Afternoon Tea at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey

When an invitation dropped into my inbox inviting me for afternoon tea at the Devonshire Arms Hotel I couldn’t have been happier as it’s such a beautiful country house hotel.  It’s located on the Yorkshire estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in Bolton Abbey lying in a tranquil setting along the banks of the River Wharfe within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, Bolton Abbey
The Devonshire Arms Hotel

The hotel was a former coaching inn and on arrival we were greeted by one of the front of house team who was smartly dressed in country tweeds.  He led us through to the attractive conservatory which overlooks a formal Italian garden.  Seated on comfortable chairs at a table with starched white linen, it was the perfect location to enjoy one of the Devonshire’s traditional afternoon teas.

The Conservatory, Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
The hotel’s conservatory

We were introduced to Danni who would be taking care of us and after enquiring if we had any dietary requirements, she returned to the table to pour each of us a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne, a luxurious start to our afternoon tea.

Champagne Afternoon Tea at the Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey
Starting with a glass of champagne

Whilst sipping our champagne, a tray of delicate finger sandwiches and savoury treats was served.  Danni explained that the Devonshire liked to do things a little differently by serving savouries first, followed by a traditional three tier tea tray of scones and cakes.  The idea being that the scones would be warm from the oven when we were ready to eat them.

Afternoon Tea at the Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
Our platter of dainty sandwiches

The freshly prepared finger sandwiches contained generous fillings of cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon with lemon and dill, roast ham and chutney and chicken Caesar salad, all tasting delicious.  Accompanying the sandwiches were slices of pork, apricot and apple sausage roll which were also very appetising and of just the right portion size.

Champagne Afternoon Tea at the Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
Enjoying my glass of champagne

It was then time for the star of the show to arrive, the traditional cake stand.  As with the savouries, our server carefully explained what everything was and enquired of our hot drink preferences.  A large selection of teas and coffees were available and being afternoon, it had to be tea.  I selected a black Darjeeling with milk whilst my dining partner opted for Earl Grey served with lemon.  Large tea pots soon arrived with a jug of milk for me.

Afternoon Tea at the Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
Delicious scones and cakes for us to enjoy

We dipped our fingers beneath the white starched napkin keeping our scones warm where we found a fruit and plain scone each.  To accompany these were pots of clotted cream, home made strawberry jam and lemon curd, I kept to the traditional theme topping my scones with jam and cream whilst my husband opted for cream and lemon curd.  Neither of us had tried this combination before but he assured me it was delicious, and it must have been as he selected the same for his second scone.

Scones with clotted cream and Jam at the Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
Warm scones with jam and clotted cream

From the cake stand we then both tucked into the Devonshire Chocolate Bar which comprised a light sponge coated with chocolate ganache which we followed up with dainty Blackberry choux buns and mini strawberry cheesecakes which looked almost too beautiful to eat.  All the cakes and pastries are made in-house by the hotel’s pastry chef and I adored them all.

Delectable Afternoon Tea desserts at the Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
Delectable desserts

Afternoon tea at the Devonshire is a relaxed, decadent affair not to be rushed so we settled back in our chairs with a second pot of tea lingering awhile enjoying the surroundings.  Glancing around the conservatory, everyone seemed to be having a lovely time.  From a daughter treating her mother to a birthday celebration to a couple on the next table who told us that they were on holiday from South Africa and adoring this quintessential English experience.

The Burlington Restaurant, Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
The elegant Burlington Restaurant

Before leaving the hotel, we had a little look around the restaurant, brasserie, cocktail bar and lounges which we noted had all undergone a makeover since our last visit.

Dog Lounge, Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey
The cosy Dog Lounge

They were beautiful before but even more attractive now with their mix of contemporary furnishings and decor blending perfectly alongside elaborate period furniture and paintings from the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth collection.

Bolton Abbey village
Bolton Abbey village centre

To walk off some of the calories from our afternoon tea we enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the charming village and estate.  Setting off on foot from the hotel car park it’s possible to follow a path along to the picturesque village centre that leads onto the priory.  For a longer walk, one can then continue along the banks of the River Wharfe to the Cavendish Pavilion and slightly further to the Strid.  There are three car parks within the Bolton Abbey estate so if you don’t feel like taking too long a walk but still wish to view the main sights you can park in one of the car parks and then use the same ticket to change location.

