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Middle Beach Cafe, Studland
Photography: Phil Champion, courtesy of Geograph

The UK’s oldest beach café could soon be forced to close

The venue has been around since 1904, but coastal erosion has left it in a dangerous position

Written by
Faima Bakar

There’s nothing like a snack stop during a beach day and, if you’re familiar with the Dorset coast, you might have a historic fave – Middle Beach Café.

It’s said to be the UK’s oldest beach café, but is now due to close in the new year. The National Trust has said the decision comes after coastal erosion left the cliff edge, where the café sits, in a potentially dangerous position.  

Middle Beach Café first opened in 1904 and has had the same owner, Paul Brown, for the past 37 years.

Brown said the trust’s decision to cease trading marked the ’end of an era’. He told the Dorset Echo: ‘It is such a shame the decision was made to close the café. 

‘I am sad to say goodbye, but I can’t fight nature and I definitely can’t fight the National Trust. We’ve tried – there have been petitions – but it hasn’t worked. In the long term, the trust is not wrong but it is also not right.’

The trust has submitted a planning application for a temporary catering unit to be put in once the café stops trading. So you’ll still get your sandwiches – but none of the history.

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