I recently walked into this little café called the Stokes High Bridge Café and from my first glance around the place, I knew that I had to tell you about it. The Café is located at 207 High Street, Lincoln LN5 7AU and is built over the River Witham and has been in its place since 1540. It is open every day albeit its hours vary. From Monday to Saturday it is open from 8.00 am–5.00 pm and on Sunday it is open from 11.30 am–4.00 pm. It is full of old fashioned charm and quite frankly, I felt privileged to get my first taste of Lincoln from it. Being within such an iconic building, full of history and delicious food was an absolute pleasure and if you read on in the rest of this article, I am confident that you will see my point of view and be making your way to and inside the Café as soon as possible.
A Tudor Cafe which is like no other around
As the Tudor Café is built on a Medieval bridge that crosses the River Witham, it is extremely unique in its architecture and style. Fancy a bite to eat? The Café offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Take a look inside the Café and tuck into some very scrumptious snacks, salads, sandwiches and so on, all of which are made fresh to order from locally sourced ingredients. There are also some really hearty hot dishes available daily that will give you all the goodness that you need to go about your day.
The Café has a ground floor, which has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as two further floors for dining purposes. I would certainly recommend that you hike up to the top floor and try and get yourself a window seat for a view of the high street, the bridge and the waterway that it covers. The views from the top floor are wonderful; you can enjoy a drink and some food whilst watching passersby (all of whom will be admiring the remarkable building in which you are sitting in). As you can tell, I am all about advocating that you enjoy this historic building in its full glory by not only taking a few snaps but by enjoying it inside and watching others watch you.
A cafe with character and charm
The Café most definitely has character and a tremendously cosy atmosphere that will make you want to keep coming back. The Café started off as a family business that specialised in high quality teas and coffees and was created by a man called Robert Stokes. Stokes bought the building in which the Café stands today in 1937 and his family members have ensured that it continues on. As you can see from the photograph, the café has kept many of its old fixtures and pictures, so you really do feel like you’re sat in a piece of history. The stairway from the ground floor to the first and second floors is narrow and tall (and is not recommended for those with mobility issues). You may be surprised to hear that even the restrooms were rather quaint at the Café as they are covered with portraits of famous royals such as Elizabeth I.
The staff working at the Café are excellent and knowledgeable. All the waitresses wear uniforms consisting of black dresses with white accessories, which no doubt entertain all the guests, and make sure that the Café keeps its identity of being a café with Old World charm. The delightful and charming staff will make you feel very welcome in their historic haven and clearly demonstrate an enjoyment for being there and enlightening you on the history of the Café. If you have visited Lincoln before, you may be aware that it’s quite the hub for the afternoon tea fan and any reputable afternoon tea connoisseur would have used this area as a training ground because of the amount of tea rooms around!
Now whilst there are an abundance of tea rooms, I have to tell you that no trip to Lincoln would be complete if you did not at the very least consider having afternoon tea at this café. For an assortment of delicate sandwiches, scones with cream and strawberry preserve as well as delicate cakes and a pot of Gold Medal tea for two, you would be charged only 21.90 GBP (29.30 USD). In comparison to afternoon tea in London, Lincoln’s offering at this remarkable Café is an absolute bargain! The Gold Medal tea is a robust blend of Assam and high grown East African teas, and is the award winning house blend for the Café. If you would like to try a pot of this tea without all of the savoury and sweet delights, then one pot would cost you 2.75 GBP (3.60 USD).
Menus that will put a smile on everyone’s face
If you’re looking for something a bit heavier for your meal (which may be the case if you plan on climbing Steep Hill), then you’re going to be pleased to read that the Café serves up some gorgeous lunches from its main and specials menus. Lunch is served between 11.45 am–2.00 pm at the Café and the minimum charge for lunch is 5.00 GBP (6.70 USD). Every single item on the menu is homemade and from locally sourced produce, which means that you literally will be getting a taste of Lincoln. All the vegetables are from Abbey Park; the baked products are from JH Starbuck Bakery; the dairy products are from Dairy Lincs and so on. All of these places are within Lincoln.
If you have dietary requirements, fear not as the Café is all about impressing every guest. For a vegetarian, it has ample choices on its menu and during my visit, it even had a vegetarian dish of the day on its specials menu, which was a wholesome, filling and mouth-watering vegetarian lasagna, which was accompanied by a generous salad and garlic bread. The cost for such a dish with a soft drink and dessert is approximately 13 GBP (9 USD). Any food that you will order will arrive piping hot and one could not possibly have any complaints. For those that require gluten free dishes, the Café even has a specific and dedicated gluten free menu. Age is also no obstacle when it comes to the Café impressing, which is demonstrable by its children only menu. I noted at least three young diners tucking into their food rather happily and share this evidence with you in case you have little ones with you on your trip and are worried about satisfying their tummies.
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Irresistible cakes and desserts
Now, even if you visited the Café with the intention of only tucking into some scrumptious savoury food and steering away from the afternoon tea, I have to warn you that it is going to be extremely hard to resist some of the glorious sweet delights in the Café. I write from experience when I tell you that I tried everything to resist the cakes and desserts but regretfully, my mind and heart had to face it; my stomach was craving a pudding and I felt that it was only necessary that I leave Lincoln having enjoyed it from a culinary perspective in its entirety.
I am sure that it will come to no surprise that I would urge you to try something sweet at the Café. A slice of cake is only 4 GBP (5.30 USD) and is made from homemade recipes that can’t be beaten. A succulent fudge cake, which is layered with smooth fudge icing, is 4.45 GBP (6 USD) whereas a cute little cupcake is 2 GBP (2.60 USD). The pudding featured in the photograph is of a glorious traditional treacle sponge with fresh whipped cream and cost 4.65 GBP (6.20 USD); this is a pudding that I fully endorse and would beckon you to embrace. If you don’t fancy whipped cream, you can choose to have custard or ice cream.
Don't just take photos from the outside, go and enjoy the inside!
Visiting Lincoln is not complete without a trip to Stokes High Bridge Café. It’s a historical site that offers personable and friendly service, homely food and a place to stop and re-charge your inner batteries before climbing up Steep Hill or checking out other parts of this quaint and unique town. I have no complaints of this delightful destination and can only given a ten out of ten ratings and a thumbs up on the experience front. I hope that when you spot this Café, you remember that it’s unlike any other place in the world and after snapping photographs of its exterior, the bridge and its river, that you take one foot in front of the other and make the best decision of entering the Café.
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