Cafe motoring into a new future at Amberley Museum

A village museum re-launched its vintage cafe last week with a traditional picnic that saw vintage British cars roll up for the day.

Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre has breathed new life into its on-site popular vintage café and celebrated its re-opening with a ‘Classic Summer Car Picnic’ event.

The Fairmile Café, which Amberley has housed since 2003, was originally dismantled from Fairmile Bottom Nature Reserve, South of Bury.

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The café, the last of its kind in the South of England, was one of a string of eateries which were used by holiday makers in the 1930s, whilst venturing from London to the sunny seaside resort of Bognor Regis.

Discerning leisure drivers would often stop to enjoy a cream tea en-route, thus sparking a social revolution.

Eventually, many premises like these became Little Chefs and Happy Eaters and were eventually re-built using brick.

Museum CEO Claire Seymour said: “The museum is always looking at ways to maximise the use of its buildings and exhibits – so it made perfect sense to return the café back to service.

“The Classic Car Summer Picnic event was the ideal date to open the café as it would have entertained and served many of the exhibits’ original owners.”

Museum Trustee and acting manager for the Fairmile Café, Colin Wells added: “I have some extensive practical experience in the catering trade and running business ventures so it seemed a shame to have such a wonderful asset as the Fairmile Café sitting doing nothing.

“I approached the museum with the idea of putting the old building back into service, with the idea of offering a 1950s vintage tea room experience.”

Open on selected days with a simple menu for light refreshments, beverages and freshly-made sandwiches, the Fairmile Café has already served many with its treats, including cream teas.

With full table service, the museum is working towards offering visiting groups the opportunity to pre-order an afternoon tea, relax in style and really make the most of their visit to the nostalgic museum in the heart of the beautiful South Downs.

For more details about the museum, visit