We lost our honeymoon but got a winning cafe at Bolton Abbey

Wharfedale Observer: Steven and Helen Harper outside their Tea Cottage at Bolton Abbey Steven and Helen Harper outside their Tea Cottage at Bolton Abbey

A year ago, Stephen and Helen Harper were cancelling their honeymoon at the last minute so they could finalise buying the Tea Cottage at Bolton Abbey.

Now, 12 months on, the couple are celebrating the success of their new venture, having seen the number of visitors increase steadily following the expansion of the Tea Cottage’s offerings, which include breakfast as well as lunchtime and afternoon tea and a newly redecorated first-floor function room, The Beamsley Room, which is used for weddings and other celebrations.

Stephen, who is also head chef, said: “We had planned two weeks in Lake Garda for our honeymoon but the evening before we were due to fly our solicitor rang to say contracts were going to be exchanged on the Tea Cottage.

“We had little choice but to cancel the holiday, particularly as we had such big plans for the tea room.

“Since then, business has been great and we’re now looking forward to a busy summer season, with extended opening hours during the Tour de France weekend.”

Stephen, who has worked at a number of award-winning restaurants, including the Michelin starred Arkle Restaurant at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel, also runs Fine Catering, an outside catering business he established in 2005.

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