The Gagarin Terrace

For our Cog Lunch this month we visited the Gagarin Terrace at The Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The terrace was recently renamed to honour the first man in space. Last month, a statue of Yuri Gagarin was unveiled at the observatory by his daughter, Elena Gagarina. Situated adjacent to the Paul Harrison Planetarium and with a terrace over-looking Greenwich Park, we had high hopes for this al-fresco lunch.

We walked over to the café with the sun poking through the clouds, hopeful that it would make an appearance during our visit. Walking up to the observatory is a tough but rewarding experience. Once you reach the top of the hill, memories of the pain you endured on the steep climb up all but disappear. The view is magnificent.

We walked through the observatory to get to the café, catching some glimpses of our work with Royal Museums Greenwich along the way. It was great to see our table toppers for The Gagarin Terrace in the café itself.

The menu at the Astronomy Café was as you’d expect from a museum café; lots of delicious cakes and a small selection of sandwiches and hot food. And as expected from a tourist attraction, it was a little expensive too. Luckily, I opted for a chicken and cider stew with crusty bread, which was delicious. I managed to snap up the last bit, much to the dismay of others who were forced to choose from a rather limited selection of alternatives. Everyone was generally content with their food, but there’s only so much excitement you can feel about a ham and cheese toastie (especially when it costs £5.75).

We walked through the observatory to get to the café, catching some glimpses of our work with Royal Museums Greenwich along the way. It was great to see our table toppers for The Gagarin Terrace in the café itself.

Annelise Carling

The Gagarin Terrace itself is a lovely setting. With views overlooking the park and an imposing but impressive statue of the man himself, it’s great place to enjoy your lunch. We were accompanied by some of the local wildlife on our visit. A squirrel, blue-tit and robin all made an appearance. I like to think they were being friendly but the pessimist (or realist) in me says that they probably just wanted to steal some of our food. Either way, they were very cute.

Unfortunately, in true British style, our meal was somewhat disrupted by the arrival of some sizeable chunks of hail. We had to dash inside and were forced to finish our lunch in the safety of the Astronomy Café.

All in all, we had a pleasant experience at The Astronomy Café and Gagarin Terrace. The highlight is definitely the setting and I wouldn’t recommend visiting if you’re specifically on the hunt for culinary delights.

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