The best place for afternoon and Spa in Harrogate

Family and friends mean the world to me and I love nothing more than spending time with them.

I’m lucky enough to see my mum regularly but it’s not the same as having quality time together. It’s so lovely to chat, catch up on each other’s lives and share family jokes. The older I get, the more I appreciate the time we spend together, especially when we have a full day with no distractions.

Inspired by the Queen’s recent 90th birthday celebrations, I invited my mum to join me for a very British day out. When deciding what to do, some pampering, shopping and yummy food came out high on the list and Harrogate offered all of this in abundance.  

Early one Sunday morning, we excitedly packed our bags and set off on our road trip across Yorkshire. We put on some music and hit the open road.
Our first port of call in Harrogate was to get some pampering, so we headed off to the Turkish Baths to de-stress after a very busy few weeks.
We walked through a doorway of an old, characterful building which has been modernised but largely looks the same on the inside as it has since the day it was built.

It was more handsome than I expected, with dark wooden panelled changing rooms and, large, heavy red velvet drapes covering the tiered steam room, which ranges in temperatures from a mild summer’s day, to the raging heat of the desert at the top! It reminded me of an episode of Game of Thrones, with lots of people laying around in white towels, which looked a bit like they were having a toga party.
After a couple of hours relaxing, hopping from the hot steam to the freezing cold plunge pool, which resulted in loud shrieks and giggles from us, we were famished and ready for a pot of good English tea.
We dressed as quickly as we could in the sticky heat and wandered out into the cold air. Although we had a lovely time, it did feel a little expensive for what it was and I wondered if they could have done more to build the experience, but, it is clearly a beautiful piece of history for the town.

We idly wandered the shops, indulging in that Sunday feeling when you can take your time, getting drawn in by the many amazing homeware stores in Harrogate and admiring the imaginative shop windows.

Soon it was time for the highlight of the day as I'd received a very special invite and off we trotted towards Betty’s Tearoom, a Yorkshire institution that knows how to do a fabulous British Afternoon Tea.

The large clock tower that has stood proud over Harrogate since it was built over a hundred years ago confirmed it was time for tea but our bellies already knew, as they rumbled at the sight of the amazing macaroon tower displayed in the window.
We walked through the door that ladies have frequented for many years in search of some genteel afternoon refreshment. The shop retains it's heritage, decked out in an old English market style, with gleaming display cabinets temptingly guarding the sweet treasures within.
The staff, bedecked in smart aprons, smiled and chatted with customers, reaching into the cabinets and producing cakes of all sizes and colours, producing audible gasps of delight from patrons.
We wandered past the café and up the stairs, passing throngs of people outside waiting to be seated. You see we were in the know, as The Harrogate Girl told me a secret about how to beat the queues that line every Betty’s Tea Room from York to Ilkley. The Lady BettyAfternoon Tea can be booked in advance, so whilst everyone else turns up and waits, we were able to cruise right past them and be immediately seated.
Feeling just a little smug, we entered the Imperial Room and were impressed by how grand it felt. The sun bounced off the large chandeliers sending prisms of light around the room, while a man in tails tinkled the ivories of a grand piano, creating a sophisticated ambience.

Our server looked the part in her crisp Betty’s apron and got right down to the important question – pink or white champagne? We ordered the pink fizz, in keeping with our girly day, and perused the tea menu.
There was every type of tea conceivable, from exotic sounding blue teas of Ceylon to the more traditional English Breakfast. Believe me, Betty’s know their tea, being part of the same company that own Yorkshire Tea, which is an absolute staple in our house! When we visited the tea plantations in Sri Lanka, we passed a Yorkshire Tea territory, all green and lush looking, which just shows how small the world really is.
We ordered our teas and settled in, enjoying talking about girlie things and giggling over old family stories.

Before we knew it our first course had arrived. The carnivore (mum) had a prawn cocktail on a pureed avocado base, and the herbivore (me) had an alternative of a tomato salsa on a pureed avocado base, which we both wolfed down in minutes. It was delicious but more of a palate cleanser and just further whetted our appetite.
We sipped our bubbles and enjoyed the views of The Stray from the windows, which is a large green space that wraps around Harrogate’s centre. It makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the countryside even though shops, restaurants and bars are just a minute away.
Our tea was served in cute silver tea pots, with tea strainers and real bone china, which my mum said reminded her of my nanna. It was lovely to reminisce about her and we wished she could have been there with us.   
With our appetites in full flow from our starter, we were over the moon when our beautifully presented cake stands arrived, resplendent with savouries, mini sandwiches, scones and cakes.

For the savoury course, the carnivore (mum) had a mini pork pie and a smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill roulade. Mum’s favourite was the pork pie which she said had a lovely taste of apple in it. The herbivore (me) had yummy Spring Onion Frittatas.
Next we devoured our selection of sandwiches, which we had the option to refill. The bread was freshly baked and delicious. My favourite was the cream cheese sandwich and mum’s was the coronation chicken, which I have to admit, I also secretly liked the look of and wished there was a veggie version for me.
We stopped to replenish the tea just as the pianist launched into a version of happy birthday for a diner’s 90th birthday and we all joined in with singing. Her balloons, tied to the chairs, bobbed along as her grandchildren clapped and wriggled in delight.
After a breather we were ready to tackle the sweet course and my, what sweets they were. First we had two individually flavoured mini scones. One was lemon infused and the other rosewater, which was really distinctive and yummy. We greedily smothered layer after layer of strawberry jam and clotted cream on them, making a pretty pink and white tower.
They slipped down too easily and we laughed that we could have eaten two more each! But our eyes were bigger than our bellies, as we advanced to the top tier of our stand to be met with three stunning desserts, beautifully crafted and preened to perfection.
The pistachio slice and macaroon were our favourites but there was also a rich, dark chocolate and passion fruit cube that was just the ticket. We gave it a gallant effort but we were eventually beaten and had to leave a little bit of dessert, after trying a mouthful of each, of course.
We drained the last of our pink bubbles, poured ourselves another cup of tea and slipped into a food induced state of contentment.
Next to us an expectant mum opened presents at her baby shower and everyone oohed and aahed over tiny baby growers. I thought what a treat this would be for celebrations and mentally bookmarked this for future hen dos and baby showers for close friends.
We eventually peeled ourselves off the plush, upholstered chairs and made our way down the oak panelled staircase and out onto The Stray.

Before our journey back we just had time for a cocktail date with The Harrogate Girl at the lovely West Park Hotel. We gossiped and talked animatedly about our day in Harrogate, as the sun started to lower in the sky. It really was a lovely end to a fabulous, very British, girl’s day out.

Where do you like to go for a girly day out? Have you been to Betty’s Tea Room or had a cracking afternoon tea somewhere else? I’d love to hear recommendations for other places to take my mum.

*this is a collaborative post but all views are honest and my own. 


  1. I love afternoon tea. I'd love to go to Betty's too, but the queue always puts me off. (I can't believe you didn't finish dessert! Seriously.)

    1. It's a lovely experience so I definitely recommend booking the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea to beat the queues. I regretted not finishing dessert about an hour later! :)

  2. I looooove spending time with my lovely mumma too. And you're so right, as you get older you really appreciate them as a person more. Looks like you had such a lovely time too.

    Oh and also. That picture of a pornstar martini genuinely almost made me dribble. I'm not even joking. That is my favourite cocktail of alllllllll time!

    xx ❤ La Coco Noire

    1. Aw it really is lovely, isn't it? You become friends more than mother and daughter. Oh my, they are good aren't they? I always look for them wherever I go now! I feel one incoming this weekend... haha. Have a great weekend. Love the name of your blog.


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