The opening of a new professional cafe on the same site as seven of Margaret Rope’s finest windows moves the visit to view the windows into the category of a fully-fledged ‘Shrewsbury tourist attraction’…
The Orchard Cafe is Shrewsbury’s newest eaterie, open seven days a week – and is just a one-minute stroll away from Marga’s glass.
The £500,000 redevelopment of the Shrewsbury Cathedral site has seen the creation of new visitor facilities (including a car park), meeting rooms, and a ‘piazza’ open-space – as well as the cafe.
The Orchard Cafe is a professional operation run by Clive Szczepanek and his team. Although it is based on the cathedral site, it is open to all; and hoping to attract tourists and residents from across the region.
As such its menu includes gluten-free specialities and hand crafted coffees; and Sunday lunch items are all gluten-free!
The cathedral includes seven stained-glass windows by Marga, including the giant West Window, which is among her finest achievements. The cafe itself reflects this fact with the installation on one of its walls of a beautifully-presented series of explanation panels referring to Marga’s life & work.
With Shrewsbury Cathedral being open in the summer months 1pm-4pm each weekday (10am-4pm Saturdays), it’s hoped that more stained-glass enthusiasts will feel more drawn to visit, knowing that quality refreshments are also on hand. And vice-versa of course: it’s hoped that the curious gourmets who come to visit the cafe will take the time to visit the cathedral too.
And here’s a little fun-fact: the Orchard Cafe is so-called because the cathedral was built on the site of a pear orchard. When the orchard was cut down to make way for the church, the wood was used to create art-pieces for the church, thus preserving a sense of continuity.
All the details of the cafe are to be found on its Facebook site. However, it’s as well not to rely on finding a parking space in the car-park, which is very small.
Outside tables are provided – and the view of the flower-beds is free!
A small shop, selling mostly religious gifts and items associated with the cathedral, is inside the cafe confines.