New Cafe, Calke Abbey

Client: National Trust

Building Period: New build

Construction Value: £300,000

Nick Cox Architects have been working with the National Trust at Calke Abbey for many years. Over the past years, Calke Abbey has experienced a significant increase in visitor numbers which, amongst other matters, has generated the need for a new catering outlet to accommodate around 60-70 covers. As a new build element, the project was competitively tendered and awarded to Nick Cox Architects.

The brief identified a general potential site as part of a master planning exercise and required exploration of particular alternatives. This study was carried out in conjunction with input from the National Trust Architectural Panel.

Calke Abbey has a particular philosophy of repair – it is presented as a country house in decline – and so the integration of a new visitor facility with the existing building required a very considered approach and had to be well mannered in design terms.

Responding carefully to the site and client brief the scheme was developed to provide the accommodation sought as well as integrate well with the existing historic buildings and historic context.

Since opening in 2014, the new café has been well received by visitors and the National Trust.