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Silk Mill’s Riverside Café shortlisted for the 2022 Museum Café of the Year

Welcome Building Supervisor Marie Colgrave and Mill Host, Sue Rudd

The Museum and Heritage Awards have recognised Whitchurch Silk Mill after the Riverside café was shortlisted for Museum café of the year.

Known as the “Oscars of the museums’ world”, the Museums + Heritage Awards celebrate the very best in the world of museums, galleries, cultural and heritage visitor attractions. Over the past months hundreds of entrants from around the world have been battling it out for seventeen prestigious awards and the Silk Mill’s Riverside Café has been shortlisted for the 2022 Museum Café of the Year.

Over recent years, the Mill’s café on the banks of the River Test has benefited from top quality improvements, which are now being enjoyed by thousands of visitors from Hampshire and beyond. The Café has been designed to offer unique views of the River Test from its wide glazed window seats that jut out over the River Test. Its striking design and the riverside setting is popular with visitors as well as the Mill’s local community.

The fresh and seasonal menu offers wonderful produce from the surrounding area made, baked and grown by local producers and suppliers, this includes Chalk Stream trout, the award-winning Hampshire Deli handmade pies and pasties, Blundell Bakes cakes and Tracklements chutneys.

Operations Manager, Jess Bone, said: “Our team of Welcome Building Mill Hosts are our greatest Cafe asset. They work tirelessly to ensure our visitors receive a warm welcome and delightful experience despite ever-changing restrictions. Several local couples visit regularly, where one is in the latter stages of dementia.

Our Mill Hosts have formed a bond with them and go out of their way to learn about their lives and make them feel welcome and comfortable. Despite everything thrown at us during 2021, our cafe remained the real success story, going from strength to strength.”

Over the last few years, the number of regular groups of customers meeting at the Cafe each week has increased. These include groups of cyclists, a group of parents with young babies, a Pilates group that visit for a coffee stop after and a book club. The Mill has just joined the Chatty Café scheme, where every Wednesday visitors can join a chatty table to meet new people.

The Mill has been shortlisted alongside Manchester Jewish Museum, English Heritage’s Stonehenge Café, Kiplin Hall in Yorkshire and The Black Watch Castle and Museum. The winners will be announced at a glittering live ceremony on Wednesday 11 May.