The café building is quite the survivor.
If your mate asked you to meet them at the remains of a castle for spot of tea and cake, most of us would probably do a double take. However, as of recently one of the few surviving remains of Bristol’s medieval castle has welcomed back guests as it opens as a café.
Known as The Vaulted Chambers Café and located in Bristol’s Castle Park, the café opened its doors to serve brews by local roasters Wogan Coffee and delicious cakes by Cakesmiths. The Vaulted Chambers Café is thought to have originally been the entrance to the castle’s great hall, with a counter and seating in two rooms with elaborate vaulted ceilings that give the historic building its name.
During the Victorian era, Castle Street was Bristol’s main high street full of shops and traders and then later in the 1930s the Vaulted Chambers building was let to Boots. However, Castle Park was changed forever during the Blitz meaning Boots the chemist was no more, however the Vaulted Chambers inside survived.
Over the course of the last 18 months Bristol Parks and Green Spaces has been working with Historic England to restore the Scheduled Ancient Monument, a status given to nationally important historic buildings. The council already operates seven cafés and kiosks across Bristol, and like the others the income from the Vaulted Chambers Café will be used to help fund the cost of maintaining the city’s parks and green spaces.
Catering Business Manager Jayne Grocock said, “It’s always exciting to add another Bristol Park Café to our group, especially one in such a significant location. All of our cafés support local food producers and proudly offer sustainable and healthy menu options, the Vaulted Chambers Café will be no different”.
The Vaulted Chambers, the Sally Port and several rampart ruins are the only parts of the castle to still survive above ground. The Sally Port served as a postern gate accessed via an underground tunnel, allowing the castle’s defenders to leave the castle and attack besiegers. Discover more about the café here.