National Trust Sandilands opens temporary public café and staff office

A National Trust nature reserve near Sutton-on-Sea has taken another step on its re-development journey with a vital new public space.

Sandilands outdoors cafe. Photo: National Trust
Sandilands outdoors cafe. Photo: National Trust

The National Trust have officially opened a temporary public café and staff office at National Trust Sandilands.

The café, located at the northern tip of the nature reserve, comes installed with the latest food and drink equipment. It will serve a delicious range of take-away hot and cold drinks and snacks throughout the whole year.

The outdoors café and its warming treats will be an inviting stop for visitors before they go on to explore the wider reserve, which is already looking much greener thanks to the efforts of the National Trust.

Volunteers, staff and the public (along with Hilary McGrady) mingle outside the temporary cafe at Sandilands. Photo: copyright National Trust.

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, was proud to officially open the café for the first time on Tuesday (October 25).

Hilary said that the café was an exciting addition to the local area:

“The atmosphere is full of excitement and people are already enjoying coffee in a wonderful setting. It can only get better as progress continues to develop a nature reserve that connects people to the wild Lincolnshire coast.

"We are fortunate to have the support of community partners, along with a dedicated team of volunteers and staff that have allowed all of this to happen. The future looks green and bright for National Trust Sandilands.”

Hilary McGrady with Sandilands Food and Beverage Manager Simon Miles at Sandilands temporary cafe. Photo: National Trust

The local community were invited to vote for their favourite name on Sandilands’ social media and through a voting box at this year’s Sutton-on-sea Furlong Festival.

During the opening, the name of the café was revealed, and the winner was ‘Sandidunes Café’.

Next to the café, an office cabin has also been installed as a base of operations for the Sandilands team, who will be carrying out essential works across the reserve on a regular basis.

Visitors will be able to meet with the team and discuss the exciting re-development project as it progresses.

View of the golf course and beach at Sandilands. Photo: National Trust John Miller

Kirsty James, General Manager for Sandilands, said the opening of the café and office is exciting and sets a positive mood for things to come:

“This is our opportunity to be part of the local community in a bigger way. We can’t wait to be on-the-ground giving regular updates and doing important tasks as we transform the reserve. It all supports the upcoming design of natural habitats which will protect wildlife and create inspiring experiences for our visitors.”

“We’re delighted that all café proceeds will be re-invested back into the development and conservation of the reserve, which is a fantastic way to know you’re making a big difference for climate and nature.”

Visitors to the temporary café are invited to bring their own re-usable cups, saving 25p on any hot drinks purchase.

“We want to encourage everyone to think more sustainably when they are planning their visit to Sandilands, so this tempting offer is just another way to show how important it is that we take care of the environment”, Kirsty explained.

Kirsty also hinted at the National Trust’s next steps as the project gains momentum:

“We expect to submit planning permissions very soon that will hopefully see construction work at the reserve begin in 2023. It will start with renovation works to the former clubhouse building, transforming it into a sustainable and accessible visitor hub complete with permanent café, community spaces, toilets and changing place facilities.”

The temporary cafe is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 3pm throughout the year, excluding Christmas Day.

The nature reserve can be explored any day of the year.

You can learn more about Sandilands by going to their website at or follow their latest updates on social media @NTSandilands.