I hate to be so cliche as to say 'when you're here, you're family,' but it rings true for Sally Lunn's (in Chester) where we do often chat with the Gaffney sisters and Mum. Do yourself a favor, have anything off the menu with a pie crust (quiche, pot pie, sausage roll, etc) and a scone (expect something like a shortcake rather than a scone of stone). The teas are always excellent, the soups are delicious. But above all, the atmosphere is quiet and relaxed, comfortable for the men in our party. The waitresses are always friendly and accommodating, and great with children who have come to practice their manners. This is by far the 'British-est' of the tea rooms I visit (perhaps because the Gaffneys are UK natives) and that adds to the charm.
I just logged in today to leave a review for our visit yesterday with friends (and three children! they were very accommodating of the children and knew just how to pace things to keep the kids from climbing the walls, and we were there for the grand tea). We stopped in before going to the Morris Museum (just around the corner), and every single thing we had was fantastic. These are the only tea sandwiches I have ever enjoyed (the egg salad was deliciously herby), the chocolate mousse was rich, the tea was perfectly brewed, the scone was delightful (I tried the lemon poppy seed and the butter brickle my husband ordered) and the Devonshire cream mentioned below was impressively fresh (fresh enough there was some visible whey on the plate, perhaps accounting for Arielle's impression it was spoiled? it was delicious to me and I certainly didn't get ill, nor did anyone else with me). We intend to go back often as a sort of informal tea time and a show with the museum's theater program.