Betty's, St. Helen's Square, York

4 out of 5 stars 15 Reviews

6-8 St. Helen’s Square, York YO1 8QP +00 44 (0)1904 659142
  • Betty's, St. Helen's Square
    by Dabs
  • Bettys Cafe/Tea Room
    Bettys Cafe/Tea Room
    by spidermiss
  • Dawn and Ruth looking forward to Afternoon Tea!
    Dawn and Ruth looking forward to...
    by spidermiss

Been here? Rate It!

  • londonlover's Profile Photo

    Betty's: Traditional Tea Rooms

    by londonlover Updated Mar 3, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Betty's is a local institution, the home of Taylor's of Harrogate teas, which are sold internationally. There are two Betty's in York (and a few in other parts of Yorkshire), but we went to the main one on Stonegate. The other is smaller and less busy, but not as charming, in my opinion.

    We had to wait in line for about 30 minutes for a table in the late afternoon, but it was worth it. If you want to sit on the main floor, make sure you specify that. We ended up on the ground floor (basement), but it was decorated beautifully, so we didn't mind.

    Favorite Dish: The strawberry/meringue sundae (The Betty's Sundae) is fabulous, as are the pastries of the day. There are probably 30 different teas from which to choose, and the three varieties we had were all delicious.

    Betty's Tea Rooms

    Was this review helpful?

  • LizD's Profile Photo

    Betty's: A must for afternoon Tea

    by LizD Updated Nov 11, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Its a few years ago since I visited Betty's so I’m afraid I haven’t got a photo so I borrowed one off their site.

    A visit to Betty’s for afternoon tea is something you should do when visiting York. If for no other reason than to say you’ve been.

    No slap it on a plate and help yourself service here. You can order a selection of finely cut sandwiches followed by a selection of delicate cakes to have with your tea. A cake stand is brought to your table and left for you and you help yourself to as few or as many as you like. When you have finished you are just charged for what you have eaten.

    Its quite pricey but you pay for the charm of a service offered in by gone days.
    My only objection was that the waitress waited by the table while we got our money out to pay instead of coming back after a few minutes. My Great Aunt May would have looked over her glasses and tutted at that I’m afraid!

    Betty's Tea room York

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    Betty's Cafe Tearooms: CRAP NO. 2

    by DAO Written Jan 22, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    WHY? Why would you want to stand in a queue 2 blocks long on a cold January day just to get into a café? This is the most overrated place in York. And the queues get longer in summer! WHY? Don’t do it. York gets packed (it is a walled city, so not much growth). Why make it worse. You really think the food is that good? Really want to stand out there and find out it’s just average? It’s your holiday. Why spend it in a queue? Loads of places have good food in York without the hassle!

    Favorite Dish:
    Don't know! Could not get into the place!

    (Not to be confused with Little Bettys)

    NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful?

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Bettys Cafe/Tea Room: A Yorkshire Institution!

    by spidermiss Updated Mar 23, 2011

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bettys Cafe Tea Room was founded by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss baker and confectioner, in 1919. He opened his first Bettys in 1919 in Harrogate and this became very successful! Frederick opened other Bettys branches including York. The Bettys in York was inspired by Frederick's journey on the Queen Mary Cruise, which he took in 1936, and he commissioned for the branch to have some of the interior decor reflecting the cruise liner.

    The cafe is very popular so be prepared to queue for a while but the experience is worth waiting for!

    Favorite Dish: I highly recommend Bettys Traditional Afternoon Tea which includes a pot of tea, sandwiches, freshly made fruit scone with jam and clotted cream and small cakes. This cost 16.50 GBP (March 2011).

    On a past visit I had the Yorkshire Cream Team and this consits of two freshly made fruit scones with jam and clotted cream and with a pot of tea. This cost 8.25 GBP (March 2011).

    There is a shop attached to the cafe and I highly recommend purchasing the Yorkshire Fat Rascal scones which are large scones with fruit scones with a cherry and almonds as a decoration on top. They cost 1.75 GBP each (March 2011).

