It was built as the wine cellar for Edward III's castle at Windsor, but now guests can slurp brews beneath its vaulted ceiling.
The Undercroft Cafe has opened at Windsor Castle, in one of the oldest spaces of the almost-1,000-year-old building. Ticket holders to the castle can refresh themselves with sandwiches, tea and cake — as well as cappuccinos dusted with a chocolate crown.
Despite Windsor Castle first being opened to the public by Queen Victoria in 1845, this is the first public cafe to open here.
The Undercroft is located beneath St George's Hall, where state banquets are hosted. The space was built under the orders of Edward III during the 1350s and 1360s, while he was renovating the castle — which itself dates back to 1070. King Eddie stashed his barrels of beer and wine here, but over the centuries, the space was gradually divvied up into various rooms.
Ironically, it was the Windsor Castle fire of 1992 which saw the return of the Undercroft to its original state. When water-soaked walls were stripped out by restoration teams, it was revealed that more of the room's early fabric had survived than previously thought.
The decision to return the space to its medieval incarnation was made — although the road to turning it into a cafe has been a long one. The people behind it deserves to put their feet up with a nice cup of tea. Just a pity that wine isn't on the menu.
All images © Royal Collection Trust