I’m a big fan of novelty. I’m always looking for new and more unusual things to do. I’d noticed that Countess of York had been competing with Skosh for the number one spot on TripAdvisor for a few months, so decided to check it out. After learning that they served afternoon tea on an old train, I couldn’t resist trying it.
The Countess of York is a fully refurbished 1956-built carriage, restored to mimic 19th century travel. Formerly known as Valiant, The Countess of York is a Pullman-style carriage which started life as a Baggage Car, carrying parcels and post all over the UK. Throughout its lifetime, the railway carriage also transported cider and golfers across the country. It will now spend its retirement hosting cream teas at the National Railway Museum in York.
Arriving at 2pm we were greeted by very friendly staff who were accommodating when we said that most of our party were vegetarian. They were happy to give us different sandwich options for the non-meat eaters in our group and seemed keen to alter the menu to meet our needs.
We sampled a selection of sandwiches including cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon with a lemon dill butter, Yorkshire ham with English mustard and rocket, free range egg mayonnaise and watercress, cheddar and pickle and finally hummus and sundried tomato.
Next we had tomato and basil soup – something you wouldn’t normally see on an afternoon tea menu. It came in a little espresso cup which was just the right amount. It was tasty, warming and had a hint of spice. Sometimes you can be a little over-faced with the amount of sweet things served at an afternoon tea, so an extra savory item was ideal.
The homemade Yorkshire recipe scone was served with vanilla enhanced clotted cream and homemade berry preserve. It was extremely light and tasted freshly baked – it was still warm!
To finish (the best bit, the cakes!) we delved into vanilla panna cotta with a pink lemonade jelly, winter berries crème patisserie tart, Yorkshire tea loaf, white chocolate and raspberry choux bun and a selection of macarons.
All of the food was delicious and well presented. The atmosphere was warm and inviting but still casual enough to not feel out of place dining with tablecloths, napkins & silverware. Next time, I’ll try not to spill my tea everywhere (sorry, Countess of York)!
Traditional afternoon tea is available at Countess of York for £22.50pp which we believed for the quality of the food, service and novel environment was good value. Champagne afternoon tea is also available for £29pp.
Surround yourself in the opulent carriage décor and elegant furniture at Countess of York, a beautifully restored railway carriage situated in the National Railway Museum between Great Hall and Station Hall in the South Gardens.
National Railway Museum
Afternoon tea is served at 12noon, 2pm and 4pm daily.
The Countess of York can also be booked for private fine dining for groups of 12 or more, or in its entirety for that special personal occasion, or unique corporate event.