Café Franchise Opportunity

Northumberland National Park Authority is inviting catering providers from Northumberland and the North East to submit an expression of interest by noon on Monday 10th February 2020. A full brief, outlining the detail around the opportunity can be obtained via the In-Tend portal.

The venue and location

The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre is a year-round visitor attraction, situated within a UNESCO World Heritage site and within walking distance of some of Hadrian’s Wall’s most iconic locations.  The Sill welcomes between 140,000 and 150,000 visitors per year and boasts a fully-accessible Whin Sill Roof walk, a wide-range of activities, exhibitions and events, an education programme, corporate space hire and a shop selling locally sourced gifts.

Our vision

The Sill aims to transform how people of all ages understand and explore our landscape, history and heritage; opening up the landscapes of Northumberland National Park and the surrounding area to people from all backgrounds including children, young people, families, disabled people and those less confident at exploring natural places.

The café is an integral part of the visitor experience and is a key opportunity to connect people with the story of landscape and produce.

Key features

  • Free to enter.
  • 140,000-150,000 visitors a year.
  • Award-winning building (Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Accessibility, RIBA Award for Design, Landscape Award of the Council of Europe.
  • Corporate hire and away day opportunities.
  • Year round exhibition and activity programme.
  • Wedding and private hire opportunities.
  • 2 miles from the A69.
  • 35 miles from Newcastle and 25 miles from Carlisle.
  • Connection to local suppliers.
  • Brand awareness.
  • Fully accessible offer.
  • Affordable overnight YHA accommodation for up to 86 guests.
  • Car parking and coach parking for up to 190 vehicles.

A unique, versatile space

The Café/Restaurant facility (169m²) is situated on the first floor of The Sill, providing clear views of the iconic Northumberland National Park setting, looking out towards Hadrian’s Wall.

The space seats 90 people at once and can be used as a wet weather facility for a number of activities including Dark Sky viewings, corporate hospitality, community gatherings and special occasions. For special events, the space can accommodate up to 130 people. Fast broadband and public WI-FI are available throughout the building.

Come and visit

A tour of the facility for those interested will take place on 23 January 2020. The tour is entirely optional but, please email [email protected] to book a space if you wish to participate.

Next Steps

Please visit our e-tendering portal at From here you can view the full Expression of Interest document which includes additional information and when completed submit your expression of interest response for consideration:

Your Expression of Interest Responses should include:

  • Details of your business or organisation
  • Why The Sill is of interest to you
  • Details of how your organisation could maximise the café offering in keeping with the aims of The Sill e.g. themed events or corporate hospitality
  • What business model and business plan you propose for the running of the franchise. Please ensure you include net financial consideration to the Authority you are proposing and the term of occupation you propose.
  • A sample menu, including item prices – demonstrating a commitment to using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Please include details of produce sourcing provenance and your supply chain.

The deadline for your Expression of Interest Response is  12pm on Monday 10th February 2020.

Please note submissions will only be accepted via the portal.

Selected expression of interest will be invited to be considered for the next stage, thereafter a formal tender process will be progressed with a further deadline of 12pm on Monday 24 February 2020.