First look inside newly renovated Coach House Café and Farm shop at Sledmere House

A major project which has taken place over the last 18 months to transform part of the 18th century stable block at Sledmere House has been completed this spring and is already enjoying rave reviews from visitors, now pleased to be back enjoying everything the Estate has to offer.

Construction work on the project started in January 2020 and continued in a COVID-safe environment, despite the series of national lockdowns, with the aim of being ready for business once customers and visitors old and new could again be welcomed at one of East Yorkshire’s premier visitor attractions.

Responding to increasing visitor numbers year-on-year, Sledmere House knew it needed to expand and refurbish its already extensive range of experiences and facilities on offer. The completed project now provides an enlarged and refurbished Coach House Café with state-of-the-art kitchen, re-fitted Farm Shop, new visitor reception, toilet facilities and the creation of four multi-purpose event rooms, perfect for private hire for birthday parties, weddings and christenings, as well as business meetings, seminars and all sorts of other activities.

The Farm Shop now has a sister outlet, The Pantry, across the courtyard, selling fine wine and food, chocolate, and ice cream, whilst over the road, The Woodyard remains an ideal destination for garden, gift and home items with The Stables Takeaway nearby for those looking for a drink or snack on the go. Although the Farm Shop and Sledmere’s other essential shops have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s only been over the last month or so that visitors have been able to enjoy the new surroundings of the café.

Sledmere House & Gardens refurbished Coach House Café

Lauren Fenwick, Marketing and PR at Sledmere House, told the Wolds Weekly that despite being forced to close for the majority of the last 12 months, it may have been good timing for the project.

“Planning for a complex project like this, involving historic buildings, has taken a considerable amount of time and we needed specialist advice from architects, engineers and designers,” said Lauren.

“We’ve known for some time that we there was a need to expand and offer visitors an even better experience at Sledmere House, as well as the chance to host functions and lots more indoor events in specifically designed spaces filled with natural light and fully Wi-Fi enabled.

“The construction work started in early 2020 with the café, visitors centre and function rooms and then the remainder of the build was completed thereafter.

“We’ve been very lucky that the work was able to continue throughout the last 12 months and the various lockdowns.
“Also, in terms of letting people know that there will be some disruption to the normal visitor dining experience, this was pretty much taken out of our hands as the government did that for us due to the COVID restrictions.”

One of the first sites to greet visitors to Sledmere House is the Farm Shop, which first opened in 2014 and it’s now been completely refurbished and re-equipped. Surplus produce grown in Sledmere’s Walled Garden is often sold in the Farm Shop and used in the Coach House Café, and wherever possible preference is given to stocking lines from local food and drink suppliers.

Jayne Robinson, Farm Shop Manager, said the feedback from customers regarding the changes has been extremely positive.

“We are pleased to be able to stock many new products and will continue to expand our food and drink ranges so customers can be assured of finding their favourites and discovering really special treats often only available in smaller retailers,” said Jayne.

Sledmere House & Gardens – Refurbished Cafe and Farmshop

“Quality, provenance and value are all really important to us.

“The refurbishment has allowed us to extend our takeaway provision in terms of tea, coffee and sandwiches and, most importantly, we can now extend the sale of our own cakes and home cooked baking.

“We now have a larger deli counter selling many of the specially selected produce included on our new café menu.
“Complementing the Farm Shop, the Pantry, situated just across the courtyard, sells fine wine, craft beers and ciders all those indulgent treats like chocolates and biscuits and is also the home of our ice cream parlour where we are very pleased to stock the locally renowned range, Groovy Moo.

“We have extended our gluten free and free from ranges to ensure that we cater for all our customers. “The structural changes to the Farm Shop mean that it is now directly linked to the Coach House Café and this allows people to browse the shop en-route to eating with us in our new air-conditioned dining area.

“The customers have all given us positive feedback and are particularly happy to be back at Sledmere again enjoying all the new facilities.”

One of the stand-out features of the new café décor is a permanent exhibition of portrait photographs taken by professional photographer, Christopher Sykes, brother of Sir Tatton Sykes.

Sledmere House & Gardens – Refurbished Cafe and Farmshop

The photographs, taken over the last three decades feature many of the staff who have worked on Estate over the years.

Lauren said: “We have had fun putting names to faces.

“Some of our customers have already recognised family members and well known local characters.

“Some of the staff were nervous that the café would lose some of its previous features but it looks amazing.
“We’ve definitely improved and updated and the café looks fantastic.

“Tom Dodgson, our head chef, always knew what would work best, but we couldn’t put it in place until now.
“In due course, we will be able to offer a full hot and cold self-service counter at certain times, but also offer table service as and when needed.

“The catering equipment is state-of-the-art and although Tom was brilliant before, he’s going to be even better now as he has the opportunity to excel and experiment with new dishes.

“Mr Christopher’s (Sykes) staff portraits show that we haven’t forgotten where we come from and how proud we are of our history and our team past and present.”

The new café décor is a permanent exhibition of portrait photographs taken by professional photographer, Christopher Sykes, brother of Sir Tatton Sykes.

