Treat yourself at The MERL

Enjoy a drink and a treat at The MERL Café within our bright and modern welcome area. There is seating available both indoors and out, with several tables on our patio sheltered by sunshades. Picnic benches with parasols are also available in The MERL garden, a beautiful, peaceful spot to relax.

English tea, filter coffee, soup, sandwiches, and delicious cakes

Tregothnan Tea

As part of our bid to support local and national producers in our shop and café, we are delighted to serve the excellent Tregothnan Tea, the first ever English tea grown and blended in Cornwall, served in innovative loose leaf pyramids made from biodegradable silken tea pouches.

Come and try a selection of delicious varieties. If you enjoy it, you can take some home from our shop too.

Reads Coffee

We serve delicious, freshly brewed filter coffee, available in a mug or cafetiere. Our beans are roasted by Reads Coffee of North Dorset, who have over 20 years’ experience in producing ethically-sourced blends guaranteed to knock your socks off.

Sandwiches & snacks

We now have a new range of sandwiches and light savoury snacks including savoury scones!


Enjoy a bowl of delicious soup with bread and butter for £4.50. Now served from 11am. Choose between tomato and basil and our ‘soup of the day’.

Cakes and buns

Choose from a daily selection of delicious breakfast pastries (from Warings, Reading’s oldest bakery), cakes, and traybakes including including Lemon Drizzle, Raspberry Bakewell, Caramel Slices, seasonal specials, and of course, our legendary enormous sticky Cinnamon Buns.

Special offers are available throughout the day.

A selection of cakes on display in The MERL café.All our cakes are suitable for vegetarians, with vegan and gluten free options also available. Please ask our staff for more info before you choose.

The MERL Membersheep

Do ewe come here often? If you’re a familiar face at The MERL, why not become a MERL member? All you need to do is visit regularly to earn rewards, gain access to exclusive offers, and be among the first to hear new updates from our team.


Working with the University of Reading, we take care to minimise our café waste. We use mugs and china cups and saucers for our café’s hot drinks.  Disposable cups are available on request at a cost of 50p. Bring your own cup and claim a 20p discount on any hot drink. Buy a reusable cup from The MERL Gift Shop and receive a free hot drink.

We recycle paper cups through CupCycling™ by James Cropper. We also have separate food waste and dry recycling bins.


If you’re looking for something more substantial, hot and cold lunches are also available in the University of Reading bar, The Dairy next door. Please note that The Dairy operates cash-less tills.

Everyone is welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the garden, where several picnic benches are available for your use.