    Bettys Cafe/Tea Room Be prepared to queue! You'll be glad that you did! Bettys Traditional Afternoon Tea Inside Bettys Cafe/Tea Room, York Dawn and Ruth looking forward to Afternoon Tea!
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tenten7's Profile Photo

    Betty's: Perfect service in Betty's

    by Tenten7 Updated Mar 27, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The queue was not too long, luckily! Waited only for 5-8 min (22-December).
    Waitresses/waiters are very professional and even to us, Japanese, they are really nice and friendly.

    My sister had Caesar Salad(8.70GBP) and I had a Sausage dish(8.95GBP). Both delicious!

    And bought a nice Christmasy choco Westie and fruit chocolate bars. They are quite expensive, but worth spending money.

    Favorite Dish: Local Yorkshire sausage with delicately cooked veg. Yum!
    And I am not sure Mulled Wine is only for Christmas, but it was so good! (3.60GBP/glass) We ordered mulled wine before the dish as it seemed to take a bit of time for the main dishes to be served. I recommend you to order tea/coffee before the main dish. :)

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Trains

    Was this review helpful?

  • ChartIt's Profile Photo

    Betty's: The Best Tea in York!

    by ChartIt Written May 14, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a proper tea house and resturant. It is expensive, and the food is worth it. The food is a blend of swiss and Yorkshire cooking. They have amazing bread and cakes. And truely i love their breakfast blend tea. It is a place you have to experince. the lines are longest at lunch and on Weekends.

    Favorite Dish: I love their "cream tea" it is 2 warm scones, with homemade jam, and clotted cream. And a pot of tradtional Breakfast blend tea. It is wonderful! Though the high tea sandwhiches and cakes go high, you can eat things that arent so expensive or splurge on one of their dinners. I love their tea though!!!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • Helga67's Profile Photo


    by Helga67 Updated Jul 11, 2003

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Betty's is probably the best café tea room in York. It is popular for its bakery and good coffee and tea. Passing the window of their shop, you can just not resist the delicious cakes, chocolates and other stuff. It's so popular that there are often queues outside waiting to be seated.
    For lunch they serve Swiss specialities.


    Was this review helpful?

  • cheekymarieh's Profile Photo

    Betty's Tea Rooms: Betty's Tea Rooms

    by cheekymarieh Updated Nov 9, 2003

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A unique atmosphere of an old English tea room. At groundfloor level you are seated in the 'goldfish bowl' (there are lots of windows and people passing seem compelled to having a look in the window). Downstairs (where you can usually be seated much quicker) there is lots of oak panelling and mirrors.

    The service is fantastic and nothing is too much trouble (even if you want water to accompany your coffee because you like it weak as my friend does).

    Favorite Dish: There is an excellent selection of tea and coffee on offer. These range from the usual Assam andEarl Grey to the more exotic South African Kwazulu Tea and Orange Pekoe.Various coffees are also offered including a decaffinated version.

    We usually time our visit around afternoon tea where there are too many cakes to choose from.! Some of my favourites include the Raspberry Tart and the Chocolate Tart.

    Chocolate Heaven
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Luxury Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mdchachi's Profile Photo

    Betty's: Tea for Two

    by mdchachi Updated Sep 10, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We were looking for a place to stop for afternoon tea in York. We saw this cute shop and went in. We only found out later that it was an immensely famous place with much history. The interior was designed in the same style as the 1930's cruise ship Queen Mary, very elegant. Although elegant, a casually dressed tourist will not feel out of place. Just outside the bathroom in the basement there are mirrors in which various American and Canadian airmen scratched in their names, dates and messages when Betty's was their hangout during World War II. It's an intriguing piece of history. Veterans are still coming back these days to revisit this place of their youth.

    Favorite Dish: Afternoon tea. The food came on a little rack of plates. A bite of a sandwich, a lovely scone and a Yorkshire curd tart. Plus a choice of several different kinds of tea. Yum!

    Afternoon Tea

    Was this review helpful?

