Definitely in the running for the least welcoming place we’ve visited, this place caught our eye after a visit to Durham Cathedral. Couldn't ask for a better location, as it’s situated at the side of the quad, opposite the Cathedral. This is a UNESCO world heritage site, and being intrigued by the stone sign over the door reading “Hospitale” we entered to find it was in fact a licenced café. The sign for the Café on the outside with the opening hours had been covered by chairs (photo) and the impression was that staff were closing up despite the time being before 3pm.
The gentleman behind the counter was in considerable “why are you bothering me passive-aggressive mode” but all we wanted was tea and scones, with jam, no cream, so the order was eventually taken. The café was empty, not surprisingly, but it offered a quiet room and wintry sun through the windows. A history of the café was carefully written on a blackboard, but our “hosts” did not offer any information on the topic (a lady had appeared to clear the table, including the cream which we hadn't ordered). Perhaps staff are badly paid here, and everyone is entitled to a bad day but why not hang out a “No Vacancy” sign if you really prefer no customers to enter – many young people would be glad to have an opportunity to work in that historic location. Poor customer relations, indeed.
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