What better excuse for a slice of cake than being able to enjoy some of England's most beautiful and historic buildings at the same time?

The churches featured here are just a selection of some our favourite church cafés: we can assure you that there are many more excellent options for you to visit (and many more excuses for cake). Follow the links to find out more about each church, its café, and how to get there.

Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London

An extraordinary café for an extraordinary church. Praised by the Financial Times as ‘probably among the nicest in England’, the Cloister Café at Great St Bartholomew’s offers treats such as smoked salmon, pies, scones with cream and jam, and a selection of monastic beers, all to be enjoyed at a table in the 15th century cloister. The church claims to be London’s oldest, in continuous use since 1143. It was restored in the late-nineteenth century by Sir Aston Webb, architect of the Admiralty Arch and the main building of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It has featured in numerous films and TV programmes including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, Sherlock Holmes and Muppets: Most Wanted.

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All Saints, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

The Coffee Shop at All Saints Leamington Spa overlooks the nave and chancel and offers a selection of inexpensive and delicious sandwiches, soups and cakes in beautiful surroundings. Leamington’s parish church has been described as ‘a church as out of the ordinary for scale as for style’. It was built between 1843 and 1869 to the designs of the local architect J. G. Jackson in collaboration with the vicar, Dr John Craig, and enlarged at the end of the nineteenth-century by Sir A. Blomfield to make it one of the biggest in England, with capacity for 2000 people and a soaring interior.

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St Michael, Cambridge

St Michael’s in the centre of Cambridge is home to an award-winning café. The Michaelhouse Café offers an excellent menu created with locally-sourced produce. Situated in the oldest part of Cambridge, the café is the perfect pit stop for explorers and locals alike. St Michael’s was built in 1324 in the Decorated Gothic style and was the first college chapel in Cambridge, becoming the model for other Cambridge and Oxford college chapels. A cup of tea on the modern mezzanine level enables visitors to enjoy the bright, peaceful space and overlook the large chancel, once the setting for university debates, college sermons, and lectures. Among other interesting treasures, in the chancel you can find the remaining 15th century choir stalls dating back to the reign of Edward IV. The church also has interesting Scott interventions, with a restoration supervised by Sir George Gilbert Scott after a fire in 1849, and a reredos and Beaumont Memorial Window designed by George Gilbert Scott Junior. After exploring the historic features of the church, you may be lucky enough to catch one of the regular art exhibitions hosted here.

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St Mary the Virgin (The University Church), Oxford

Visitors to Oxford's University Church can enjoy breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea under the café’s vaulted ceilings or in the church’s garden, surrounded by Oxford colleges. Locally sourced organic food, Fairtrade coffee and an exceptional setting make this a unique dining experience and a chance to immerse yourself in the church’s exciting history, from the trials of the Oxford Martyrs to the burial of Royalist soldiers, the birth of the Oxford Movement, and the establishment of Oxfam. The church is open to visitors throughout the year with drop-in tours available free of charge at designated times throughout the week. You can also climb the 127 steps up to the top of the tower for a fantastic view of Oxford’s skyline.

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St Michael Without, Bath, Somerset

St Michael's is a city centre church that offers a great choice of refreshments and a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few moments of peace. You can be assured of a warm welcome and a real sense of community. The Victorian church is an impressive setting for a café, with its lofty proportions, high quality interior, and numerous fine wall monuments. This is the fourth church on the site and was designed by C.P. Manners, who is thought to have been inspired by the Lady Chapel at Salisbury Cathedral. Unusually, the church is orientated north-south, instead of east-west, due to the restriction of the site.

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All Saints, Hereford

All Saints café is a gem in the centre of Hereford. Handmade, locally sourced food is cooked on site every day, and a daily changing menu will be sure to suit your appetite whether you’re popping in for a quick coffee or a hearty home-cooked meal. Not only does the food have excellent reviews but the café has also received national awards for its design, being a great example of modern intervention in a 14th century, Grade II* listed building. Exploring the church you will find examples of 15th century tiles and wall paintings and, if you look closely at the roof beams, may even spot a naughty little Tudor woodcarving…

As well as worship, the Church is often used for different events from live music and Flamenco to Shakespeare! We recommend checking for any events when visiting the café.

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Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ, Liverpool

The stunningly dramatic view across Liverpool Cathedral from the Mezzanine Café makes it a must-visit. The café, designed by Brock Carmichael Architects, is fully accessible and licensed and offers freshly baked cakes, sandwiches, hot paninis and home-made soup, perfect for enjoying in this magnificent building. As a 20th Century building by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the Cathedral is a powerful symbol of a century of great challenge, strife, and new beginnings. Boasting a reputation of having the world’s highest and widest Gothic arches, the world’s highest and heaviest peal of bells, and the UK’s largest and most magnificent organ, the awe-inspiring nature of the building is hard to overstate. Its stature extends to the tower which stands 154m (500ft) tall above the River Mersey: this is open to visitors most days, accessible by two lifts and 108 stairs, and offers unbeatable views across the city (but is not recommended for the faint-hearted!) The Cathedral also has a lovely restaurant, The Welsford, which we recommend booking ahead.

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Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Norwich

The Refectory at Norwich Cathedral was built on the site of the original monks’ dining hall in the medieval cloister. Thankfully the dining experience has moved on a little since the Middle Ages, and you will now find a delicious selection of homemade cakes, scones, savouries, and hot and cold drinks, in a setting that combines the best of medieval and modern architecture. Norwich Cathedral is one of the most complete examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe. The Cathedral has survived a fascinating and turbulent history full of riot, fire, and war, and offers a great variety of treasures to explore, including a collection of more than a thousand medieval roof boss carvings, Norman wall paintings, medieval graffiti, and the famed 14th century “Despenser Retable” – an exquisite gilded altarpiece, lost for centuries. We also recommend checking the website for news of upcoming exhibitions, tours, and events.

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St Mary, Portchester, Hampshire

The Tea Room at St Mary's church in Portchester definitely offers something a little different. The church is uniquely situated in the grounds of Portchester Castle, with views over Portsmouth Harbour. It was built in the 1120’s as an Augustinian Priory and has continued to be a place of worship ever since. The castle has no café of its own so the dedicated volunteers at St Mary’s have bravely taken on the challenge, with great success! After exploring the castle, visitors can be assured of a warm welcome and the opportunity to explore a church in a unique setting. All products sold in the tea room are Fairtrade to support farmers and workers in the developing world. (Image by Nev1, used under Creative Commons Licence.)

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Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro

The restaurant at Truro Cathedral is a stylish space in the heart of the city where you can enjoy excellent food at very reasonable prices. Located in the 1980s Chapter House, it offers a fresh, simple, locally-sourced menu. The Cathedral itself was built in the 1880s by the architect John Loughborough Pearson, and was the first cathedral in England to be built on a new site since Salisbury's was begun in 1220. The Cathedral regularly offers guided tours during the summer months and also has a fun collection of Cathedral Trails for the young (and the young at heart), allowing everyone to get involved in learning about Cornwall's Victorian masterpiece.

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