  • steventilly's Profile Photo


    by steventilly Written Aug 24, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Betty's is a Yorkshire institution, bringing a touch of victorian elegance to to the twentieth (and now twenty first) century.

    The waiters and waitresses dress in traditional victorian style and address and serve you accordingly.

    Betty's is so popular that there are often queues outside waiting to be seated.

    Favorite Dish: Earl Grey Tea and Cinnamon Toast, Fat Rascals and Yorkshire Rarebit.

    Was this review helpful?

  • alyf1961's Profile Photo


    by alyf1961 Written Jun 21, 2009

    Betty’s is a Yorkshire institution. Fredrick Belmont, a Swiss immigrant, founded Betty’s in 1919 in Harrogate. There are Betty’s cafes and shops in York, Harrogate, Ilkley, Northallerton and Harlow Carr.



    Was this review helpful?

  • Britannia2's Profile Photo

    Bettys: Yorks most famous tea shop

    by Britannia2 Updated Aug 20, 2009

    I have not eaten here for sometime and in all honesty although its very good it is not the best cafe in the chain ( that's the one in Ilkley) but if you like elegant tea shops this is the best one in York. If you are from overseas and want to see a real English tea shop do try Bettys.
    The history of Bettys in York is that its finder Frederick Belmont was on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary in 1936 and was so impressed with the ship that he he asked the Queens Marys craftsmen to turn an old York furniture store in to an elegant cafe.
    Long queues most days to get in - a short walk away in Stonegate is Little Bettys - same fayre but faster service. Open 09.00 to 21.00 everyday.
    If you look on my home page under the title My Third VT Meeting you will see more and fuller details on Bettys and how a VT meeting was held there in August 2009.

    Favorite Dish: All of the fayre here is wonderful - the English breakfast is particularly good.


    Was this review helpful?

  • jobekenobi's Profile Photo

    Betty's: Go back in time at Betty's!

    by jobekenobi Written Sep 17, 2006

    Like going back in time to the 1920s, Betty's is how english tearooms used to be. Everything is very dainty - its doilies a gogo! Traditional teas are available and the location is fantastic for peoplewatching - make sure you sit at street level. Not the cheapest but you are paying for the experience as well as the (very good) food.

    Favorite Dish: I has the pikelets which are like squashed crumpets - yummy but a bit buttery! If I go again I will have the afternoon tea - tea, sandwiches, a cream scone and two mini cakes - heaven!

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Betty's: Afternoon tea

    by Dabs Written Jul 5, 2015

    Tell anyone you are visiting York and it's quite likely that they will tell you to go to Betty's and have a fat rascal. So I figured on my 3rd trip to York that I should finally visit although I did pass on the fat rascal. We went around noon and there was a short queue, if you didn't mind eating downstairs with no windows you could walk right in but we decided to wait for a table in the main area which took only 10-15 minutes. There's another Betty's at 46 Stonegate which looks to have the same menu.

    Favorite Dish: Although there are other options besides tea, it seemed like we should order what Betty's is known for. We ordered Betty's Traditional Afternoon Tea which comes with a selection of sandwiches which can be made vegetarian for one person but not the other, a scone with clotted cream and jam and assorted pastries, for us it was a raspberry macaron, a fruit tart and gateau l'Opera. And of course, a pot of tea (18.75£ per person).

    A couple of days later we decided to drop in again in the later afternoon, this time there was no line, and we just had the cream tea with two scones with clotted cream and jam and a pot of tea (9.50£ per person).

    Was this review helpful?

  • A2002's Profile Photo

    Betty's (Tea room).: Betty's (Tea room).

    by A2002 Written Sep 8, 2002

    It is a traditional British tea room. The waiters and waitresses are dressed in a Victorian style with excellent service. Often, you will find many people queueing up outside the tea room. I love the atmosphere and the quality of food is excellent.

    Favorite Dish: Coffee and a slice of cake that looks really appetising.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: York

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

17 travelers online now


View all York hotels