Yorkshire’s only five star hotel, York’s very own The Grand, is inviting children to enjoy afternoon tea for free with their paying grown-ups this February half term and to celebrate, we were invited along to try it for ourselves. Our children – who rarely get to step foot anywhere more luxurious than our (lovely) neighbourhood cafes – took the whole adventure very seriously by spending an hour choosing what to wear and quizzing me about whether they would need to talk like the queen. Thankfully, while The Grand might be very grand – as beautiful inside as it is out – it’s also incredibly warm and welcoming. Everyone we encountered, from the person who helped us carry the buggy up the steps to the waitress who remembered each of our children’s names, made us feel right at home.
Afternoon tea is served in Hudson’s, the hotel’s restaurant, where background music and the chatter of other guests (including other families with young children) created a relaxed atmosphere. Our four year-old was very impressed by the double layered white linen tablecloth, while the two year-old enjoyed perusing the extensive tea and coffee menu from the comfort of her own grown-up chair so much that she refused to hand it back (we did wrestle it from her eventually).
The seven year-old, who had come with me to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed afternoon tea at The Grand a while back, regarded himself as an old hand and took it all in his stride. His initial disappointment at the lack of oompa-loompas was short-lived; as soon as the children’s three-tiered extravaganza of incredible cakes, sandwiches and scones arrived, he fell into a satisfied silence. The two-year-old loved the gingerbread person most because The Gingerbread Man is currently her favourite bedtime story, while the four-year-old devoured her and everyone else’s little jars of raspberry jelly without them getting a look-in. The eldest, who has a soft spot for anything straight out of the oven, polished off more than his fair share of the beautiful warm scones (plain and blueberry and orange) and then asked if there were any going spare from the adults.
The adult menu comprised a gorgeous selection of sweet and savoury treats – including the coveted scones – which were all cleverly presented and a joy to eat. The wonderfully light Yorkshire fettle and sunblushed tomato tartlet was my personal favourite, while Mr Viking’s top choice was the deliciously boozy Kir Royale cheesecake, all accompanied by endless cups of tea from silver pots. We finished by sharing the date sponge with stem ginger frosting and honeycomb with the kids, and we all agreed that, although we’d all had more than our fair share of food, we would always find room for more of that cake. The whole experience was a real treat that the children enjoyed just as much as we did. I’ll leave the final verdict to the seven year old: ‘that was 100 out of 100!’.
The Grand Hotel, Station Rise, York YO1 6GD – Children can enjoy afternoon tea with paying adults this February half term; contact the hotel for details – Visit The Grand Hotel’s website for more details and to book
Thanks so much to The Grand for inviting us for afternoon tea. As always, our reviews are entirely independent and we will only recommend experiences that we have genuinely enjoyed.