What better excuse for a slice of cake than being able to enjoy some of Britain's most beautiful and historic buildings at the same time? The churches featured here are just a selection of some our favourite church cafes: we can assure you that there are many more excellent options for you to visit and many more excuses for cake, if you need one!

Coffee in the cloisters

An extraordinary café for an extraordinary church. Praised by the Financial Times as ‘probably among the nicest in England’, the Cloister Cafe offers treats such as smoked salmon, pies, scones with cream and jam, and a selection of monastic beers, all to be enjoyed at a table in the 15th century cloister. The church claims to be London’s oldest, in continuous use since 1143, and has featured in numerous films and TV programmes including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, Sherlock Holmes and Muppets: Most Wanted.

St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield

Soaring scones

The Coffee Shop overlooks the nave and chancel and offers quality coffee, tea, cakes, homemade scones and freshly made sandwiches in beautiful surroundings. Leamington’s parish church has been described as ‘a church as out of the ordinary for scale as for style’. It was built between 1843 and 1869 to the designs of the local Warwickshire architect JG Jackson in collaboration with the vicar, Dr John Craig, and enlarged at the end of the 19th century by Sir A Blomfield to make it one of the biggest in England, with capacity for 2000 people and a soaring interior.

All Saints, Leamington Spa

Michaelhouse teas

St Michael’s in the centre of Cambridge is home to an award winning cafe. The Michaelhouse offers an excellent menu created with locally sourced produce. Situated in the oldest part of Cambridge, it is the perfect pit stop for explorers and locals alike. St Michael’s was built in 1324 in the Decorated Gothic style and was the first college chapel in Cambridge, becoming the model for other Cambridge and Oxford college chapels. A cup of tea on the modern mezzanine level enables visitors to enjoy the bright, peaceful space and overlook the large chancel, once the setting for university debates, college sermons, and lectures.

St Michael, Cambridge

Feel good fairtrade

Visitors to Oxford's University Church can enjoy breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea under the vaulted ceilings or in the garden. Locally sourced organic food, Fairtrade coffee and an exceptional setting make this a unique dining experience and a chance to immerse yourself in the church’s exciting history, from the trials of the Oxford Martyrs to the burial of Royalist soldiers, the birth of the Oxford Movement, and the establishment of Oxfam. The church is open to visitors throughout the year with tours available. You can also climb the 127 steps up to the top of the tower for a fantastic view of Oxford’s skyline.

St Mary the Virgin (University Church), Oxford

Naughty but nice

All Saints cafe is a gem in the centre of Hereford. Handmade, locally sourced food is cooked on site every day, and a daily changing menu will be sure to suit your appetite whether you’re popping in for a quick coffee or a hearty home cooked meal. Not only does the food have excellent reviews but the cafe has also received national awards for its design, being a great example of modern intervention in a 14th century listed building. Exploring the church you will find examples of 15th century tiles and wall paintings and, if you look closely at the roof beams, may even spot a naughty little Tudor woodcarving!

All Saints, Hereford

High up high tea

The stunningly dramatic view across Liverpool Cathedral from the Mezzanine Cafe makes it a must visit. The cafe is fully accessible and licensed and offers freshly baked cakes, sandwiches, and soup, perfect for enjoying in this magnificent building. As a 20th century building by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the Cathedral is a powerful symbol of a century of great challenge, strife, and new beginnings. The awe inspiring nature of the building is hard to overstate and its stature extends to the tower which stands 154m (500ft) tall above the River Mersey, accessible by two lifts and 108 stairs, and offering unbeatable views across the city. The Cathedral also has a lovely restaurant, which we recommend booking ahead.

Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool

Bread and cheese

The Refectory at Norwich Cathedral was built on the site of the original monks dining hall in the medieval cloister. Thankfully the dining experience has moved on a little since the Middle Ages, and you will now find a delicious selection of homemade cakes, scones, savouries, and hot and cold drinks, in a setting that combines the best of medieval and modern architecture. Norwich Cathedral is one of the most complete examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe and has survived a fascinating and turbulent history full of riot, fire, and war, and offers a great variety of treasures to explore.

Norwich Cathedral, Norwich

Flourish through food

The Wild Olive Tree cafe in St George’s Tron church trades ethically in high quality produce, including delicious coffee, scones and soups. The cafe shares its profits with Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust, with whom it runs a number of social schemes to help the most vulnerable factions of Glasgow’s community.

St George’s Tron, Glasgow

Cakes and mountains

The Tower Cafe offers a warm Benedictine welcome to all its customers. Situated within the glorious setting of the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Brecon, the cafe sits at the geographical heart of this Welsh market town. With its garden available during the summer, the church offers the only available green space open to the public where you can while away an afternoon watching the world go by.

St Mary the Virgin, Brecon

Victuals and values

The Quaker Centre Cafe is located within Friends House and offers a large variety of hot and cold dishes, sandwiches, quiches, cakes and snacks. True to Quaker values, the cafe is committed to serving locally sourced, organic and Fairtrade food that is responsibility sourced as well as delicious. It is one of the best cafes in London.

Friends House, Euston

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