Click the button for the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic and how it is impacting the royals

InterestsPalaces & Buildings

Windsor Castle opens its first café

By Josep Renalias - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Until now, hungry visitors to Windsor Castle had to look outside its walls to grab a meal or a quick cup of tea. But this week, the Royal Collection Trust announced the castle has opened its very first café.

Located in Edward III’s medieval Undercroft, one of the oldest surviving spaces in the 1,000-year-old castle, the Undercroft Café serves a variety of freshly prepared meals and drinks to guests from around the world.

Prior to its opening, visitors would have to obtain a re-entry permit, exit the castle, and find a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants nearby in Windsor. The new space allows guests to spend more time on the property with the convenience of food and beverage options on-site.

Its menu includes items such as sandwiches, salads, and wraps and an exclusive selection of teas, as well as other hot and cold beverages.

For those with a sweet tooth, treats ranging “from vanilla mille-feuille and vegan chocolate cake to fruit scones and Victoria sponge” are ready to enjoy. Plus, this summer, castle visitors can get a taste of ice cream made with fresh milk from the Jersey herd at the Royal Farms, Windsor.

Eating and drinking are not permitted inside the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel, so guests are reminded to place any food or drink items in closed bags before entering.

The new Undercroft Café is located on the ground floor of the castle beneath St George’s Hall and dates back to Edward III’s major renovations during the 1350s and 1360s.

The Royal Collection Trust shared the extensive history behind the Undercroft’s newly reinvented space.

“Throughout the 14th century, the Undercroft served as the Castle’s principal cellar, used for the storage of barrels of beer and wine. In the 17th century, during Charles II’s reign, the space was subdivided to accommodate a confectionary, a silver scullery and an eating room for Royal Household staff.

In the 19th century, the Undercroft was further subdivided to make room for the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, the Servants’ Hall and the Office of the Yeoman of the Pantry.

Following the Windsor Castle fire of 1992, the Undercroft was reinstated as a single space. The walls had absorbed large amounts of water and had to be stripped back to allow them to dry out. This revealed that more of the room’s early fabric had survived than previously thought. Subsequent restoration work has turned the space back into the medieval interior it once was.”

The creation of the new café is part of Future Programme, a series of projects funded by the Royal Collection Trust to enhance the visitor experience at Windsor Castle.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.