The Dugdale Centre, Enfield

Photo of the interior of the Dugdale Centre, Enfield
The Dugdale Centre cafe and foyer

The Dugdale Centre is the Enfield Council run theatre and arts centre in a windswept location, just to the south of the town centre. A river of one-way traffic swirls past its door. Plans to improve the immediate environment have been put on hold for the time being. Much of the local populace is too wedded to their cars to allow things to be put right.

That said, although very austere on the outside, and rather industrial inside, it is the most peaceful place in Enfield Town to meet and relax. The café serves soups, sandwiches and cakes; its bread comes from a local artisanal bakery, its cakes from the Forty Hall café, Its ice cream comes from an artisanal producer in nearby Edmonton. The coffee is from Union (right down at the mouth of the Lee), and priced well below the coffee-like-substance from the chain suppliers. The athmosphere is very relaxed and informal. It also gives the lie to the idea that the outer boroughs of London are cultrually homogeneous.

The council’s archive and historial library is upstairs and there is a small toy museum.

Sometimes the place is thronged with parents and children, sometimes with groups of old age pensioners.  Sometimes it is very quiet. A surprising gem!

The latest innovation is a weekly Philosophy morning.

There is a little gift shop that has a small stock of local history books. Although it seems to  be unstaffed, you can pay at the theatre box-office.

Opening hours seem to vary. When there is a performance, the bar stays open. The website claims 8am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, but sometimes I have found it closed in the morning, and it rarely closes anything like as early as 4. I will try to find out more.



Bristol Central Library

A beautiful and spacious library in an historic building, it has the added benefit of a comfortable muzac-free cafe in the middle of it. Family run with fairtrade coffee and good homemade food, locally sourced, it’s a peaceful spot to relax in a busy city.

However, the cafe is located next to the children’s library, so if it’s too noisy go next door to Bristol Cathedral which has a quiet cafe; see separate entry.

British Library

Off Euston Road, just a minute’s walk from St Pancras Station, has a restaurant and two cafes open to the public (the Library closes to the public early evening). Good place for a meeting as you can sit at the table for hours. Good range of soft drinks, tea, coffee and very tasty food, though the latter can be a little on the pricey side.

National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Quiet place to sit. Lots of computers. Excellent home made soup and good coffee. Snacks.
The National Library is opposite Edinburgh’s Central Lending Library.

Internet cafe in the Foyer of the National Library in the centre of Edinburgh.
Monday-Friday: 08.30-20:00
Saturday: 09.00-17.00
Sunday: 14.00-17.00