.
The Billing Tea Room, 11A Town Street, Rawdon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 6PU. Afternoon tea costs £12 per person or £22.50 for two.
Set in beautifully landscaped grounds, Woodlands Hotel is a firm wedding favourite and it’s easy to see why – the grand exterior, immaculate gardens and lavish interiors all scream romantic escape. Afternoon tea for two can be enjoyed out on the terrace overlooking the gardens in the summer, or tucked up in front of the roaring dining room fire when the weather is less kind.
Whichever you choose, the selection of finger sandwiches, pastries and cakes will have you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. The scones are a particular triumph, arriving warm from the oven and ready for lashing with clotted cream and jam (or jam then clotted cream, but let’s not get into that argument). Small tumblers of Eton mess are a final treat and the wide variety of teas on offer will satisfy the most ardent of enthusiasts.
Woodlands Hotel, 79 Gelderd Road, Gildersome, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS27 7LY. Afternoon tea costs £16.95 per person or £21.95 with a glass of prosecco.
Cakes, pastries and finger sandwiches – that’s the traditional way to do afternoon tea, but it’s not what you’ll get, nor what you’d expect, from Issho. This high-end Japanese restaurant does things a little differently by putting an Asian twist on a quintessentially British pastime. Enjoy it on the terrace, while you look out over the rooftops, or head inside to their chic, minimalist restaurant.
They serve up an eclectic spread, with a mix of sweet and savoury, but before you dig in, you’ll have to choose your tea. They have English Breakfast, Earl Grey and fresh mint, but why not try something different like Konacha (sushi drinking tea) or Hojicha (roasted green tea)? Couple it with edamame beans, sushi balls, sliced sea bass and miso-braised lamb shoulder pancakes, before you scoff a plateful of desserts. They’ve got caramel purin, yuzu meringue kisses, mocha ice cream balls and chocolate and macha green tea brownies – all of which will go down a treat with bottomless prosecco.
Issho, Victoria Gate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7AU. Afternoon tea is £25 per person for a minimum of two and you add bottomless prosecco for an extra £25 per person.
Nestled within one of the most luxurious hotels in Leeds lies a swanky bar with an eclectic decor. Dimmed lights, cool artwork and sumptuous leather seats await, so while it may not be the traditional choice for afternoon tea, it’s certainly one of the best – which is why Dakota made it onto this list.
Despite the luxury, it won’t cost the earth. You can keep it simple with freshly baked scones and unlimited tea or coffee. Expect generous servings of Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve, all for just £10. But if you want to go all out, they’ll absolutely shower you in sweet treats. The menu changes regularly, but you could find yourself nibbling delicate smoked salmon sandwiches, savouring a heavenly citrus pistachio sponge or cracking into a rhubarb and custard dome.
Dakota, 8 Russell Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5RN. Cream tea is £10 per person and afternoon tea is £20 per person.