Is a church, or a cathedral also a museum? You could look at many of them as historic buildings, and I often delight in their history and decoration, but they are also (usually) living places of worship.

Then again, most museums are working places of research, so in a way, a Cathedral can be seen as the religious counterpart to their secular opposites. And heck, it’s my blog so I’ll decide what to write about.

And what I am writing about is the little cafe that sits underneath the Cathedral barely noticed save by those who know it’s there.

Almost hidden away from view near one of the main doors, but not the ones usually open to the public, a staircase leads downwards to the undercroft which has been turned into a very municipal cafe.

Yet, it’s also a very warm place, with lots of “darlins” from the woman behind the counter, and plenty of help for the mostly elderly customers in here.

Soup of the day was minestrone, delivered in a large pot shaped bowl, and slices of bread — they had run out of rolls that morning. Coffee was of the polystyrene cup variety.

A couple of tourists had wandered down while I was there, and asked for meat sandwiches, which being a Friday in Catholic tradition was a bit of a problem. Fish, plenty of it was the choice for sandwich fillings.

The seating reminded me of old British Rail cafes, and the the place felt very much like a basic cafe. And in an area covered with more expensive sandwich shops and restaurants catering to the office workers, something more simple and basic fills a void that still needs to be catered to.

It’s not many places in Victoria where you can get a coffee and lunch and still have change from a fiver.

And if in the cafe, why not spend time in the cathedral which is open for free to visitors, or take in the tower, which offers spectacular views over London?


Cost: £4:30 for soup and coffee

Stars: 4 out of 5

Date: 10th October 2014

Summary: An overlooked simple calm cafe that offers a peaceful break from the hustle and fuss of the secular world above.

Westminster Cathedral


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  1. Jo says:

    Hello Ian, That’s a very useful reminder. I’m sure many tourists will be grateful for this tip. And as to the cathedral tower, it does offer great views. I remember taking loads of pictures and may even have posted some of them on my blog, can’t remember…;-) Keep up the good work! Greetings, Joanna

    • Patricia O'Brien says:

      Yes – I have frequented this little watering hole often (being RC) – welcoming and very reasonable. Other denominations offer similar friendly and low priced snacks – I stopped at the Salvation Army cafe right on Oxford Circus which was lovely – tea (in a pot!) plus scone and butter £2.75…you can’t beat it! Keep the tips coming and hope things are positive on the job front.

  2. Ria says:

    Thank you Ian. Interesting and useful reading.

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