Shocked charity worker Vicki Hill was left steaming after being forced to pay a whopping £42 for just three pots of tea at the Royal York Hotel.

Despite querying the bill several times with managers, she was told it was correct, and walked away with a mug-sized hole in her pocket.

Her receipt confirmed she had paid £14 for a pot of tea for four, which worked out at £3.50 per cup. It was more expensive than a pint of beer at the hotel, which cost £3.30.

Now embarrassed bosses at the hotel have admitted the price was wrong due to a fault with the bar's till, and have offered Vicki a full refund and a complimentary lunch for four people.

"Myself and four others had decided to pop into the hotel for a drink after coming out of the station," said Vicki, 38, from Stillington, who works for green transport charity, Sustrans, in York.

"I bought three pots of tea for four people. When I got the bill I just laughed because I thought they'd got it so wrong. I didn't believe it could cost £42 for the tea.

"They were only little cups and I had to order it from the bar myself. I went to reception to tell them they must have got it wrong, but they said it was right."

Jacqui Havercroft, the hotel's business development manager, said it should have cost £8 for a pot of tea for four. "It appears the set-up of our bar till was wrong," she said.

"We intend to conduct a full investigation.

"We would like to apologise unreservedly to the lady and offer her a full refund and a complimentary meal for four."

Meanwhile, Bettys, in St Helen's Square, charges £10 for a pot of tea for four and £2.50 per cup, Dean Court Hotel, in Duncombe Place, charges £7.45 for a pot for four and £1.95 per cup, and Browns department store tea rooms, in Davygate, charge £1.20 per cup and £4.60 per pot for four.

"I'd like to know how many other people were overcharged and left with a seriously bad impression of York," Vicki added.

Do you know who sells the cheapest cuppa in York? If so, phone Matthew Woodcock on 01904 653051 ext 305, or email

Updated: 09:52 Friday, November 25, 2005