The Engine Yard at Belvoir begins to bloom

The Engine Yard at Belvoir Castle has rapidly become a rural food-and-drink hub – and a lovely one at that. Its creation has happened seemingly overnight – it’s hard to imagine that The Engine Yard was a building site up until the spring of 2018. The Duchess of Rutland’s plan to transform this piece of land into a culinary (and shopping) destination has been a huge achievement, conjuring a glittering asset from virtually nothing.

The Engine Yard’s cluster of 19th-century buildings, which sit next to Belvoir Castle’s entrance gates, was originally used to service the 15,000-acre Belvoir Estate. Now they have taken on very different roles.

Today they house a range of foodie destinations, including a unique and beautiful bar, a bustling café, a chocolate shop, an excellent butchery, and a deli. There is also a children’s play area and several non-food shops such as a gardening store and a home-furnishings outlet.

Below is a brief food-and-drink tour of The Engine Yard…

The Fuel Tank

On-site café The Fuel Tank offers a delicious menu of fresh home-cooked meals, sharing platters, light lunches and cakes. Open Monday to Saturday, 9:30am – 4:30pm, and Sunday 10am – 4pm, it’s the perfect place for lunch or a morning coffee.

The Balloon Bar

The Balloon Bar, located beneath The Fuel Tank, is a stunning bar area festooned with lavish decorations – hot-air balloons feature prominently. The bar at the far end serves cocktails, beers, wines and more. Jaw-dropping interior design ensures this space is a unique experience. It’s open Monday to Thursday 11am-4pm; Friday & Saturday 11am to 10:30pm, and Sunday 11am to 4pm.

Cocoa Amore

Cocoa Amore began life in Leicester in 2013, so this Engine Yard outlet is its second shop. The team are passionate about sustainably produced chocolate. As such, you’ll find mouthwatering handmade delights from smooth, rich, dark bars to innovative tasting boxes.

The Country Victualler

Renowned for producing delicious hams, award-winning pies, pâtés and smoked meats, The Country Victualler was established in Nottinghamshire by Richard Craven-Smith-Milnes and his wife Jane in 1973. At its Engine Yard butcher’s shop, you’ll find a magnificent array of meats and meat products.

Jorge Artisan Foods

Jorge Artisan Foods offers a range of artisan deli products including charcuterie, cheese, naturally infused olive oils and balsamic vinegar, antipasti, olives, chutneys, tapenades, pasta and sauces.


Cherizena sells single-origin, blends and flavoured coffee and teas. It’s a family-run business with roots in Leicestershire. Favourites from its large flavoured range include maple & pecan coffee, hazelnut coffee and cinnamon coffee.

Café Allez

Located opposite The Engine Yard at the top of the main visitor car park for Belvoir Castle, Café Allez is a coffee shop that serves coffee roasted by 200 Degrees of Nottingham. Café Allez bakes most of its scones and cakes and always offers at least one gluten-free cake, along with vegan options. Try the legendary Cherry Bakewell!

March 13, 2020 – Spring Menu Launch

On March 13, The Engine Yard will launch The Fuel Tank’s new Spring Menu and celebrate the official opening of new retail space, Vale House.

Head to The Engine Yard from 5pm to indulge in tasters, talks, demos and discounts in the on-site retail stores. Each outlet will open until 8pm.

Welcome drinks & complimentary food samples by Jorge Artisan Foods will be available in Vale House. End your evening at the Balloon Bar where you can sip on delicious cocktails and listen to live music till late!

Shopping: 5 – 8pm
Fuel Tank: 6 – 10pm (tables available to be booked in advance)
Balloon Bar: Closes 11pm

The Fuel Tank’s local suppliers

Watercolour by Graham Wright

The Fuel Tank at The Engine Yard sources game from the Belvoir Estate. However, with the arrival of new executive head chef Chris Ansell, it has extended its impressive list of local suppliers. They include:

Botterill’s (geese & turkeys) of Croxton Kerrial, Leicestershire
Bouverie Lodge (bison & venison) of Nether Broughton, Leicestershire
The Biltong Farm of Grantham
Ferneley’s Dairy Barn Café of Melton Mowbray
Bloomsbury Bakery of Grantham
Mr Pitchfork’s Pickles of Nottingham
Melton Charcuterie of Melton Mowbray
Belvoir Fruit Farm of Belvoir
Grantham Gingerbread
Grasmere Farms (pork) of Market Deeping
Dickinson & Morris of Melton Mowbray
Cropwell Bishop Stilton
Maxey’s Farm Shop (fruit & veg) of Kirklington, Nottinghamshire
The Melton Cheeseboard of Melton Mowbray
Vine Farm Dairy (milk & cream) of Great Dalby, Leicestershire
Priory Free Range Foods (eggs) of Sleaford, Lincolnshire

Click here to find out more about The Engine Yard at Belvoir Castle, including its extensive diary of events.

The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.