I was outside London recently with a good friend to visit one of the remotest museums in the country, and which unexpectedly and fortuitously had refreshments available.

As the village we were in had no other form of refreshments, this was frankly, a vital service, and on our visit, a service that was in high demand.

Service was through a tiny hatch in the wall that lead into a small kitchen at the back of the building.

It’s almost stretching it a bit to include this as a museum meal, as it was more of a WI style service with homemade cakes and instant coffee on offer, with a selection of biscuits from a tin.

Yet, in a literally captive market, being inside an MoD firing range, and with no alternative supplies, they could have racked the prices to eye watering levels – but don’t.

Not many places you can have a coffee and a biscuit for 80p, and a generous slice of cake for the same.

Carrying a tray through the museum (curators gasp in horror), and nearly tripping over the ledge of the door (curators faint) most people took tea in the cottage garden next to the museum building.

A summer’s afternoon. Dragonflies buzzing around. A local church steeple poking up in the distance (built higher than it needed to be because it also acts as a navigation aid). Cheap coffee and cake.


Museum food doesn’t need to be posh. A cup of instant coffee after a long cycle ride was all I needed to replenish wasted reserves.


Cost: £1.60 for a coffee and a cake.

Stars: 4 out of 5

Date: 3rd August 2014

Summary: Simple basic cafe served through the hatch inside one of the UK’s oddest museums. Not special, but all the better for it.

Foulness Heritage Centre


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  1. My cheese and pickle sandwich probably pushed it over into 5 out of 5 territory for me, but that could’ve just been what a wonderful surprise it was!

  2. Antonio Rodríguez says:

    “Not special”, you say? I beg to disagree. I’ll explain myself. Living outside of the UK, I’m reading this series more for amusement than for anything else, but the meals you have described so far match most of Spanish museum cafeterías: bland food, sometimes pre-cooked or in blisters, at exorbitant prices. Thus, I find that getting a simple yet satisfying refreshment at an unbeatable price is enough for making it special, even if you didn’t take into account the surroundings 🙂 .

    And when I say “unbeatable”, I mean it, *even* for Spain. Here, coffee alone ranges from 1.00 to 1.20 € (£0.80 to £1.00) in small cities, and is even more expensive in bigger ones like Madrid or Barcelona. You have to go to Portugal to find cheaper coffee: usually about 0.80 € (£0.65) including a piece of cake!

  3. Annabel says:

    At St Giles’ Church in Imber on August Bank Holiday (thank you so much for that recommendation, by the way, it was brilliant!), they had cups of tea or instant coffee and biscuits for £1, I think, which was all in a good cause. I didn’t have anything, as I don’t like either that sort of tea or instant coffee, but my husband did.

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