THEY have sipped, nibbled and digested their way through the menus of some of Britain’s most genteel hotels and tearooms.

And now judges from the Tea Guild have finally agreed on the best place to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea.

Yesterday, they revealed that the Oscar of the tea world had gone to Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

It was awarded the accolade of Top Tea Place 2012 after earning a near perfect score for flavour, knowledge and service of the teas offered, together with the quality and service of food, decor, ambience and presentation.

Praised for its delightful surroundings, affable staff, and “quietly efficient” service, the judges were also impressed by the variety and number of sandwiches, scones and cakes.

Head of the Tea Guild Irene Gorman said: “They were awarded this for the whole package. Everything was found to be done with knowledge and training.

“Nowadays, with so many different types of tea, you have to have the knowledge. A tea menu is like a wine list.

“It’s something Brits are supposed to do better than everyone else. The fact is we do. Particularly this year, with the Queen’s jubilee, there is a nostalgia for things like afternoon tea.”

Customers visiting the High Street establishment yesterday were in agreement.

Pam Grimsditch, of Grewelthorpe, Wensleydale, said: “It’s wonderful. I met my husband here two-and-a-half years ago. The staff are so polite, the restaurant is beautiful, the service is perfection.”

Bob Brown, from Northumberland, said: “The food is absolutely excellent and the staff are courteous. It’s lovely.”

Lindsay Judd, manager of Bettys Northallerton Tea Rooms, said: “We are very proud to be members of the Tea Guild, and to be given the Tea Guild’s Top Tea Place 2012 Award is a huge honour – we’re absolutely delighted.

“We know just how important it is to get all aspects of afternoon tea exactly right.”