Most of the cafés you’ll visit in Bristol could be best described as ‘sleek and modern’. Thanks to its gnarled wooden structure and green oasis setting, St Werburghs City Farm Café is anything but these two things. It’s probably best described as a ‘fairytale cafe’ or, as it describes itself, “hobbit-esque”.
This strange and magical building has been home to the café since 2005. With a focus on organic, fair-trade and wild food, nearly all the ingredients are hyper-local. In fact, the concept of food miles barely exists here as St Werburghs City Farm provides all the food – meat, vegetables, salad and wild ingredients. The Observer Food Awards even created a new category in 2008 just to honour the cafe, when it won the Best Ethical Contribution.
The City Farm Cafe is run by Leona Williamson, whose mantra “Let food be thy medicine” runs through all aspects of the cafe. The intention was always to use a local network of suppliers, as well as having as minimal impact on the Earth as possible. This stretches from avoiding chemical agriculture to her choice of bank. Of course, because of this, the menu changes regularly, but you can always expect surprises!
It’s not just about food when you’re here. The café also overlooks an adventure playground, perfect for letting the kids play while you dine, as well as views across the road to the City Farm’s small holding. If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Bristol, then a trip to St Werburghs City Farm is full of wonder for all ages.
The smallholding is free to visit – where you can meet sheep, goats, and chickens, as well as pigs and turkeys, during the summer and autumn. While at St Werburghs City Farm’s community garden, you’ll find raised beds filled with flowers, vegetables and soft fruit. As well as a sunny spot to watch the butterflies, birds and bees as you enjoy a picnic.
One of the most spectacular places to visit in the area has to be Boiling Wells, named after the local springs (they’re not actually boiling, just look like they are). This tranquil and magical woodland is filled with green spaces, an orchard and a stream – a green oasis in the heart of Bristol.
It’s not always open to the public, instead outdoor activities supporting vulnerable children and adults are often held at Boiling Wells. But you can hire it out as a wedding venue (dreamy) and it is open to the public for seasonal celebrations and open days. You’ll next be able to visit for Apple Day on October 28. Learn more here.
St Werburghs City Farm Cafe doesn’t really come from a fairytale. But being able to wander around these places, seeing where the vegetables grow and animals live, is what makes your visit so magical. If it’s an other-worldly setting you desire, or just somewhere serving ethically sourced food, make your trip to St Werburghs soon.