For nearly a millenium Lancaster Castle has dominated the skyline of the city. When the prison service finally departed in 2011 it held the dubious title of being the longest continuously serving prison in the country, possibly the world. Since then the citizens have been waiting to see what would become of their greatest heritage asset. Now after years of restoration and renovation the results of the Duchy of Lancaster’s investment can be revealed. The results are nothing short of breathtaking. Where once stood a ramshackle shambles of tired old prison buildings in the middle of the courtyard there stands… nothing! Nothing but a daring space from which to admire the surrounding medieval magnificence of what is now a ‘proper’ castle, with buildings from every century, that traces not just the history of architecture but also the royal lineage of the kings and queens of England from the Norman and Plantagenet periods right through the Tudors and Stuarts to the Victorians, who developed so much of the castle as a prison, to today where the monarch, always known as the Duke of Lancaster, has been ultimately responsible for creating this new vision of the castle as we see it today, as a major tourist attraction for the region for the public to enjoy and explore. At its heart we now have a huge public space, a sweeping piazza, surrounded by newly uncovered cloisters and spruced up turrets that lead up to the main attraction, as far as we’re concerned… The Café!
Situated at the highest point of the newly recreated Kitchen Courtyard the café is comprised of two buildings: the old kitchen and the only 21st Century building of the outside segments of the castle.
We follow in a long line of custodians of the kitchen in the castle, from the hog roasts on the spit in the giant fireplaces of the Norman keep to the bowls of gruel served up to inmates serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Our offering will be somewhat different, a contemporary menu of delicious pastries, slices, cakes and sandwiches for those who need to grab and go and those who choose to stay a while longer and enjoy the very best of freshly roasted coffees and loose leaf teas, served by the most skilled baristas around. For what the Duchy have provided here is a warm and welcoming space for a local independent family business to offer visitors the very best of modern café culture in a beautiful heritage setting.
This part of the castle has not been seen in living memory and we aim to give those that come here an unforgettable experience!