How this Peterborough cafe and restaurant is looking to expand outdoors

The increasingly popular Willow Cafe and Restaurant at Peterborough’s Central Park is looking to “serve” up something new for customers - by taking over a redundant tennis court.

By Brad Barnes
Sunday, 18th July 2021, 6:17 am
The Willow at Central Park in Peterborough. EMN-191113-145338009

Space is at a premium at the daytime cafe, which caters for park visitors, and the function room at the back which recently hosted England’s games at the Euros on a big screen.

Owner Adrian Corrigan said: “Sunday afternoon we had a guitarist playing on the front terrace and we soon ran out of tables with people wanting to listen to a bit of music on a sunny afternoon.

“If we had had this space at the back available to us we could have easily doubled the capacity.”

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The space in question is a tennis court that has not been used for more than 10 years, separated from The Willow by a fence.

Adrian added: “The are new courts around it and it is maintained to a degree but to my mind we can put it to much better use than at the moment.

“If we get permission from the city council to use it (an application is in) we could have the fence down and be operational with some nice picnic tables and chairs in days.”

All being well, though, that would be just the start.

“It would give us so much flexibility when it comes to hosting events, and we are getting so many requests right now,” said Adrian, who took over the venue in 2019 with wife Christine. “We could offer so much more if, say, we had room for a marquee.”

He added: “The park is coming to life again and will do even more so over the summer. We get a lot of dog walkers who come to us, which is fine when the weather is nice. But the place just isn’t suitable to have dogs inside so we have spoken about providing a dedicated covered area at the back for people with dogs.

“We have also spoken about a bandstand. I remember when there was one in the park years ago. How good would it be if we could create something like that on a smaller scale?

“It would be of much greater value to the community because of the events we could put on there.”