Quick Links

Useful Links

Friends of Greenwich Park

Ignatius Sancho Café opens in Greenwich Park

The Royal Parks honours the remarkable writer, composer and abolitionist Ignatius Sancho, as a new café opens in Greenwich Park.

The Royal Parks charity is excited to welcome all park visitors to the brand-new Ignatius Sancho Café in Vanbrugh Yard - a newly created public space in the southeast corner of the park.

The charity, which manages London’s eight Royal Parks, has funded the project as part of the ‘Greenwich Park Revealed’ initiative, alongside a grant from the Parks for People programme that is jointly funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Charles Ignatius Sancho was a remarkable British abolitionist, writer and composer who became the first known Black Briton to have voted in an election, as well as the first to have his letters published. After arriving on a slave ship from New Granada at around the age of two in 1731, he grew up enslaved by a family in Greenwich, before receiving an education and gaining employment with the Montagu family, and eventually starting his own business as a shopkeeper. Throughout this time, Sancho also continued to develop his artistic talents, composing music, acting, writing plays, and even writing a book on music, gaining celebrity in Georgian London.

The café building was previously a private, residential lodge and sits within a newly landscaped area of the park, transformed from a concrete yard into exciting community facilities. In addition to the café, there are accessible toilets (including a Changing Places facility), a volunteer hub, and a community kitchen garden.

The new two-storey café will provide an important space for park visitors to relax in, meet friends and family, and enjoy this corner of the park in a new way. Catering will be provided by Benugo which also operates in the Pavilion Café and kiosks in Greenwich Park.

The café will open from 8am - 6pm daily, serving freshly made pastries and cakes, toasted sandwiches, flatbreads, wraps, salads as well as ice cream and sundaes.

Clare Lanes, Greenwich Park Manager, The Royal Parks said: 

"We are thrilled to be opening this brand-new café and to be able to transform this private yard into a beautiful, landscaped space for park visitors to enjoy, while providing new facilities for our important and valued volunteers.

“We are pleased to use this opportunity to recognise Ignatius Sancho as a key figure from British history and hope that naming the café after him will generate conversations and further discovery of his story – and who knows, maybe inspire a famous local writer in the future.”

Greenwich Park Revealed is a four-year project to protect, revive, reveal and future-proof the park, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, for the local community and park visitors to discover and enjoy for generations to come.