Oops. A few weeks ago we postulated that a rather dismal café inside a Holloway post office was probably the first such combination in London. A reader tweeted us (thank you!) telling us that, in fact, there was another, earlier one in West Hampstead. And that this café/post office combo was situated in a church.
The Sanctuary at Grade II-listed St James Church is wonderful – capably run, warmly welcoming, and baking the best gluten-free orange cake we’ve tasted. On a Saturday afternoon the place was jumping, literally: there’s a children’s play area, and the kids were riotous. Weekdays are quieter, we’re told.
The back-story: when plans were announced to close the local post office, vicar Andrew Cain hatched the idea of moving it inside his church. Money was raised, and the new operation – which also includes a shop – opened in July with profits going to a local community charity.
Sanctuary St James is a dream neighbourhood café. But note: on Sundays, the church is still used as a church.
Read our full review of The Sanctuary.
By Richard Ehrlich