With all that beautiful, breakable crockery and the serene centuries-old surroundings, you might not consider Bettys a natural destination for families looking for refreshment in York. But brave the queue and you’ll be rewarded with a warm, family-friendly welcome.
Like lots of York families, Bettys is a special place for us. As children ourselves, we loved going there as a treat for banana milkshakes there with our grandparents, and now our children like to go there when we’ve got something to celebrate. To mark an extra candle on the cake for some of us, we headed off for a Bettys birthday breakfast.
The snaking queue outside Bettys is almost as much of a York landmark as Cliffords Tower and the city walls. But get there early – we’re talking not long after the doors open – and you may well get straight in. Following its recent refurbishment, the ground floor tea room is more refined and opulent than ever, but with children we prefer the cosier and more relaxed surroundings of downstairs. As always, the lovely staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable, offering a high chair and bringing colouring-in sheets and crayons for the children that kept them occupied for the entire meal. The Little Rascals kids’ menu is full of lovely choices for little ones, but ours predictably chose to order a stack of cinnamon toast each (they’re not ones for change). It’s what they always have and they love it, not least because it comes on a very fancy cake stand that makes them feel as though they’re eating at Buckingham Palace. And that’s a lot of the joy of eating at Bettys with kids. It’s a unique but completely authentic experience that’s so far removed from the places we usually go that they savour every minute of it (and behave a lot better than normal too – bonus). It’s a place that parents and children can enjoy together – our eggs on muffins and English breakfast were delicious – and as treats go, it doesn’t get much more special, or more York, than a trip to Bettys.
Bettys, 6-8 St. Helen’s Square, YO1 8QP – bettys.co.uk
This review is taken from the Summer 2016 issue of the Little Vikings magazine.