Afternoon tea at The Principal York

With afternoon tea always a welcome treat, and even more special on Mothering Sunday, we decided that for this Mother’s Day we would head back to our Northern roots in Yorkshire to enjoy afternoon tea at The Principal York Hotel. Tempted by the hotel’s menu celebrating local produce with traditional recipes, and beautiful views of the county’s ancient capital, The Principal York Hotel looked like the perfect place to relax and indulge, and spend some quality time together.  

Served in the hotel’s Garden Room, the space is the perfect setting for afternoon tea. Beautifully decorated in a modern palette of soft grey hues, the room’s high ceilings and large windows gave a light and airy feel. Like the welcoming atmosphere of our surroundings the service was also warm and friendly from the very beginning, and the team hadn’t forgotten our request for one of the best tables in the house – right next to the window so our special guests could enjoy views across the hotel’s gardens and up to historic York Minster. We settled in, started with champagne to toast the occasion, and looked forward to our afternoon treat.

The Principal Hotel York had given a unique twist to their afternoon tea, starting not with sandwiches but with an amuse bouche trio of sweet potato, chorizo and sherry vinegar velouté, a miniature Yorkshire rarebit with fruit chutney, and a smoked mackerel mousse with apple and lime purée. We didn’t miss out on the traditional crustless sandwiches though, with the hotel offering Yorkshire ham and pickle and classic egg mayonnaise and watercress, and we were happy to have such a hearty savoury start to the meal.

Next it was a trio of mini scones – plain, fruit, cherry and almond – giving us the chance to indulge in more flavours, and the first time we had been offered a such a wide choice at an afternoon tea. Impressive attention to detail was also paid to the teas with the hotel’s very own consultant Henrietta Lovell, known as the Tea-Lady, responsible for handpicking The Principal’s selection.

For our dainty cakes we were also in luck, as all of our favourite flavours were on the menu – salted caramel chocolate pot, passion fruit macaroon, a very pretty pink raspberry éclair – and continuing the spirit of celebrating local produce, a tangy Yorkshire curd tart and a wonderfully sticky Yorkshire Parkin.

After tea was finished the hotel’s beautiful gardens gave us the opportunity for an afternoon walk taking in the brisk Yorkshire air, and surprisingly also some sunshine. Not quite yet in bloom the gardens and its fountain were still incredibly pretty, especially set against the backdrop of the Minster and the city’s historic wall, and provided the perfect way to spend a little extra quality time together, and the perfect end to a special Mother’s Day.

Afternoon tea is served between 11:30am and 6pm priced at £22.95pp or £29.50pp including a glass of champagne.

The Principal York, Station Road, York, YO24 1AA

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