Bolton Abbey Priory Church and Ruins

Bolton Abbey priory church and ruins
Bolton Abbey priory church and ruins

The priory church and ruins of the Augustinian priory in its beautiful riverside setting is a lovely sight.  This is where the canons lived and worshipped until 1539 when the dissolution of the monasteries stripped the priory of its assets.  The nave was saved as a place of worship and continues to this day (visitors are welcome into the church and admission is free).

The Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones, Bolton Abbey
Stepping Stones, Bolton Abbey

You can either walk across these photogenic stepping stones or be like us and cross the river by means of the nearby footbridge and watch others trying to keep their balance and not fall in.

The Strid, Bolton Abbey
The Strid, Bolton Abbey

The Strid – a famous spot on the River Wharfe where the river is forced through a narrow gap in the rocks.  The Strid (meaning one stride) is a pinch-point where the rocks on either side are close enough to stride over.  There are signs by the rocks warning people not to be tempted to do this though as the rocks are very slippery and the water is often fast flowing.  Surprisingly, the water levels were quite low at the time of our visit so we didn’t see it in full force.

River Wharfe, Bolton Abbey
The River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey

To summarise, spending time enjoying afternoon tea at the Devonshire Arms and enjoying a walk in its surroundings is an absolute delight and an occasion long to be remembered.  If you are planning a visit to this part of North Yorkshire do consider adding the hotel to your itinerary either as a place to stay or to call in for a delicious afternoon tea as you won’t be disappointed.

Champagne Afternoon Tea at the Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey
Enjoying the sense of occasion at the Devonshire Arms Hotel


Details:  The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, Bolton Bridge, Skipton BD23 6AJ

We were guests of the Devonshire Arms Hotel and as always all views and opinions are my own.


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Afternoon Tea at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey



54 thoughts on “Afternoon Tea at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey

  1. ThingsHelenLoves

    Looks like a lovely experience and the idea of serving the tea in courses is brilliant- why don’t more places do this? Also I think we need a moment of appreciation for the Dog Lounge, and especially the canine themed wall paper. It’s really made my dog loving heart happy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Afternoon Tea at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey – Jodhpur News

  3. Looking very elegant Marion on your beautiful tea dress
    The food looks delicious and so much of it, no need for dinner that night
    Looks like a great place to visit
    Hope you’re having a good week 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ah, I’m dearly missing afternoon tea, especially after reading this post! Looks to be a scrumptious time, and I’ll have to find an opportunity to head to a tea room one of these days. Glad you had a pleasant afternoon at the Devonshire Arms!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Fabulous afternoon tea, Marion. I think that the idea of serving savoury bits before the sweet treats so that scones remain warm is brilliant. The Devonshire Arms looks an altogether wonderful place for a base as one explores its surroundings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for taking an interest in this post on our visit to the Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey Leighton. It’s a gorgeous country house hotel and we felt very pampered enjoying our luxurious afternoon tea. It’s definitely a great idea to serve the scones warm from the oven as they tasted so fresh and we both loved them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember my afternoon teas there very well still, even if that was in the 1990s. I stayed at that place for a few days and enjoyed it ever so much. Their afternoon teas, as well as their dinners and breakfasts, were a real delight. Your post here brings back fond memories.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so pleased to read that this post brought back fond memories of your own stay at The Devonshire. It’s a beautiful country house hotel and guests are made to feel very welcome. Thanks so much for your kind words and for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s not the kind of experience you have every day, but if you’re looking for something romantic, or to splurge, then enjoying a luxurious, traditional Afternoon Tea is a great option. Even though Afternoon Tea is quintessentially British, Ireland was part of the British Empire for long enough to learn a few things about it and make it our own and there are many places on the Emerald Isle where I could indulge in such experience! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly Aiva, partaking of afternoon tea should definitely be thought of as a special occasion and one that memories are made of. Our afternoon tea at The Devonshire was definitely that and we both enjoyed it very much! Hope you are enjoying sunny days xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What an awesome experience Marion. The food and drink look delightful and starting it all off with bubbly is a great touch. How could you not be relaxed to enjoy the experience? I recall the clotted cream from our visit to Devon way back when. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh Marion, I would definitely be more than happy to receive an invitation like this one! And to start with champagne – that’s a winner 😉 … the sandwiches looks really nice, but that cake stand – it’s yumminess in overload! And even the South Africans are enjoying the British high tea – I love it! To end your day with such a beautiful walk, must have been great … what a wonderful day!

    Liked by 2 people

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