New Parliament Hill Lido cafe aims to ‘fill gap in community’

Tara Kingsley at the Parliament Hill Lido cafe

Tara Kingsley at the Parliament Hill Lido cafe - Credit: Archant

A Hampstead mum and Lido swimmer has spoken of her joy at winning the three-year lease to take over the cafe at Parliament Hill Lido on Hampstead Heath.

Tara Kinglsey, 48, of Fleet Road, hopes to plug the gap left when Benugo catering chain takes over the neighbouring Parliament Hill Cafe by providing a local cafe which is a “focal point for the community.”

As well as serving swimmers inside the Lido, her cafe will also open out at the back towards Parliament Hill to serve Heath users.

Mother-of-two Mrs Kingsley said: “The motivation for me is that my community centre, Fleet Community Centre, closed down last year along with quite few other community centres. Now we don’t really have many places to congregate. Our aim is to provide healthy and affordable food and drinks for all Heath users and to create a welcoming and much needed community space for everyone to enjoy.”

When she takes over in May she will carry out renovations and set up a temporary cafe within the Lido while the work is carried out.

As revealed exclusively in the Ham&High last week the City of London Corporation has faced a community backlash after handing over leases for the Parliament Hill Cafe, along with cafes in Golders Hill Park and Highgate Wood to catering chain Benugo, see right.

As a mother herself, Mrs Kingsley, who uses the neighbouring One O Clock club play centre for under-fives, is aware of keeping her menu healthy for children and hopes to hold children’s parties

She said: “There’s an adventure playground, a running track and actually for the people who use that side of the Heath there were no provision for food or beverages, so I felt there was a need for something this side of the heath. There was an ice-cream van but a lot of us don’t want our kids eating Mr Whippy ice-cream.

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She said: “As a parent I’m not mad on all those sugary drinks. It will be very much healthy, good quality, simple, inexpensive food.

“I am really looking for the public’s support. I am a start up business. We don’t have a lot of money, we can’t compete with the chains we don’t want to compete with them. We want to be a vibrant, friendly, local place so people can come, eat, meet and do the things they love to do on the Heath. We want to provide valuable service to our lovely community.”

She appealed for any “creative cooks or foodies” who would like to get involved or work at the cafe to email her at: