The Black Swan, Market Place, Helmsley.

Hang out

Traditional charm meets contemporary elegance in the Black Swan Tearoom. The country-chic space is the perfect place to meet friends for a spot of lunch after browsing the boutique shops and local pop-ups found in Helmsley’s stunning market square. Boasting a fine selection of teas, alongside a delicious offering of cakes and sweet treats, we can’t think of anywhere better to hang out by the fire on a cold, wintery afternoon over the Christmas break.

Decked out

A cosy, country retreat complete with roaring fires, delicious food and a traditional Yorkshire tearoom. We are seated in the Tearoom’s window seat, complete with seasonal flowers, festive decorations and a lovely view of Helmsley’s market square. It’s a quaint room complimented by its pastel colours and bold splashes of pink – the ultimate setting for a picture perfect afternoon tea.


There’s an endless list of hot, cold and alcoholic beverages. But with our afternoon tea, we enjoy a selection of Cygnet speciality teas to top off the high-tea experience. My choice of a pomegranate and passion fruit infusion is an uplifting and truly refreshing experience. Add a touch of sparkle to your afternoon tea for just £9.95.

Food matters

Traditional, luxe and indulgent comes to mind. Expect a quintessentially British afternoon tea at The Black Swan. Dainty finger sandwiches, fresh scones, cakes in all their glory and a fascinating selection of teas make up the menu here. This classic, country boutique hotel has taken everything we know and love about the English countryside and incorporated it into their delicious food offering. A combination of local, seasonal ingredients and traditional service create this home-from-home tea room where we stop for a spot of afternoon tea. The Gallery Restaurant also offers an A La Carte Menu, a Six Course Tasting Menu, Sunday Lunch Menu and a Market Menu among many other specialities.

We ate

We’re well into December, meaning we can indulge and not feel guilty about it. If you’re looking for something sweet to kick off the Christmas week, or you’re hoping to surprise a loved one with something delicious ahead of the festivities, book in for a tasty treat at Helmsley’s go-to afternoon tea spot. The Black Swan Afternoon Tea (£21.95 per person) comes with a fine selection of cute finger sandwiches including the traditional cucumber with cream cheese and chive, free-range hen’s egg with mustard cress, oak smoked salmon with lemon dill and Yorkshire ham and dijon mustard mayonnaise. The savoury options are simple, yet perfectly pleasing – and leave plenty of room for the sweet treats to follow. Next up: two fluffy, homemade scones served with clotted cream and a choice of apricot, lemon curd, raspberry or strawberry preserve. They’re huge, and incredibly soft in the middle – making the perfect middle-course for this afternoon tea experience. To top off the high-tea, you’ll find a selection of cakes and pastries, from traditional trifle to lemon meringue and packed-out profiteroles.

With a goodie bag of sweet somethings, we left feeling full of tea, cakes and Christmas cheer. You can take as much or as little away with you – so it’s cakes and scones for supper! If you can’t treat yourself to a delectable dining experience over Christmas, when can you? Book up now.