Here are two restaurants near Westminster Abbey. You won’t meet any fellow tourists here – you’ll have done plenty of that in the Abbey itself!
They both serve inexpensive, high quality meals to local Civil Servants and office workers. Each is open to the public – and tourists with kids – but tourists would never find them!
Wesley’s Cafe, located on the lower ground floor of Central Hall Westminster, is an ideal place to sit down and relax, away from the hustle and bustle of Westminster. The main café and the secluded conservatory with daylight can seat around 200 people.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm. Sat-Sun 9am to 4pm.
Address: Storey’s Gate, Westminster, London SW1H 9NH
How to find it: Wesley’s Café is 100 metres opposite the only exit to Westminster Abbey (the West Gate). It’s the enormous building called the ‘Methodist Church Hall’ (see photo above). Head through the entrance, up the five steps and through the main doors. Once inside the foyer, turn right and head towards the stairs. Descend the stairs following signs for the Café. Security guards may visually check you out – just say hi!
(The Methodist Central Hall was also the venue of the first meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations – 10 January to 14 February 1946! See the commemorative plaque at the end of this article).
The Wash House Café
The Wash House Cafe, located on the lower ground floor of The Abbey Centre, is a perfect place to relax, have a meal and catch up with events on the large screen TV playing BBC news – and reporting on parliamentary events happening only a short distance from where you are. The café seats around 100 people.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am to 6pm.
Address: 34 Great Smith St, Westminster, London SW1P 3BU
How to find it. Exit Westminster Abbey by the West Gate. Walk straight ahead to the corner of Victoria Street and Great Smith Street. Turn left into Great Smith Street. Head down Great Smith Street for 300 yards until you get to number 34 on the right hand side. Enter the building, past the administration office on your left, and descend the stairs to the Café.
At either of these two restaurants near Westminster Abbey you’ll get a good feeling for what lunchtime as an office worker in ‘Whitehall’ is like!