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.
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 Woodlands 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 pork & apple sausage roll and Yorkshire churros are unexpected additions.
Weetwood Hall, Otley Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5PS. Afternoon tea costs £19.50 per person or £25 with a glass of 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 tabletops set the scene for a delicious afternoon full of locally-sourced ingredients, innovative savouries and sweet treats. 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 a glass of their Nyetimber Cuvee 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 a glass of Nyetuimber cuvee costs £34 per person or £24 without the booze.
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 Taylor’s tea-soaked fruitcake which follows a tempting array of finger sandwiches, a series of dainty cakes and a pannacotta. If you want to splash out, go for the prosecco or 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 £24 per person Monday-Thursday and £30 per person with prosecco or £28 per person Friday-Sunday and £34 with prosecco.
Stylish and oh so sophisticated, The Ivy is a great choice if you’re looking for a picture-perfect afternoon tea. Dripping in modern elegance, you’ll dine surrounded by colour – from the joyful tropical wallpaper to the quirky wall art. Even the toilets at this slick rick of a restaurant are impressive! And their afternoon teas are no different.
What’s on the menu? The classics, of course, but each given a hearty lick of creativity. Forget your bog standard sandwiches, because here you’ll munch on truffled chicken brioche rolls and smoked salmon on beetroot bread. Puds like a zingy lemon and raspberry doughnut are frivolous as well as finger-licking good. Oh, and the chocolate caramel plant pot (complete with edible flowers!) is just as tasty as it sounds.
The Ivy Victoria Quarter, Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BB. Afternoon tea costs £24.95 per person or £33.95 with a glass of 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 a selection of finger sandwiches like their Grey Stone Gin and Harewood beetroot-cured salmon, cream cheese and pickled wild garlic. That’s followed by a series of mini savouries and all manner of homemade desserts. 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 £35 per person with a minimum booking of two people. Add a glass of prosecco for £7 or champagne for £10. Price includes full access to the grounds, house and Bird Garden too.
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.
It’s served one Sunday every month in the Garden Room. You can get the main afternoon tea with all sorts of delicious sandwiches, like roast beef, rocket and horseradish cream, followed by a chicken, tarragon and apricot sausage roll and an ever-changing selection of cakes. If you want to upgrade, you can get a glass of prosecco for each guest on the side.
The Mansion, Mansion Lane, Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HH. Afternoon tea costs £19 each or £23 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 glass of wine or – ooh la la – a flute of champagne 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 £17.95 per person, £20.45 with a glass of bubbly or £23.50 with champagne.
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 £13.95 per person, £17.95 with a glass of prosecco or £11.95 for the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea.
Created at the hands of award-winning chef, Bobby Geetha, trendy Fleur Cafe’s afternoon tea fuses English traditions with Indian flavours. The result? Knockout. While some of the classics are served just how you like ‘em (fruit scones with Cornish cream and strawberry jam? Yes please), other morsels are slightly more playful, such as pink cheese samosas that really are… pink.
Sweet-as brioche buns come crammed with fresh shrimp and avocado, while the miniature chocolate selection is a what’s-what of yumminess, complete with teeny tarts and oozy eclairs. The cherry on top? You’ll find it sitting pretty on your vegan cupcake. Plus, the flower-festooned decor’s straight out of Instagram heaven, so don’t forget your camera.
Fleur Cafe, The Light, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL. Afternoon tea costs £19 per person, £22 with a glass of Prosecco and £26 with a glass of Champagne.
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 heritage hen eggmayo and the obligatory cucumber and cream cheese. Your sweet tooth will be sated with home-baked buttermilk scones and a drool-inducing choice of mini desserts including chocolate praline mousse and lemon drizzle cake.
Browns, Unit H28 The Light, 70-72 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8EQ. Afternoon tea costs £19 per person or £26 with a G&T and £27 with a glass of champagne.
There’s a twist to Malmaison’s afternoon tea in Leeds city centre. Tea and scones feature, yes, but tea-goers are also treated to a cheeky Chez Mal slider (that’s a tiny burger, FYI), a Grilled Provençale vegetable, pesto and feta wrap and a seasonal fruit ‘shake’ served retro-style in an old-school milk bottle. There are brownies and tarts 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 – take your pick from favourites like a Cosmopolitan, Daiquiri or an Old Fashioned.
Malmaison Leeds, 1 Swinegate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AG. Afternoon tea costs £20 per person, £25 with prosecco or £27 with a glass of champagne or a cocktail.
Sky Lounge at Doubletree
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 fennel roast pork loin with cider apple chutney on brown bread and glazed blueberry cheesecake, 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. Strawberry tart and prosecco famously go together, right?
Sky Lounge, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 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.
It may be a lovely little local, but Sebby’s Deli in Headingley goes big on sweet treats. As well as their super-sized fruit scones, you get to pick a generous wedge of homemade cake as part of your afternoon tea. Lemon drizzle, coffee and walnut, white chocolate and blueberry – it all depends on what the team have whipped up fresh that day. But the quality? You can rely on that every time.
You’ll also tuck into one of their famed double chocolate brownies and a trio of triangle sandwiches. Veggie, vegan or gluten-free? Let them know and they’ll have sarnies to suit. Heck, if you’ve got a favourite filling and they’ve got the ingredients, they’ll even go off-menu. All washed down with loose leaf tea and Divine Roasters coffee from York, it’s a dream.
Sebby’s Deli, 90-92 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4BA. Afternoon tea costs £15 per person.
The Lost & Found
Victorian-themed cocktail bars aren’t the usual setting for a classic afternoon tea, but why the heck not? The 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, it has a second venue 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 or a glass of bubbly 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, £23.95 with a cocktail £24.95 with prosecco or £26.95 with champagne.
The Billing Tea Room
Lucky, lucky Headingley residents. This charming tearoom is a much-loved addition to the local area 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, 3 Stott Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1GH. Afternoon tea costs £15 per person.
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 prawn water chestnut gyozas, before you scoff a plateful of desserts. They’ve got caramel purin, yuzu meringue pie, sesame honey crunch 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 can get it with bottomless prosecco for £40 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.