Durham Cathedral's Undercroft Restaurant: Heritage and Innovation


The Undercroft Restaurant, Durham Cathedral
Where else in the world can you dine in the grand surroundings of a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site?

This piece is brought to you in association with Taste Durham.

Restaurants have been set up in shipping containers, castles and former monasteries, but few are located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

From the magnificent Medieval setting of The Undercroft Restaurant diners can see the 13 archways within Durham Cathedral, while a 2014 refurbishment added light oak fixtures that highlight and complement the architecture.

But it’s not just the setting of The Undercroft Restaurant that’s acclaimed: it holds a Taste Durham award in recognition of its support of local food producers. The ingredients used at the restaurant come from across the North East wherever possible and feature in all their dishes – from the Northumberland sausage sandwiches to the broad range of hot and cold meals on offer.

Visitors can pop in for an afternoon snack or a local lunch after a day out in Durham (their cheese and fruit scones are deservedly popular) and The Undercroft Restaurant has a great range of hot and cold drinks, with freshly-brewed bean to cup coffee and tea from the renowned Brew Tea Company. They’re perfect with homemade Durham cakes, which take pride of place in The Undercroft Restaurant’s afternoon tea, served daily from 2.30–4pm alongside mini scones, soft finger sandwiches and unlimited tea and filter coffee.

Alternatively, visitors can enjoy a full meal from their lunchtime menu, served between midday and 2pm, or at one of their innovative guest chef nights, introduced in recent months to expand the culinary horizons of the venue.

These guest chef nights bring some of the most exciting practitioners of food into The Undercroft Restaurant’s kitchen to produce spellbinding menus that entice and enliven the senses.

As well as looking towards the future, incorporating the latest culinary innovations into their recipes, The Undercroft Restaurant also harks back to the past. Their beloved custard slice recipe is based on a recipe from John Thacker (once Chef to the Dean of Durham Cathedral, who wrote a 1758 cookbook named The Art of Cookery) dating back to the 1750s.

Any children with picky tastes are sure to enjoy the broad range of hot and cold children’s meals – or a fun lunch activity box to keep them occupied as you all eat. 

It’s the essential stop-off if you want to rest your feet after exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site. And with the restaurant open from 10am–4.30pm every day throughout the year except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday, there are plenty of opportunities to taste the amazing produce yourself.


October is Taste Durham month, and to celebrate we’re giving away a fine-dining treat of three courses, wine and champagne for two at Seaham Hall’s award-winning Byron’s Restaurant. To be in with a chance of winning, go to www.thisisdurham.com/livingnorth


Published in: October 2017

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