Ampleforth Abbey tea room is once again open for visitors after a major refurbishment. Popular items include Fr Rainer’s cider apple cake and Fr Hugh’s vanilla and fudge cheesecake

After a very successful 18 months since first opening its doors, the Ampleforth Abbey tea room has undergone major refurbishment and is once again open to visitors.

Nearly 20,000 people have already visited the tea room, situated in the Main Hall adjacent to the monastery, since its opening in May 2009.

Popular items on the menu include Fr Rainer’s cider apple cake and Fr Hugh’s vanilla and fudge cheesecake and, as part of the tea room’s development and desire to provide the highest quality of service and customer experience, there is now waiter service at all tables.

The latest refurbishment includes new lighting, new flooring and a new serving area. But the tea room is also furnished with the famous “Mousey Thompson” tables and chairs while the walls are adorned with paintings by 89-year-old Fr Martin Haigh OSB, a contemporary of the late Cardinal Basil Hume.

The tea room provides a welcome respite and nourishing refreshments for visitors who may be staying at Ampleforth, or those visiting the abbey or its extensive grounds, lakes and woodland. All meals are freshly made on site using local ingredients, including apples from the Ampleforth orchard, and consist of sandwiches, light meals, afternoon tea and homemade cakes.

Sean McFetrich, the new director of commercial operations at Ampleforth Abbey and College, said: “For many years we have welcomed visitors to Ampleforth, but it became clear that the basic requirement for many visitors – somewhere to sit and have a cup of tea – was missing.

“Now we hope that the refurbished tea room, along with the abbey shop and opportunities to explore the grounds, orchard and Abbey church itself, will encourage visitors to spend more time with us.”

Ampleforth Abbey has been home to a community of Benedictine monks since 1802. All visitors are welcome to join the community in the Abbey church for Mass and Divine Office, which is at the heart of life in the monastery.

Visitors are encouraged to explore the lakes, trails and woodlands, take advantage of the sports facilities and visit the rea room.

Visitors are welcome to look around at their leisure, or guided tours of the Abbey church and orchard are available.