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First look inside new café with soft play area in former bank

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:37 17 July 2020

Margarets Tea room team Pictures: Birttany Woodman

Margarets Tea room team Pictures: Birttany Woodman

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A new café and soft play area has been able to officially open after the coronavirus lockdown delayed the plans.

Margaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANMargaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Margaret’s Tea Room, in the former Barclays Bank building, in Swaffham’s Market Place, has finally opened its doors to the public.

The team had to push back the opening date for the café and soft play area in line with the government’s coronavirus guidance.

Margaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANMargaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

But plans were put in place after eateries were given the green light to reopen earlier this month. The café has opened today, Friday, July 17, though the children’s play area will remain closed.

Matthew Williams, owner of the business, said: “Coronavirus lockdown was really frustrating as we were supposed to open at the end of March.

Margaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Margaret's Tea Room Team. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANMargaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Margaret's Tea Room Team. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“Because of coronavirus we lost around £10,000 not including the money we would have earned if we had opened.

“We have had lots of interest since people saw us in the building, the reaction has been great from people that have popped their heads in.”

Margaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Owner Matthew Williams Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANMargaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Owner Matthew Williams Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The former Barclays Bank building, which closed its doors in the town for the final time back in July 2018, was empty for almost two years until Breckland Council approved plans for it to be turned into a café in March 2020.

A small part of the former bank remains at the heart of the business, with the team using the old safe door as a menu board.

A ball pool, soft play maze, children’s film area and a beanbag area are some of the features that will be accessible once children’s play areas are able to re-open.

Margaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Sho Shack that shows childrens movies. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANMargaret's Tea Room Swaffham Opening this week. Margarets offers Tea Coffee, Snacks and a childrens play area. Sho Shack that shows childrens movies. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Mr Williams said: “People seem happy to have a modern café and access to a soft play area in the town.

“The café is the first of its kind in the town and we’re hoping to cater to families with children, the older generation and tourists.

Margaret's Tea Room & Play Area Swaffham Pctures: BRITTANY WOODMANMargaret's Tea Room & Play Area Swaffham Pctures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“We have a really nice afternoon tea on offer along with other food and cakes, including vegan options.”

The café will be open on a trial basis today and Saturday, July 18 before opening fully on Tuesday, July 21.


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