Six of the best museum or gallery cafes in Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 16:04 04 May 2015 | UPDATED: 20:18 10 April 2016

The white rose of Yorkshire coffee design

The white rose of Yorkshire coffee design


Like all polite, middle-class parents, I’m keen to gets the kids away from the TV and in front of some art occasionally, writes Tony Greenway. This means that, over the years, I have explored pretty much every arty venue that Yorkshire has to offer. At some point in the trip though, they get bored of looking at pictures, sculptures and exhibits and inevitably utter the dreaded phrase: ‘We need a drink. And a bun.’

So then we have to go to the café. Now, some gallery restaurants and cafés are good and some are — um — less so. The latter kind usually requires you to take out a payday loan in order to buy a medium cappuccino, a carton of juice and a Wensleydale and rocket sandwich.
It’s not just the food that needs to be halfway decent though (sourced from local ingredients, preferably); some ambience is required too. So, after much thought, I’ve listed my six favourites here.

Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield
Cool and contemporary, the Hepworth’s café-bar features seasonal food and drink from local suppliers (for example, Blacker Hall Farm, Ossett Brewery and Cryer and Stott) which is all made in-house. A very decent breakfast is served until 11.30am.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield
If you enjoy a panoramic view (and who doesn’t?) you’ll love the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s restaurant, situated on the upper level of the YSP Centre. The food is good, although it’s not the cheapest; but a visit here does set you up for a sculpture-spotting walk around the country park. There’s also a smaller café downstairs with outside seating.

The Deep, Hull
The Two Rivers restaurant located at the heart of The Deep aquarium gives you the chance to sample an evening meal under the sea; or, to be precise, surrounded by aquatic displays, which is almost the same thing. It welcomes families (there’s a kids’ menu) and it’s open on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening — but you’ll need to book. The Deep is also home to the Observatory Café on the third floor with spectacular views over the Humber.
01482 382883

Eden Camp, near Malton
Not, it has to be said, a big, elegant, high-class restaurant/cafe. In fact, Eden Camp’s Prisoners’ Canteen and Officers’ Tea Room is, pretty much, a NAAFI where you take a tray and a plate and are served hot or cold food from behind a counter. It does, however, have absolutely heaps of 1940s atmosphere and when I last went — on a blustery day in February with two ravenous kids — war songs were playing over the sound system and stew and dumplings were on the menu. Portions were on the generous side and, unlike some venues, it was as cheap as proverbial chips. Don’t expect any Michelin stars and do be prepared to pay with cash (there are no card facilities) — but this is highly recommended.
01653 697777

Salts Mill, Shipley, Saltaire
The Diner at Salts Mill looks great — industrial and arty at the same time — and it’s big too. The food is of the burger and pizza variety although it’s good quality plus there are Caesar, Greek and Nicoise salads, pasta dishes and a soup of the day.
01274 530 533

National Railway Museum, York
OK, yes normally you wouldn’t want to eat food in a train dining car but make an exception at the NRM’s Dining Car restaurant in the grade II listed Station Hall because, actually, the food is good and this a great way to celebrate the age of steam while you snack. The seating area of the Dining Car restaurant is inspired by vintage age of rail travel, so you can eat in a Victorian inspired dining car or relax in a 1920s lounge.

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