Our welcome space includes a refreshment area and seating to relax after visiting the museum.

We offer a selection of:

  • tea, coffee & hot chocolate
  • cold drinks fresh from the fridge, including cans of Cawston Press and bottles of juice & water
  • a range of snacks, from cookies and toffee waffles to flapjacks and low calorie crisps

A selection of sandwiches is available from Tuesday to Sunday. Our range includes simple cheese sandwiches to mozzarella or chicken wraps. These are always popular, so get them before they are gone!

If you want 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 is now operating cash-less tills.)

You are also welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the garden, where several picnic benches are available.

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle!

We have been working with the University of Reading to actively reduce the amount of waste that we produce.

As from February 2018, we are offering china cups for hot drinks. Disposable cups will always be available, but we ask you to think hard before you ask for one of these. You are welcome to use china cups inside and in the garden, but please ensure that they are placed back in the empty tray in our café so we can wash them.

The MERL café is now a proud member of Refill at Reading, a Transition Town Reading project aiming to reduce the amount of disposable cups going into landfill sites by encouraging people in our town to use reusable cups.

As an incentive for you to bring your own reusable cups, we are offering a 20p discount for any hot drink purchased in our café! It has never been better to top up your refillable cup at the MERL!

It is estimated that around 8 million disposable cups are handed out by cafes every day in the UK and we are taking the first steps to help highlight this issue and help cut this waste. For more information on the scheme, please visit, which gives you the full details as to the importance of this initiative and a list of the participating cafes in Reading.

The MERL Reusable Cup: Coming Soon. Stay tuned for more information on our branded reusable cups!

The University of Reading has also been working hard to solve the problem with our disposable cups that are given out in our café and other university cafes. We are conscious that at the moment these cannot be recycled, but stay tuned for more information on the forthcoming trial.

The logo for Refill Reading, with the text incorporated into a green image of a cup and the recycling symbol.