Friday, 3 March 2017


We love a good afternoon tea with lashings of hot tea!  So on a miserable, windswept Monday, we decided to give the coffee chains a rain-check and instead find the best cuppas in Leeds - from proper afternoon teas to superb coffee, we managed to sample four different independent cafes (and went home pleasantly full!)

We loved "Just Grand" aptly named as it is alongside the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House in The Grand Arcade. Stepping back into the 1950s, it feels just like your Nanna's living room ..... starting with menus stuck to LP records from such wonderful old recording artistes as Shirley Bassey, Glen Miller, Gene Pitney, Joe Loss and Ricky Nelson.

The decor is definitely vintage, with old china, lace tablecloths, walnut cabinets displaying glassware and traditional afternoon tea fayre.  Since the cafe is undercover, but in an arcade, there are crocheted blankets and stuffed cushions to keep you cosy if you want to sit "outside".

For retro with a modern twist, we went to Mrs. Atha's which is on Central Road, immediately behind House of Fraser in the city centre. Delicious coffee is served with even more delicious cakes.  This extremely popular cafe is usually packed so we went early in the morning and managed half a ginger cake each with a coffee to perk us up.  Despite the name and the fabulous menu, the surroundings are distinctly urban, with bare brick walls and industrial-style lighting, scrubbed wooden tables and hipster serving staff, but the array of tempting delicious cakes was to die for.

And then for something completely different!  Tucked behind the old Lewis's store on the Headrow and next to St John's Church, is The Arch - run to raise funds for Age UK, so customers are contributing directly to supporting older people in Leeds. The building - the Bradbury building - is listed and is the head office of Age UK Leeds, and they also offer courses such as silver surfing for beginners and even a film-making course.  Rooms are also available to hire.

The food is deliciously home-cooked and was another popular cafe which was packed at lunchtime. They cook wonderfully traditional food on the premises (the Bakewell Tart was straight out of the oven and looked delicious, but we were too full to try any).  However, they serve a great cup of coffee and a magnificent hot chocolate complete with cream and marshmallows - and all incredibly reasonably priced. They do take-away and also corporate platters for lunchtime meetings - sadly of which we both no longer need.

Then on to one of our favourite haunts - the Tiled Hall Cafe situated between the Library and Leeds Art Gallery. This beautiful room was originally a reading room for the library and was covered over with shelving and hundreds of books before eventually falling into disuse, until in 2007 it was re-discovered and completely renovated and restored to its former glory.  They sell a good assortment of sandwiches, cakes and a tasty wholesome bowl of soup!

We still enjoy the major chains and the department store coffee shops, but the home-made cakes and scones take some beating in the independent shops.  We were also delighted that some of our Instagram followers decided to try these out themselves - we hope you enjoyed them!


  1. My Mr Him went to Leeds yesterday from Sussex. I haven't seen him since. I suspect it's not tea rooms that he found. I love the decor of that last one, tiles and palms. So 1920s.

    1. Hello Anna - I hope you enjoyed your trip and that you managed to find him ( or not as the case may be!) there are lots of fun places to see so I hope he found something interesting (but there are a few dodgy places too so I hope it wasn't one of those!!!) xxx

  2. This sounds like the perfect way to spend a miserable Monday afternoon, and those cakes look so delicious!
    Julia x

    1. Hi Julia - it was and they were!!!! We shared them so we didn't over-do it! I want to go back to try the peanut flapjacks though! Xxxx

  3. This was my second time attending an event at this place, and was my first business event here (the other event was a charity show). Everything at LA venue was perfect, the drinks and food was amazing. Even the coffee was wonderful.


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