The cafe of kindness

Whoever you are and wherever you come from, a warm welcome awaits at the Cross Keys, Llanfyllin

by Webmaster, 2nd September 2021

Whoever you are, wherever you're from, a warm welcome awaits at the Cross Keys, Llanfyllin

Cafe culture has grown exponentially over the last couple of decades and popping out to enjoy a steaming hot latte or an Earl Grey with a delicious home-made cake is a pastime most of us savour. 

We’re lucky here in Wales and the Borders to have many wonderful cafes to choose from and unlike high street chains, each establishment offers a unique experience. 

The Cross Keys, in the heart of the pretty town of Llanfyllin, Powys, is one such example. Converted from a former public house, the building is bursting with character, with oak beams, exposed brick walls and a raging open fire. As well as traditional tables, visitors can snuggle down in one of the comfortable sofas in front of the fire or even retreat into the ‘santuary’ room, with mood lighting and squashy, comfy seating, for some peace and tranquility. 

There’s a menu full of nourishing food, using locally sourced ingredients, including gourmet burgers, a choice of either vegan and beef chilli, pancakes with various toppings, traditional ploughman’s lunch and a wide array of home baked cakes, including Welsh cakes and Bara Brith for a taste of Wales. There are also plenty of gluten free and vegan options, including vegan ice cream from Harlech. 

“We are grounded in Wales here and very proud of our roots,” says co-owner, Shan Mayor. “We like to showcase local produce, like our locally made strawberry and cointreau jam, local apple juice and milk from local farms and dairy ice cream from a producer in Ruthin.”

Shan and her partner, Darren (pictured above) have owned the Cross Keys since 2016 and, as well as the food and the cosy ambience, there is always lots going on for locals and visitors to enjoy.  

Every week there are events such as knit and natter, scrabble, table tennis, canasta and a book club. As ordained ministers and committed Christians, Shan and Darren also hold a rhythm of prayer session each week and on certain days host communion for those who wish to partake.

While monthly, there are quiz evenings, jazz nights and music, song and poetry evenings. And people can improve their digital skills and use the free internet area in the cafe. 

Born and bred in Llanfyllin, Shan had a vision to build a welcoming community and a calm, spiritual space where people can come and relax, make new friends, eat delicious food, worship with fellow Christians or learn more about Christianity. 

It is a not for profit business and they offer to help people who need it through schemes such as ‘pay it forward’, where diners can buy someone else a coffee and ‘Nosh Da pay what you can meals’, where people donate what they can afford, rather than be told what they have to give. And occasionally the couple also give out free ice creams from their mobile kiosk to help spread joy when they are out and about. 

“Darren and I are passionate about developing the Cross Keys as a community hub and helping people grow spiritually,” adds Shan. “Everyone is welcome.” 

The Cross Keys (High Street, Llanfyllin, SY22 5AT) is open Monday to Friday form 10am to 4pm for eat in and takeaway. For more information call 07891 592710 or

Here is a little more detail about what The Cross Keys can offer:

The Cross Keys is a place for growth, support and celebration for all (A community hub to promote inclusion, wellbeing and Christ centred spiritual growth).

Ty Gweddi: An opportunity for people of all ages to share their lives with God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit, and each other in a way which respects everyone’s contribution and spiritual journey. Current events/activities include Rhythm of Prayer, Café Church, Messy Church, Prayer Partners, annual prayer conference and various courses, such as Happiness Course Alpha.

Ty Coffi: Provides a warm, welcoming environment in which to enjoy local and organic (where possible) hot and cold drinks and a selection of meaty, vegetarian and vegan freshly cooked meals. Showcases local suppliers in food and crafts. We facilitate a 'Pay It Forward Scheme,' Nosh Da Pay What You Can Meals and Book Exchange. Employing local people and providing opportunities for volunteers to access work experience and training.

Ty Agored: Provides local people with a creative and flexible community space that can be adapted to their requirements (bookable for a hire fee). Parties and events can also be hosted, planned, and delivered by the Cross Keys team to individualised requirements. Activities currently include: cosy book club, Jazz nights, Digital cafe, Scrabble and Knit and Knatter, Canasta Club, Table Tennis Club. We also have an intergenerational sensory room (private meetings, counselling, contact centre and used as a therapeutic space for all ages and needs) which can facilitate parties with films and music

Ty Cwtch: A small cosy space on the Air BnB register, working with Powys County Council, that provides emergency accommodation for those in need, as well as contributing to the tourism offer in the area.

Ty Bendithion (Aspirational): An opportunity for local people with financial needs to receive personalised interest free loans and gifts as well as access debt counselling where relevant.

Glanaber: Partnering with Green Pastures, a homeless charity, to provide for people with long term accommodation.

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