I love my cups of tea and especially enjoy these and any additional treats! My preference is to visit independent cafes and like for many of us, it’s important to me to support local businesses. When an opportunity came for a cuppa and catch up with a friend, we arranged to meet at Café Under The Spire in Bensham, Gateshead.

What looks like a regular church, set in grounds on a busy street in Bensham, is in fact a treasure trove of boho art and furniture, quirky vibes and lashings of food and drink choices. Walking into the grounds, I was immediately hit by relaxed, eclectic ambience that continued inside the café. I instantly said to my friend that it would be the perfect place to have a party, especially in the Summer where outside seating and plenty of grass made it feel chilled, inviting and spacious.

Inside Café Under The Spire, there are a number of separate rooms, all with the character of a church but with something extra; majestic charm, vibrant colour and vintage vibes. It was magical and I had to go mooching around before I was even ready to look at the menu. The staircase to the first floor is saturated with light coming in through the windows and in the hallway sits a piano, aged and full of charm. The ground floor is adorned in mirrors with unique frames created out of glass, bits of crockery, shells and anything else that could be reused. I fell in love with a mirror that had a cup and saucer as part of the frame. Local prints of watercolours are for sale and information available to take away about local events.

There is a variety of seating areas, some more comfy armchairs, some more dining table style and they are spread out and private. It was a little chilly for me given it’s a church (although I tend to be cold nine months out of the year!) So a jumper may be a necessity for some.

We had cups of tea and vegan burgers, served with crisps and salad. The meal was delicious and very reasonably priced at £6 each. They were served with a smile and the staff were all really pleasant, attentive and welcoming. I could have stayed longer if I didn’t have other commitments, but I look forward to going back and trying some of their cakes!

Credit: Radio Gateshead

The menu isn’t huge but caters for dietary requirements in an inclusive way, with more than one choice, which as a vegetarian isn’t always the case! Burgers, all day breakfast rolls, soup, salads and plenty of cakes were on the menu and all felt good value for money. It also changes on different days of the week, for example to include the beloved Sunday Roast.

Reviews on social media also recommend the café with comments such as, “Food was really good and great atmosphere,” “Great Sunday lunch, friendly staff,” and “Hidden gem, very quirky, amazing food.”

Café Under The Spire feels more than a little bit special. It’s like no other café in the region and for that, it has quickly became one of my favourites. Why not give it a visit, you won’t be disappointed!

Listen Live to Radio Gateshead by clicking here.


Helen Aitchison

Helen is a journalist for Radio Gateshead, a local lass who has spent the last two decades working in health and social care. She has recently set up a community interest company called Write on the Tyne which amalgamates her passion for supporting and empowering marginalised groups to thrive with her love of writing. Her debut novel, The Dinner Club, was released in March 2022 with UK based Cahill Davis Publishing, and her second book The Life and Love (Attempts) of Kitty Cook will be released in March 2023.