Head chef Tom, who according to Coach House customers makes ‘the best scones in Yorkshire’, is looking forward to expanding the menu once the café is back to full capacity.

As with the Farm Shop, the café looks to source its produce from local suppliers and an example of this is the meat, which is from Turners Butchers in Rillington.

This is used to create some of the Coach House Café’s best-sellers, such as grilled chicken Caesar salad and beef cobbler, whilst Sledmere’s afternoon teas are also a popular treat for visitors.

“The café is amazing, especially from what we started with,” Tom said.

“When people walk through the door, they can’t believe the transformation.

“The café is completely unique to us and has been designed really well.

“People just love it and the atmosphere is amazing.

“Even though we’ve modernised, we’ve still managed to retain the previous features and our regulars are trying to work out where they previously sat or remember where the old counter was.

“All the customers want is for us to return to full capacity and normal service.

“Our regulars are already back and are absolutely loving it, as are the staff, who think it’s a dream.

“Currently, because of COVID restrictions, we’ve not been able to expand our menu.

“But the plan going forward is to offer much more than what we previously did.

“We do all our own baking already but we’re planning to do much more.”

SLIDESHOW – A first look inside refurbished Coach House Cafe and Farm shop at Sledmere House

Through the Coach House Café are stairs and a lift to the new first floor area, where the multi-purpose event rooms are situated.

The function rooms booking diary is filling up fast and the extra areas gained mean parts of the upstairs area can be used as an overflow café/restaurant during busy times of the year, such as summer holidays and Christmas.

The Doncaster Room and the Spearmint Room have been named after famous racehorses owned by the Sledmere Estate going back to the days when the Sledmere stud was at its peak of success.

“The first floor function and event rooms, which can be accessed via a lift, have opened all kinds of doors for us,” said Lauren.

“Over the years we’ve been asked on numerous occasions whether we could host christening parties or special celebration birthdays, just to give two examples.

Sledmere House & Gardens – Refurbished Cafe and Farmshop

“Our bookings are growing day on day and we are already going to be hosting weddings, Christmas lunches and an awards dinner and we have had lots of enquiries to use the space for activities such as yoga and other classes.

“At Christmas, we envisage operating a range of Christmas lunches, Christmas party opportunities, as well as using the space as overflow for the café during busy periods.

“We also have a fully stocked bar for the first time which is available as an option for functions, parties and other celebrations.

“We also have meeting rooms that businesses or clubs can hire and alongside which we can provide various catering options.

“The Doncaster Room is smaller and perfect for small meetings, get-togethers with colleagues and even private lunches.

“The Spearmint Room is our larger space and can seat up to 70 people for a sit down lunch or dinner or up to 120 for a buffet.”

With feedback from visitors and staff alike universally positive, Lauren said the project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the continued support from suppliers. This was particularly important at the start of the pandemic when Sledmere’s Farm Shop provided a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable by offering deliveries throughout the village and its surrounding area.

Marketing and PR at Sledmere House Lauren Fenwick pictured in The Spearmint Room

“Visitors seem to love the changes to the buildings and have accepted the new way of doing everything because of COVID,” said Lauren

“We want them to have the best possible experience with us. At the moment, visitors must prebook and they’re really understanding of that.

“A lot of Sledmere Friends members have been part of our little community for years and they absolutely love the new features.

“The café has a lovely atmosphere already and that’s just with the currently restricted number of tables.

“We would really like to extend a big thank you to all our suppliers who have been amazing since the beginning but especially over the last 12 months or so.

“We were only able to offer the deliveries to those in the community because our suppliers continued to provide us with food and groceries.

“We’re always looking for new ranges and products but we really like to keep it local where we can.”

Eating & Shopping

Coach House Café

The newly renovated Coach House Café is thrilled to be welcoming customers back in from Tuesday 18th May on a pre booked only basis. Our menu offers a delicious range of hot and cold meals along with some all time favourites such as Sledmere rarebit and afternoon tea for two all hand made, as usual, with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. We will also be serving our very own blend of coffee to enjoy with your meal or why not treat yourself to a glass of prosecco, wine or beer as we are now fully licenced.

Covid-19 Restrictions June 2021 – Please be aware of some changes when visiting the Coach House Café

  • Tables must be pre booked only – please call 01377 236637
  • We have a 5 minute grace period so please do contact us if you are running late
  • Your table will be yours for 1 hour and 15 minutes from your booking time
  • Face coverings must be worn unless seated
  • We will be offering full table service
  • The menu is online so please have a quick look before your visit

The new development also comprises a state of the art kitchen, new WCs, visitor reception, refurbished farm shop, new first floor function rooms (accessible by lift), exhibition space and new meeting rooms. Many of these will be available for hire as venues for meetings, classes or parties and will allow us to offer some new Sledmere experiences. Please contact us to make bookings and enquiries.

The Coach House Café is open Tuesday to Sunday 11am until 4.30pm with last hot food orders at 3.30pm.

Sledmere House & Gardens – Refurbished Cafe and Farmshop

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please allow ads on our site Ads help pay for our website and content. Switch off your ad-blocker and enjoy.